Selected Research Projects
Cities4PEDs – Positive Energy Districts and Neighbourhoods
Positive energy districts and neighbourhoods (PEDs) have been subject to research predominantly from a technological and energy perspective, often with a focus on electricity and related to new buildings. Existing regulation mostly targets the building level (with known possibilities for intervention) but not the level of districts and neighbourhoods. A broader implementation of the PED concept therefore requires a special focus on legal, institutional and organisational issues and a focus on the main actors, the cities, to develop effective instruments and structures.
The research project Cities4PEDs, which is funded under the JPI Urban Europe aims to address these issues: the cities of Vienna, Brussels and Stockholm collaborate with experts in research and innovation in order to jointly explore how relevant legal instruments and planning processes in cities need to be adapted to realise PEDs. Moreover, to ensure long-term engagement and follow-up the project will explore possible solutions for the missing administrative existence of the district/neighbourhood level. Ideas and findings are reflected and validated in multi-stakeholder groups in each city. With the commitment from a European-wide network and in dialogue with more cities, a transnational community of practice will be stimulated. Results will be summarised in key recommendations for take-up and advancement.
Under the guidance of Prof. Verena Madner, the Institute for Law and Governance will in particular focus on the analysis of legal issues in the context of enabling PEDs. Based on in-depth scrutiny of the city’s legal framework, the aim is , inter alia to gain insight into existing steering possibilities and to identify legal levers to promote the development of PEDs . The findings will feed into the key deliverables of the project, including the PED atlas and PED guide.
WU Project Lead: Univ.Prof. Dr. Verena Madner
Partners: Urban Innovation Vienna GmbH (Local Project Coordinator),Architecture Workroom Brussels vzw, Ville de Bruxelles, Stockholms Stad, 3E NV, City Mine(d) vzw, Stadt Wien – MA 20, Wien 3420 Aspern Development AG, UAS Technikum Wien
Funding: JPI Urban Europe via Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG)
Duration: January 2021 – December 2022
APCC Special Report: Challenges and opportunities in reaching the Paris Agreement “Structural Conditions for Climate Friendly Living”
Consumption- and production-based greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Austria remain to be high. To reach the goal of the Paris agreement and to limit “the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C” (UNFCCC 2015), mere technical and single sector solutions that aim only for a partial decarbonisation are not sufficient anymore. Instead, a deep decarbonisation of the Austrian society is needed, calling for an integrated societal transformation that entails all aspects of daily lives in Austria.
Under the guidance of Prof. Verena Madner a new research project funded by the Austrian Climate and Energy Fund has been launched at the Institute for Law and Governance to address this challenge: The APCC Special Report 22 on Structural Conditions for Climate Friendly Living (available in German) assesses the available scientific research on Austria’s challenges and opportunities in reaching the goals of the Paris Agreement. It provides a stocktaking of the scientific discussion on societal transformations, deals with the range of transformation options across six major fields of action and identifies cross-cutting issues like governance, innovation or finance. Currently, more than 70 researchers conduct a literature review on effective design options. In collaboration with stakeholders the report identifies potentials, options and limits to achieve structural conditions that enable, generalize, and sustain climate friendly living within Austria.
Project Lead: Univ.Prof. Dr. Verena Madner (in cooperation with the Wegener Centre for Climate and Global Change of the University of Graz and the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna)
Funding: Austrian Climate and Energy Fund
Duration: 01.09.2020 – 31.08.2022
IRES – Increasing resilience and security of supply and production post-COVID-19: from global to regional value chains?
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the fragility of global production processes, e.g., as regards medical goods and pharmaceuticals. Reports on supply shortages for facemasks, protective gear and respirators abound, while governments and public bodies in the EU are struggling to secure the quantities of these goods required for public health systems to stay operational. Against this background, calls for geographically more diversified production chains and for more local production intensify and security of supply concerns regain in importance vis-à-vis efficiency and cost considerations. Both the sectoral coverage and the instruments applied to support such a reorganisation of production remain however contested. While some commentators actively promote across-the-board de-globalisation of production in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis, others argue for a more nuanced approach according to the strategic importance of a sector, involving a mix of policy instruments including local production, tighter mandatory storage policies, public procurement conditionalities for companies to diversify their sourcing strategies, etc.
The aim of the project is twofold. Firstly, the project aims to gain a deeper and more systematic understanding of the contemporary organisation of production at the international level. This includes an analysis of the transformation of global production processes case studies on global value chains for specific pharmaceutical and medical goods as well as an analysis of current legal obligations as regards international trade and localization policies. On this basis, the project, secondly, aims to identify legally sound strategies to increase regionalization, resilience and security of supplies post-COVID-19. In this context, the project analyzes a variety of tools and strategies, including subsidies, strategic procurement and strategic stockpiling in light of relevant EU and domestic law. The project is carried out in cooperation with the Austrian Foundation of Development Research (ÖFSE, overall project lead).
WU Project Lead: Univ.Prof. Dr. Verena Madner, Dr. Stefan Mayr, LL.M.
Supported by: Austrian Chamber of Labour
Duration: 01.06.2020 – 31.10.2021
IST2020 – 11th International Sustainability Transitions Conference at WU
From 18-21 August 2020, the 11th International Sustainability Transitions Conference (IST2020), co-organized by Prof. Verena Madner was hosted as an online event at WU with more than 680 international participants. The annual IST conference is the central event of international transitions research. The research network behind it, the Sustainability Transitions Research Network (STRN), comprises more than 1500 international researchers from various disciplines and produces more than 500 publications in scientific journals every year. The research network and the annual conference address the question of how radical changes and innovations in socio-technical systems can evoke sustainability transitions.
The IST2020 conference on "Governance in an Era of Change – Making Sustainability Transitions Happen" was organized by the Institute for Law and Governance, the Research Institute for Urban Management and Governance and the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT) in collaboration with the Sustainability Transitions Research Network (STRN). A total of 285 full paper, speed talk and dialogue sessions took place during this four-day event. More than 400 individual contributions were presented in nine different conference tracks, dedicated to, for example, governance in an era of change; theoretical contributions to transitions frameworks; power, agency and politics in transitions; organizations and industries in sustainability transitions; geography of transitions: spaces, scales, places; or ethical aspects of transitions: distribution, justice and poverty. A particular focus of this year's event was to increase the City of Vienna’s visibility as a smart city and as central location for research, technology and business around sustainability transitions. To achieve this goal, Viennese administration and local practitioners were brought together with the international research community in specially designed dialogue sessions.
WU Project Lead: Univ.Prof. Dr. Verena Madner
Partner: Austrian Institute of Technology
Supported by: Vienna Business Agency
Duration: 01.03.2020 - 30.09.2020