Czech city Brno is bringing new life to its tired brownfields

The Czech Republic’s second-largest city, Brno, sits in the center of the South Moravian Region and is home to nearly 400,000 inhabitants. With a prime position in Central Europe between the forested Bohemian-Moravian highlands and South Moravia lowlands, Brno offers both a beautiful natural environment, as well as an excellent infrastructure for business. Major global companies and property developers are attracted to the city’s rapidly growing trade, science, research and innovation, and information technology sectors, which have helped the city emerge as a center for international trade fairs and exhibitions. Now the city is using these strengths to drive forward smart solutions, transforming brownfields into smart districts. Below, we’ll glance at a few of the innovative projects underway helping revamp Brno to make it an even more attractive place to live and work. - Bruno De Man 


A city re-envisioned

 Three years ago, the Brno City Council outlined a smart city concept heralding the motto that Brno is “a city which cleverly, sensibly and effectively uses modern technology and approaches, leading to an improvement in the quality of life, supporting effective governance, preserving natural resources, and enhancing energy sustainability.” As part of the Brno 2050 Strategy, the city has outlined a few sectors, such as energy and sustainability; city development and intelligent construction; and mobility and infrastructure. Through these projects, cv the city aims to not only improve quality of life but to use its role as a knowledge hub to improve day-to-day operations and allow start-ups to use the city as a living laboratory.

At the moment, Brno features over 500 hectares of unused property, 200 of which are industrial brownfields set near the city center. A way to make the city more liveable is by transforming these derelict parts of town into thriving new neighborhoods, offering more residential and commercial space near the city center. “Špitálka,” an industrial area of brownfields located 1 kilometer from the Brno Central railway station in the historical part of town, is one example. Part of the RUGGEDISED project, this area home to a complex of 1930 factory buildings is being revitalized and turned into a smart district equipped with the latest technology to help make it more economically and energetically sustainable. “The district should provide not only accommodation, but also new job opportunities without excessive mobility requirements, and it could trigger the model transformation of the entire city,” explains Deputy of Smart City Jaroslav Kačer in Brno Daily. While citizens may not see the actual transformation completed until 2022, this former factory area will help improve the economy while offering a low-cost residential district equipped with the latest technology, ensuring a more sustainable future for everyone living there.