Metropolitan Area Management Vienna/Lower Austria (Stadt-Umland-Management - SUM)
Topic of the practice
Regional Transport Authorities
Good Practice Information
The SUM, a joint initiative of federal provinces of Vienna and Lower Austria, demonstrate a good example of metropolitan area management. The SUM provides a forum for cooperation between Vienna and the surrounding municipalities of Lower Austria, as an instrument of cross-border coordination without further complexity added through legal instruments or institutional hierarchies. At the same time, it functions as a service unit for the political-administrative systems of the metropolitan region and acts as a tool to reach common understanding by providing mutual information and building trust.
Primary objectives are improving cooperation through the exchange of information and coordination of regional development policies implemented by the participating stakeholders, introducing more cooperative and communicative instruments and achieving mutual commitments. The SUM initiates and manages joint projects, cooperates with planning departments and organisations, organises coordination platforms, mediating in controversial issues, and develops cooperative solutions to cross-border challenges in close interaction with stakeholders.
Main stakeholders are public authorities from the level of federal provinces and municipalities, beneficiaries are - besides the population - politicians and administrative officers (due to more efficient procedures). The annual budgets of approx. 200.000 EUR is co-financed by the federal provinces. Key success factors are the informal and voluntary character, the focus on functional interrelations, the cross-sectoral coordination of manifold topics and the ability to reach consensual agreements. The cooperation framework is stable, and the lean management structure (two contact persons) supports short ways of communication and trust-building. Transfer might be applicable if a metropolitan region faces challenges linked to administrative borders and if no comparable cooperation framework has been established or challenges are tackled effectively in any other way. Structures must be tailored to the local conditions, and as principle acceptance of the initiative must be built with key decision makers in advance.
Evidence of success
The practice is considered to be good due to the efficient activation of cooperation, the support of intermediation in controversial issues, the crossing of mental boundaries (which are caused by administrative borders separating functional relations) and the support of common understanding and trust. The SUM creates regional added-value through designing of solutions of cross-border challenges and the development of a comprehensive vision for the area, serving a large number of beneficiaries. In terms of indicators, the success of the SUM (increase of cooperation, harmonisation of activities) is difficult to measure. The number of cooperative activities might be counted, but the quality and the effects of these activities are heterogeneous and may be visible in long-term perspective only.
Contact details to obtain further information on the practice
Renate Zuckerstätter-Semela, SUM Manager (Northern region) Andreas Hacker, SUM Manager (Southern region)
Metropolitan Area Management Vienna/Lower Austria (SUM)
Annex completed on: 07-30-2011