Completed Research Projects

ECR 2020

Smart City 2020

05/2018 – 12/2021

The project ECR 2020, based on the results of previous research projects in the Smart City Graz context, deals with questions of the development of livable, thermally comfortable and energy-efficient districts and settlements. Accordingly, the focus is on the energy efficiency of buildings (IWT) and urban structural energy efficiency and urban open space (ISTDB). The project is mainly managed by the Institute of Thermal Engineering (IWT) and the Institute for Urban Development (ISTDB) and is anchored in the Smart City districts Reininghaus and My Smart City Waagner Biro. The aim is to incorporate the research results into the regulations of the Province of Styria, the planning documents of the City of Graz and the individual construction projects in the Smart City Graz target area.

The work of the Institute for Urban Development consists on the one hand of the analysis of planning instruments in their relevance for the energy efficiency of urban districts and on the other hand of the design of scenarios for building and open space development of the Graz Smart City area towards an energy-efficient urban district with a high quality of life.

Project Lead:

  • Aglaée Degros
  • Eva Schwab

Project Partner:

  • Institute for Thermal Engineering TU Graz


  • Amt der Steiermärkischen Landesregierung, Energie, Wohnbau, Technik, FA Energie und Wohnbau, A15 und Magistrat Graz


Sustainable Urban Development of the Peripheries between Graz and Tirana, Sprawl vs Density

01/2019 - 12/2020

Sustainable urban development has become a core interest of practitioners, academics and international policy makers. Key features of sustainable urbanism are compactness and urban density, public (green) spaces as well as active mobility and public transport.

The reality of urban development and urban growth in many parts of Europe, however, looks different. Compact core cities are surrounded by ever-growing expanses of urban sprawl making the urban periphery an integral dimension of the city. Nevertheless, these areas often lack of important urban qualities, and are mostly car-dependent residential areas with no communal open space infrastructure. To transform them, we need to change the methods of urbanization, that shape them. This change should be built on a better understanding of public spaces’ quality and morphology in the urban periphery, as well as how to address them.

The project therefore aims on

  • understanding how the peripheral areas of the two case studies (Graz and Tirana) are constituted and what are the qualitative differences between there types of urban sprawl,
  • understanding how could public spaces’ quality improve the periphery’s urbanity and
  • a broader understanding of the factors that influence the urban development of the peripheral areas of Graz and Tirana.

Through this understanding we can achieve a more effective way of intervening in these areas that need urban upgrading.

Projekt Coordination: 

  • Eva Schwab (TU Graz) und Aliaj Besnik (Polis University Tirana)

Project Partner:

  • Polis University International School of Architecture and Urban Development Policies, Tirana, Albania


  • ÖAD (Österreichische Austausch Dienst)-GmbH


Multifunctional Solar-Active Square and Street Roofing Leoben

01/2019 – 02/2020

© Institute of Urbanism

A considerable part of our cities is occupied by areas of moving and stationary traffic. Outdoor parking spaces in particular are highly unecological and space-intensive. They seal the floors, promote the development of summer heat islands and can almost exclusively be used monofunctionally.

At the Use Case Leoben, concrete locations will be explored which urban spatial effects, synergy and energy potentials will be brought about by newly developed, solar-active square and street roofings in the form of wide-span lightweight constructions in public urban space and how they will affect the cityscape and the function of the city. The focus is on parking spaces but also on slow-travel roads or rails, whereby further scenarios for use are conceivable.

With the sounding out, a subsequent R&D demo project will be prepared in terms of content and strategy. This R&D project will demonstrate the application of existing and new material and photovoltaic technologies or combinations of technologies in the urban infrastructure in prototypes and shall lead to a marketable product development by incorporating the material knowledge in the region with a focus on membrane, polymer and thin glass technologies.

Project Lead: 

  • Aglaée Degros

Project Partner:

  • FH Salzburg – Smart Building & Smart Buildings in Smart Cities
  • Leoben Holding GmbH


  • The Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG)


Smart City Project Graz 

07/2012 - 06/2017

© Martin Grabner

On a former industrial estate near Graz Central Station, an intelligent CO2-neutral district worth living in will be built by 2023. Innovative developments from the technology areas of buildings, energy networks and mobility will be combined in an integrative planning process with citizen participation to form an overall urban system. The 127,000 m2 quarter will in future offer space for around 3,500 residents and 1,000 jobs. The step-by-step realisation is currently being successfully completed.

In the course of the project it turned out several times that the formal instruments of spatial planning applicable in Austria are not sufficient to initiate and control a smart development process of a district. Therefore, new models for integrated and holistic urban planning and development processes are being developed, which can be applied to other districts of the target areas in Graz. Indicators have proven to be a helpful tool for evaluating a long-term development process and making recommendations for action. The indicators have to meet numerous requirements of a general and specific nature, from their significance and relevance to practicability, flexibility and transferability. Most existing indicator sets are not designed for urban quarters, but for cities as a whole or for individual buildings and can therefore only be used in part for the project area. Therefore, a set of indicators will be developed that is suitable for accompanying the development process of a Smart City neighbourhood from planning through step-by-step implementation to use.

Projekt Lead: 

  • City Graz, Municipal planning department

Project Partner:

  • Holding Graz
  • Energie Steiermark
  • Energie Graz GmbH & Co KG
  • SFL technologies
  • AVL List GmbH
  • DI Markus Pernthaler Architekt ZT GmbH
  • StadtLABOR Graz
  • SOT – Süd-Ost Treuhand Gesellschaft m.b.H.
  • Alfen Consult GmbH
  • ECO WORLD STYRIA Umwelttechnik Cluster
  • Institute for Highway Engineering and Transport Planning, TU Graz
  • Institute of Thermal Engineering, TU Graz
  • Institute of Electrical Power Systems, TU Graz
  • Institute for Materials Testing and Building Materials Technology, TU Graz


  • BMVIT – City of the future
  • Klima und Energiefonds


Urban strategies for redesign, construction, operation and
Restructuring of the self-sufficient district Graz-Reininghaus

01/2010 - 12/2014 

© City Graz, editing: Institute of Urbanism

ECR_Energy City Graz Reininghaus is the first concretely implemented energy planning project at district level in the state capital Graz. It provided comprehensive city planning and energy technology recommendations for the sustainable development of the future Graz-Reininghaus district. With a surface of 110 hectares, the former brewery site is the largest undeveloped contiguous inner-city area in the central city area of ​​the city of Graz.

The desired mixture of use of living, working, leisure and recreation enables the networking of different energy-technical potentials with local consumers, e.g. the use of industrial waste heat for space heating and domestic hot water preparation of residential and office use. This approach creates networked systems that are not based on the system boundary of a building, but on the system boundary of a district (building association).

The framework plan for Graz-Reininghaus and the land use plan of Graz-Reininghaus served as the basis for the development of an urban development concept and the proposal for a possible development structure.

The master plan divides the urban development area Graz-Reininghaus into several quarters. After analyzing the urban planning and energy technology inventory and the development of a building mass distribution, a possible construction phase plan was drawn up.

The demonstration building project Plusenergieverbund Reininghaus Süd was the first building block in Graz-Reininghaus: an urban residential area with 143 residential units in the south of Peter Rosegger Straße in sustainable wood-clay construction combined with a multifunctional, two-storey office and business complex. Here, an economically feasible, technically and organisationally innovative solution for plus-energy composite concepts of the future is used, whereby the plus-energy approach does not take place on the level of the individual building, but within a multifunctional building network.

The pioneering work of the ECR project lies not only in the conception of the framework energy plan and the initiation of demonstration construction projects, but also in the networking of administration, research and industry.

Project partners Framework Energy

Project Lead:

  • Institute of Urban Design, Graz University of Technology

Project partners:

  • Institute for Geography and Spatial Research, KF UNI Graz
  • Chamber of Civil Engineers for Styria and Carinthia
  • Urban Development Graz
  •  Environment Agency Graz
  • Institute of Thermal Engineering, TU Graz
  • Institute for Electrical Power Systems, TU Graz
  • Institute for Process and Particle Technology, TU Graz
  • Institute for Material Testing and Building Material Technology, TU Graz

Project Partner Demobau Project

Project Lead:

  • AEE INTEC (scientific project management of demo construction project)

Project Partners:

  • Active Klimahaus GmbH
  • Nussmüller Architekten ZT GmbH
  • Institute of Urban Design, TU Graz
  • Institute for Material Testing and Building Material Technology, TU Graz


  • BMVIT - House of the Future Plus
  • Land Steiermark, Department 15 - Energy, Housing, Technology, Energy and Housing


Working and living in the Smart City Reininghaus

01/2015 - 08/2016

Since the 1970s, Europe's cities have become increasingly de-industrialised. Production companies are migrating or being driven out of urban regions. Over the next 15 years, a new district is created in Graz in the immediate vicinity of numerous "classic" companies on the former industrial site of Reininghaus. Due to the immediate proximity of the companies, there is potential for conflict as well as possible synergy effects with regard to energy systems, traffic, residential quality or integrated neighbourhood design.

With this exploratory project a demonstration project has been prepared in Graz/Reininghaus, which exemplarily implements the cooperation of industrial and commercial enterprises with residential areas (incl. energy and traffic issues) as well as the compatibility and long-term compatibility of different uses in urban neighbourhoods. A forward-looking involvement of relevant stakeholders such as companies, municipal authorities, local residents and investors should make it possible to avoid conflicts of use, but also to fulfil many criteria of a Smart City, such as short distances, energy networks, innovative transport solutions or local supply strategies, through jointly developed cross-sector solution scenarios. As part of the exploratory study, a concept was developed for how measures for an integrated residential working area can be put into practice in a subsequent SmartCity demo project. The possibility of applying the stakeholder processes and the developed solution scenarios to other urban industrial locations was always at the forefront of the project.

Project Lead:

  • StadtLABOR Graz

Project Partner:

  • Kampus Raumplanungs- und Stadtentwicklungs GmbH
  • Institute for Highway Engineering and Transport Planning
  • AEE - Institute for Sustainable Technologies
  • Institute for Urbanism, TU Graz


    Climate and Energy Fund - Smart Cities