Bridges vol. 40, July 2014 / Noteworthy Information
By Philipp Marxgut
The annual George C. Marshall Visit to Austria on “Smart Infrastructure” took place June 2 through June 6, 2014. The American visitors included representatives from the cities of Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, and New York, as well as the US Department of Energy, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the University of California/Irvine, the University of Minnesota, and the governor of Virginia.
After a policy and economic overview about Austria provided by the Austrian Foreign Ministry, the participants toured best practice projects and examples in Vienna and Salzburg: from Seestadt Aspern – Vienna’s Urban Lakeside, a new, multifunctional urban district in Vienna – to the Smart Grids model village Köstendorf in Salzburg; from AIT’s SmartEST Laboratory to the Vienna Municipal Sewage Treatment Plant; from the first passive high-rise building in the world in Vienna to the housing development project “Rosa Zukunft” in Salzburg. Another highlight was the policy briefing with Maria Vassilakou, deputy mayor of Vienna and executive city councilor for urban planning, traffic and transport, climate protection, energy, and public participation took place.
The George C. Marshall Visit to Austria Program was established in 2007 by the Austrian government to recognize the assistance Austria received from the US after World War II. Every year, the program brings to Austria a group of decision makers from the US Congress and administration, various federal and state agencies, universities, as well as think tanks and industry associations, to highlight Austrian innovations in industry and technology. The program's objective is to improve mutual understanding through communication at personal and professional levels, coordinated and administered by the Austrian Foreign Ministry.