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Old Posted May 10, 2012, 5:24 PM
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Vienna Offers a Glimpse of the ‘Next Metropolis’

Vienna Offers a Glimpse of the ‘Next Metropolis’

May 3, 2012

By Adie Tomer

Read More: http://www.tnr.com/blog/the-avenue/1...polis%E2%80%99

“Smart cities” is the urban buzz phrase of the last few years, and fans often turn to European cities for inspiration. From Amsterdam’s bike lanes to Copenhagen’s wind power, from Barcelona’s 22@ innovation district to Berlin’s dramatic redevelopment, European examples abound. But during a recent Austrian study tour, I quickly realized Europhiles shouldn’t forget another city on the cutting edge of the “smart city” movement: Vienna. Everywhere you turn in Vienna, there is a clear commitment to building a smart and sustainable region, or what we call the “Next Metropolis.”

- To change energy consumption habits, people need sustainable places to live. For example, Vienna is embarking on the largest single urban development project in Europe, the aspern Urban Lakeside. The nearly 600 acre site will include transit connections to the city center and a local “Innovation Quarter” to attract innovative businesses. The city didn’t go it alone either, including major civic engagement in the planning process. Finally, Vienna understands how data investments are the tools to unleash smarter decision-making. The city starts with critical data infrastructure, including an environmentally-friendly data center and mandating common data platforms between agencies.

- So what can U.S. metropolitan areas learn from the Viennese story? First, cities and states should stop waiting for the federal government and push ahead with their own carbon reduction targets. It’s not enough to just say you want to reduce carbon emissions--it only works if those goals become targets in law. California’s AB 32 law instituted reduction targets similar to Austria, and that state is now home to a hotbed of sustainable innovation. More cities and states should follow the Viennese and California examples.

- Second, metropolitan leaders should use new carbon reduction targets as the impetus to build more transformative communities. Spurred by California’s reduction targets, San Francisco’s Hunters Point area is set to undergo a major redevelopment. Just like Vienna’s aspern development, the plan combines sustainable elements including an innovation hub, clean energy reliance, mixed-income housing, and multimodal connectivity to the greater metropolitan area. U.S. metropolitan areas need to use developments like Hunters Point and aspern as an inspiration.

- Third, metropolitan areas must continue developing their data infrastructure to support 21st century decision-making. Large cities like New York and Philadelphia should continue to push forward on comprehensive data strategies--and those without plans should follow suit. Local policies should require new capital investments and upgrades to include data sensors, expanding our knowledgebase. Local policies should also include quantitative requirements, like cost-benefit analyses, to take advantage of the bigger data library. It’s not enough just to measure more--we must put data to use.

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Old Posted May 11, 2012, 4:58 AM
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ardecila ardecila is online now
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I spent two weeks in Vienna last fall, and had a blast. It was so awesome to experience a city without ever needing to set foot in a car or taxi. It's an urban wonderland, with incredible respect for tradition but the courage and confidence to innovate with every facet of the city.
la forme d'une ville change plus vite, hélas! que le coeur d'un mortel...

Last edited by ardecila; May 11, 2012 at 5:15 AM.
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