Current Research Projects


Potentials of peri-urban mobility spaces as sponge territories for climate change adaptation and mitigation

06/2022 – 05/2025

Resilient settlement areas require integrated planning and economical use of resources and land to become more sustainable while ensuring a high quality of life and design for all. This has become an urgent issue as increased water-related events such as floods, droughts, water pollution and a lack of biodiversity have a strong impact on settlement areas. Research shows that these impacts are exacerbated by the steady growth of cities, whose main development takes place in peri-urban areas. Increased building and urban sprawl intensively stresses environmental resources, fragmenting physical and social spaces while making them vulnerable to heat island effects as well as during heavy rainfall. This affects not only the drainage system and its ability to cope with flooding, as well as ecological networks, but also the life and quality of open spaces in these peri-urban areas.  
PeriSponge aims to improve potential hydrological retention areas and flood capacities along transport areas through well-designed, multifunctional and multicoded open spaces, while providing water management and quality of life solutions to improve climatic, ecological and social functions for quality sustainable peri-urban areas.


Project Lead: 

  • Eva Schwab

Project Partner:

  • Institut für Siedlungswasserwirtschaft und Landschaftswasserbau, TU Graz
  • bgmr Landschaftsarchitekten GmbH
  • GRÜNSTATTGRAZ Forschungs- und Innovations GmbH
  • Verkehrplus GmbH
  • Maria Baumgartner, Ingenieurbüro für Landschaftsplanung und Landschaftsarchitektur


  • Österreichische Forschungsförderungsgesellschaft mbH (FFG) (Stadt der Zukunft)
  • Klima- und Energiefond

Completed Research Projects

Kernraum Voitsberg

Masterplan Future Living

09/2020 – 10/2021

In this large-scale project to secure skilled labour in the district of Voitsberg, the Institute for Urbanism worked out strategies and scenarios for the development of a) commercial areas and b) the offer of communal living in the sense of sustainable community development.
The municipalities in the district of Voitsberg have a good starting point to become even more attractive as a residential location for current residents of Graz and also to further increase the quality of life of the residents. To this end, the municipalities must expand their active role in shaping the living space in order to enable consistent inner development and a strengthening of the urban qualities in the town centres: An attractive centre with good access for cyclists and pedestrians, with shopping facilities, educational institutions, gastronomy and green spaces, contemporary forms of housing of high quality, and attractive and safe access to nature and leisure facilities for all age groups.
Especially in view of the imminent extension of the Graz-Köflach railway, it is necessary in the implementation of these generally valid objectives to incorporate mobility considerations and to take into account the specific location and role of each municipality in the district.

Project Lead: 

  • Eva Schwab


  • European Commision, EU
  • Regionalentwicklungsverein Voitsberg


Spacial Vision Concept for the Regional Area Krottendorf-Gaisfeld

10/2019 – 06/2020

Housing space and building land for private homes in cities are becoming increasingly scarce and expensive, which is why more and more young people are migrating from cities to peri-urban surrounding communities in order to realise their dream of affordable homes in green surroundings. At the same time as this trend, a large part of the local (peri-urban) population is ageing and increasingly feels overwhelmed by its own living situation. Since a large part of these inhabitants of urban surrounding communities carry out their work in the next larger cities and the older people are dependent on supply and support outside the municipal area, commuting out and in becomes an indispensable necessity. Those small communities and settlement areas that have a high-level public transport connection (e.g. a fast suburban railway or a well-developed bus connection to the nearest cities) can benefit greatly from this in terms of their future development. In addition to a favourable public transport connection, an attractive environment (landscape and natural area) with a varied leisure offer massively enhances such places as "living space" and attracts even more future residents. These circumstances give rise to well-considered visions of the future for such peri-urban communities. It needs sustainable concepts to cover the demand for new forms of life, housing, work and care for aging and young people, as well as young people and children in rural regions.

Project Lead: 

  • Aglaée Degros


  • Gemeinde Krottendorf-Gaisfeld

More than Living 4.0

01/2019 – 02/2020

Within the region of Upper Styria East there are great differences in size and location of the municipalities as well as in the accessibility of and equipment with services of general interest. Accordingly, demographic dynamics and the demand for residential and commercial space manifest themselves differently in Upper Styria East. This heterogeneity is offset by a low variance in the supply of housing. The detached house with garden is the most common residential building in the region. Classic housing market offers at comparatively low building land prices meet the wishes of many young families for a house with a garden. Even though some cities already offer a more differentiated range of housing, in most cases there is still a lack of innovative forms of housing for today's changing requirements (e.g. senior citizens' housing, temporary housing, shared housing). The mutual strengths of the centre, the surrounding area and the periphery must be used to offer people of all ages an ideal combination of housing, working and living. Due to globalisation, a new variety of life concepts, the dissolution of many social conventions and demographic change, living spaces today must be able to represent a very broad spectrum of uses. For the project, living is the focus through which the development of the entire region towards a high quality of life is viewed. Therefore, in addition to developing ideas for young living, multi-generational living, smart homes, temporary living, etc., development strategies are also on the agenda that jointly think about mobility, landscape and settlement development.

Project Lead: 

  • Institute for Urbanism

Project Partner:

  • Kampus Raumplanungs- und Stadtentwicklungs GmbH


  • Regionalmanagement Obersteiermark Ost

STEK Villach

 Urban Development Concept City of Villach 2015

 03/2014 – 06/2015

© Institute of Urbanism

The revision of the City Development Concept 2000 (STEK 2000) of the city of Villach offered the opportunity to go new ways both in terms of content and process. On the one hand, the topic of "sustainable, energy-efficient urban development" should be more focused and coordinated with current or planned smart city initiatives and projects in Villach. On the other hand, stakeholder involvement and citizen participation were strategically considered from the outset and methodically implemented. Current topics and issues of the "city of the future", such as urban mobility, urban living and working, urban and socially compatible internal consolidation, the integration of renewable energy systems and new models of governance and participation, were given special consideration.After several expert workshops on the topics "Urban Development 2.0", "Urban Life", "Environment & Resources", "Economy & Employment" and "Urban Infrastructure", concrete recommendations for action were developed for the city of Villach.

Project Lead:

  • Institute of Urbanism, TU Graz

Project partners:    

  • StadtLABOR Graz
  • Institute for Process and Particle Technology, TU Graz
  • Institute of Highway Engineering and Transport Planning, TU Graz
  • Institute of Thermal Engineering, TU Graz


  • Magistrate Villach