Paper - Special Paper 5: "New energy for spatial planning in the province of Styria (Austria)" by Christine Schwaberger / 2016

SPECIAL Project Expert Papers - Part of the legacy of the SPECIAL is a series of six Expert Papers written by six different partners in the project. Five of these papers are already available as downloads. Ranging in topics from Masterplanning and Energy, to Policy frameworks and Transport, the papers are primarily targeted at town planners working at the local level.
Published by the  Town and Country Planning Association,  2 March 2016 

New energy for spatial planning in the province of Styria (Austria)-Implementation of sustainable energy in spatial planning in Styria By Christine Schwaberger

Bibliografia PAPER TCPA Special Project Expert Paper5 Austria C.Schwaberger 2016


This SPECIAL project Expert Paper highlights the potential to implement sustainable energy solutions through existing planning regulations in Styria. It also investigates new opportunities for delivering sustainable energy planning in the Austrian province.

The Department of Spatial Planning and Building Law in the Provincial Government of Styria is one of the eight partners in the Intelligent Energy Europe supported SPECIAL project. The Department is responsible for checking (controlling or giving a proof of) spatial planning at the municipal level for the whole province of Styria, which includes
287 municipalities. It consults with communities concerning the development of their land use maps, zoning plans, masterplans and local development concepts, which have to be prepared in accordance with Styrian spatial planning law.

The Department also deals with the ongoing development of planning law and policy implementation. Integrated planning is an essential part of this work, as is the co-ordination of urban and spatial planning with other disciplines, mainly sustainability (such as climate change measures) and the management of transport and housing.
Through such collaborations and interventions, spatial planners have important inputs to make to the overall process of municipal development.

Styria has much experience with zoning plans, masterplans and legal regulations, and can draw on experinece in other Austrian provinces. A number of good practice examples of low energy use communities and regions can be found in Styria. The province has also run a project – ‘Energy Efficient Settlements in Styria’ – in which the
masterplans of one municipality were tested for energy efficiency. The masterplan with the best combination of low energy use and low costs was subsequently supported by the Department.

The Provincial Government of Styria has great interest in integrating new methods of working into its functions, and in learning from examples dealing with spatial planning and sustainable energy.  During the course of the SPECIAL project it became clear that existing planning law and regulations in Styria provide opportunities to promote sustainable energy. In a way, it is ‘simply’ the task of those who undertake spatial planning within the municipalities, on one hand, and Styria’s Department of Spatial Planning and Building Law, on the other, to control and implement existing planning instruments in a more ‘energy-spatial’ way.