25-29 May 2015 lisbon congress center, portugal
Bio & Abstract

Siegfried Nagl
City of Graz

Siegfried Nagl has been Mayor of the City of Graz since 2003. He is a visionary who works towards putting the city on a long-term and sustainable foundation for the future: the development of the city’s Reininghaus district is currently one of Europe’s largest Smart City projects. With its base in and around Graz, Green Tech Valley concentrates as one of the world’s largest green tech clusters more than 170 companies and organisations, many of which are global technology leaders. This specialised profile is supported by the on-going transfer of knowhow from five universities – however, it is also proof that awareness for sustainability has top political priority.

Graz, with approximately 300 000 inhabitants, is Austria's second largest city and its fastest growing one. The presentation by its Mayor, Siegfried Nagl, illuminates the background to the rapid growth of the city, the clear strategic directions, and why the Graz of today is one of the most vibrant Smart City hotspots in Europe.

The populations of numerous European cities and regions are static or even shrinking: young people and companiesare moving away, birth rates are declining sharply. Not in Graz though, because the city is growing as fast as only a few others in Europe, is highly attractive for companies and, moreover, has one of the highest birth rates amongst all cities in German speaking countries.

What lies behind this boom?

The answer to this question can be quickly found: a clear strategic commitment and a strong, future-oriented management that have existed in Graz for many years. The Graz region disposes over a virtually unique networking of science, innovation, research and business. With approximately 55 000 students from more than 100 nations the broad thrust of a city with approximately 300 000 inhabitants is clear. The Graz Technical University and the Montan University in nearby Leoben are, for example, both world leaders in numerous areas of research. This creates outstanding opportunities, especially for young people and highly qualified experts from all over the world. The enormous R&D output is however also reflected in the businesssector. Hardly any other area is home to so many world market leaders. On the one hand successful companies and market leaders in the areas of drive systems, motor vehicle andplant manufacture, or, for example, also waste disposal and recycling. There are, furthermore, countless highly specialized companies which are market leaders in areas such as, for example, glass recycling, plastics processing machinery, measurement and analysis technologies, tool steel, turbine blades, recycled fibre-based packaging, electrical insulation materials or high-performance engine parts. The world’s largest environmental technology cluster, Green Tech Valley, brings together more than 170 specialized companies.

What does the future hold?

Building on enormous technical know-how and potential, the City of Grazshall, in the course of the coming years, develop more visibly into a Smart City hotspot. The city is currently working on Smart City Graz as well as on the "smarter" development of a more than 477 hectare large area; this counts amongst the largest projects of this type in Europe and, indeed,in the entire world.