The ISoCaRP Urban Task Force initiative offers the planning experience and expertise of ISoCaRP members to a municipality without getting into competition with the local planners. The UTF should give new ideas from neutral perspectives. In view of this broader goal, a main task for this project is to comply with two objectives. One is to put forward a solid and well-documented opinion about the planning issue selected by the local authorities; and the other task is, in doing so, to include in a real world situation a group of young planners that will be part of the team.
The City of Schwechat is Vienna's Airport City and an important transport hub in Austria and Central Europe as well as an industrial town with a rich tradition and presence. Only 14.000 people are living within the city limits, but more then 18.000 work there – both numbers are constantly increasing. It is a strategic goal of Schwechat´s City Administration to take advantage of the outstanding geographic location of the City and to develop it “from transport hub to knowledge hub”. The UTF will focus on 3 topics, that of course are inter-related:
It is a big advantage for the City of Schwechat to be a “4-modal transport hub” in the heart of Europe and this role shell be even expanded, but at the same time the increasing traffic raises some problems and one major goal of the city is to get the through-traffic out of the city centre.
A 5-year strategic programme called eSchwechat.at was already launched, Schwechat plans to become a seamless Information Society and thereby the center of Austrias IT industries. An information society which will improve and simplify things for citizens in all areas of life – regardless of age and education. An Information Society in which everyone has access to the information they need, whether for work, school, further education or their private life. As Hannes Fazekas, the Mayor of Schwechat and Member of Austrian Parliament puts it: "eSchwechat.at is a concept for the present and the future that will guarantee the ability to remain economically competitive and increase in value going forward – with it guaranteeing he quality of life of people living here." Furthermore the city sees itself as a “living lab” to develop and test new technologies in a real-life environment, involving the people living and working here.
Especially in the 2 topics mentioned above (transport and IT) but also in many more fields local, regional and international co-operations are crucial and a network has to be established and extended.
Also the interrelation with the Vienna International Airport has to be constantly developed to guarantee optimum economic development by as little negative impact as possible on the quality of life for the people in Schwechat and for the environment.
The focus of the UTF is to generate ideas, to check the plausibility of already started strategies and measures from an international experts-team viewpoint, to develop them further and open up new contexts.
Schwechat, June 9th - 17th, 2007