New Social Housing


ISBN 978-3-86859-626-7





IBA_Vienna 2022 and future.lab (eds.)

Positions on

IBA_Vienna 2022


Housing and land policy



New Social Housing


Why organise an IBA in Vienna?

Reflections on an unusual initiative

Wolfgang Förster



Social housing between growth and

rising real-estate prices. Challenges in the

metropolitan region

Christof Schremmer

What do I care about your plight?



An IBA with a wider scope

Rudolf Scheuvens

New Social Housing in the context of

current challenges to society


Thomas Ritt

The new zoning category

“subsidised housing” as an

instrument of land policy

Markus Kinschner


Ingrid Breckner

Social housing policy in Vienna


Active land policy for the provision of

affordable housing

Daniel Glaser

Jean-David Gerber


A century of municipal

housing in Vienna


New Social Housing in the metropolitan region

Roundtable with Axel Priebs, Kurt Puchinger, Rudolf Scheuvens,

Marion Müller, Constanze Wolfgring

Christof Schremmer and Renate Zuckerstätter-Semela


Housing as an investment product

Justin Kadi


Limited-profit housing associations. Partners of

housing and urban development policies in Vienna

Bernd Rießland


Impacts of low interest rate policy

on the housing market

Elisabeth Springler


Land policy: What is the way forward?

Christiane Thalgott




The heat is on in housing construction!

Magdalena Holzer, Simon Tschannett


Everything stays different. How we live in a

socially sustainable city



Green-blue infrastructure in increasingly dense cities

Katrin Hagen

Social aspects of climate change


Marie Glaser

Large-scale urban housing estates and

social urban development: Aspects of New Social

Housing in the existing stock

Astrid Felderer, Therese Stickler

Christoph Reinprecht


Biotope City Wienerberg


Migration, city and housing


Roundtable with Alexandra Adam, Anita Aigner, Stefan Almer, Daniele


Smart City Wien. Strategies make you happy

if you ensure in time that they are in place

when needed


Karasz, Johannes Pointl and Amila Širbegović

What does digitalisation do to society?

Jens S. Dangschat



Thomas Madreiter

Future-oriented design of innovative

mobility services. aspern.mobil LAB

Martin Berger

Build for more with less. How to build

the future without ruining the planet

Werner Sobek




Health and housing

Carmen Roll

Diversity, migration and neighbourhood

in social housing

Daniele Karasz

Together we can achieve more. Making the right to

housing a reality and promoting housing for all

Elisabeth Hammer



Wouter Vanstiphout






How European cities implement housing policies

Bernadette Luger, Victoria Mlango (UIV)


The urban quarter as projection screen.

What should and can it provide?


What to do about the European housing crisis?

Michaela Kauer


Marcus Menzl

More than just “social housing”!


From crisis to empowerment

Interview with Hulya Ertas and David Madden


Uli Hellweg

Urban quarter development


Fighting for affordable housing Europe-wide

Roundtable with Kurt Hofstetter, Michael Kerbler, Robert Korab,

Senka Nikolic, Claudia Nutz, Cornelia Schindler and Sarah Zeller


Karin Zauner-Lohmeyer

A metropolitan region reinvents itself


Mix it! Ingredients for mixed-use structures

in new urban quarters

IBA 2027 StadtRegion Stuttgart

Silvia Forlati


The IBA ResearchLab. A subjective interim assessment

Simon Güntner, Christoph Reinprecht


New approaches to urban quarter development:

aspern Seestadt as role model?

Peter Hinterkörner, Claudia Nutz



Robert Korab


Housing projects and the neighbourhood dimension

Massimo Bricocoli

Built stocks


The built stock as future. Exploring an often

neglected option of urban development

Angelus Eisinger


Pocket Mannerhatten

Interview with Florian Niedworok and Gesa Witthöft


Challenges for the development of

Gründerzeit housing stock

Verena Mörkl, Klaus Wolfinger





Flowers of municipal housing

Andreas Rumpfhuber




New Social Housing in times of

individualisation, globalisation and the

emergence of social media

Bart Lootsma



So that everything will remain better.

A housing-themed IBA ― in Vienna of all places?

Kurt Hofstetter

Visions and challenges of New Social Housing


Of politics and building. From sun, air and light

to social, sustainable and affordable


Margrit Hugentobler

IBA – of course, but of a different kind …

Patrick Gmür

Kunibert Wachten


Questionable (or forbidden) vocabulary

Cuno Brullmann


Repairing the future of housing

Angelika Fitz



Organisational, utilisation and financing models of

new housing initiatives

Christoph Laimer



Authors and editors



Emancipatory housing



Roundtable with Raimund Gutmann, Eva Kail, Andreas Konecny

and Marie-Noëlle Yazdanpanah


Process culture and concept tendering procedure

Robert Temel


Apfelbaum. Inclusive living and housing in Hernals

Interview with Michael Deutsch and Karin Riebenbauer


Vita cooperativa. Local co-operative

impulses for sustainable development

Christian Peer, Emanuela Semlitsch


Freundschaft to the city! On intersectional solidarity

in social housing

Gabu Heindl

aspern Seestadt



New Social


In this interim presentation, IBA_Vienna 2022 “New

Social Housing” offers first insights into previous

and ongoing activities relating to the core theme of

this International Building Exhibition. It provides interested

Viennese and international visitors with an

overview of the outcome of the qualification phase

and the IBA quarters and candidates that are already

being implemented. In this context, IBA_Vienna places

less emphasis on purely structural-architectural

innovations but, above all, highlights the spaces

opened up for discourse, the small, yet long-lasting

changes initiated in the existing systems of the city

and the interaction of players, frequently in new and

still unfamiliar constellations.

In the last few years, IBA_Vienna and the future.lab

of TU Wien jointly developed various formats aiming

to network urban players and to advance the

public and expert discourse on pressing questions

of urban development. These issues are ultimately

also reflected by the framework for action of

IBA_Vienna which thus addresses the challenges that

emerge against the backdrop of social, demographic,

climate, political and technological change and

concern not only Vienna but also a great number of

cities in Europe and beyond.

The present publication explores theoretical perspectives

and practical approaches to these issues:

The chapter Dimensions takes up the strands of

discussion brought forth in the first four years of

IBA_Vienna and brings together the theoretical

discourse on land policy as well as ecological and

societal aspects of housing.

The chapter Interpretations presents concrete approaches

with a stronger focus on the development

of urban space ― on issues related to architecture,

the development of quarters and neighbourhoods,

the management of building stocks and new models

in the context of housing.

Looking beyond the Viennese horizon, the chapter

International perspectives finally is intended to show

and acknowledge how other cities interpret the ―

only apparently self-explanatory ― term “social

housing” and respond in the light of local challenges.

This publication, of course, features only a few of the

numerous persons who breathe life into, and give

substance to, the aspirations of IBA_Vienna through

innovative ideas and open discourses as well as by

their concrete commitment and ― quite often ― their

passion. We would like to take this opportunity to

express our deep gratitude and great appreciation

to all of them!

Kurt Hofstetter (IBA_Vienna) and

Madlyn Miessgang, Kerstin Pluch,

Rudolf Scheuvens and

Constanze Wolfgring (future.lab)


Wolfgang Förster

Why organise an

IBA in Vienna?

Reflections on an

unusual initiative

What are the motivations behind

IBA_Vienna? This is quite a logical question

when considering the reasons leading up

to other International Building Exhibitions

(Internationale Bauausstellungen, IBA).

1 In 2013, the concept of an IBA

to be held in Vienna was presented

by the author to Michael Ludwig,

then Executive City Councillor

concerned with housing issues.

This proposal was triggered by the

then ongoing IBA Hamburg.

Perhaps the simplest answer is the following: Every

IBA is preceded by a sense of discontent, such as

an unsatisfactory state of affairs that for some time

had been impossible to remedy. Examples include

the “dirty” legacy of old industrial areas that led to

IBA Emscher Park in the Ruhr region or the dissatisfaction

with problematic urban trends like the

profit-driven wholesale redevelopment of German

cities that triggered growing protests on the part

of citizens until IBA Berlin (1977—1987) proposed the

idea of resident-oriented “cautious urban renewal”

under the overall heading of “urban repair”.

Over the course of the 20 th century, International

Building Exhibitions have in fact proved an

instrument of innovation (cf. IBA_Wien 2017). This

already applied to the precursors of the modern

IBA, the Werkbundsiedlung projects (Stuttgart 1927,

Wrocław 1929, Vienna, Prague and Zurich 1928—

1932), as well as to the Berlin Interbau of 1957. In

these as in other cases, the concerted striving

for innovation was defined as a reaction to existing

deficits. What had been impossible to remedy

with conventional means was now to be resolved

through a concerted initiative ― usually receiving

extra funding ― that would also serve as a model

for similar situations. All this evidently does not

apply to IBA_Vienna, since the New Social Housing

theme engages with a sector in which the City of

Vienna boasts special know-how.

And yet, an IBA on New Social Housing will be held

in Vienna of all places! 1 The fact that Vienna is re-

spected all over the world as a model city of social

housing 2 remains undisputed, as does the efficiency

of the instruments and institutions gradually

developed by the Austrian capital for this purpose

over the course of a century. Yet is it not true that

such a model of success ― precisely because it is

so successful ― might run the risk of

uncritically perpetuating seemingly

time-tested processes, with universally

accepted procedures becoming

immune to scrutiny and gradually

ossified structures and institutions

shying away from all innovation as

“grit in the gears”?

Moreover, Vienna is faced with a

number of novel challenges that the

existing instruments may be unable

to cope with. Examples include an

urban growth rate the likes of which

have not been seen since the 19 th

century; an increasing inflow of newcomers;

demographic developments that entail a growth of

both the younger and the oldest population groups;

social diversity through differing lifestyles; stronger

social polarisation linked to the risk of socio-spatial

segregation (a new phenomenon for Vienna); new

forms of work, often combined with weakening social

safeguards; perhaps even the upcoming demise

of the established postwar welfare state (in whose

framework several generations have grown up),

resulting in ― often politically fomented ― conflicts;

and, finally, climate change…

2 See for example the Charter

for Sustainable Housing, which

was developed according to the

Viennese model under the aegis

of the City of Vienna and adopted

by UNECE in 2015.

What had been impossible to remedy

with conventional means was now to

be resolved through a concerted initiative

— usually receiving extra funding —

that would also serve as a model for

similar situations. All this evidently

does not apply to IBA_Vienna, since

the New Social Housing theme engages

with a sector in which the City of Vienna

boasts special know-how.


Wolfgang Förster Why organise an IBA in Vienna? Reflections on an unusual initiative

In other words: The thing that City Councillor

Michael Ludwig and myself ― and all those we managed

to convince of the idea ― felt was lacking was

innovation. We realised that in the era of the sharing

economy, of the rediscovery of the commons (cf.

Avermaete et al. 2018; Krytyka Polityczna / European

Cultural Foundation 2015), of refugee movements 3 ,

of Fridays for Future, housing could no longer be

treated as business as usual.

In view of these global uncertainties, a notable

paradigm shift in architecture (and in the training of

architects) has emerged, best described with the motto

of the Venice International Architecture Exhibition

of 2000: Less Aesthetics, More Ethics (Fuksas 2001).

In Vienna, this has inter alia led to the extension

of the “three-pillar model” (quality architecture, ecology,

economy) of developers’ competitions for subsidised

housing to the “four-pillar model” by adding

the quality criterion of social sustainability in 2007. 4

The fact that greater social responsibility does not

necessitate a reduction in aesthetic quality has been

demonstrated time and again by numerous developers’

competitions organised according to this model.

Further evolution of the IBA concept. As a consequence,

IBA_Vienna may also be characterised as

an alternative model ― or further evolution ― of all

previous International Building Exhibitions. It is no

longer the goal “only” to remedy existing deficits,

but rather to find proactive approaches in the face

of foreseeable new challenges. Building on a generally

accepted and smoothly functioning system of subsidised

housing, this system is to be made fit for

the 21 st century: The underlying concept might

therefore be termed “IBA reloaded”. As a consequence,

the exhibition must be willing to run the risk of

being sometimes perceived as “grit in the gears”.

The fact that such a nonconformist approach will

not always be met with enthusiasm is inherent in

this risk, because it seems to cast doubt on systems

established over decades. However, it does appear

that most housing developers and other players concerned

with (subsidised) housing nowadays share

the insight that IBA_Vienna offers an opportunity to

jointly evolve this form of housing under 21 st -century

conditions. Investing ample time and energy in

discussion processes has proved worthwhile; with

their deliberately broad and open design, above all

the IBA Talks and similar formats have managed to

reach thousands of experts ― admittedly, more of a

specialist audience than the public at large, although

the latter needs to be involved in the effort as well!

Acting at the urban quarter level. By now, even

some of the sceptics are convinced that this long

discussion phase has entailed tangible benefits in

the form of concrete, innovative housing projects.

No matter whether they are called Neu Leopoldau,

Quartier am Seebogen, Berresgasse or Biotope

City ― IBA_Vienna has already left its mark on new

residential quarters today. The term “urban quarter”

(Grätzl in Viennese dialect) is deliberately used here,

since urban challenges need to be addressed at this

higher level; thus the issue is no longer to provide

“affordable housing”; rather, the entire neighbourhood

must be affordable for all: leisure, games and

sports, recreation, nature, culture, communication,

mobility, etc., in addition to moderate housing costs.

This requires the participation of all stakeholders,

including local residents. New Social Housing as a

contribution to social cohesion, as this IBA highlights

very clearly, must go far beyond residential

buildings in the narrow sense.

3 In 2018, close to 26 million

persons worldwide were on

the move as refugees, with

their numbers increasing (cf.

UNHCR 2019).

4 The criteria of social

sustainability were defined by

the author in 2007.

The term “urban quarter” (Grätzl in Viennese

dialect) is deliberately used here, since urban

challenges need to be addressed at this higher

level; thus the issue is no longer to provide

“affordable housing”; rather, the entire neighbourhood

must be affordable for all: leisure,

games and sports, recreation, nature, culture,

communication, mobility, etc., in addition

to moderate housing costs. This requires the

participation of all stakeholders, including

local residents.


Ingrid Breckner

New Social Housing

in the context of

current challenges

to society

At the moment, the housing issue occupies a much higher

position on the agenda of European socio-political discourses

than it has done for very many years. In particular in metropolises

with a high influx of newcomers, the new housing

question poses a big challenge for today’s urban policy.

Protests are raised against rent hikes in both older and new

buildings as well as against the displacement of low- and

medium-income households from more central to peripheral

locations with inadequate infrastructures.

This socio-political mirror reveals the

usefulness of an International Building

Exhibition on New Social Housing

even in a place like Vienna which,

due to its municipal housing stock

built and maintained over decades, is

frequently praised as a social housing

paradise by international standards.

Despite continuing disputes and threats of legal

action, a temporary capping of housing costs for the

existing stock of dwellings was adopted in Berlin

in the wake of a successful citizens’ initiative demanding

the nationalisation of big private housing companies.

Hamburg and other German metropolises

try to at least contain rising land prices through the

renewal and more decided application

of leasehold law and thereby

hope to facilitate the implementation

of affordable housing projects.

Conversely, though, some German

tax offices prohibit private landlords

or landladies renting out affordable

dwellings to write off advertising

expenses related to their rental activities

unless they charge rents markedly

above the local rent indexes,

in this way contributing to a further

increase of housing costs.

What developments in society have led to this escalation

of the housing issue in European metropolises?

The answer to this simple question calls for

an in-depth engagement with the social, economic,

political and cultural development dynamics of

our societies ― dynamics that are also leaving their

mark on urban housing markets. This socio-political

mirror reveals the usefulness of an International

Building Exhibition on New Social Housing even

in a place like Vienna which, due to its municipal

housing stock built and maintained over decades,

is frequently praised as a social housing paradise

by international standards.

Demographic and socio-cultural triggers

of the housing question. For the past 30 years at

least, we have known that the populations of many

European countries are stagnating or even dwindling

as birth rates no longer offset mortality figures

despite increasing life expectancy (cf. Berlin Institute

for Population and Development 2017). However,

national average values deflect attention from the

fact that demographic development varies greatly

across regions: In most European countries, there

are urban growth poles with a sustained national

and international influx of young, well-educated individuals

hoping to find easier access to future-oriented

training and employment opportunities. Thus,

the number of Vienna’s inhabitants rose by 217,356

persons in the 2009—2019 period (cf. Statistik Austria

2019), while the population increase of Berlin over

the same period even exceeded 350,000 persons (cf.

Blanken 2019). These growth rates, which equal the

population of a major city, are duly reflected in an

increased demand for housing, green spaces and


Ingrid Breckner New Social Housing in the context of current challenges to society

infrastructures. For the past few years, this phenomenon has been the subject of

discussion and analysis under the heading of re-urbanisation ― an effect that is

also noticeable in medium-sized centres and in the environs of compact smaller

towns (cf. Scholich 2019; Matthes 2016). Conversely, largely rural areas with poor

infrastructures are characterised by declining population figures in many European

countries. Enterprises and service providers increasingly complain of labour

shortage above all in areas with shrinking populations and hope to balance

this lack through population inflow. If younger persons from the same country,

other European states or third countries can be attracted to move, the population

decline is mitigated by them and their often higher birth rates ― but all forecasts

indicate that this does not halt the population loss in the long run. Immigration

contributes to the rejuvenation and cultural diversity of a population, while

demographic ageing continues at the same time. Although the diagnosis that populations

in economically stable European countries tend to decline and become

both older and more diverse is still true with regard to national averages (cf.

Eichner 2003), all studies of demographic change point out that the development

of population figures as well as of their age structure and cultural diversity must

be evaluated in a spatially differentiated manner to provide a basis for formulating

and implementing regionally appropriate action plans for housing, environmental

and infrastructure policies. Growth islands with younger and more

heterogeneous populations can only emerge where workplaces ensure sufficient

incomes, infrastructures meet the demand for childcare, education, healthcare,

communication, mobility as well as assistance to the elderly, and tolerance and

intercultural understanding support harmonious co-existence despite increasing

diversity. Population decline is often accompanied by resentment and political

resignation and therefore also calls for measures that contribute to a fundamental

vitalisation of affected regions.

Since saving money is no longer worthwhile

because of unattractive interest

rates, lucrative potentials for investing

in commercial real-estate and housing

projects are likewise clustered in regions

of economic and social growth, where

companies and service providers required

for real-estate production and financing

are readily available.

On its own, however, population growth cannot

safeguard balanced social conditions. Even growth

islands have younger and older inhabitants living

in precarious income situations. The housing markets

of growth regions are affected by housing costs that

tend to increase above average especially where

private rentals are concerned ― a result of the high

housing demand triggered by population influx but

also because of a rising number of single-person

households. At the same time, a privately financed

luxury housing segment characterised by aboveaverage

land consumption has emerged in many

cities, since investors want to benefit from more

prosperous client groups able to afford bigger dwellings

in attractive locations. Problems relating to

the provision of housing exist in all social spaces for

home seekers with low incomes or home seekers

who due to their origin, number of children or health

conditions stand no chance in the competition

for the generally insufficient number of affordable

dwellings, simply because there are plenty of other

interested parties.

Economic and political dimensions of the

current urban housing shortage. In present-day

Europe, the shortage of urban housing cannot be

solely explained by demographic factors. Even during

the recent technological transformation processes,

future-oriented employment markets

emerged first in urban centres and

their peripheries, which traditionally

have served as laboratories of social

change. Due to sustained economicpolitical

support, they are easy to

reach, offer all necessary qualifications

and, despite urban stress

caused by noise and poor air quality,

still boast attractive living conditions

for persons who prefer professional

success and the manifold advantages

of cities to “happiness in the

countryside”. Since saving money

is no longer worthwhile because of unattractive

interest rates, lucrative potentials for investing in

commercial real-estate and housing projects are

likewise clustered in regions of economic and social

growth, where companies and service providers

required for real-estate production and financing

are readily available.


An der Schanze


Daniel Glaser

Social housing

policy in


Vienna is generally considered the capital of social housing,

since roughly 60% of its inhabitants live in flats constructed or

rehabilitated with housing subsidies. Not all of these dwellings

belong to the social housing segment, since the access restrictions

imposed on them have already expired or, as for flats

provided with thermal rehabilitation, have never been in place.

The share of social housing — and hence of dwellings with

permanent access restrictions — is thus “only“ around 40% of the

total housing stock or approximately 45% of the stock of flats

used as places of primary residence; it is composed of roughly

220,000 municipal flats and approximately 185,000 flats owned

by limited-profit housing associations.

Municipal and limited-profit housing providers

ensure that dwellings constructed with the aid of

housing subsidies will mostly remain tied to specific

access restrictions of a social nature. As a consequence,

the share of social housing in Vienna is continuously

on the rise, since the access restrictions

for subsidised dwellings do not lapse after 20 or

30 years. Thus, over the past 50 years, Vienna has

been able to nearly double the number of dwellings

with permanent access restrictions from about

210,000 in 1970 to around 400,000 today, in this way

creating sustainable structures that are able to provide

large population strata with affordable housing.

This long-term perspective clearly highlights the

focus of the Vienna Model of social housing. A key

aspect lies in the promotion of a housing market

segment that functions outside market logic and

where rent levels are not dependent on an ex -

pected return on investments. To be able to implement

this kind of housing policy, two factors are

crucially needed: The first are investors willing to

forgo return on investment, such as municipal or

limited-profit property developers; the second

are properties that are developed for the construction

of subsidised housing at affordable conditions

and according to quality-driven tendering, such

as the concept tendering procedure.

No return through rents. Investors that voluntarily forgo return on their investment

― i.e. municipal and limited-profit property developers ― are essential

for the efficiency of the Vienna Model of social housing. They safeguard that

subsidies granted for housing construction will be actually used to enlarge the

social housing stock and reduce rents and not to compensate revenue losses of

profit-oriented investors.

Figure 1 illustrates the relatively simple correlation between rent levels and

expected returns on investment, which can be calculated by means of the

ROI formula indicated for real-estate investments.

The statutory net rent cap for social housing of currently € 4.97 per square metre

(annually indexed) enables limited-profit property developers to repay all equity

and outside funds invested over a maximum period of 40 years. With current

total construction costs (excluding land costs) of € 2,100 per square metre, this

corresponds to a rental return of approximately 2.75%. If, however, a return

of 5.0% ― which is already very low for profit-oriented property developers ― is

assumed in combination with identical total construction costs, this will result

in a monthly net rent of € 9.0 per square metre.

Monthly net rent


Rental ROI =

Investment costs


12 x monthly net rent


Investment costs

Interest rate


x 100

1 ROI formula for

real-estate investments



Vorgartenstraße 158, 1963

Marion Müller, Constanze Wolfgring A century of municipal housing in Vienna

Heinz-Nittel-Hof, 1979



Reumannhof, 1925

Marion Müller, Constanze Wolfgring A century of municipal housing in Vienna

Karl-Seitz-Hof, 1928


Traffic areas

13 %

Building land

46 %


Green spaces

33 %

Land use in Vienna and Hamburg;

sources: Hamburg (2018): Statistisches

Amt für Hamburg und Schleswig-

Holstein; Vienna (2018): MA 28, MA 37,

MA 41; calculations: MA 23



5 %

Surface waters

8 %

Green spaces

45 %


Building land

36 %

Traffic areas

14 %

Contributions by Jean-David Gerber,

Justin Kadi, Markus Kinschner,

Bernd Rießland, Thomas Ritt, Christof

Schremmer, Elisabeth Springler and

Christiane Thalgott

The highly dynamic developments on the land market,

above all the increasing commodification of housing

since the financial crisis of 2008, have a massive impact

on the affordability of housing throughout Europe. They

trigger a variety of responses and raise a plethora of

questions: Which land policy instruments are available

or required to influence the development of prices?

What scope for actions do cities, municipalities and other

players have in order to ensure the affordability of housing?

How can affordable housing be conceived across

municipal and provincial borders? Which interactions do

exist between financial and housing policy? Housing

and land policy



in total

Comparison of gross

regional product per capita




26.8 %



72.2 %





2017; sources: Eurostat,

Statistics Austria, MA 51;

calculation: MA 23



€/capita 30,000

€/capita 22,000


Workforce in Vienna,

commuters from and to

Vienna; sources: Eurostat,

Statistics Austria, MA 51;

calculation: MA 23


EU average


Neu Leopoldau



Discussion with Christof Schremmer,

Axel Priebs, Kurt Puchinger and

Renate Zuckerstätter-Semela;

moderation: Rudolf Scheuvens


New Social Housing

in the metropolitan


Axel Priebs is university

professor at the Department of

Geography and Regional Research

of the University of Vienna. Previously,

he worked in science (e.g.

at the University of Copenhagen,

graduation from the University

of Kiel) as well as in practical

planning (in the metropolitan

regions of Bremen, Berlin and


Scheuvens: IBA_Vienna addresses the challenges

of New Social Housing in a city that is under

strong pressure from growth. What does that

mean for ensuring affordable housing, dealing

with existing building stocks and developing new

urban quarters? One question always tends to be

left aside a bit. This is the question of the relevance

of the IBA theme for development. After all,

one thing is clear:

It is not only Vienna which is growing. The

entire region is subject to strong pressure

from growth, which on principle would

require specific strategic and regionally

co-ordinated action. In this roundtable discussion

we want to focus on issues that derive

from the objectives of IBA_Vienna “New

Social Housing” in a regional perspective.

Schremmer: The city and its surrounding regions

are growing substantially ― at a slower pace than in

the past three years, but steadily. The regional challenge

is to direct growth to areas where it would

be favourable from a spatial planning perspective

especially in the neighbouring communities, namely

to areas that are well developed with regard to

transport as well as social infrastructure. Currently,

we see opposing tendencies that prevent this.

There are large land reserves at locations that are

unusable in regional terms. There are contrasting

developers’ and individual interests. These players

search for inexpensive building land and precisely

acquire land at the most unfavourable locations.

In parallel, there are obstacles impeding the use

of existing land reserves at favourable locations.

This is the classic challenge of mobilising building

land ― with regard to the plot layouts, availability

and ownership on the one hand and, above all, with

regard to expected price developments on the other

hand. Some of the municipalities in question heavily

lean on the brakes for various reasons, such as fears

of integration needs, heavy traffic, environmental

problems, etc. With a view to sustainable regional

development, by which we want to and should

reconcile economical land use and sustainable mobility

requirements, this is a huge problem also for

climate protection.

Priebs: Being somebody who still has preserved a

bit of an outside view, I notice again and again that

the regional perspective is hardly present here ―

not in political terms and only little in technical

terms. Vienna is a big city in which a lot is going on,

but my perception is that many activities and

discourses end at the city limits. And the city limits

also constitute a system boundary ― this is a term

that seems apt to me in various respects. And I have

the impression that decision-makers still are rather

relaxed in Vienna because the city still has relatively

big building land reserves of its own. However,

there are also several positive approaches here in

Vienna. For example, a study of the PGO (Planungsgemeinschaft

Ost ― Planning Association East)

identified the potentials for housing construction in

the greater urban region where suburban railways

play an important role. The underground network

in Vienna is great, but we all know that it ends at

the city limits. And suburban railways are far behind

their potentials. There is a main line that really has

a metropolitan format operating at intervals of a

few minutes, but the lines serving the surrounding

region are not even properly shown in the network

map. This is just a formality, but I am convinced that

the suburban railways still have great potential and

much sensible building land could be developed

around the suburban train stations ― existing ones

and possible new ones ― provided that there is a

will to do so.

Puchinger: The point is that the metropolitan

region is rather integrated in functional terms. The

functions are interlaced with regard to working and

social life. Yet, the situation in the land and housing

market is completely fragmented, essentially due


Roundtable New Social Housing in the metropolitan region

to the provincial border. This is the key point. At heart, this is a closed system,

a “prisoner’s dilemma”. Co-operation only works when the level of suffering

is equal for both parties. However, the level of suffering is apparently not high

enough for taking the political decision in favour of developing a common

housing policy in the region. From our perspective, this must be a subsidised

housing policy. We receive 1% of payroll tax annually and approximately

€ 550 million of housing subsidy funds are available on average that are used for

new buildings, rehabilitation and, a small part of it, for the provision of individual

support. In my opinion, the subject of the Vienna, Lower Austria and

Burgenland agglomeration has been covered in planning. The documents drawn

up in the 1980s and 1990s are still valid because the system boundaries have

not changed. We have got the PGO that, however, is too big. So, how do we get

to an intermediate level within the PGO’s structure at which precisely those

subareas that belong to the agglomeration are also made visible in political

terms? That is the crucial point. Why should Viennese politicians do something

in Lower Austria? Nobody is going to vote for them there.

Scheuvens: Not merely Vienna, but the entire

urban region is under strong pressure from

growth. How does the region deal with it? Which

co-ordination processes do exist? Renate Zuckerstätter-Semela,

how do you perceive this within

the framework of Stadt-Umland-Management

(SUM ― City-Region Management)? How do discourses

play out, where do you see challenges?

Zuckerstätter-Semela: I believe that this is by

no means a Viennese issue alone. Before this roundtable,

I picked out a few articles related to housing

published in the Lower Austrian weekly Niederösterreichische

Nachrichten: “Huge residential

compound coming now,” read one of the headlines.

When you take a closer look, you see that the article

is about twelve duplexes that caused emotions to

run high. The level of suffering is enormous in Lower

Austrian municipalities, but partly in a way different

from Vienna. Land prices are surging dramatically

the more crowded it gets in the metropolitan region.

This mainly applies to favourable locations, though

not only to them but also to that segment of the

middle class which cannot buy expensive plots but

needs less expensive ones. The gap between supply

and demand is continuously widening. And currently,

we can hardly influence or control this development.

On the other hand, there is the existing

stock, in particular buildings dating from the 1970s

and 1980s. The people living there are getting older

and older. Sometimes they are overburdened by

maintaining their large houses and gardens. Which

alternatives do they have? Moving to the city is usually

impossible for financial reasons. When you sell

a house at the periphery of the metropolitan region,

you cannot even afford to purchase a small flat in

Renate Zuckerstätter-Semela; photo: Lukas Gächter

Vienna. The so-called system boundary is a highly

relevant issue in our metropolitan region ― not

only in legislative or political terms, but also with

regard to different socio-political positions. In Lower

Austria ― as well as in large parts of Austria ― home

ownership is the prevailing model. The fact that there

is a broad segment of the population which will not

earn enough money to buy a home in three lives

or did not inherit anything is another story. There

is plenty of expertise. In fact, we know what would

be good and wise. We have to concentrate on the

players. Who are the players in this field? In Lower

Austria it is the provincial government which is in

charge of housing promotion, funding allocations,

framework legislation on regional planning, but the

main players are the municipal councils and mayors

in Lower Austria. The municipalities are the ones

taking the decision on account of their autonomy in

local planning. And in part they are not able to take

the decisions that would be good for us because the

plots that would be favourable are not available since

the owners hoard the land as bank interest rates are

so low, etc. And those who already live there, who

sought the rural idyll, the tranquillity and, above all,

the space around them, orientate their aspirations

and wishes to the life of the top 10% of the population

rather than to the lowest 30%.


Axel Priebs,

Christof Schremmer

(f.l.t.r.); photo:

Lukas Gächter


Roundtable New Social Housing in the metropolitan region

Scheuvens: Which approaches could be appropriate

and perhaps allow us to use IBA_Vienna or

a post-IBA period? How can we initiate processes

and discourses through IBA that we need to generate

a new impetus?

Puchinger: I believe that the orientation to social

aspects in quarters can be exported. Quarters ― and

this is how IBA_Vienna understands this ― as new

ways of social living together, development and

addressing issues raised by aging, etc., may well

be something attractive. That is a subject that can

also be discussed at a regional level ― in Lower

Austria, in Eisenstadt, in Neusiedl and in Wiener

Neustadt anyway. Not every project has to comprise

3,000 dwellings there, the aim would be to create

such (quarter) structures and to raise awareness that

housing is essentially a human right and a serviceoriented

matter. Therefore, I am also very much in

favour of saying: “We need more time for living in

our homes ― otherwise we cannot use all the offerings

in the surrounding quarter!”

Schremmer: We have already had several discussions

on the development of qualitative quarter

approaches with a view to village development ―

a modern village vision, so to speak ― in the area

around Vienna. If you build a denser structure in

between the single-family houses, the density rises

slightly but you do not get an integrated, socially

endowed and also culturally integrated quarter

that offers the quality of living that we actually want

to achieve.

Scheuvens: The focus must not be on density alone. That is clearly highlighted

by what Christof Schremmer has just said. Wouldn’t it be conducive to have

good and inspiring examples? A project-oriented approach ― as for IBAs ―

would be helpful in order to show how an analysis of site-specific structures

may lead to the creation of new spatial and social qualities.

Zuckerstätter-Semela: People must be able to experience those visions. We had

an excursion to Neu Leopoldau on the former OMV premises near Gerasdorfer

Straße ― in my mind, a really good new residential area. Several mayors from

the surrounding region also took part, including one who has always been a bit

sceptical about Vienna. He was enthusiastic about that project. And something

like that could be implemented in a similar way in a municipality with 10,000—

15,000 people, too. However, you must be able to walk through it, you must be

able to feel it. The mayor was able to see for himself that it’s not an outrage when

a multi-storey building is constructed somewhere.

Puchinger: With regard to the “regional vision”: It would also be nice to provide

a view of a region via “indirect images”. You could, for example, draw up a map

of the wine-growing areas in the eastern region ― a good Rotgipfler creates a

bond! A map showing the population distribution and public transport stops will

not create images in people’s minds.

Priebs: Highlighting good examples is great ― that always brings people together.

I also find that it’s a good idea to use wine as an example. You must know what

binds a region together or which activities that people undertake together

have positive connotations. Of course, the theme of recreation comes to mind

quickly ― maybe sports or, for example, cycle routes. In Copenhagen, bicycle

superhighways are a great success and this will tend to get more popular here as

well, especially among people moving from the city to the surrounding region,

for commuters and for recreational cyclists. The distance covered by bicycle

will also tend to get longer for people using e-bikes. Finally, what can be created

for IBA_Vienna, also at a relatively limited scale? I like examples that highlight

developments around train stations. That is a subject of relevance for many

municipalities where the infrastructure is in place but often accompanied by

structural problems of urban design. Those places can become focal points for

new quarters and interesting regional developments.


Housing and land policy

Private tenancy (PT) contracts, built pre-1945

PT 1945—1980

PT 1980—2000/10

PT new buildings, last 10 years, first rental & re-let

LPHA until 1980 (inexpensive)

LPHA 1980—2000/10

LPHA new buildings, last 10 years, first rental & re-let

Municipal, built pre-1945

Municipal, built post-1945



3 Flats rented out for the first time and

flats re-let in Vienna, 2010 and 2017;

source: Statistics Austria (Microcensus),

calculations by GBV (Eva Bauer)

The by far biggest share of tenancy

contracts concluded concerned the

private housing sector, increasing

considerably in this period to over 68%

of all flats annually rented for the first

time or re-let.

concerns the private rental sector (roughly two thirds), while tenancy

contracts concluded for longer periods occur relatively more often for LPHA

and municipal flats.

These developments and in particular the higher prices in the unregulated

housing sector triggered two trends. First, commercial property developers were

willing to pay markedly higher land prices in recent years, which entailed a steep

price hike ― prices tripled to quintupled within just a few years ― for land classified

for construction or expected to be classified as such. Second, a growing

number of households are unable to afford the augmented prices of housing,

instead queuing up to move to flats with regulated rents, which

are mainly offered by LPHAs.

Housing policy measures ― targeted and sustainable.

With last year’s amendment to the Building Code for Vienna,

the “subsidised housing” zoning category was

introduced, which undoubtedly constitutes a

quantum leap for subsidised housing construction

― not only because a maximum land price

of € 188 per square metre of above-ground gross

floorspace now applies for accordingly classified plots, but also

because two thirds of the usable floorspace created for housing

purposes must as a rule be taken up by subsidised dwellings if a

plot is classified into this category.

With regard to this new instrument, attention must be paid in

the future to ensure that these price-damping measures for the limited resource

“building land” will be sustainably implemented. Towards this purpose, several

aspects need to be taken account of:

In view of significantly decreased prices, it is economically viable to refinance

land purchases of up to approximately € 600 per square metre, given the building-right

interest of € 0.68 per square metre of gross floorspace payable under

the Wiener Wohnbauförderungs- und Wohnhaussanierungsgesetz ― WWFSG

The marked growth of commercial,

privately financed housing construction

led to a shift in balance between

the regulated rental sector [...] and

the largely unregulated rental and

freehold sector.


Bernd Rießland Limited-profit housing associations. Partners of housing and urban development policies in Vienna

(Vienna Housing Promotion and Rehabilitation Act)

of 1989, and thus to circumvent the price-damping

effect resulting from the maximum price limit of

€ 188 per square metre for land purchases. When

subsidised housing is constructed by commercial

property developers or institutional investors, the

rent caps according to the WWFSG apply only for

the subsidy period. In the best case, this may extend

over 40 years. However, it is possible to sell the

flats at freely set prices and thus to exit the housing

subsidy regime.

In case of subsidised housing constructed by LPHAs,

in particular the statutory rent limitation based on

the cost-coverage principle under the WGG applies

in addition to the contractually imposed subsidy

regulations. This double obligation safeguards subsidised

housing construction by LPHAs at affordable

terms and in the long term.

The housing policy objective of ensuring an adequate

supply of affordable rental flats for Vienna’s

housing market can thus only be safeguarded via the

exclusive allocation of housing subsidies to LPHAs.

In addition, the sale of social housing, which is provided

for under the WGG, should as far as possible

be contractually limited to owner-occupied flats

by the subsidising body. Thus there exist several factors

in favour of an even closer partnership between

the LPHAs and the City of Vienna. Alongside municipal

housing, limited-profit housing companies are

the prime reliable partner for sustainably safeguarding

an adequate supply of affordable housing. This

also obligates the LPHAs to draw

upon their experience with urban

development, taking account of

other functions of a city, and further

evolve it in view of novel challenges

of organic and economic urban

development. These tasks range

from the accommodation of essential

urban functionalities to the

provision of workplaces in a city of

mixed functions that is characterised

by fundamentally changing work environments

and their economic effects on households and,

hence, on the creation and design of new forms of

affordable housing.

With last year’s amendment to the

Building Code for Vienna, the “subsidised

housing” zoning category

was introduced, which undoubtedly

constitutes a quantum leap for subsidised

housing construction



















4 Duration of tenancy contracts

in Vienna by type of lessor;

source: Statistics Austria (Microcensus

2018), calculations by GBV

(Eva Bauer)

< 2 years

2 —5 years

5—10 years

10—20 years

20—30 years

>30 years

Private tenancy, total

LPHA, total

Municipal, total


Stadt Wien (2019): Daten und Fakten

zur Migration 2019 — Wiener Bevölkerung.


(Accessed: October 2017)


Christiane Thalgott

Land policy:

What is the way


Will the European city

be run over by the

capitalist economy?

The primacy of the economy over social

community is seen as unjust and as a

political failure leading to disenchantment

with politics.

Considerations and actions needed for our cities.

Land is indispensable, non-renewable, it cannot

be transported, but it can be destroyed. Nevertheless,

real estate and land are traded like any other commodity

everywhere, internationally, on the stock

market as well as on the black market.

Since the stock market crash of 2008 and the

introduction of low interest rate policy in the EU,

international investors have been looking for new

opportunities other than shares or the like to invest

their funds ― less volatile ones and preferably

real assets such as flats, houses, forests and fields.

They favour countries with stable governments,

stable justice systems, stable economies,

preferably in Europe.

In urban and rural contexts, this

has resulted in hitherto unknown,

new problems. Residents witness

that international corporations buy

up their homeland, rents go up, their familiar surroundings

change and their possibilities to influence

developments are diminishing.

The primacy of the economy over social community is

seen as unjust and as a political failure leading to disenchantment

with politics. The Bible’s call for humans

to subdue the earth was hardly intended to mean that.

Planning and land law in Germany. In spite of

the principle that “Property entails obligations. Its

use shall also serve the public good,” postulated in

Article 14 (2) of the Basic Law for the Federal Republic

of Germany, planning law is clearly biased towards

the protection of private property with regard to expropriation

and compensation (always at the market

value rather than the value of potential earnings).

Annual land value increases (up to 10%) are not taxed,

but significantly exceed income rises (max. 2—3%)

so that especially younger middle-class households

have to spend a growing share of their income

on rents. Based on working incomes alone, it is

hardly possible or even impossible to achieve home

ownership whereas the value of existing residential

property grows without any effort being made by

the owners.

Thus, the issue of justice is raised ever more clearly

and loudly in society. Cities having a large housing

stock that they own themselves or can at least control,

such as Vienna, have the possibility to influence

the housing market for their population today and,

thus, partly avoid international financialisation.

In other cities, such as Berlin, the economisation of

the housing market results in major political protests

and related activities designed to influence the

housing market by municipal interventions, such as

a rent cap, preservation statutes as well as (re-)purchases

of existing flats and re-adjustment of rents for

city-owned flats.

In Berlin, the heated social policy debate and the

call for the expropriation of Deutsche Wohnen (a

housing company owning 116,000 units in Berlin

alone) and other companies that is accepted and

even supported by many citizens has prompted reactions

by some of the big housing companies with

regard to tenants and rents as the public discussion

and the feared political responses eventually impacted

their share prices.

The new motto is social peace instead of returns

at all costs. And Munich? In Munich, the

housing issue played a major role across political


Christiane Thalgott Land policy: What is the way forward?

parties in the political discourse of the 20 th century. Therefore, a brief explanation

of the background: In the 19 th century, Munich was a royal residence and

a city of craftspeople. Land companies developed building land for bourgeois

clients as opportunities arose. It was only at the end of the 19 th century that an

overall development plan was drawn up for the city because this had become

absolutely necessary for water supply and sewage disposal alone.

After an urban planning competition, Theodor Fischer developed the Staffelbauplan

(graduated building plan) that was finally adopted in 1904 and determined

urban development until 1980.

The housing situation of the poorer population was incredibly dire around the

turn of the century and even aggravated after the end of the war in 1918. The

war had shattered the funding models of the land development companies that

had shaped middle-class housing construction by developing entire quarters

such as Haidhausen, Bogenhausen and Gärtnerplatzviertel ― where low-income

earners had been able to live until the buildings had dried.

Thus, the issue of justice is raised ever

more clearly and loudly in society.

Cities having a large housing stock

that they own themselves or can at

least control, such as Vienna, have

the possibility to influence the housing

market for their population today

and, thus, partly avoid international


As a result, the city took the initiative, set up two

housing construction companies of its own and

built large-scale estates with hundreds of flats in

multi-storey buildings in Harlachingen, Neuhausen,

Giesing, etc., completing 2,300 to 5,000 flats

annually in the years 1925—1929 in order to reduce

the housing shortage. Under the National Socialist

regime, housing construction initially decreased

to 500 to 1,300 flats per year and only rose again to

approximately 3,000 flats per year from 1939 to 1941.

In those years, by and large, estates

with fewer multi-storey buildings

and many homes for healthy living

with gardens and sheds for animals

were built ― unsuitable targets for

bombing campaigns.

Reconstruction and building

boom ― the drama of Neue Heimat

and the end of limited-profit

housing. After 1945, there was

again an incredible housing shortage

due to the destruction of the

city and the influx of refugees. The

repair of existing buildings already started in 1945,

and smaller and larger areas of new building land

were developed with public subsidies by private and

public housing construction companies based in

Munich. While initially 2,600 flats were completed

per year, their number rose to 17,000 annually by

1975. The city only had a very limited stock of own

land and depended on co-operation with private land

owners. In the 1960s, the biggest construction project

was launched in Neuperlach ― with 25,000 flats

and an equal number of workplaces. Neue Heimat, a

limited-profit housing construction company owned

by the German Trade Union Confederation, was

commissioned by the city to implement the entire

project and was presumed to be a guarantor of longterm

social commitment. After 1982, Neue Heimat

was broken up and sold: Delusions of grandeur, corruption,

imprudent international transactions, but

also decreasing demand were the causes. Neuperlach

had not been fully completed yet and was taken

over by new owners which were not limited-profit

companies any more.

Later on, limited-profit enterprises were entirely

abolished in the housing sector as a general limit on

profits and re-investment obligations were introduced

in 1989.

The Olympic Games of 1972 triggered another boom

of private-sector housing construction in Munich,

which only tailed off at the end of the 1970s.

The issue of land speculation has always preoccupied

the City of Munich and its lord mayors. Through

actions that received attention nationwide, former

Lord Mayor Hans-Jochen Vogel wanted to implement

fundamental changes in land legislation based on

the experiences made in Munich when he became

federal construction minister in 1972: He wanted to

introduce a land value increment tax and to separate

land ownership ― which should rest with the

public sector ― from rights of use. Unfortunately, his

efforts did not succeed. “Save our cities now!” was

the wake-up call that summarised the issue in a way

appealing to the public.

In a headline-grabbing and vociferous way, Lord

Mayor Georg Kronawitter denounced the profits

effortlessly achievable through land speculation ―

accruing to the land owners without any input

of their own. He demanded that whenever a new

urban development plan was adopted, the land

owner should deliver a quota of 40% of subsidised

housing. Such a drastic restriction of the free use

of land made co-operation with private housing

com panies difficult. At the same time, inexpensive

housing dating from the Gründerzeit period came

under pressure for change. Being an attractive

administrative and university city, Munich was a

hotspot for new arrivals who eagerly acquired any

expensive converted flat or office that was offered

for sale in the Gründerzeit tenement quarters. All

the possible legal instruments, such as development

zones near railway areas, urban renewal areas and


Climate change is undoubtedly one of the great challenges

of our time. While climate change used to be an abstract

subject that primarily experts occupied themselves with,

concrete and tangible consequences, such as the rising

number of hot days, have made the population at large

aware of this issue. In addition to ecological effects, climate

change also has significant socio-spatial implications:

Which groups of people and urban areas are hit particularly

hard by climate change? Which measures can urban

development take in order to mitigate the impacts? Which

levers can be used in the fields of building, mobility

and open space design? Which roles do concrete projects

play in pointing out alternative solutions? Ecology


955,190 m


1,173,940 m

Length of cycling facilities in metres;

sources: MA 28, MA 46


1,378,940 m

Ice days in Vienna













Hot days in Vienna

18 %

24 %

Hot days and ice days in

Vienna; source: Climate

department of ZAMG

24 %

34 %

7 %



12 %

38 %

32 %

30 %

34 %



21 %

28 %

3 %

29 %

25 %




40 %

Modal split comparison;

sources: Munich: infas; Vienna:

Wiener Linien; Zurich: City of

Zurich – Civil Engineering and

Disposal Department

Contributions by Martin Berger,

Astrid Felderer, Katrin Hagen,

Magdalena Holzer, Thomas Madreiter,

Werner Sobek, Therese Stickler and

Simon Tschannett


It has become clear that the true challenge

and greatest urgency are due to

highly densified cities and that measures

must be taken — also on a small

scale — to promote awareness and

trigger a rethinking process both

among the population and the stakeholders.

Urban denizens must be enabled

to re-appropriate their city […].

By now, the urgent necessity of action and the

importance of green spaces and water for cities ―

demanded by numerous scientists ― have also been

realised and taken on board by politics. Even if

all necessary climate protection measures are implemented,

the effects of global warming will have

long-term impacts and in part are irreversible

already today. While climate policy has focused

above all on climate protection for a long time,

a clear political commitment to the necessity of

measures for climate change adaptation is now, and

definitely since the Paris Agreement of 2015, evident

at all levels. The EU Strategy for Adaptation to Climate

Change (European Commission 2013, 2) states that it

is cheaper “[...] to take early, planned adaptation action

than to pay the price of not adapting.” This document

also emphasises the importance of green infrastructure

in cities. The Austrian Strategy for Adaption

to Climate Change (cf. Federal Ministry of Agriculture,

Forestry, Environment and Water Management 2012)

underscores the negative effects of heat waves

on health and the importance of measures to curb

these. Likewise, it draws attention to the role of

green and blue infrastructure in densely built-up

areas. The City of Vienna has firmly integrated the

necessity of measures for climate change adaptation

and the related importance of green spaces and

water into its various strategies. The Climate

Protection Programme KliP II (MDKLI 2009, 105 ff.)

explicitly recommends the “long-term networking

of green and open spaces”. The Urban Development

Plan STEP 2025 (cf. Municipal Department 18 2014b)

and the Urban Heat Island Strategy

(cf. Municipal Department 22 2015)

specifically address the level of

urban design and formulate both

clear-cut objectives and approaches

to concrete measures. Unsurprisingly,

green and open spaces and water

are assigned a crucial role in these

documents as well.

How can these demands be reconciled

with the ongoing densification

of cities and the related need for

new housing? This question was

part of the agenda of the international conference

Urban Densification ― The Challenge for Open Space

organised in September 2017 by the Centre for Landscape

Planning and Garden Design of TU Wien. The

speakers from the fields of urban development and

practice presented and discussed exciting approaches

that explained how these demands need not be

4 Bosco verticale in Milan, 2014;

copyright: Boeri Studio

contradictory (cf. TU Wien 2018). Street grids and

streetscapes can be thought afresh and new public

spaces ― both temporary and permanent ― can be

created, as is e.g. happening for the superblocks in

Barcelona or the Gran Vía in Madrid. The projects of

landscape architects like De Urbanisten and Dreiseitl

highlight the potential and added value of deliberately

integrating rainwater in urban design instead

of discharging it, as usual, into the sewer system 2 . In

their turn, architects integrate green surfaces into

buildings and combine green and residential spaces

on both small and large a scale, e.g. in the case of

Bosco verticale 4 in Milan. In Singapore, such building-landscapes

attain dizzying heights and visionary

dimensions ― but unfortunately reach only a limited

and privileged part of the population.

It has become clear that the true challenge and

greatest urgency are due to highly densified cities

and that measures must be taken ― also on a small

scale ― to promote awareness and trigger a rethinking

process both among the population and the

stakeholders. Urban denizens must be enabled to

re-appropriate their city by returning public space

to its original state of being public and universally

usable. This involves both the immediate residential

environment and citywide networking. Greening,

the integration of water and hence also the creation

of a pleasant microclimate play a decisive role from

a social and health perspective.

The City of Vienna has widely recognised this fact

and in its thematic concepts Green and Open Spaces

(cf. Municipal Department 18 2015), Public Space

(cf. Municipal Department 18 2017) and Mobility

(cf. Municipal Department 18 2015a) of STEP 2025,

proposes exciting and, in part, highly concrete

approaches. The ecological and urban climate-


Katrin Hagen Green-blue infrastructure in increasingly dense cities

related importance of urban green and open spaces

in general and their social relevance are clearly

emphasised in all thematic concepts and studies.

Both the essential function of street trees and the

necessity of creating green links with high atmospheric

quality within the urban fabric are explicitly

mentioned. Across all thematic concepts, the

potential of streetscapes as “public open spaces in

an urban setting that are principally accessible to

all at any time and essentially are publicly owned”

(Municipal Department 18 2017, 6) embodies the

transition to green infrastructure to a particular

degree. The above-mentioned Urban Fabric project

likewise emphasises the potential of the streetscape

for the urban microclimate. This research project

aimed to identify those urban design measures that

will result in maximum microclimatic effects for

individual urban fabric types and hence should be

given priority in future developments. Street greening

has revealed a particularly high potential in this

regard. New mobility concepts moreover permit

a complete rethinking of streetscapes as compared

to the present-day situation. In the context

of the research project Accompanying Living Lab

for the Implementation of Green-Blue Infrastructure

Measures (LiLa4Green 2018—2021) 5 , the three

thematic concepts mentioned above as well as the

Urban Heat Island Strategy ― City of Vienna (also

based on the findings of the Urban Fabric project)

3 Water plaza in Rotterdam, 2013;

copyright De Urbanisten 2013/

pallesh + azarfane

2 Vision for Smart City Paris 2050;

copyright: Vincent Callebaut Architectures 2015

were studied in detail with respect to their conclusions on open-space quality

within the streetscape. This revealed interesting overlaps and complements that

were summarised in thematic blocks and can support positive future developments

through consensus-based planning principles. In addition to defining

planning principles for urban design ― which also comprise the restructuring or

repurposing of existing street spaces as well as temporary and multifunctional

approaches ―, this also aims at the promotion of awareness and the involvement

of local residents as well as at the rethinking and renegotiating of existing legal

framework conditions. The latter aspects above all are key for successful further

development. Although the necessity of measures has been realised, a multitude

of social, technical, legal and administrative obstacles to actual implementation

persist. The LiLa4Green project is currently concerned with social issues and, by

means of a living lab, involves local residents and decision-makers in the exploration

of potentials and the implementation of concrete green-blue measures

in the direct living environment (cf. Tötzer et al. 2019). In the context of Green

Up ― Cool Down 6 , a training course integrated into the project, master’s degree

students of architecture at the Centre for Landscape Planning and Garden Design

of TU Wien developed and publicly presented concepts and ideas for a parklet

devised according to these principles. In due course, local residents chose a

concept for actual implementation. The parklet was put up for the summer of

2019 in Randhartingergasse in the densely built-up perimeter block fabric of


Thomas Madreiter

Smart City Wien. Strategies

make you happy if you ensure

in time that they are in place

when needed

The CO 2

-neutral city is not a topic for

the future, but for the present! The

existing built stock as well as the

infrastructure and buildings erected

today or in the near future determine

the destiny of a city in the long term —

far into the next century!

All of the world’s metropolises are confronted with enormous challenges: Our

lifestyle consumes too many resources and causes global warming. Since the

mid-20 th century, we have gradually become more and more dependent on

(fossil) energy sources and unsustainable types of mobility and production.

Why Smart City Wien? All this affects above all the weaker members of our society.

Yet the climate crisis is treading softly, arriving by many small steps. For the

majority of people in our region, it was imperceptible in everyday life for a long

time. And yet its consequences collectively endanger and narrow the future life

opportunities of our children and grandchildren to a dramatic degree.

Today, Vienna is one of the cities with the highest quality of life worldwide. Already

evident climate change, with concomitant overheating during the summer

months, is affecting Vienna particularly heavily, also because of its geographic

location and large-scale, highly condensed Gründerzeit building stock. Climate

protection and optimised adaptation to climate change are thus prerequisites to

ensure that Vienna will remain one of the world’s most liveable cities.

1 The Smart City Wien Framework

Strategy, an umbrella strategy to which

numerous other strategic documents

and programmes of measures make

reference; source: Magistrat der Stadt

Wien 2019; copyright: The Gentlemen


Vienna is on its way. At the moment, 75% of worldwide CO 2

emissions are caused

by the combustion of fossil fuels in cities. Vienna has recognised the gravity of

this situation. In addition to the very successful climate protection programmes of

the City of Vienna, the City Council adopted the comprehensive, long-term Smart

City Wien Framework Strategy in 2014. This document provides a basic structure

and a foundation for further concepts of urban development, climate protection

or smart digitalisation of our city to build on. It formulates a shared vision and

highlights possible ways to achieve our objectives. Its central goal is: “Best quality

of life for all residents of Vienna through the greatest possible conservation of

resources based on comprehensive social and technological innovations.”




Thematic concept

“Urban Mobility


Thematic concept

“Green and Open


Globally speaking, Vienna is one of the richest cities, just as Austria is one of

the most prosperous countries in the world. This is precisely the reason why it

is only fair to make use of this capital in order to advance climate protection in

pioneering ways and identify potential solutions!

Climate Protection


Vienna’s Healthcare

Goals for



Vienna 2050




Urban Energy



At the European level, political and organisational preparations for the ninth

EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation Horizon Europe with an

anticipated volume of approximately € 100 billion for the 2021—2027 period are

underway. The European Commission will articulate this comprehensive programme

along just a few mission areas. In this way, Europe is pooling immense

financial resources in order to solve the most urgent problems of our time. “Climate-neutral

and smart cities” will be one of only five priorities!


Thomas Madreiter Smart City Wien. Strategies make you happy if you ensure in time that they are in place when needed

We, the citizens, can do much! Smart City Wien

must offer residents a credible perspective. It must

make the city better in every respect ― economically,

ecologically and with regard to social interaction.

To give a face to Smart City Wien and render it

lively and concrete, we need clearly understandable

projects that convince people to advocate change.

And the signals are already very encouraging! After

all, many innovative individuals have declared their

commitment to Smart City Wien and so far have

implemented over 60 projects. Numerous further

initiatives are underway.

Many citizens have already realised that each

individual is ultimately responsible for the (future)

climate of our planet. All are invited to join in, all

should contribute to finding solutions and implementing

them ― whether by purchasing an annual

pass for public transport, through more sensible

meat consumption or a contribution to a civic solar

power plant or simply by becoming active in their

district of residence. There are many contact points

and institutions of the City of Vienna that provide

assistance. The young people of today, who will be

in mid-career in 2050, are in particular demanding

decisive steps in climate policy ― true change. An

increasing number of responsible or future-oriented

enterprises, too, want to face up to these challenges.

Politics and administration need to become active

through efficient structures. Economic and societal

systems must be shaped to convey the medium- and

long-term goals of Smart City Wien clearly and make

them attainable for all stakeholders. Services and incentives

going beyond basic infrastructures must be

created to promote sustainable behaviour patterns.

For this, the economy needs planning security and

competitive conditions that render resource-saving

management more attractive.

We should not expect that everyone will try to go

against the flow on his or her own initiative. Figuratively

speaking, politics and administration must

direct this flow so that it will be as easy as possible

for all to choose the right way. The systematic

implementation of the Smart City Wien Framework

Strategy is essential to attain this goal.

What is Vienna’s current position? With its Smart

City Wien Framework Strategy adopted already in

2014 (cf. Vienna City Administration 2014), Vienna

evolved the Smart City initiative of the EU (DG Energy)

(cf. European Commission 2019a) comprehen-

sively by interpreting technological goals ― for example, regarding ICT or energy ―

as support for wider social objectives. Thus technology is not viewed as an end

in itself; rather, it is to facilitate a good life for all urban population strata and

population groups in the long term while radically curtailing the consumption of

natural resources.

This vision is also inspired by the conviction that Vienna is able, in view of

growing global challenges, to optimise its position in a competitive environment

precisely because it can offer socially sustainable, yet technically efficient solutions:

In our time, ambitious climate policy is a location factor that creates the

workplaces of the future.

In 2019, the Vienna City Council adopted the first update

of the Smart City Wien Framework Strategy (cf.

Magistrat der Stadt Wien 2019), once again setting

international standards. For global climate development

demands even faster, ambitious answers, in

particular at the urban level. Thus the update was

motivated on the one hand by the Paris Agreement

and the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development of

the UN (cf. United Nations 2015), to

which the City of Vienna committed

itself in 2016. On the other hand,

our own findings ― derived from

the comprehensive, scientifically

supervised and fully transparent

monitoring of the initial measures

implemented since 2014 ― were also

taken account of in this update (cf.

Magistratsabteilung 18 2018).

The objective is and remains the

provision of a thoughtful and

foresighted, long-term municipal

strategy in accordance with current

requirements and findings. This also

offers a solid basis for future international

activities, e.g. in the context

of Horizon Europe (cf. European

Commission 2019b). Including the

political assessment and decision-making phase,

this process extended over a mere 14 months and

was largely completed by drawing on municipal resources.

150 persons ― with a female share of 46% ―

were actively involved. The feedback of roughly

100 experts from the fields of administration, economy

and research was made part of a big “forum”; the

entire process was monitored by an advisory board

composed of international experts.

Smart City Wien ― an honest interim appraisal.

Our overall performance is satisfactory. Out of

roughly 50 objectives formulated in the original 2014

Smart City Wien must offer residents a

credible perspective. It must make the

city better in every respect — economically,

ecologically and with regard

to social interaction. To give a face to

Smart City Wien and render it lively and

concrete, we need clearly understandable

projects that convince people

to advocate change. And the signals

are already very encouraging! After

all, many innovative individuals have

declared their commitment to Smart

City Wien and so far have implemented

over 60 projects.


Marie Glaser

Everything stays

different. How

we live in a socially

sustainable city

Talking about housing today — what does that

actually mean? The current societal, political and

economic context completely differs from the

one prevailing 20, 30 or 50 years ago. Housing

forms respond to changes in the way of life, work,

mobility and communication. Which developments

need to be considered and which impetus

has to be given if we want to pursue a new building

culture that is forward-looking and sustainable?

What we plan today will determine the living

environment of our grandchildren. Therefore,

their concerns should already be integrated in

our plans today.

Our society changes more dynamically and faster

than built objects that, once they have been constructed,

have a life of 50, 60 or even 100 years.

Housing is an element of inertia in the urban fabric.

Most people live in pre-existing buildings ― many

date from the 1960s and 1970s or later. This also

means that most of us live in built conceptions of

life and standardised housing designs developed

50 years ago.

Even then, those conceptions were an idea of the

norm and not the only valid and practiced model

of living together. Meanwhile, this model has long

ceased to correspond to real-life practices and

housing needs. Problems frequently arise because

designers, planners and developers have not fully

up-to-date ideas about what people want to do

in a home, an estate, a neighbourhood. They build

in line with their own ideas and, thus, remain

within the bounds of their conceptual worlds and

conventions. They, the decision-makers, ask much

too seldom for whom they actually build and

which housing needs result from living realities

and how they change.

The question is: What can the future of housing

look like under the given conditions? What could

be New Social Housing, a flat, a house, an estate

beyond the forms we know?

Housing in a socially sustainable city means living

at a reasonable cost in a pleasant, safe and healthy

environment in good-neighbourly relations with

other people. It also means having access to public

transport, being able to take part in cultural activities,

using public spaces in diverse ways ― for

all citizens alike. Hardly anybody will argue about

that. Likewise, hardly anybody will deny that it is a

complex task, which is not always easy, to further

build this social sustainability of the city step by

step. The democratic principle of a “city for people”

(cf. Gehl 2010) that equally takes account of all needs

means responding to the diversity of the residents,

knowing their housing needs and practices and

leaving or creating sufficient room for their change

and development. We see everywhere that, of

course, there is a difference between reality and

these ideal conditions and that conflicts of interests

arise between the players who shape, and live

in, the city: private owners who wish to achieve

returns; big institutional investors such as insurance

companies and banks which plan over a longer term


Marie Glaser Everything stays different. How we live in a socially sustainable city

1 Referendum of 27 November

2011: By 2050, the share of limited-profit

flats shall be one third of

rental flats in the City of Zurich.

An urgent topical issue is the affordability of housing for large sections of the

population in urban areas. Currently, supply is decreasing on the housing market

of big cities, refurbishments and replacement buildings are implemented, which

results in a continuing, gradual decline in inexpensive

homes. Finding a good, reasonably priced flat

in the city becomes more and more difficult. Social

groups with average to low incomes are particularly

hit by the housing shortage. Low-income groups,

such as senior citizens with low pensions, single parents,

students and large families as well as disadvantaged

groups of foreigners, are hardly able to afford

housing in the city anymore. The soaring real-estate

prices and rents observed in many growing cities,

such as Munich, Zurich and Hamburg, ― set to further

rise in future ― exacerbate social inequality and

segregation between urban quarters. They threaten

and have to generate returns; and cities and towns

as well as limited-profit housing developers which

act over a longer term, are oriented to the common

welfare and forego profits when renting out

dwellings. The smart, future-oriented planning of

housing has to succeed in establishing a long-term

land policy and an active housing policy as well as

in negotiating or decreeing a reconciliation of these

different interests, i.e. (maximum) returns on the one

hand and added value for the common welfare and

affordable housing on the other hand. Cities with

a very tight housing market that have proactively

bought land and engaged in active housing policies

for years in order to make room for all people show

that this is possible. Appropriate strategies include

the further development of expedient planning, legal

and economic instruments aiming at saving space

as well as their practical implementation. Examples

are the right of first refusal for municipalities, the

definition of a minimum percentage of inexpensive

or limited-profit flats, the establishment of zones for

affordable housing (with provisions on the maximum

annual rent per square metre), a value increment tax

upon new zoning or re-zoning, the organisation of

architecture competitions and construction tenders

or the establishment of a city-owned company dedicated

to housing construction.

Most people live in preexisting

buildings — many date

from the 1960s and 1970s

or later. This also means that

most of us live in built conceptions

of life and standardised

housing designs developed

50 years ago.

social networks in neighbourhoods or residential communities that, in part, have

developed over many years. Cities are looking for solutions that are in line with

their context and the applicable legal and economic framework conditions. The

City of Zurich, for example, is making efforts (in accordance with the decision

of Zurich’s voters on a provision on housing policy principles to be included in

the city’s constitution) to raise the share of affordable homes to one third in the

city by 2050 and, in particular, to preserve family flats and flats for the elderly

and to provide ecologically exemplary flats also in the inexpensive segment. 1

Thanks to additional homes built by co-operatives and the municipality itself in

the past few years, living in Zurich has again become

more attractive for families and other lower-income

groups. This is also reflected by a decline in

one-person households since the start of the new

millennium. In Zurich, 45 % of homes are occupied

by single persons and this percentage is decreasing

further. However, this does not mean that a sustainable

solution to the housing shortage problem

is already on the table ― questions related to the

economical use of land, the distribution of housing,

occupation guidelines and floorspace consumption

as well as the necessary sustainable internal development

and densification still have to be clarified

with the involvement of all the stakeholders of the

housing market.

The changes on the housing market reflect major

and dynamic changes of society. Their characteristics

are: globalisation, migration, demographic

change, individualisation and pluralisation of lifestyles,

development of new information and communication

technologies as well as new transport

technologies, increasing mobility requirements and

needs, changed gender relations as well as massive

changes in the world of work. Increased flexibility,

differentiation and pluralisation of society broaden

the options along with the needs for action. These

changes are also mirrored in housing: Our housing

and household forms become more differentiated

and lead to new and diverse housing expectations

and needs. The meaning of “home” changes from

a private retreat to a mixed place of

work and life for manifold uses, such

as leisure (also in periods of unemployment),

learning, work and, still,

social exchange and recreation.

One thing holds true for all of us:

Our personal life and housing

circumstances change much faster

and more frequently today than just

40 years ago. While the traditional

nuclear family still is the prevailing

model among multi-person households

with children, numerous new constellations

have evolved by now, and the share of single parents

and patchwork families is rising. Overall, the percentages

of the three biggest groups of households

have converged: one-person households, multi-person

households with children (families, single

parents and patchwork families) and multi-person

households without children (mostly couples). 2

Although the increase in the number of one-person







Širbegović: Well, if the housing space provided

is very small, it must offer specific qualities. For

example, a SMART flat is not appropriate for a

children’s birthday party. For that, you need a

communal room. The concept of communal spaces

and rooms spanning several plots was developed

and tested in several IBA quarters: Neu Leopoldau,

In der Wiesen Süd and Biotope City. The aim was

not to create the same communal rooms with the

same equipment for each project but rather to offer

complementary facilities that allow for a great

variety of uses and therefore are never left vacant.

Aigner: But this trend to create smaller flats and

narrower spaces should not be sugar-coated, either.

I would it find interesting if the self-management

model were established right from the beginning in

new projects but also in existing municipal or subsidised

housing estates. While this might at first clash

with the bureaucratic-pragmatic structures of public,

centralist housing administration, any strengthening

of tenants’ self-management is worthwhile ―

not only because this type of paid or indirectly paid

commitment to a residential building reinforces

social cohesion among inhabitants.

Širbegović: In Viennese practice, additional players

are usually brought in at this point, such as

neighbourhood management units. But it’s also

important to motivate people to become active

on their own. There is an exciting project of this

kind in Berresgasse: GrätzlGenossenschaft 6 . It was

developed in co-operation with a property developer

according to the concept of social sustainability.

Originally conceived as a top-down idea,

it is ultimately supposed to function as a bottom-up

project. In the end, it is planned that this

GrätzlGenossenschaft should belong to all, irrespective

of background, income or other criteria.

The underlying idea is that the community should

make it easier to get by economically on a dayto-day


Almer: In this context, I would also like to mention

the Sei dabei 7 initiative of MA 17, which promoted

small-scale neighbourhood projects.

6 GrätzlGenossenschaft (www. is

defined as a socially oriented,

commercial service company.

The co-operation of residents

and businesspeople is not only

to render housing affordable

but also wants to make resource

sharing and communal living

part of a cost-efficient way of

life. GrätzlGenossenschaft aims to

remain active in the neighbourhood

in the long term and to offer

economic benefits for members.

Concretely, premises suitable for

communal use (e.g. workshops,

rooms for events, etc.), community

services (e.g. childcare, pet

sitting, car sharing, etc.) and interests

(e.g. spare-time activities)

are to be shared. Cf. contribution

by Robert Korab on page 242.

7 With the campaign Sei Dabei.

Wien für dich — du für Wien,

MA 17 (Integration and Diversity)

promoted projects contributing

to better interpersonal contacts

and harmonious co-existence

in the city.


Kerstin Pluch, Alexandra Adam (f.l.t.r.);

photo: Lukas Gächter

Roundtable Migration, city and housing

Širbegović: On the outset, projects like Sei dabei were very visible; over time,

though, they somehow faded into the background. I think that it is important

to draw attention to such projects and options time and again and to highlight

the possibilities and developments that are underway. But how can we

build a bridge from these isolated projects to housing for all, where quotas

or special projects are no longer needed?

Pointl: I think that impulses ― such as solidarity flats but at a bigger scale ― are

very much needed. There could also be neighbourhood centres that specifically

address individual target groups. I would also like to mention another project

that was developed by a student in co-operation with TU Wien. She drew up

a map of Vienna that shows all points of contact for newcomers, from language

courses to Wohndrehscheibe. She was motivated by a need she herself experienced

when arriving in Vienna and wanted to communicate this. So she developed

the map specifically for this target group, and I do believe that we currently

need these tools and this support because it’s the only way, given the conditions

of the market.

Aigner: I, too, believe that the goal must be housing for all. But there are people

who need help in any society; at best, this takes the form of solidarity flats.

It would be ideal to also integrate this concept into municipal housing estates.

Širbegović: In this connection, I also think that the Housing First initiative is

very promising. It is invisible because it’s normally very important for many

persons who lose their home to avoid being labelled as a client of Housing

First or as the tenant of a solidarity flat. However, I think we need many

more different options in this field and these options still have to be tested.

Almer: Yes, we need this support! Some events, such as the refugee movement

of 2015, which surprised us all, are impossible to anticipate. These events

are dependent on many factors. Therefore we must remain flexible to be able

to respond quickly to situations.

Adam: I think that many migrants have much the same needs as others. No

matter whether we’re talking about refugees or newcomers from Austria or the

EU ― they all need a place to live that is affordable and in good condition. I think

it’s great that Wohndrehscheibe is now moving to Guglgasse where the service

offices of Wohnberatung and Mieterhilfe are likewise located. So everything

will be in one place and clients can find support and advice regarding subsidised,

private and municipal flats. This is a first step to facilitate access.

Anita Aigner; photo: Lukas Gächter

Daniele Karasz is a scientific collaborator

and lecturer at the Department

of Cultural and Social Anthropology

of Vienna University. His research is

concerned with the interdisciplinary

interface of housing, transnational

migration and urban development.

Johannes Pointl is a practicing architect

and urbanist. Together with

Nina Kolowratnik, he initiated the

research project Fluchtraum Österreich.

He implemented independent architecture

projects in Austria and Greece

and contributed to urban development

projects in Germany, Haiti, Ghana

and the USA.

Amila Širbegović is an architect and

urban researcher. She works, researches

and teaches at the interface between

urban planning, migration and space

production. She has been a member of

the team of IBA_Vienna since 2018.

Karasz: While I do agree that assistance is necessary, the long-term objective

must be to abandon this target group orientation. We must move away

from thinking in terms of special (migrant) groups towards questions of access.


Daniele Karasz

Diversity, migration

and neighbourhood

in social housing

This text discusses the significance of migration and diversity for the planning and implementation

of social housing estates in Vienna and, for this purpose, takes the policy

of social sustainability — the fourth pillar of subsidised housing — as its starting point.

Since its introduction in 2009, this aspect has had a decisive impact on Vienna‘s planning

discourse. In the context of the objectives of social sustainability policy, the present

contribution addresses the interplay of diversity, migration and neighbourhood

on the basis of four associative conceptual pairs: diversity and community; plannable

and non-plannable aspects; resident identity and mobility; “real” and “virtual” neighbourhoods.

The discussion of these dialectical pairs highlights the opportunities and

challenges of planning in social housing. These issues are discussed on the basis of the

interplay of diversity and neighbourhood in “intercultural” housing estates situated in

the Nordbahnhof and Monte Laa areas.

Social sustainability and migration. According to the anthropologists Abram

and Weskalnys (2013), the central aspect of every planning process is a promise.

Following this line of thought, architectural planning for whatever project

implies not only the promise of a specific architectural shape and functional arrangement;

rather, it also encompasses the promise of a durable ― as far as this

is possible ― constellation of social relationships. Since 2009, housing construction

projects in Vienna have been trying to formulate the planning of durable

social relationships explicitly by making social sustainability the fourth pillar of

quality in the context of developers’ competitions.

1 This was illustrated by a

discussion conducted in January

2014 during a class taught at the

Department of Cultural and Social

Anthropology at the University

of Vienna. It was organised in

co-operation with Wohnprojekt

Wien, a self-build group

for the Nordbahnhof area, the

association Initiative Gemeinsam

Bauen & Wohnen and a palaver.

Architektur im Radio, a broadcast

of the Radio Orange channel.

In addition to keeping costs low, central goals of social sustainability defined in

2009 included such aspects as high suitability of housing estates for everyday

use, a good social mix, co-determination, the development of a sense of identity

and community as well as the provision of dwellings for increasingly diverse

housing needs by means of flexibly usable flat layouts and common areas (cf.

Gutmann/Huber 2014).

Several of these objectives of sustainability policy were at least implicitly linked to

earlier planning discourses regarding issues of migration and cultural divergence

in social housing. This is also emphasised by the history of “intercultural” housing

projects in Vienna, which anticipated several fourth-pillar goals since the introduction

of developers’ competitions in 1995. Numerous measures taken in “intercultural”

housing projects were thus later adopted in other planning contexts. Finally,

“intercultural” housing was implemented in Vienna on a large scale in 2010 when

social sustainability was defined as the fourth quality pillar. Just in 2010, approximately

1,000 flats were planned in “intercultural” housing developments for the

Nordbahnhof and Mautner-Markhof-Gründe areas (cf. wohnfonds_wien 2011).


Daniele Karasz Diversity, migration and neighbourhood in social housing

Thus the genesis of the fourth pillar of social sustainability

is much more closely linked to migration and

diversity issues than may appear at first glance.

Diversity and community. In the context of developers’

competitions, the policy of social sustainability

defines two key planning objectives of an at least

potentially conflicting nature: a good social mix

and a sense of community. Although a high degree

of diversity is aimed for, residents are expected to

develop a common, shared identity as inhabitants of

one housing estate.

Plannable and non-plannable aspects. The difficulty

of avoiding intensified culturalisation or ethnicisation

of planning approaches results inter alia from the

fact that, in recent years, migration issues and debates

on cultural differences have strongly

influenced the political discourse.

Thus a long-term study conducted

for the Monte Laa area has shown

that these discourses can indeed

negatively affect residents’ co-existence

and social relationships in

neighbourhoods (cf. Karasz 2018b).

In the context of developers’ competitions,

the policy of social sustainability

defines two key planning objectives

of an at least potentially conflicting

nature: a good social mix and a sense

of community.

The challenges inherent in this twofold goal are

most clearly illustrated by the example of self-build

groups in subsidised housing. They embody, as it

were, the planning ideals of participation, communal

living and identification with the housing development.

At the same time, many self-build groups present

practically no social permeability. As a result,

self-build groups have been under pressure for years

to permit a deeper social mix without abandoning

their principles of participation. 1

This is important not least because of a tendency

in the political discourse to ethnicise poverty.

This overlap is also reflected in the planning discourse,

e.g. in the case of “intercultural” housing

estates. Thus the categories “low household income”

and “migrant” were repeatedly equated in planning

“intercultural” housing estates for Vienna’s Nordbahnhof

area in 2010 (cf. Karasz 2018a). This overlap

can also be applied as an implicit assumption

to social sustainability planning for other, not

explicitly “intercultural” subsidised housing


However, the equation of “poor” and

“migrant” also harbours an opportunity

for housing construction in Vienna. Even

if economic criteria and cultural aspects

are implicitly superimposed upon one

other, household income is still the fundamental

category for flat planning and

allocation. Contrary to housing traditions

in other countries, e.g. multicultural housing in

the Netherlands (cf. Van der Horst/Ouwehand

2012) or Canada (cf. Quadeer 2009), fixed income

thresholds remain prerequisites for flat allocation

in Vienna. The opportunity and task of urban planning

lie precisely in preserving these economic

parameters as the dominant criterion in Vienna’s

housing sector.

Over the past 18 years, approximately 3,150 housing units were built in the

Monte Laa area. Two housing research projects were conducted in this neighbourhood,

one in 2011 (cf. Karasz et al. 2011) and one in 2018 (cf. Karasz 2018b).

The key focus of both research projects was on interviews with over 40 inhabitants

regarding their residential biographies. About half of these individuals were

interviewed in both 2011 and 2018.

A comparison of the interviews highlighted clearly that certain community-fostering

measures for neighbourhoods can indeed attain the set goals. This is particularly

true of projects that addressed the relationship of the new Monte Laa

neighbourhood with its urban environment. Among the efforts undertaken by

the City of Vienna, the work of the local Gebietsbetreuung Stadterneuerung (Area

Management and Urban Renewal Office) deserves special mention in this context.

Despite this, however, the perception of the wider residential environment

changed for the worse between 2011 and 2018 according to Monte Laa respondents

(cf. Karasz 2018b). Contrary to 2011, the 2018 interviews were dominated

by a differentiation between “Muslim” and “non-Muslim” neighbourhoods.

Strikingly, above all the historically grown Inner-Favoriten neighbourhood was

experienced as threatening, “alien” and “Muslim” by many Monte Laa inhabitants

in 2018.

As a consequence of this change in

perception, everyday mobility routines

of some inhabitants changed

as well. In 2018, contrary to seven

years before, some individuals no

longer used public transport for the

same trips, but rather their cars.

Others now did their shopping in

other, more distant parts of the city,

sometimes even in the environs of

Vienna. Many interviews show unequivocally that this change in the way respondents

experienced the wider residential environment was strongly influenced by

media reports, in particular since the so-called “refugee crisis” of 2015.

Among other objectives, planning for

Vienna’s social housing sector aims at

creating long-term identification of

inhabitants with their residential quarter

as well as long-term, durable and

active resident communities.

Therefore the long-term study of the Monte Laa neighbourhood shows that,

despite successful planning efforts aimed at fostering a sense of community and

shared identification, tensions among residents along culturally coded demarcations

have increased between 2011 and 2018. This development must also


Bernadette Luger, Victoria Mlango (UIV)

How European cities

implement housing



+14 %


+11 %

In many countries, many cities are faced with major

housing policy challenges: Affordable dwellings are

increasingly scarce while municipal housing stocks

are dwindling. Housing thus becomes an area of

social conflict that exerts a strong

influence on social peace and urban

quality of life. Vienna is facing these

challenges and, through IBA_Vienna,

places a focus on the innovative further

development of social housing.

This contribution juxtaposes the

approaches adopted by six European

cities ― Amsterdam, Berlin, Cologne,

Munich, Paris and Prague ― in dealing

with five overarching thematic areas. It does not

attempt to offer a complete analysis of the overall

strategies employed by the individual cities in their

respective contexts; rather, the aim lies in presenting

a profile of European approaches to housing

policy actions, with similar problems being faced

under somewhat diverse conditions.

How do other European metropolises

deal with the tight situation on the

housing market? Which solutions are

proposed in the field of housing policy?

Which instruments are employed to

meet challenges and the growing demand

for affordable housing?

Paris Ile-de-France

+5 %


+13 %


+9 %


+13% %


+5 %


+0.4 %




+5 %

Population growth over the past 10 years; source:

Amsterdam: data from 2009 and 2019, City of Amsterdam,

Department for Research, Information & Statistics;

Berlin: data from 2009 and 2018, AfS, population register;

Cologne: data from 2008 and 2018, Stadt Köln — Amt

für Stadtentwicklung und Statistik — Statistisches

Informationssystem; Munich: data from 2009 and 2018,

Landeshauptstadt München, Statistisches Amt München;

Paris: data from 2006 and 2016, Paris censuses; Prague:

data from 2009 and 2018, Czech Statistical Office; Vienna:

data from 2009 and 2019, Statistics Austria.


Bernadette Luger, Victoria Mlango (UIV) How European cities implement housing policies

Price policies. What is the price of housing?

Housing costs are currently discussed in many

European cities as a result of dramatically increasing

rents. The situation is worsening above all in

urban agglomerations: Too few affordable flats are

available for too many flat seekers. At the same

time, housing is becoming an established investment

product. Due to low-interest policies and cheap

loans, investors tend to favour real-estate projects.

The rising demand for investment flats further curtails

the available range of affordable

dwellings. In particular, persons

with lower incomes find themselves

in precarious economic conditions

due to the lack of financially accessible

flats. The scarcity of affordable

housing leads to spatial displacement

and social exclusion.

In October 2019, the Berlin Senate

adopted a rent cap for 1.5 million

rental flats in Berlin. This rent cap

excludes publicly subsidised flats,

so-called “social flats”, rent-controlled

flats and new flats built in 2014 or later. The

tenants’ income has no impact on the rent cap.

The rents reflect the rent index of 2013: Depending

on the appointments and age of the building, the

maximum base net rent must be between € 3.92 and

€ 9.80 per square metre. The location of the dwelling

influences possible surcharges or discounts. If the

admissible rent ceilings are not exceeded, rents may

increase by an annual inflation adjustment of 1.3%

starting from 2022. In the event that energy-saving

modernisation measures or refurbishments for

barrier-free design are carried out, rents may be

increased by not more than € 1 per square metre.

Starting nine months after this law becomes effective,

rent reductions may be applied for. If a rent is

higher than 120% of the rent table, it

is capped at the admissible maximum ceiling.

The Paris region (Île-de-France) principally benefits

from a strong social housing sector: 1.3 million flats ―

one fourth of all housing units in the city and the

surrounding region ― are social dwellings. Despite

this, demand exceeds the stock of available affordable

housing. Supply and demand seem to drift

apart: While 70% of the persons eligible are entitled

to the highest benefit class, only about 31% of the

flats correspond to this category. Since 2000, realestate

prices have tripled in Paris; the gap between

housing costs and household incomes is steadily

How can rent hikes

be slowed down?

Can price policies

resolve the housing

shortage problem?

How many social

dwellings are needed?

And who are the


widening. As little as 30 years ago, persons eligible for social housing lived in

such flats for roughly eight years on an average; by 2013, occupancy duration

had risen to 14.5 years. The social housing sector of Paris is based on the expectation

that occupancy will be limited in time ― but the change in residential

mobility is slowing down the reallocation of flats. As per the end of 2018, approximately

720,000 households were in line for affordable dwellings.

With the collapse of communism, Prague, like most of the neighbouring countries,

sold off a large share of its municipal flats to private individuals in the

1990s. The remaining stock of social flats is distributed quite unevenly across the

municipal territory. In the various districts of the city, housing

was privatised to varying degrees. Today the share of social

housing in the overall rental housing market is slightly below

16%. Therefore, 84% of flats are rented out at market prices without

rent caps. At the same time, the construction of new social

housing decreased dramatically in recent decades. Between 2009

and 2018, out of a total of 52,183 newly constructed flats, only

472 were built with housing subsidies. The share of subsidised

housing in the total housing construction volume is thus less

than 0.9%. After years of stagnation, however, Prague’s housing

policy is currently characterised by a turnaround: The privatisation

boom is being halted; at the same time, it is planned to

build new social dwellings. Contrary to other European cities,

subsidised housing in Prague is exclusively developed by the

municipality and not by limited-profit housing associations. This housing push

is funded via the Affordable Housing Development Fund, which was created with

revenue from earlier privatisations. According to estimates by the Prague Institute

of Planning and Development, an amount of roughly CZK 2 billion 1 has been

earmarked for the construction of affordable housing.

In Vienna, annual housing subsidies amount to approximately

€ 650 million. The city therefore invests

as much as 5% of its overall budget in affordable

housing. Social housing in Vienna is not exclusively

reserved for low-income population groups,

as Vienna has traditionally sought to make social

housing accessible for broad strata of its residents.

The income thresholds are designed to ensure that

around 75% of all Viennese are eligible. In all, Vienna

has roughly 220,000 municipal flats distributed

across the city as well as approximately 200,000

housing units with open-ended social rents built by

limited-profit housing associations. The high share

of subsidised dwellings exerts a price-dampening

effect on the segment of privately financed rental

apartments as well.

Urban Innovation Vienna (UIV)

is the competence centre for

future urban issues in Vienna.

The core task of Urban Innovation

Vienna lies in developing innovative

strategies in co-operation

with decision-makers from

politics, administration, economy

and research in order to

successfully address the diverse

and complex challenges facing

modern cities today.

1 This corresponds to slightly

under € 78 million (as per

December 2019).


International perspectives

Land mobilisation and urban infrastructure. The key to affordable housing?

Increasingly tight land resources in rapidly growing cities cause land

prices to balloon. Yet land purchased at acceptable financial conditions is a

prerequisite of affordable housing. This is exacerbated by another problem: Urban

development needs municipal resources for the construction of technical,

social and green infrastructures.

What possibilities do cities have to

mobilise suitable land resources?

How can investors be made to participate

in infrastructure costs?


Who belongs to the target

group or is eligible for subsidised

housing in Amsterdam?

In Amsterdam, social housing is

allocated according to income

levels: 80% of social flats are given

to tenants with a household

income of up to € 39,055 (gross)

per year, while 10% are destined

for tenants with a household

income of up to € 43,574 (gross)

per year. The rest is allocated

to inhabitants whose income

is above these thresholds, with

priority given to households

with special needs (e.g. large


The Municipality of Cologne finds

itself in the privileged position of

owning about one third of the real

estate in the city. Only the churches

boast a comparably large stock of

properties. While the municipally

owned land is predominantly located

in nature reserves, protected landscape areas

and extensive parts of the Cologne Forest, it is still

true that the awarding of municipally owned plots

as building land to property developers may be tied

to certain conditions. In this way, the construction

industry is involved in the attainment of policy goals

for urban development. If the plots are sold, the

revenue generated adds for a while to the municipal

budget. At the moment, a growing number of unused

and vacant municipal properties are sold in Cologne.

These sales permit the development of urgently

needed housing projects. If plots are not sold but

only awarded under leasehold law (Erbbaurecht in

Germany) 2 , the municipality obtains a more longterm

possibility of exercising control. After expiry of

the agreed period of use, for example, the plot may

be awarded anew and under different conditions.

This preserves the public sector’s leeway for action.

In 2016, Cologne introduced concept tendering

procedures as an instrument for awarding projects.

Under this procedure, properties are sold to the

applicants with the “best” project ideas, not to the

highest bidders. The assessment of the concepts

submitted reflects the objectives of the municipality,

Average household size; source:

Amsterdam: City of Amsterdam,

Department for Research, Information

& Statistics; Berlin: Amt für Statistik,

Berlin Brandenburg, Mikrozensus 2018;

Cologne: Stadt Köln, Amt für Stadtentwicklung

und Statistik — Statistisches

Informationssystem; Munich: Landeshauptstadt

München, Statistisches Amt

München; Paris: Paris censuses; Prague:

Czech Statistical Office (EU-SILC); Vienna:

Statistics Austria.




which include affordable housing, sustainable energy

concepts and a good social mix in urban quarters.

A question currently discussed in Cologne concerns

the most efficient application of concept tendering

procedures in the context of leasehold law.

To protect the available plots in the city against

land speculation, Munich, too, has been conducting

concept tendering procedures since 2010. According

to this principle, plots are no longer sold to the

bidder offering the highest price, but rather awarded

to the one with the best concept in combination

with a fixed price (cf. Landeshauptstadt München

2017). Plots in the city are principally available to

applicants under leasehold law; their sale will be

possible only in exceptional cases (e.g. München

Modell Eigentum 3 ). Since the 1990s, Munich has been

faced with the challenging problem of losing social

housing because of the expiry of time limits. While

sufficient land was still available for the construction

of new affordable dwellings in the early 1990s,

the municipal budget was unable to provide the

necessary infrastructures. The rules of socially

equitable land use (Sozialgerechte Bodennutzung,

SoBoN) introduced 25 years ago are based on the

principle of having the beneficiaries of municipal

land use planning participate in the costs and burdens

triggered by such plans. This permits claiming

two thirds of the gross land value increase of plots

newly designated as building land. SoBoN is used for

all development plans that entail investment costs

for the City of Munich and also trigger a significant

value appreciation of plots owned by the beneficiaries

of these plans.

With the Runder Tisch Liegenschaftspolitik (Roundtable

on Real Property Policy) set up in 2012, Berlin

created a discussion forum to address and delib-
















Paris, inner city




Bernadette Luger, Victoria Mlango (UIV) How European cities implement housing policies

erate on various aspects of real-estate policy. This instrument takes the form

of a multi-tiered discussion process organised and moderated by Initiative

Stadt Neudenken. It is the objective of this roundtable to involve civil society

in a process for the re-orientation of real-estate policy. In close co-operation

with politics and administration, civil society representatives work together with

experts in workshops (cf. Runder Tisch Liegenschaftspolitik 2017) to formulate

concrete approaches for tackling issues like concept tendering procedures or

leasehold law. In 2013, the roundtable submitted a list of demands (cf. Runder

Tisch Liegenschaftspolitik 2013) to the political parties represented in the Berlin

House of Representatives. This document demands a radical turnaround in Berlin’s

real-estate policy: Whenever a publicly owned property will be up for sale in the

future, the award should be contingent on whether the project will comply with

the goals of urban development policy ― not on the highest price to be achieved.

In addition to discussion formats, Berlin also implements concrete measures. In

2014, the Berlin model of co-operative building land development (cf. Senatsverwaltung

für Stadtentwicklung und Wohnen 2018) was introduced as an instrument

for cost sharing. For construction projects with more than 5,000 square

metres of housing floorspace that necessitate the preparation or modification

of a land use plan, property developers now must pay a proportionate share in

the cost of infrastructure creation and land transfers, also for social facilities and

parks. The extent of this cost sharing depends on the dimensions of the construction

project and the specific requirements imposed by the individual plot.

The increase in land value due to the project is likewise included in the assessment

of the appropriateness and extent of cost sharing. Property developers may

either pay a certain amount to assume part of the cost or, optionally, implement

the respective construction work on their own. The preparation of the land use

plan is tied to the conclusion of an urban development contract that bindingly

enshrines the obligations of property developers vis-à-vis the City of Berlin.

As in Berlin, the instrument of urban development contracts was introduced in

Vienna with the 2014 amendment to the Building Code for Vienna. This permits

the conclusion of agreements under private law between the City of Vienna and

property owners. With this instrument, it is now possible to make the owners

of plots participate in the infrastructure costs resulting from building land

development as well as in the implementation of the planning goals specified

in the Building Code for Vienna. While this instrument is applied systematically

for all land reclassifications corresponding to certain criteria in Berlin, Vienna

has so far concluded urban development contracts for a few large-scale projects

only. In Vienna, it is not the objective of urban development contracts to merely

absorb the profits of land reclassification, as happens in Munich with SoBoN.

This type of value appreciation is regulated in Austria at the federal level by the

real-estate profit tax (cf. Wiegand 2018).


Who belongs to the target group or is eligible for subsidised housing

in Munich? According to the München Modell, the income threshold for a

single-person household to be eligible for publicly subsidised housing

is € 38,700 (gross) per year. In accordance with this regulation, between

50% and 60% of Munich households are entitled to a subsidised flat. To

preserve social balance in the city and safeguard the “Munich mix” in

the long run, Munich pursues a great variety of subsidisation concepts:

For example, the so-called Konzeptioneller Mietwohnungsbau (rental

housing construction concept, KMB) reflects group-specific characteristics

instead of income thresholds.

2 This legal concept is called

Baurecht in Austria.

3 München Modell Eigentum offers

mainly family-friendly freehold flats,

sometimes also terraced houses. The

City of Munich supports the purchase

of real estate additionally with a child

benefit amounting to € 10,000 per

child. The properties are offered by

developers or can also be erected by

homebuilders on their own in the

context of a co-building group (cf.

Landeshauptstadt München 2019).

With the 2018 amendment to its Building Code,

Vienna introduced the “subsidised housing” zoning

category. If densities are increased in residential or

mixed-purpose development zones or if mixed-purpose

development zones are reclassified, two thirds

of the usable floorspace must normally be set aside

for affordable subsidised housing. Land and realestate

speculation is curbed by capping the price

of land as well as by a entering a ban on the sale of

such dwellings in the land register.



Smarter Together

Karin Zauner-Lohmeyer

Fighting for affordable

housing Europe-wide

Housing shortage, rising rents, escalating

real-estate speculation: Why the European

citizens’ initiative Housing for All 1 is needed

more than ever.

At first glance, the wording of the legal provisions is

crystal clear: Everyone has the right to housing.

Or, in greater detail: “Everyone has the right to

a standard of living adequate for the health and

well-being of himself and of his family, including

food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary

social services, and the right to security in

the event of unemployment, sickness,

disability, widowhood, old age

or other lack of livelihood in circumstances

beyond his control.” In

1948 this fundamental minimum

consensus of the international community

was defined in the Universal

Declaration of Human Rights ― specifically

in Article 25 (1).

Nothing more, as this right is not legally enforceable. Not least

for this reason, the European Union (still called the European

Community then) adopted the European Social Charter in 1996. It was only

15 years later that Austria ratified this Charter and thus transposed it into national

law. But: Austria insisted on exceptions and registered derogations

from Article 30 (right to protection against poverty) and Article 31 (right to

housing) of the Charter even though the Charter is nothing more but a declaration

of intent that does not create any basis for legally enforcing a substantive

right individually (as would be possible under an EU directive or regulation).

Thus, those two articles are not in effect in Austria, unlike in other countries

such as Finland, France, Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden and Italy, to name

just a few.

From regulations to reality. From Lisbon to Stockholm, from London to Budapest:

Housing has meanwhile become unaffordable for many people in Europe’s

metropolises. The shortage of affordable housing is dramatic. Germany alone

lacks around 1.9 million affordable dwellings according to a study of the Hans

Böckler Foundation (cf. Holm et al. 2018). Moreover, more than 700,000 flats have

been privatised since 1997 (cf. Voigtländer 2007) ― inexpensive housing that is

dearly missing in the cities. If you take into account the privatisation of flats

owned by the federal government or the federal states and of dwellings from the

building stocks of real-estate enterprises previously owned by federal authorities,

the number is even significantly higher.

They are forced to leave the cities because

they cannot afford to live there anymore

and have to put up with long commutes

to their workplaces. Around 82 million

Europeans are already overburdened by

housing costs or have to live in intolerable

housing conditions harmful to health

1 By signing the petition at,

you demand better EU legislation in order to enable

the creation of more affordable, municipal and limited-

profit housing. This includes:

1. Easier access for all to subsidised housing,

2. Not applying the Maastricht criteria to public

investment in affordable and social housing,

3. Better access to EU funding for municipal and

limited-profit housing developers,

4. Social and competition-based rules for short-

term rentals via online platforms,

5. The compilation of statistics on housing needs in

Europe at a local level.

The goal is to gather more than one million signatures

by 18 March 2020. If the ECI is successful, the European

Commission has to address the issues raised and

the organisers may present their demands in the European



International perspectives

Hofer: In Zurich, co-operatives only replace estates

by new buildings if the new flats accommodate

significantly more people. As newly built flats, also

those constructed by socially oriented developers,

are considerably larger than the minimal flats dating

from the 1940s and 1950s, this adds to the pressure

for significant re-densification. Besides, economic

factors demand larger buildings. With three storeys

and 15 flats, a construction project cannot be carried

out at affordable prices.

Simon-Philipp: We need more innovation and the

courage to implement something new, for example,

with regard to parking: We need new solutions and

successful models so that people see what high quality

can look like. Here, I have high expectations of

IBA. This exhibition can be a driver of new ideas and

developments. To achieve that, it also needs the willingness

for change among people. Maybe this can be

brought about more easily by an iterative approach

as, for example, in Heilbronn or Mannheim.

Schiller: What about more rural areas of the Stuttgart

region? Can urbanity emerge there, too?

Simon-Philipp: Good examples are Freiberg am

Neckar, which wishes to develop a new urban quarter

on a covered motorway, as well as Flandernhöhe

in Esslingen, where a dense transformation project

with mixed uses is to be created.

Hofer: In many places, the “rural” image is actually

not true for the region. When there is a textile factory

that used to employ 4,000 workers next to the

idyllic village centre, we could also let ourselves be

inspired by those structures. Indeed, I know that

the discourse on density is up against even bigger

mental resistance in the countryside than in urban

areas. It takes time to overcome it ― time that IBA

does not have, given its clear end point in 2027.

Thus, it is necessary to find places where exemplary

models can be developed. With its long-lasting

impact, Weißenhof is a good example.

Schiller: Which roles do the strong industrial

enterprises of the Stuttgart region play with

regard to housing construction?

Simon-Philipp: I cannot imagine that classic company

flats might still be built today. However, models

are conceivable in which, for example, a certain

share of company profits is used to fund housing


Schiller: Would it be conceivable to build a

company housing estate on the roof of a factory?

Building the city on industrial premises?

Simon-Philipp: Yes, that’s more like it. You would

have to study how many flats could be built on “residual

areas” ― on parking lots, single-storey commercial

buildings, etc. ― probably twice as many as

before, without any loss in quality, even at a profit.

Gebler: We increasingly co-operate with local social

institutions, such as nursing facilities: Currently,

employees of these very important facilities are

hardly able to find a home in Stuttgart. By renting

out co-operative flats, we create good conditions for

sustainably ensuring the provision of outpatient care

services to our residents. Thus, we will be able to

implement reliable 24-hour provision of outpatient

care services in Stuttgart-Rot by 2025. Moreover,

these people are very much in line with the tenant

mix we try to achieve. In parallel, we develop new

models of housing and living together that correspond

to changed demand patterns, e.g. cluster

housing, a few shared flats for people with disabilities

or interim dwellings for students.

Simon-Philipp: Any kind of interlinkage of industry

and service sector with housing, funding of new

housing models or even temporary forms of accommodation

is very interesting, I believe. However, in

this regard, you have to think of quarters with stable

neighbourhoods ― these are not created by

a boarding house.

Hofer: In large-scale projects in Zurich, co-operatives

work with a whole network of partners from

the social sector, which rent individual flats in the

buildings. They include foundations for housing

students, sheltered housing for people with special

needs and flats for refugee families; even a children’s

home rented two large flats for residential groups

to create an additional living option apart from the

traditional infrastructure of homes. Transferred to

the Stuttgart region and the issue of company flats,

I can very well imagine such models: A company

perhaps makes available land or takes a stake in a

housing developer oriented towards the common

good and, in return, receives a quota of flats for its

employees. Again, the dimension of the project is

certainly important. A mix with other user groups

must be possible. A purely company-owned housing

estate is outdated and socially problematic given

today’s dynamic employment relations.

Ostfildern Scharnhauser

Park; photo: Nils Schubert


IBA 2027 StadtRegion Stuttgart A metropolitan region reinvents itself

Schiller: What should IBA 2027 contribute to

the discourse on housing?

Simon-Philipp: The International Building Exhibition

of the Stuttgart region should find an answer to

the question of how metropolitan regions can create

good, innovative and, at the same time, affordable

housing. In comparison with Paris or London,

housing is still less expensive here. How can

we maintain it that way ― also in close interaction

with mobility? IBA can make a contribution to

urban complexity.

Gebler: I would like our quarters to transform towards social communities which

do not exclude but rather are inclusive ― exploiting strengths and showing new

housing diversity together with existing models. I’d like to imagine that we can

develop strong quarters by combining old and new utilisation types ― with all social

groups and with a mix that strengthens neighbourly relations and help for

self-help. IBA should demonstrate that this transformation process can succeed.

Hofer: We want to spark off enthusiasm through IBA, in spite of the many obstacles

that we may face on the way. It is necessary to bring together the frequently

opposing economic, partly abstract interests of private investors, municipalities

and all the parties involved in housing construction.


New buildings on

known potential

development sites

55 %

Changed use of existing

buildings, mobilisation and


10 %

Further development

of building stock

27 %

Land previously not

designated for building

8 %

Vienna in total

+0.7 %

Provision of housing

in Vienna, 2014

to 2025; source:

Department of Urban

Development and

Planning of the City of





0 %

1 %

2 %

3 %

Population growth

2019 in Vienna by

district; source: City

of Vienna

Contributions by Massimo Bricocoli,

Silvia Forlati, Uli Hellweg,

Peter Hinterkörner, Robert Korab.

Marcus Menzl and Claudia Nutz

Housing must not be seen in isolation but has to be embedded

in a larger framework. To implement inclusive, mixed-use and

vibrant quarters, the City of Vienna gives high priority to crossplot

perspectives and the early involvement of stakeholders

— from the district to the developer and on to the residents.

Developers are increasingly faced with a broadening field of

tasks — they turn from housing into quarter developers. Which

know-how and which processes are already available for these

tasks or do they still have to be developed? What can the

quarter provide? Which role do bottom-up initiatives launched

by residents play in the development of a quarter? How do

buildings become a neighbourhood and how do quarters

become a city? Quarters






Annual passes


Introduction of the

€ 365 annual pass for

all public transport

lines throughout




Gültig seit


Number of annual

passes since 2011;

source: Wiener Linien

Hofstetter: During the overall development of IBA_Vienna “New Social

Housing”, it has become increasingly clear that, contrary to past IBAs,

we are moving from individual projects to the development of entire

urban quarters. In the light of the overarching theme New Social Housing,

it would also make little sense to merely look at individual projects.

Although the effect and appeal of a good many of these projects go beyond

the local sphere, we must above all focus on what these buildings

can and should do for the surrounding neighbourhoods.

Vienna is currently celebrating the 100 th anniversary of

municipal housing. If we look back at the fundamentally

mixed city of a century ago, with all its pros and cons, that

has undergone radical changes over time — such as total

functional separation, the Athens Charter or motorised

private transport, all of which have broken up these mixed

structures — and now return to the idea of a mixed city with

vibrant urban quarters, it is important to think about how

we should evolve into the future and what objectives and

processes we should choose for this purpose.

1 Gleis 21 is a self-build project

completed in 2019 in the new

Sonnwendviertel. It was planned

as a mixed-use Quartiershaus,

also with the objective of generating

impulses for other new

social quarters. The project is

based on the three fundamental

tenets “living in solidarity”, “enjoying

life the smart way” and

“shaping the neighbourhood

through media” and is part of

the IBA Candidate Quartiershäuser



Urban quarter


Michael Kerbler, you represent the Gleis 21 1 selfbuild

group, whose guests we are today. Could

you tell us a little bit about Gleis 21 and the way

it positions itself within the Sonnwendviertel:

What contribution is made by your project ―

in whose planning you were engaged and

where you are living ― towards neighbourhood

development? What are the characteristics of

successful urban quarter development?

Hofstetter: How did you address the rather

rigorous requirements that have to be met by

the Quartiershäuser right from the planning

phase? Which difficulties did you encounter?

Kerbler: Based on our proposals for ground-floor

use, we obtained a purchase option for this plot.

If we had known how hard it is to create an ― also

economically ― functioning situation, we, too,

would probably have accommodated flats with tiny

gardens at ground-floor level, precisely like several

other projects in the area. It’s a bit like running a

marathon with a very heavy backpack. As long as the

urban quarter has not been completed, it is terribly

difficult to find users and tenants for this sort

of premises. The first question any interested party

will ask you after “Hi, how are you?” is “What’s the

customer frequency in this area?” We have created

Discussion with Michael Kerbler,

Robert Korab, Senka Nikolic,

Claudia Nutz, Cornelia Schindler

and Sarah Zeller; moderation:

Kurt Hofstetter

Kerbler: You mentioned the 100 th anniversary of Vienna’s municipal housing

programme. With our collectively developed concept, we do not view ourselves

as something along the lines of a municipal housing estate, but rather as a

community-based housing project. Over the past century of change, society has

come full circle ― from municipal housing estates, which definitely also present

small-village structures, to individualisation and isolation (if understood in

the negative sense) back to living in a collective or community-based, and also

multigenerational, style. The problems that arise in a city can only be resolved

through common efforts. How can Gleis 21 act as a catalyst? With the groundfloor

zone of our project, we want to contribute by offering a place for dialogue,

an agora or encounter zone that is, however, created through the participation

of the people living in this area ― the neighbourhood, the quarter, the district.


Roundtable Urban quarter development

2 The Sargfabrik project was

completed in 1996 on premises

formerly occupied — as the name

says — by a coffin factory in the

14 th municipal district of Vienna.

It is Austria’s biggest selfadministered

housing and

cultural project. Miss-Sargfabrik

was built in 2000 nearby as an

extension of this housing project.

Cornelia Schindler, Claudia Nutz,

Robert Korab, Senka Nikolic,

Michael Kerbler, Sarah Zeller, Kurt

Hofstetter, Kerstin Pluch (f.l.t.r.);

photo: Lukas Gächter

a financial buffer to be able to sit out the vacancy

periods. Without that, it could easily become an

economic burden.

Hofstetter: Robert Korab, how did you deal

with this issue when your group developed

the Sargfabrik 2 ?

Korab: We started out with the Sargfabrik as a project

run by enthusiastic amateurs and it took us several

years until we graduated from amateur status to a

professionally managed operation geared towards the

common good and public benefit. We only financially

survived this first stage with great effort. It is already

quite a success if you manage to break even, given

the very high demands regarding the expected effects

for the surrounding neighbourhood and district. For

example, this would be impossible without subsidies

for cultural facilities and events. It is very important

to clarify how an urban quarter can be rendered

vibrant and alive at affordable cost for today and tomorrow,

and I think that this can only be done if the

project is also economically viable. Civic involvement

alone is not enough. In my mind, a crucial question is:

Who is responsible for urban quarter development?

Kerbler: Legal issues ― such as the Landlord and

Tenant Act and the Condominium Ownership Act ―

come into play, too. The basic prerequisite for other

projects of this kind as well as for the possibility

to build urban quarters for the future is contingent

on the City Administration providing clearcut and

legally sound protection for such projects.

Nutz: If you look at the development of large-scale

new quarters in the past, a relatively fixed pattern

emerges over the decades: There is an urban development

plan, which ― especially in recent decades —

has a very strong spatial orientation, but always

embodies a thematic mission as well. Basically, it is

one big picture.

But then this picture is treated like a puzzle ― the

big picture is broken up into pieces, and everyone

is given one piece and told, “Fine, now you go and

assemble the jigsaw”, expecting that this will result

in the same overall picture as before. However, it’s

more like Rubik’s Cube ― if you move something

on one side, something else will be displaced on the

other side. This complexity exists, and the question

is how to deal with it. It is interesting to compare


3 From 2017 to 2019, the Nordbahn-Halle, a former warehouse at the

heart of the new urban quarter Nordbahnhof Wien, was activated by

the R&D project Mischung: Nordbahnhof as an impulse-generating lab

for co-working and co-making, which yielded significant results.

What is needed? Instead of monofunctionality, combinations of different

“spatial modules” are explored and individually combined —

even on a tiny scale — within the functional category “work”: storage

space and office workplace and — why not? — the option to set up a

mini workshop.

Collectively usable infrastructure assumes a key complementary role

in this context, with meeting rooms, kitchens, showrooms, retail or

multifunctional spaces (for events, exhibitions…) added temporarily

as needed.

This differentiation is reflected in the modalities of unit use. The

possibility to share premises creates vital scope for variation: Spatial

modules can be shared or used exclusively by individual one-person

enterprises. Differentiated time patterns resulting from part-time work,

the combination with care work, etc., characterise the use of these

spaces. Since not all users are present all the time, even units as small

as 20 square metres can offer sufficient room for three workplaces.

For both cubicle and open-plan structures, this allows for a density of

use that can render the cost of one workplace even more affordable;

photo: Markus Fattinger

Integration of co-operative organisational

forms of non-residential use and demand clustering

by means of hybrid networks. For many

low-revenue one-person enterprises and non-profit

initiatives, the possibility of using bigger and smaller

commercial areas co-operatively and sharing the

costs is the only opportunity to afford a workplace

outside home. These players are not only looking

for space, but also for a community. Regular contact

with other likeminded individuals is ultimately a key

motivation to shift the workplace from home, which

would be the cheapest solution.

4 Raumteiler online service. In the

context of the research and development

project Mischung: Nordbahnhof,

the imGrä platform developed

Raumteiler, an online service that

supports above all one-person

enterprises in their search for suitable

premises. Persons who dispose of

vacant space and individuals looking

for and willing to share commercial

spaces with others are networked

online and can set up “commercial

space shares”. The success of this tool

shows clearly that there is a generally

neglected demand for networking

in this field.

In practice, demand clustering depends on individuals’ initiative and willingness

to take risks by acting as the main tenant of a unit and assuming the vacancy

risk. In the model of professional space ventures (berufliche Raumunternehmen)

(cf. Buttenberg et al. 2014, Kerekes 2018), administration and co-ordination input

is rewarded according to the intensity of clustering. The professionalisation

of co-operative workspaces only makes sense with a certain minimum number

of workplaces, which requires a minimum area of roughly 500 square metres

(according to the Viennese experience). By dividing spaces, self-organisation

allows “small” users to enjoy access to and afford even quite small-scale premises.

Adequate communication structures and instruments are called for

to co-ordinate and network spaces of less than 500 square meters with smallscale

space demand. 4

Development of affordable rental models also for commercially used

spaces. Space-sharing models are one possibility of reducing costs for individuals.

However, they presuppose manageable total rents and affordable financing of

the investment costs for interior fittings. In new buildings, this constitutes a particular

challenge. For this purpose, two cross-financing models were tested in

recent years in Vienna: vertical cross-financing in one building, where commercially

used spaces are financed by more expensive upper-storey flats (mixed-use

Quartiershäuser in the Sonnwendviertel neighbourhood), or horizontal crossfinancing

by means of centralised ground-floor management (aspern Seestadt

and Nordbahnhof ― second phase). However, these models are isolated cases.

Affordability remains a major challenge. Financing and subsidisation instruments

are needed to ensure affordability for these target groups.

Co-ordinated time management and process control. Small-scale units (or

the possibility to create them) must be pre-planned for projects at a very early

date and in fact increase construction costs (more units require more extensive

building utilities, etc.). Property developers wish to know months ― if not years ―

in advance for whom they plan and build commercial premises, with all terms

and conditions agreed beforehand by contract. For one-person and micro-enterprises,

however, long-term planning is difficult and has little to do with the life

situation of these target groups. Planning security is non-existent because end

users are not yet known during the planning phase, and planners and developers


Silvia Forlati Mix it! Ingredients for mixed-use structures in new urban quarters

cannot define spatial requirements in advance ― also due to a lack of prior research

and practical experience. The pilot run of Mix it! 5 in the context of the R&D

project Mischung: Nordbahnhof has shown that suitable communication definitely

permits early project involvement of parties interested in this form of use.

Still, elevated communication and assistance needs are to be expected anyway.

From the developers’ perspective, this type of small-scale demand is not sufficiently

structured, despite its potential profitability resulting from intense use.

Renting space to several “small” lessees, as compared to “big” single lessees, is

viewed as a vacancy risk. The potential of collective rental is not understood:

While experience has shown that some “small” lessees will indeed back out of

a lease, it is relatively easy to find replacements, given the small size of units.

Conversely, it is much more difficult to find new lessees willing to rent largescale

commercial premises. The challenge lies both in creating suitable administrative

structures for small-scale rental and adopting a different perspective

when assessing vacancy risks.

Creation of incentives and bottom-linked instruments to strengthen

individual initiatives. The added value of these forms of use lies in an overarch -

ing perspective. The responsibility for safeguarding small-scale areas for

crafts, trade and production in the city cannot lie solely with property developers

and cross-financing models. Rather, the co-operation and co-ordination

of urban planning with business promotion and location development is part

of the task. A special challenge inherent in small-scale structures lies in supporting

co-operative “docking stations” and space sharers and their activation.

It is thus a key public task to create instruments that link bottom-up ― i.e.

user-based ― initiatives to overarching strategies of urban design. New bottom-linked

models of support aimed at “enabling” could forge a greater whole

from many distinct, separate elements.

5 Mix it! prototype creates affordable space that can be adapted to different forms of use and harbours

minimal vacancy risks. Large premises can be split up into several spatial modules used collectively by two

or three persons. The spaces are destined for a great variety of businesses, from photography and office

work to light manufacturing and sales. As with a flat share, the rent is divided between several lessees. At

the same time, there is no need for either space ventures or an overarching furnishing concept. All premises

offer room for a mini community that decides autonomously on how to organise its own space.

For the surrounding urban quarter, Mix it! provides a great variety of uses and offerings. Moreover, it gives

rise to a community that may prove an impulse for the neighbourhood.

To make this impulse visible, Mix it! is situated at ground-floor level. The individual type of use depends on

the position of the respective room in the building (traditional offices or studios tend to be located at the

rear; separate shop premises with their own display windows face the street). Directly in the entrance zone,

there is a common area with seating and meeting facilities and a shared display window. This offers space

for exchange, networking and getting to know people. This entrance zone can also be viewed as a “docking

station” for the surrounding neighbourhood.

The packages are all-in prices (€ 280—450 per month). Individual rental contracts, but also contracts for

single rooms with sublease arrangements can be concluded; alternatively, a lessors’ association can be

established. In late 2018, the Raumteiler online service organised a test call. It became evident that a group

of one-person businesses was willing to join the project right from its inception. This proved that it is indeed

possible at an early moment to involve such persons in the rent of small-scale premises for commercial use.


Buttenberg, Lisa; Overmeyer, Klaus; Spars, Guido (eds.) (2014): Raumunternehmen.

Wie Nutzer selbst Räume entwickeln. Berlin: JOVIS Verlag.

Eichmann, Hubert; Nocker, Matthias (2015): Die Zukunft der Beschäftigung

in Wien — Trendanalysen auf Branchenebene. Wien: Forschungsund

Beratungsstelle Arbeitswelt.

(Accessed: October 2019)

Forlati, Silvia; Peer, Christian (eds.) (2017): Mischung: Possible! Wege

zur zukunftsfähigen Nutzungsmischung. Vienna: Abteilung für Wohnbau

und Entwerfen, Fachbereich Soziologie, TU Wien. https://www.

(Accessed: September 2019)

Kerekes, Thomas (2018): Schwerpunkt Raumunternehmen. In: Raumteiler

Festival. Die Nordbahn-Halle als Schmelztiegel für kooperative

Nutzungskonzepte und leistbare Gewerbeflächen. Vienna: Abteilung

für Wohnbau und Entwerfen, Fachbereich Soziologie, TU Wien.

(Accessed: September 2019)

Läpple, Dieter (2016): Produktion zurück in die Stadt. Ein Plädoyer. In:

Bauwelt 35, Berlin: Bauverlag BV GmbH, 22—29.

Maccreanor Lavington; Peter Brett Associates; Harrington, Graham

(2014): Accommodating Growth in Town Centres. London: Greater

London Authority.


(Accessed: September 2019)

Novy Andreas; Strickner; Alexandra; Plank, Leonhard; Lutter Johannes;

Bartik, Herbert (2018): Alltagsökonomie — Systemische Innovationen

für neue urbane Gestaltungsräume. Conference programme. Vienna

City Hall.

(Accessed: November 2018)

Peer, Christian (2018): Geteilte Räume. Urbane Mischung für mehr

gesellschaftlichen Zusammenhalt. In: Raumteiler Festival. Die Nordbahn-Halle

als Schmelztiegel für kooperative Nutzungskonzepte

und leistbare Gewerbeflächen. Vienna: Abteilung für Wohnbau und

Entwerfen, Fachbereich Soziologie, TU Wien. https://blog.imgraetzl.


(Accessed September 2019)

Streeruwitz, Lina; Vlay, Bernd; Vögele, Heike (2017): Mischkonstellationen.

In: Forlati, Silvia; Peer, Christian (eds.): Mischung: Possible!

Wege zur zukunftsfähigen Nutzungsmischung. Abteilung für Wohnbau

und Entwerfen, Fachbereich Soziologie, TU Wien. Vienna.

Auflage-2.pdf (Accessed: September 2019)

The Mix it! prototype was developed in the context of Mischung: Nordbahnhof by imGrä (Mirjam

Mieschendahl), TU Wien (Silvia Forlati) and EGW Heimstätte (Julian Junker).


Robert Korab


Spend less and live

better through networking

& sharing in

the housing estate

and neighbourhood

The idea of the GrätzlGenossenschaft is

inspired by the co-operative movement

of the late 19 th and early 20 th centuries

and aims to revive the organisational

structure of a consumer co-operative

in order to render everyday life more

affordable by networking and sharing.

1 Schematic overview of


copyright: raum & kommunikation


For the past century, Vienna’s housing policy and social

housing programme have been safeguarding the

fundamental human right to affordable housing for

the people living in Vienna irrespective of age, gender,

social status, cultural and religious affiliation.

However, since the liberalisation of the markets in

the 1980s and above all since the financial crisis of

2008, the wealth gap is rapidly widening in Austria,

too; living expenses rise faster than real incomes.

Affordable housing alone is no longer sufficient to be

able to maintain the accustomed standard of living

and avoid the threat of poverty. “Affordable

living” has become a challenge

in everyday life for a growing

segment of the population.

This need is addressed by the concept

of establishing local co-operatives

called Grätzlgenossenschaften,

which was presented by raum &

kommunikation in the context of

the developers’ competition for the

Berresgasse project. The idea of the Grätzlgenossenschaft

is inspired by the co-operative movement

of the late 19 th and early 20 th centuries and aims to

revive the organisational structure of a consumer

co-operative in order to render everyday life more

affordable by networking and sharing. The objective

lies in achieving high-quality consumption and services

with less (over-) spending and without unnecessary

individual ownership while at the same time

supporting small local businesses as well as private

initiatives and groupings in the neighbourhood.

The co-operative as a community of the solidarity

economy. Co-operatives came into being in the

19 th century originally as purchasing communities

of workers, for mutual support in emergencies and

to exclude windfall profits of commerce; later also

as associations of manufactories and craftspeople to

improve their competitiveness and as economic networks

of small and medium-sized farmers who had

acquired cultivated land in the late 18 th century.

Over the past 20 years, the co-operative movement

in its manifold facets has experienced a revival. It

is part of a regional and local countermovement to

the concentration tendencies of the global market

economy. The recognition of the co-operative idea

by UNESCO as an Intangible World Heritage in 2016

honours in particular the contribution of co-operatives

to social cohesion worldwide as an expression

of civic engagement beyond private and public

economic structures. This emphasises the importance

of co-operatives as a movement that reflects

social values and ― building on ethical principles like

solidarity, responsibility and democracy ― offers an

alternative understanding of economy.

Hence, the effect of co-operative organisational

structures far transcends the economic benefits enjoyed

by members. On its website, the International





Until now









Robert Korab GrätzlGenossenschaft

Co-operative Alliance (ICA) specifies seven principles

that characterise a co-operative (cf. International

Co-operative Alliance 2019):

+ Voluntary and open membership

+ Democratic member control

+ Member economic participation

+ Autonomy and independence

+ Education, training and information

+ Co-operation among co-operatives

+ Concern for community

These values refer to many aspects of importance

for social cohesion and inclusion of the inhabitants

of a city: democracy and community, economic

participation and personal development opportunities,

education and co-operation. In this sense,

GrätzlGenossenschaft is not only an economic community

of its members; rather, it transmits signals

to the neighbourhood that relate to the goals of New

Social Housing by contributing to the emergence of

community sense.

Networking ― sharing ― spending less with

GrätzlGenossenschaft. According to the underlying

idea of “living better while spending less”, the residents

of the Hirschstetten-Berresgasse urban development

area (which is composed of new buildings

as well as existing settlements and housing estates)

are to cut down on costs through joint utilisation

and procurement and the creation of local networks.

Local businesspeople are to obtain better access

to residents of the area and local value creation is

to be stepped up.

GrätzlGenossenschaft, which was set up for this very

purpose, is a democratically organised private-sector

enterprise, in which all members have largely the

same rights and duties. With their business shares,

the members participate in the co-operative enterprise

and hence are the agents of the co-operative.

They administer and control the activities of the

co-operative directly through the general assembly

and indirectly through bodies elected among them.

Why a co-operative? In contrast to other

types of enterprises, co-operatives offer the following


+ Easy membership formalities with inexpensive

subscription, membership cancellation and

transfer of business shares

+ Flexible co-operation structure as per the statutes

+ Creation of synergies through co-operation

while maintaining independence

+ No fixed share capital ― openness to new cooperation


+ High economic security due to ongoing monitoring

and inspection by an auditing association

+ Limited liability of members

Purpose and objectives of

GrätzlGenossenschaft. Grätzl-


+ Is organised as both a commercially

and a community-oriented

outfit. It aims at generating

revenue, which is fed back into

the co-operative and results in

benefits for all members.

+ Is self-organised and sustained

by its members (residents and

local businesspeople). It is a

co-operative of users and acts as a low-threshold

institution directly between individuals.

+ Handles the organisation, arrangement and

performance of non-cash-based services for

its members. It uses, manages and organises its

own as well as external premises for activities

of its members in the neighbourhood. It offers

these services and premises to its members at

highly discounted rates or for free.

The recognition of the co-operative

idea by UNESCO as an Intangible World

Heritage in 2016 honours in particular

the contribution of co-operatives to

social cohesion worldwide as an expression

of civic engagement beyond

private and public economic structures.

+ Offers the organisational framework for the joint procurement of resources

used in day-to-day life and work (tools, food, transport vehicles, services...).

+ Promotes the local economy as a hub and networking platform for economic

activities of its members in the neighbourhood (network of businesspeople,

producers and customers) and in this way contributes to strengthening and

upgrading the neighbourhood as a whole.

+ Fosters good-neighbourly engagement, networking and mutual assistance in

the neighbourhood. This is to enhance the satisfaction of local residents and

workers with their living environment.

+ Takes effect throughout the entire neighbourhood including the adjoining

housing estates. It should be set up by the inhabitants and businesspeople of

the adjoining housing estates already before the new urban quarter Berresgasse

becomes operative, in this way facilitating the later integration of the

new quarter into the context of existing settlements and housing estates.

Distinguishing features as compared to other forms of community

organisation. Distinguishing features as compared to other forms of community

organisation in the neighbourhood, such as residents’ associations and

neighbourhood activities in the context of settling-in management or quarter

management, include the following:

+ GrätzlGenossenschaft entails a quantifiable economic benefit for its members,

who save money as a result of joint purchasing and sharing. This benefit

provides the incentive and ongoing motivation for membership.

+ The co-operative is a time-tried type of enterprise that is monitored and

reviewed on an ongoing basis by CoopVerband ― Revisionsverband österreichischer

Genossenschaften 2 . This ensures both a clear legal and economic


Many buildings dating from the postwar period and in the

Gründerzeit quarters have seen better days. The transformation

of these stocks is challenging. It must not be reduced to structural

retrofitting and re-densifi cation, but has to respect the demographic

structures, open space qualities, specific socio-spatial

characteristics and the community of residents. At the same

time, it is an obvious choice in the context of affordable housing

to increase the focus on existing quarters with their well-established

infrastructures. Which opportunities and potentials does

the development of existing stocks harbour for urban development?

And which role do existing stocks play with a view to

affordable and social housing? Built stocks

Vienna in total

2 nd district

11 th district

Public bicycle parking spaces in

Vienna in 2020, bicycle parking

spaces per 1,000 inhabitants;

sources: MA 46, Statistics Austria

Vienna in


+ 8.0 %

2 nd district

+ 8.5 %

22 nd district

+ 17.0 %

10 th district

+ 11.9 %

6 th district

+ 1.9 %

Development of housing stocks

between 2001 and 2022 as a

percentage; sources: Statistics Austria,

building and housing censuses 1991–

2001, register-based census 2011


63.5 %

27.5 %



6.5 %


1.5 %


Population by country of birth in

2019; sources: Statistics Austria,

population stock statistics and calculations

by MA 23 – Economic Affairs,

Labour and Statistics, City of Vienna.


1 %

Contributions by Angelus Eisinger,

Verena Mörkl, Andreas Rumpfhuber,

and Klaus Wolfinger


Klaus Lukas. Since completing social

work training with a diploma at

the social academy at Grenzackerstraße

in the 10 th municipal district

of Vienna, Klaus Lukas has worked

at the residents’ centre Bassena 10,

which used to form part of the Association

of Viennese Youth Centres and

is now operated by wohnpartner.

Christoph Reinprecht is professor

of sociology at the University of

Vienna, associate researcher at the

Centre de la Recherche sur l’Habitat

at the École Nationale d’Architecture

Paris-Val de Seine and member

of the Advisory Committee of IBA_

Vienna “New Social Housing”.


Reinprecht: There are conflicting views of the estate as luxury housing and

housing as a scarce resource. For those who originally moved in here, this was

basically a high jump: In comparison with their previous housing situation, they

took up residence in flats of a high quality and were happy and proud. This was,

so to speak, a real move up the social ladder. Those who move in today actually

do so in a segment under framework conditions of scarcity. A recurring

complaint of older people is that the newcomers are so discontented and moan

about all kinds of things. This is not because they are ungrateful. Rather, this is

due to the fact that they bring along different reference points. For the former,

the reference points were substandard dwellings in Gründerzeit buildings. Today

the reference point is a housing market with segments marked by different levels

of scarcity. This is not just about a new generation, but also about different contexts

that need to be moderated.

Lukas: Yes. In the book Die gute Siedlung, many contemporary witnesses said:

“We used to live in a flat with one room and a kitchen and when we moved in

here I felt as if I was in a palace. I walked through the flat, I was able to walk in

the flat, I was not confined to one room but was able to walk and move around.”

Skudnigg: A special feature of the Per Albin Hansson Estate is the succession of

generations within the estate itself: Many families moved into the first part of the

estate and, when their grown-up children took over the terrace houses, the parents

moved to the more modern part. Later on, they move to the retirement home

across the street while their children move to the flat and the grand-children stay

in the terrace house, and so on. This goes on over generations ― the residents stay

in the neighbourhood. Recently, a resident told us: “It’s wonderful. Now I look from

my flat to the retirement home into which I’m going to move soon and then, I’m

going to look over to my former flat.” That is what is so special.

Lukas: It simply feels somewhat like a village, and this village atmosphere indeed

is very agreeable; the residents also appreciate that very much.

Skudnigg: Previously, people took the 67 tram to

go “downtown”, meaning Reumannplatz. Since the

extension of U1, “going downtown” really means

to go to the city centre, i.e. to Karlsplatz rather than

Reumannplatz. The centre has shifted, so to speak.

Lukas: On this section where there is one underground

station now there used to be two tram

stations so the walking distance was not so long. Five

hundred metres, some wheelchair users say, is extremely

far if you do not have an electric wheelchair

but must rely on your own muscle power. Additionally,

the naturally lower level is an issue: Going down

is not a problem, but some people hardly manage to

come up again from the underground. In winter, the

situation is even worse. Therefore, time and again,

people call for buses in this relatively extensive estate.

Some people even long for a return of the situation

during the underground’s construction, as the tram

line had been temporarily replaced by the bus line

67E that had a huge number of stops so that people

really did not have to walk far. That was great.

Girardi-Hoog: What we absolutely want to address

in the context of IBA_Vienna are possibilities for

active mobility. What do elderly people specifically

need to cover those distances? We will use a target

group-specific approach because it is also important

for the future that people rely less on cars and are

also better able to cope with long and strenuous

distances in everyday life.


Built stocks

would qualify as potential neighborhood centers, if activated. Fifty years after

their completion, these estates, viewed from the street, disappear behind a dense

forest of trees. On the inside, the often exquisite and differentiated greenery has

attained its full splendor. The space inside of these estates is

often astonishing, sometimes uncannily tranquil and contemplative.

There is hardly anybody about, apart from the gardeners

employed by the municipality tending to the greenery. In the

summer months, they are busy mowing the grass and pruning

the luxuriant tree stock. The paths crossing the urban quarters

are as long and monotonous as ever before.

Time has not stopped for the concrete structures either. If judged

exclusively from a qualifying angle, it is true that their thermal

and acoustic performance, nor their access routes, no longer

correspond to modern requirements, or to state-of-the-art

desires. However, the layouts, with all the peculiarities of early

prefab concrete construction, are still well-designed and, at least

in the case of the better ones, often superior to new buildings

with regard to space-use and spatial organisation, since postwar

planning did not have to meet with the glut of current industry

standards. In short, both the estates and the buildings themselves

present their own charm and their own qualities, much

like any other building or urban quarter with some history. However, contrary

to the Gründerzeit buildings, which are often idealised in Vienna, their particularities

still need to be discovered and seek to be activated.

Yet the past fifty years have also left their traces on the residents of the Siebenbürgenstraße

estate as well. The young lover of Ambros’ song is likely to be a

seventy-five-year-old pensioner. Perhaps he did work up the courage to talk

to his “rose,” or perhaps he fell in love (happily, let’s hope) at some later date.

Statistically, he is likely to have married and fathered 1.6 children. He probably

worked for the same company until retirement. And if he still lives in this

housing development, the chances that he still votes for the Social Democratic

Party are just 50 %.

It is a topos that cannot easily be

dismissed but should be taken rather

seriously. One must oppose these

generalising, often purely ideologically-motivated

narratives, as well as the

ubiquitous, one-dimensional solutions

proposed for the much-decried “largescale

housing development problem”

[…] By doing so, one must — to a certain

degree — strive to rehabilitate the image

of these developments, highlighting

their potentials and, in this way,

begin to sketch their possible future.

Moreover, one must recall that the

public discourse on what constitutes

adequate housing space — and an

adequate housing environment — has

shifted somewhat over the past fifty

years. This relates in particular to the

municipal housing model, and the idea

of a housing provision for all, in keeping

with the objectives of a just distribution

of resources, and a socially

diverse city. It seems it is precisely this

discourse that makes residents of such

housing developments “modernisation


The 2015 figures for typical housing developments (available

to me) reveal an unemployment and retirement quota that is

average compared with the rest of Vienna. By all accounts, too,

resident satisfaction with these housing estates is average. At

the same time, current electoral district visualisations for Vienna’s

large-scale housing estates resemble a tilting image that

does not compare with the city as a whole. The estates clearly

highlight how the former voter base of the Social Democratic

Party nowadays tends to support the right-wing, nationalist

Freedom Party. The vote returns of recent parliamentary elections,

for example, present ratios of 38 vs. 35, 42 vs. 35 or 39 vs. 34

percent, one time the electoral districts of which the large-scale

housing estates are part of, are colored red (Social Democratic),

while another time they show up dyed in blue (Freedom Party).

Moreover, one must recall that the public discourse on what

constitutes adequate housing space ― and an adequate housing

environment ― has shifted somewhat over the past fifty years.


Andreas Rumpfhuber Flowers of municipal housing

This relates in particular to the municipal housing

model, and the idea of a housing provision for all, in

keeping with the objectives of a just distribution of

resources, and a socially diverse city. It seems it is

precisely this discourse that makes residents of

such housing developments “modernisation losers”.

An illustrative example of this link is provided by

the discussion over who is, and who is not, entitled

to a municipal flat: In 2012, Peter Pilz, a member

of Parliament from the Green Party, was publicly

attacked by the Freedom Party (and their media

campaign) for living in a municipal housing development,

despite his above-average income. The

argument that followed claimed that Pilz ― by living

in a municipal flat ― was depriving poor or disadvantaged

people from an affordable home. This sort

of debate defines municipal housing generally in

the spirit of neoliberal ideas, i.e. as dwellings

exclusively destined for those in society who count

as “losers”, people who are unable to afford a flat at

market conditions. Among estate residents, such a

debate tends to generate aggression vis-à-vis their

own “fate” and life conditions, identified as dismal

and as a result of lacking, for instance, a “useful“

education, earning too little to afford a flat at freemarket

conditions, not living in a fulfilling relationship,

or even being lonely.

Postwar large-scale housing estates

represent a dense mesh of different

aspects that must be taken into

account in order to conceive of

interventions. On the one hand, this

concerns the serial urban design,

architecture, and landscape planning

of these estates, all of which

reflect the economic-industrial

ideology of the postwar era. On the

other hand, “soft facts”, such as the

specific discourse on the legacy of

modernism, as well as the general social housing

debate, come into play here too. If these urban

housing estates are to be taken seriously, I recommend

not only quantifying but in particular qualifying

their potentials, in addition to their deficits.

Only the qualification of large-scale housing estates

will disclose the “spaces of opportunity” inherent

in these urban quarters for the future of the city and

its inhabitants.

On an urban level, Vienna’s large-scale housing estates qualify as car-free

neighborhood centers. With respect to their ownership structure, extension, and

comparatively low development density, they qualify for densification and continued

development of a type that complements available housing options ― in

line with current requirements and, in particular, aims at enlivening the estates

by means of a programmatic combination of different forms of use. Further

construction and densification activities would allow for a spatial restructuring of

the interstices inside the estates, thereby incorporating the extensive landscape

that has grown over time, and in the process would create more compact-sized

neighborhoods. What is also evidently required is a positive vision for the largescale

housing developments ― and the urban community as a whole ―, in order

to combat the current prevalent neoliberal discourse, specifically the negative

connotations attached to the estates. A vision that inter alia abandons the

demand-oriented and hierarchical idea of socialist administrative practice and,

as already demanded by Austro-Marxist visionary Otto Bauer in 1919, releases

municipal housing estates into self-administration (cf. Bauer 1919). A vision that

turns away from the “Viennese” lament ― as exemplified in the song by Wolfgang

Ambros ― and instead draws closer to the more affirmative attitude of Donna

Summer, in this way letting the flowers of the municipal housing bloom.

If these urban housing estates are to

be taken seriously, I recommend not

only quantifying but in particular

qualifying their potentials, in addition

to their deficits. Only the qualification

of large-scale housing estates will

disclose the “spaces of opportunity”

inherent in these urban quarters for the

future of the city and its inhabitants.


Bauer, Otto (1919): Der Weg zum Sozialismus.

Complete Works (German

edition), Vol. 2, 104—108.

Durth, Werner (2012): Große Wohnsiedlungen

als Bestandteil der europäischen

Stadt. In: Weidemüller,

Dagmar (ed.): Klimaschutz und

Energiewende. Potentiale der

großen Wohnsiedlungen. Berlin:

Kompetenzzentrum Großsiedlungen

e.V., 10—25.


Angelika Fitz

Repairing the

future of housing

Over the past century, Vienna has set standards of its own in

the field of social housing, both with regard to programmatic

aspirations and continued implementation. Thus the decision

of the Administrative Group in charge of housing construction

to organise IBA_Vienna “New Social Housing” met with great

astonishment, and also with scepticism on the part of many,

since recent International Building Exhibitions had mainly

focused on the compensation of major deficits.

For example, the 1987 IBA in Berlin had aimed for a paradigm shift in dealing

with the built city, while the 1990s Emscher Park IBA had made it its task to

fix the structural wounds and damage to landscapes caused by industrialisation

by giving them a new, promising lease on life. Is IBA_Vienna in danger of

finding no new agenda of its own, no new tasks to confront, but is instead

set to celebrate the status quo? Especially in a time when the Vienna Model

meets with great international interest, local forces of adverse persistence

might gather momentum.

However, IBA_Vienna could also be the symptom of a new kind of 21 st -century

International Building Exhibition that primarily tries to meet future challenges in

a proactive manner. This will no longer be done in the spirit of modernism, such

as for Stuttgart’s 1920s Weißenhof estate, when architects applied themselves to

the objective of reinventing the future of housing. Deliberately setting itself apart

from this position, the current Heidelberg IBA styles itself as “post-heroic”. 1 IBA_

Vienna, too, neither reacts to huge deficits of the past nor intends to reinvent

the future. Rather, it “repairs the future”. This term was used by Elke Krasny and

myself in our Critical Care study, published in 2019, on the issue of new ethics of

care in architecture and urbanism (cf. Fitz/Krasny 2019).

1 Cf. Postheroisch ins Offene,

report on the midterm presentation

of IBA Heidelberg, Bauwelt

13, 2018. A “post-heroic attitude”

was repeatedly broached

by the IBA Heidelberg Advisory

Board, in which the author

participated as a member from

2015 to 2018. Angelika Fitz

was also involved in the development

of the concept

for the midterm presentation of

IBA Heidelberg.

Referencing pioneers of the care theory, such as

Joan Tronto, Berenice Fisher or María Puig de la

Bellacasa, we advocate an attitude of care in architecture

and urbanism. Such an attitude takes its

cue from what is already there and begins to act in

the midst of things. “While modern orientations in

architecture adopted the blank-slate ideology with

its progress-centric better future, a care perspective

starts from the given and works toward repairing

the future.” (ibid., 22). What may sound somewhat

unspectacular to practiced innovation seekers may

turn out to be highly transformative. For in addition

to an ethical and political position, the repair of the

future requires new framework conditions ― of a

political, economic, legal and technological kind ― for

planning and construction as well as new constellations

of players, preferably with stronger interfaces

between what is generally called “top-down” and


Beginning in the midst of things thus means not

to pursue a course of business as usual. The current

Vienna Model of subsidised housing with its four

pillars of architecture, economy, ecology and social

sustainability responds to the housing question to

an impressive degree not only where quantity, but

also where quality is concerned. Yet what questions

remain unanswered, or: What questions need new

answers in order to repair the future? Given the

(glob al) conditions of neoliberalism, land speculation

and austerity policies, is affordability still possible

for all, even for newcomers? How can urban quarters

with manifold forms of use and lively public spaces ―

and not just housing estates ― emerge in the face

of the construction boom that characterises growing

cities? And what could climate-friendly construction

methods going beyond thermal insulation look like?

To find novel answers to these questions, international

knowledge transfer is called for ― a traditional

work focus of the Architekturzentrum Wien (Az W).

Together with IBA_Vienna, the Az W developed two

new event formats. The lecture series IBA Meets

Architects brings international architects to Vienna

to participate in experimental projects in the fields

of housing, urban quarter development and sustainability.

The objective lies in positively irritating

time-tested practices of Vienna’s housing sector by

confronting them with outsiders’ perspectives and

addressing blind spots. To loop the international examples

and discussions back to the current situation


Angelika Fitz Repairing the future of housing

in Vienna, Viennese architects act as respondents to each lecture. As the second

event format, the Az W developed several symposia addressing issues of contemporary

social housing considered unorthodox or even taboo, e.g. initiatives for

self-building and serial construction. What findings have these debates yielded

so far? Some examples are given below.

A future for urban quarters. While housing space is urgently needed today,

vibrant, mixed-use neighbourhoods are a desideratum of the near future. This

is a dilemma faced by many growing cities. The fact that urbanism and housing

are handled by two separate departments in Vienna and that IBA_Vienna, too,

was not conceived as a cross-departmental venture further complicates things.

On the positive side, Vienna’s urbanists have tested numerous concepts and

procedures over recent years to increase mixed-use approaches in big urban

expansion areas, ranging from concept procedures (a project awarding strategy

favouring high-quality comprehensive concepts) for Quartiershäuser, which

embody a strong mixed-use approach, and self-initiated building groups 2 to

ground-floor management agencies. IBA_Vienna has further intensified these

efforts by including the perspective of creating functioning urban quarters in the

tenders for developers’ competitions and monitoring and assisting community

workshops (Quartierswerkstätten) embracing several construction lots. This has

already proved successful in attracting small-scale commercial and crafts businesses.

One aspect that, however, remains largely neglected concerns the cultural

infrastructure of large-scale urban expansion areas ― an issue that cannot be

delegated to private self-build groups or joint ventures, even though these make

important contributions.

The current discussions focusing on the Nordbahn-Halle

3 throw this omission into sharp relief.

4 Haus der Statistik. Illustration by

From 2017 to 2019, a research consortium that also

raumlabor from a brochure of Initiative

included the Az W and involved TU Wien as lead

Haus der Statistik (2016). The initiative

partner established the Nordbahn-Halle, a temporary

venue for social, economic and cultural forms

was launched in 2015; Koop 5 was

established in 2018; copyright: ZUsammenKUNFT

Berlin eG

with the aim of enriching the emerging urban quar-

of use in the Nordbahnhof urban development area,

ter. The intense use made of the co-working and

co-making facilities in this former warehouse and

above all of the event locations with their generous

ceiling heights surpassed all expectations and is

further underscored by the formation of a citizens’

initiative to preserve this place. Yet what kind of

place might this be? Could it also be housed in a new

building? And how to ensure that such a place would

not breathe the paternalistic spirit of the historical

“People’s Houses” nor slide into the precarious conditions

typical of purely self-organised, underfunded

set-ups? What is needed are new interfaces between

top-down and bottom-up. In this context, it might be

worthwhile to look to Berlin, where Initiative Haus

der Statistik 4 (cf. Fitz/Krasny 2019) is not only setting

new standards in the repurposing and compaction

of postwar modernist structures, but above all has

brought about a new constellation of stakeholders.

A broad alliance of civil-society “city makers” called

ZUsammenKUNFT established a co-operative and

3 Adaptation of Nordbahn-Halle

(2017) by the research and

development project Mischung:

Nordbahnhof with partners TU

Wien (lead), Architekturzentrum

Wien, EGW, StudioVlayStreeruwitz,

imGrä, supported by

the Climate and Energy Fund;

copyright: Architekturzentrum

Wien; photo: Lisa Rastl

2 Cf. contribution by Robert

Temel on page 306.


The system of housing construction is undergoing continuous

further development — new methods of quality assurance such

as concept tendering procedures broaden the portfolio of urban

development. In parallel, alternative models increasingly

emerge for project development, use and financing. They aim at

achieving collective, self-determined and self-organised ways of

living or at shielding housing from conventional market mechanisms

and thereby ensuring the affordability of housing in the

long term. Which impulses can such initiatives provide for the

established routines of urban development and the standards in

housing construction? Which processes and platforms are needed

to co-ordinate co-operation between players in administration

and civil society? To which extent are adjustments of legal

(subsidy) instruments necessary? Models

Contributions by Gabu Heindl,

Christoph Laimer, Christian Peer,

Emanuela Semlitsch and

Robert Temel

25.4 %



In 2017, 62% of all

Austrian cucumbers were

harvested in Vienna;

source: City of Vienna, Das

Rote Wien in Zahlen



Share of residential

areas in total area;

sources: Statistics

Austria, MA 23, MA 41


Up to 1944






Gültig seit



Residential buildings



(incl. those

without information

on the



Number of buildings in Vienna (by year

of construction), 2019; sources: Statistics

Austria, building and housing register



Yella Yella!



Wien; photo:

Lukas Gächter

Roundtable Emancipatory housing

Yazdanpanah: Yet, I also find it important that, in addition to voluntary

tasks, such projects make it possible to take over activities against pay. At

the Einküchenhaus, for example, it was a recurring complaint that this

work ― cooking, etc. ― was again performed by women, but these women

received pay for their work. And that is a big difference. In addition to all the

ideals of volunteering, there also have to be such opportunities in order to

integrate enough people into this sort of process.

4 For further information, see


Gutmann: In my opinion, we need a renaissance of the concept of solidarity. Today,

this concept is mainly found in church-run institutions such as Caritas, but

I believe that solidarity must also be seen independently of religion and has to be

established as a part of normal society, too. To this effect, we need structural offerings,

spaces of opportunity where people feel inspired to join in and contribute.

People have so many talents and they are also willing to put them to use.

Yazdanpanah: When talking about municipal

housing, people often say that, in contrast to its

early days, there is no sense of community anymore.

Is that true? If so, what are the reasons

and how can neighbourly relations and participation

be fostered?

Gutmann: This is somewhat in line with the way

things go. In a project, there are different phases.

In the euphoric start-up phase, many demands

and ideas are collected and expressed. We all have

experienced this: You are young and as you get older

you move on to other phases of life ― and that is

also the case for projects. There should be less fear

of such a change; rather, it should be seen as something


Kail: However, new forms of neighbourly living are

developing, too. In the project Mehr als Wohnen 4

in the Hunziker Area in Zurich-Leutschenbach, there

is for instance a block that is made up of shared

14-room flats ― so-called cluster flats. These are

smaller units with a private room, bathroom and toilet

where young families or students live and share

a large communal kitchen. This is a very intriguing

approach that addresses the opposites of closeness

and distance. Overall, the area occupied is not less

than in a conventional flat, it does not necessarily

cost less but still, demand for this scheme is very

high, which suggests that there is a need for living

in a community but with the option of privacy. To

follow up on such initiatives, it would be important

to reflect on which aspects have proved their worth

and which forms and concepts can be transferred

to mainstream housing.

Yazdanpanah: In general, this area of tension

between mainstream housing and emancipatory

initiatives is indeed an interesting topic: Who are

in fact the addressees of emancipatory housing?

What is the target group?

Andreas Konecny, a trained mediator and business manager, addresses the

subjects of work and housing with groups in diverse contexts. As the chairman

of Que[e]rbau Wien, he co-initiated a self-build group in aspern Seestadt and

currently supports another self-build group at Wildgarten am Rosenhügel.

Marie-Noëlle Yazdanpanah is a historian, cultural scientist and film

educationalist. She works as a scientist at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for

Digital History. For the exhibition Red Vienna 1919-1934 shown at Wien Museum

(2019/20), she curated the section on women’s policies and housing projects

for and by women in Red Vienna.

Gutmann: I have already worked with several

projects with different communities. I noticed that

roughly one third of people is interested in an emancipatory

housing option and can imagine living in

this way themselves. Another third supports these

offerings in principle, but is less interested in making

use of them, and another third does not care one

way or the other ― because they have other things

to worry about or rather work towards buying a

single-family house in the countryside. However, it

needs to be borne in mind that people who originally

are in the first third do not automatically stay

in that group after ten years. This may, of course,

change over the years.



If we couch the word proletariat less in terms of organised factory workers than

in terms of what groups in our society are dispossessed, without rights and

vulnerable in everyday life, it is clear that this old term now covers a multifaceted

community. It ranges from the precariat and a middle class in danger

of social decline to the working poor (often women in badly paid reproductive

labour), single parents, persons

with migration experience, persons

suffering discrimination due to

racism, heterosexism or because

of disabilities. (It ought to be added

at this point that nobody should be

made to move out of a municipal

flat because they are not, for a time,

part of the “poor”.) Instead of the

classic, comprehensive socialist

layering ― “from Socialist International

down to district organisation”,

one might say ―, we are today faced

with a sort of Intersectional: different

experiences of marginalisation

overlap in one person, as do relations

between groups affected by such experiences of marginalisation. Against

the backdrop of these potentials for conflicts and alliances, the problem of the

Gemeinde as a community is thrown into sharp relief, from the local-global level

of the communal to the commons as self-administered shared property.

However, a serious question remains: What will the municipality build for

the urban community of the future? Will future municipal housing estates

have solar power plants instead of laundry rooms at their centre? Will they be

soaring towers greened all over, as imagined by early communist art and social-democratic

films? The buildings of the future must combine the ecological

question with the social question.

Such visions should be approached

in a very materialistic manner.

First, from the material angle: The

municipal housing estates of the

future will not need to seal or develop

land unnecessarily; no scarce

sand will be used for reinforced

concrete, no timber that is needed

elsewhere, no Styrodur that is likely

to become the waste of the future,

as long as there is unused housing

space in the city and as long as

housing quality is so dramatically

unjustly distributed. Strictly speaking, a large part of future municipal housing

will not be built at all: Instead of constructing new buildings, the task will lie

in conversion. From a materialistic viewpoint, the conversion of buildings (and

of the municipality, of society) reveals itself as a matter of social and political

processes that are also conflicts ― and not only as a “planning utopia”. In

simple terms: The municipal housing estates of the future will be conversions

of all those buildings constructed for speculative reasons that will be communitised

and refashioned into municipal housing estates; it will be the collective

The municipal housing estates of

the future will be located in all the

nice spots that are currently reserved

for private housing because of land

speculation. They will offer space for

manifold forms of living and working:

anonymous, externally managed or

self-administered, collective housing,

co-housing, turnkey or do-it-yourself.


In Vienna, the term social housing stands for

all forms of housing that are collectivised

and supported or even directly managed

by the public sector. The concept of social

housing embodies almost necessarily the

implicit assumption that there must be a

non-social — or rather, an un-social — form

of housing, which is contrary to the interests

of those who need it, which is not for

all members of society — which is actually

asocial because it harms society.

restructuring of unused private property into municipally

administered and used common property.

And if new buildings are necessary, they should not

embody neoliberal profit machines or luxury-power

architecture for a happy few, but

rather the “power of many”. Our

discussions about proud, tall buildings

would be very different if we

were speaking about the municipal

housing estates of the future. The

municipal housing estates of the

future will be located in all the nice

spots that are currently reserved

for private housing because of land

speculation. They will offer space for

manifold forms of living and working:

anonymous, externally managed

or self-administered, collective

housing, co-housing, turnkey or doit-yourself.

They will also comprise

space buffers as freely programmable spaces for

future activities whose spatial requirements and

needs are as yet unknown. Municipal housing for

many ― for the Intersectional ― is not a question of

typologies or tower heights; it may also be low-rise,

but there is one thing it absolutely must be in the

face of power relations of a racist, sexist and classist

bent ― namely, solidary.


Tockner, Lukas (2017): Mieten in

Österreich und Wien. 2008 bis 2016.

Vienna: AK Wien. https://www.


Wien_2008_bis_2016.pdf (Accessed:

December 2019)




New Social Housing.

Positions on IBA_Vienna 2022.

Published on the occasion of the interim presentation

of IBA_Vienna 2022 “New Social Housing

© 2020 by ovis Verlag GmbH

Copyright for the texts is held by the authors.

Copyright for the images is held by the

photographers/image rights holders.

The contributions included in this publication

reflect the opinions and views of their authors.

All rights reserved.


IBA_Vienna 2022 and future.lab

Project team

Kurt Hofstetter (IBA_Vienna 2022)

Madlyn Miessgang, Kerstin Pluch,

Rudolf Scheuvens, Constanze Wolfgring

(future.lab, TU Wien)

Concept and editing

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Rudolf Scheuvens, Constanze Wolfgring

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Image processing

Lukas Gächter, Madlyn Miessgang


Madlyn Miessgang

Copy editing and proofreading

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Constanze Wolfgring


Sigrid Szabó, Regina Thaller, except for the interview

“From crisis to empowerment” and the contributions

by Massimo Bricocoli, Carmen Roll, Andreas

Rumpfhuber and Wouter Vanstiphout

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