St. Veit an der Glan, Carinthia, Austria

The district capital St. Veit/Glan with its roughly 13,600 inhabitants is located 20 km north of the state capital Klagenfurt and part of central Carinthia. The innovative and sustainable economic policies resulted in the establishment of a crisis-free business structure tailored to the population. As a consequence, more commuters come into the region and the unemployment quota is only 2-3%.

In the mid 80s, a continuous renewal process in the sense of a flexible and sustainable development tailored to the respective needs has been initiated. This has been achieved through service orientation and the creation of the St. Veit/Glan Holding GmbH. This holding allows the city development, where it would reach its limits as a communal body, generates an added value for the populace, creates infrastructures as they are hard to find in cities of similar size and engages in all those activities in a cost neutral way. Committed employees and a slim administrative structure are the backbone of the holding. The staff does not need to fear comparison with the best experts in private enterprises. Since 2009, a new method of citizen participation is in place: the syntegration, where solutions for an attractive and successful future of the city are found with the help of experts.

With its compact city centre and the excellent infrastructure, St. Veit/Glan offers perfect conditions for small business units. In addition, the exemplary handling of historic buildings – also in connection with refurbishments or extensions – contribute to the unique atmosphere.

There are many businesses in St. Veit that are market leaders in their field or that fill important niches. The consequently planned development of key issues helped to realize even those uses that seemed apparently mutually exclusive. An industrial park with 1,350 additional jobs has been established outside of the core city, which has recently been extended. The park focuses on renewable energy. The already implemented projects in the tourism sector are also remarkable. Two big hotels, the modern Blumenhotel (constructed with the help of the holding) and the Ernst Fuchs Kunsthotel with its unique design in the art style of fantastic realism offer over 200 beds and the highest degree of comfort, complemented with seminar rooms, natural workshops and a wellness area.

In St. Veit/Glan, the population experience and live renewable energy. About 70% of all households are supplied with geothermal energy from renewable resources and many roofs are covered in solar panels for small power plants. On this base, “Sun City St. Veit” is a pilot project with model character. The idea is to create an awareness of solar energy with the numerous installations in the inner city, eventually leading to a self-reliant city in terms of energy supply.

In order to supply everyone with the necessities of daily life and support all generations, new childcare facilities and senior homes have been established. Two highlights are worth mentioning: The supervised living for senior citizens, where barrier-free residential units of about 50 m² are offered together with additional services such as advice and support in administrative matters or a taxi service for seniors, and the pre-school with focus on perception, experience of senses and movement.

The city of St. Veit/Glan impresses with its successful creation of an inner city as the focus of city life, an atmosphere in all areas of urban living and the surrounding rural areas. With its visionary projects on its path to energy self-sufficiency, St. Veit could be a model for other cities and villages.

Evaluated: 2010