Smart Villages support in Austria
The SR21 Country Page
information on Smart Villages in Austria
How is the concept of Smart Villages defined?
Austria adopted the EU definition of Smart Villages in the national context: “Smart Villages are communities in rural areas that develop intelligent solutions to challenges in their local context. They build on the existing local strengths and opportunities to initiate a process of sustainable development in their territory. They rely on a participatory approach to develop and implement strategies to improve their economic, social and environmental conditions, in particular by promoting innovation and mobilising the solutions offered by digital technologies. Smart Villages benefit from collaboration and alliances with other communities and actors in rural and urban areas. The initiation and implementation of Smart Village strategies can build on existing initiatives (especially LEADER) and be financed from a variety of public and private sources.” Source: BMLRT, Fact sheet Smart Villages , BMLRT / Federal Ministry for Agriculture, Regions and Tourism
Is digital a key feature of Smart Villages?
Digital is a key aspect of the definition. Digital transformation is seen as tool not an end in itself. Especially, within LEADER digital technologies will play a role in the implementation of Smart Village.
Is social innovation a key feature of Smart Villages?
No specific information available on this aspect.
How is the CAP supporting Smart Villages?
Federal Ministry for Agriculture, Regions and Tourism
Julian Gschnell, Desk officer
Indirectly, no specific Smart Villages intervention.
Yes, direct Smart Villages interventions are planned:
The Local Action Groups (LAGs) can integrate the Smart Village concept and implement this preferably through umbrella projects (integrated processing of local challenges through new and innovative solutions, new technologies in digitalisation). Labelling of Smart Village projects is necessary. Thematically, all 4 areas of action in the LDS are addressed. New components in LEADER: The integration of cities with up to 70,000 inhabitants; mandatory gender quota in selection committee for topics such as “Smart Villages”, Local Agenda 21 and village renewal, the “Green Deal”
The intervention for strengthening the centres of municipalities aims at creating new solutions for vacant buildings in town/village centres, addressing declining population and mobility issues.
Smart villages could be supported through Rural Innovation Systems, following the EIP-AGRI’s multi-actor approach. In this context, regional micro and small businesses should be linked to enhance value chains and circular economy.
See further information on the factsheet on Smart Villages.
Netzwerk Zukunftsraum Land
Michael Fischer, Team member
CAP Network support
Specific networking activities are organised on Smart Villages.
NRN organised several events to communicate and discuss the Smart Villages concept and present pilot projects.
How are other policies supporting Smart Villages?
Yes, other policies directly have supported Smart Villages
EU – Interreg
In the 2014-2020 period, Interreg Alpine Space programme supported the setting up of smart region projects (Austrian Partner Tyrol/Pitztal) The “SmartVillages” Interreg Alpine Space project” aims to prepare cities and municipalities in rural areas to recognize the opportunities of digitization and to use them to their advantage.
Please find further information about Smart Villages support in Austria on the Smart Rural 21 project’s Austria country page
Smart Rural 27 – Smart Villages Taskforce
No taskforce is set up yet
Smart Villages in Austria
Weissensee is a rural village in Carinthia withy mainly Agriculture and Tourism related economy. Tourism has a long tradition and is with approximately 3.200 beds and 450.000 overnight stays (2019, status before COVID19) economically quite important. The farm units get their income mainly from tourism sector too.
The area of Weissensee is mainly protected. Highly relevant is that lake shore is mainly unobstructed,not built up with transport infrastructure and buildings.
The Weissensee region is an EU prizewinner for tourism and the environment (1995) and bears the title of “climatic health resort”. We have been a “climate alliance community” since May 2005 and a “nature park community” since May 2006.
Weissensee is referred to as a pilot community regarding nature protection, soft mobility and smart energy: Member of Leader Region “Karnische Region” and Member of Alpine Pearls – a alpine network for car free tourism. Weissensee is e5-certified, that means a high energy efficient village.
Pilotdestination KEM Tourismusdestination Nassfeld-Lesachtal-Weissensee.” The aim is to ensure the high quality of life of the people in the valley, to preserve the beautiful nature and to value the local resources, to position the region as an ambassador for efficient and sustainable tourism.
Focus points Weissensee:
-Sustainable Community Strategies -Nature Park
-Mobility: nature park bus; Weissensee shuttle
-Regional products: Culinary Organic farms, farm products, 1st SlowFoodTravel region in Austria with a set of sustainable quality criteria.
-Model tourism businesses: Sustainable building, certifications/awards (organic, eco-label, etc.)
-Sustainable offers: ice skating lake Weissensee, cross-country skiing, hiking
Trofaiach is located in an alpine basin at 650 meters above sea level and was merged with two neighboring communities in 2013. Historically influenced by the nearby ore mining and iron processing, there are strong ties to the metallurgical industry. The city is valued for living quality close to nature and offers a family-friendly infrastructure. An intensive process of change has been in progress for 10 years in order to equip the city for the challenges of the future. Various strategies and development models were introduced with the strong participation of the population and experts. Among other things, a concept to strengthen the town center.Work is currently continuing on the ISEK/integrated urban development concept as a smart city.Read more
Rural village located on a beautiful plateau in Tennengebirge/Salzburgerland. Tourism has had a long tradition here and been very important in the local economy. The farms get their income mainly from the tourism sector too (approx. 280.000 overnight stays, 50 % in the summer, and 50 % in the winter season).
Based on a tourism strategy developed in 1994, Werfenweng is consistently pursuing the path of sustainable development. The model town has made a name for itself in soft mobility and is a member of the Alpine Pearls, an Alpine-wide network for car-free tourism.
Stanz im Mürztal is located in a rural area in the province of Styria in Austria. It has a total population of 1 844 inhabitants and a surface area of 70 km2. The region is industrial and has been affected by economic structural change in recent decades. As in many European regions, people tend to move into metropolitan areas, which is one reason for depopulation. The economy is small-scaled, which is reflected in the high percentage of people who commute from the municipality. Our village decided to search for new ways to deal with these challenges. Therefore, we started a ‘Local Agenda 21’ process in 2016 to enable an integrated development of the village with the knowledge and support of the inhabitants. Since then, about 80 active residents deliver ’hands on’ on the development of a local strategy and implementation of measures in different areas with great commitment.Read more
Want to get involved or know more on what Smart Rural 27 is doing in Austria? Contact us!
Last update: September 30, 2022