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ÖREK partnership: Spatial dimensions of digitisation

Mar 29, 2021

Digitalisation is transforming virtually all areas of life. Even space, and thus spatial development concepts, are facing profound changes. In order to make the best possible use of the opportunities of digitalisation and to minimise the risks, the ÖREK partnership came into being.

The partnership on the Austrian Spatial Development Concept (ÖREK) addresses digitalisation with regard to its spatial effects. Do new technologies - especially digital networking and automation - lead to changes in the use of space or, for example, new locational qualities? Is this happening everywhere, but with local differences? Members of the Austrian Conference on Spatial Planning (ÖROK) as well as future.labs, the Sociology Department of the Vienna University of Technology, the LandLuft Association, the Future Places Platform and AustriaTech are part of this partnership. The different expertise of the partners is incorporated in order to do justice to the different levels. "The decisive strength of our team is the sum of the very different expertises. We work to create an environment in which the team and the members of the partnership can work together in an open and appreciative manner. If we succeed in this, we will end up with results that go far beyond the competences of individuals," emphasises Mathias Mitteregger, Project Manager, future lab TU Vienna

Digital technologies make a difference
In a first step, a cross-sectional study on the initial situation, the influences and spatial effects of digitalisation in relevant subject areas will be developed. The results will be used to develop planning and spatial options for action. This is essential because, according to university professor Simon Günter, the design of digitalisation is crucial for all of us living together: "Digital technologies can make a contribution to alleviating social and spatial disparities, but they can also exacerbate them. As a sociologist, I am participating in the partnership in order to shed light on these interrelationships and bring them into the discussion". Important aspects in the project are prioritising over time and differentiating spatially. "Municipalities and small towns are experiencing this technological change, which also has a high social component in it, on the front line," explains Josef Mathis, chairman of Zukunftsorte. "The results of the research project should enable municipalities to move from reacting to acting, especially in the area of digitalisation. Because: it is better to be one step ahead than to traipse behind."

Inform now
The first specialist event of the ÖREK partnership will take place on 7 May 2021. The digital event is dedicated to the cross-section of spatial effects of digitalisation. Representatives of cities, municipalities, ministries, but also interested citizens are invited to participate and can register here.