Daily Archives: July 30, 2015

Austria – The Green Heart of Europe

In May 2010, Vienna was ranked first out of more than 220 cities participating in “Mercer’s Quality of Living Survey.” It was the second year in a row that the Austrian capital tops the international city ranking. The survey rates 39 criteria such as safety, education, hygiene, health care, culture, recreation and political-economic stability. Above all, the survey identifies cities with the best eco-ranking based on water availability and drinkability, waste management, quality of sewage systems, air pollution and public transportation.

As the tenth ]10th]] largest city by population in the European Union, it is hardly surprising that Vienna has repeatedly been ranked first based on its environmental attributes. Not only the city of Vienna, but the entire country of Austria is considered to be the environmental flagship of Europe. The title of the “Green Heart of Europe” might appear provocative at first …

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The Model Region of “Güssing” – an Example of the Austrian Grassroots Strategy for Energy Independence

The call for energy independence has been on the political agenda across the globe for many decades. While most countries share a growing energy demand, their reasons for looking to reduce energy dependency as well as the chosen strategies vary significantly.

In the U.S., the desire for energy independence had already emerged during the oil embargo of the early 70’s. Most of the State of the Union addresses since have elaborated on this objective. Just in the last Congress, the advocates of climate legislature defended their proposals not so much as mitigating emissions, but rather as finding a solution to the challenge of energy dependency. Even though all sides talk of energy independence as a worthy goal, since the early 70’s, the share of imported oil has nearly doubled in the United States.

Just like the U.S., Austria depends on energy imports in the form of fossil energy…

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The Real Agents of Change

We presently are experiencing intense pressure not to raise the debt ceiling, prophecies about the downfall of government IT, more legislators considering reducing the once-sacred defense budget, and prophecies of gloom and doom relating to government programs in general. Despite this, a number of leaders and real change agents both in government and outside government offer us some real hope and shining examples.

A number of senior government and former government leaders are helping lead the Citizen Enabling Open Government initiative intended to make government responsive to the citizens who know what they need from government. Among its advisors are Dennis Wisnosky, DoD Chief Technology Officer and Chief Architect of the DoD Business Mission Area, and Mark Forman, co-founder of Government Transaction Services and the first Federal Chief Information Officer. Mike Dunham, chair of the Enterprise Architecture Shared Interest Group of the American Council of Technology and Industry Advisory Council, has made the observation that these leaders “have really taken the bull by the horns.”

Some people’s eyes glaze over when you mention the term Enterprise Architecture (EA), may have misconceptions about what it truly means, and others think it is a colossal waste of money that produces negligible results. EA, regardless of whether it is the Federal Enterprise Architecture, the Department of Defense (DoD) Architecture Framework, or some other model, provides frameworks within which experts working with business and technology leaders and other specialists can categorize, inventory, and prioritize a current state of existing lines of business functions along with those technologies and programs that support them, then develop a future state.

Mark Forman was recently interviewed on EmeraldPlanet…

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