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The Austrian Conference on Spatial Planning (ÖROK), founded in 1971, is an organisation established by the federal government, the Länder and municipalities to coordinate spatial development at the national level.
The political decision-making body is chaired by the Federal Chancellor and its members include all federal ministers and heads of the Länder, the presidents of the Austrian Association of Cities and Towns and the Austrian Association of Municipalities as well as the heads of the social and economic partners with a consulting vote.
To execute its tasks at the administrative level, ÖROK employs a “Commission of Deputies” as well as several committees and working formats that are made up of representatives of the territorial authorities and the social and economic partners. Apart from the formal bodies, soft “governance” formats have been gaining significance for ÖROK’s work in the last years.
An ÖROK Office has been set up for the daily operations.
One of the central areas of work comprises the preparation and publication of the Austrian Spatial Development Concept. The current Austrian Spatial Development Concept (“ÖREK 2030”) was published in 2021 and covers a planning period of around ten years. Guided by the key theme of “Need for Transformation”, it is a strategic instrument for overall spatial development in Austria.
Based on the previous ÖREK 2011, the concept of ÖREK Partnerships was introduced as an instrument to bring together all relevant partners to work out the content in more detail and develop approaches to solutions. The aim was to increase the focus of ÖREK 2011 on implementation and effectiveness.
Moreover, its tasks include creating basic planning materials for Austria’s spatial development policy (e.g. “ÖROK Forecasts”). The outcome of the work of the experts can be presented in the form of ÖROK Recommendations which also find acceptance at the political level.
The Spatial Planning Report is published every three years and contains analyses of relevant spatial developments and reports on the activities of ÖROK members with a reference to spatial development.
The ÖROK Atlas is part of the Regional Monitoring System and a supplementary element of the systematic monitoring of spatial development. This web tool is based on the contents of ÖREK 2011 and offers many different materials and indicators for spatial planning analysis in Austria.
The most important media products are the ÖROK Publication Series and the ÖROK website.
Within the context of European regional and spatial development policies, ÖROK has played an important role as the co-ordinating body between the internal and the European level since Austria’s accession to the European Union.
The drafting of the “Partnership Agreement" for the European Structural and Investment Funds and ongoing support in this context during the differnet programming periods have been integrated into ÖROK’s operations for decades, already. The ÖROK Office has been appointed Managing Authority for the Austria-wide Investment for Growth and Jobs/ ERDF programme 2014-2020, as well as for the period 2021-2027.
ÖROK’s tasks in the preparations for the programming period include, for example, defining the regional aid map pursuant to the EU state aid rules (Art. 87 EC-Treaty), coordination of the national distribution of funds from the EU Structural Funds as well as issues relating to evaluation and programme administration.
Within the framework of European Territorial Cooperation, the ÖROK Office has been appointed National Contact Point also for the period 2021-2027 for transnational and networking programmes with Austria’s involvement.
The focus of activities is on the three programmes CENTRAL EUROPE, the ALPINE SPACE and DANUBE TRANSNATIONAL/DANUBE REGION, but also INTERREG EUROPE, URBACT and ESPON are supported. In addition, a coordination platform for the Austrian programming partners for the bilateral cross-border cooperation programmes has been established within ÖROK.