Chapter 02 “Urban Planning and Development“
Urban Planning and Development
» Urban Planning and Development in a Regional Dialogue
» Planning Model “Compact City”
» Green Areas in the Urban Region
» Public Participation in Park Design
» Help from the Specialist Information Service and Electronic Planning Atlas
» Sustainable Planning Starts with the Foundations
» Protection against Vibrations – No Longer an Issue in Vienna
Urban development in the 21st century deals with different spatial
dimensions than in the past
Urban development in 21st century Europe involves other spatial dimensions than
those we have been used to dealing with in past decades. Borders – long experienced
as immoveable development parameters – are dissolving, either due to geopolitical
transformations, or economic globalisation driven by the information and
communications technologies. Business players are integrated in local, urban
settings, but operate in regional networks and across the globe. This has
repercussions for the city, not only in terms of its economic structure, but also
on the living conditions of its inhabitants.
STEP 05 for Sustainable Urban Development
It is becoming increasingly clear that the tasks which have to be carried out
cannot be performed within the framework of existing structures from the
Gründerzeit (1850 to 1914) or within the city boundaries. Unless urban development
includes the functional integration of the relationships of the city with the
region – also across national borders – it will not be able to adequately fulfil
This is the central challenge which the new Urban Development Plan for Vienna, STEP
05, drawn up by the Municipal Department for Urban Development and Planning (MA 18)
addresses. It defines the regional perspective as the essential determinant for the
development of Vienna and deliberately shifts the orientation of urban development
to match Vienna’s changed position in an enlarged EU and a rapidly changing
regional environment. The point of departure is the question which role Vienna will
have to play in the locational structure of the future European region with
Bratislava, Brno and Györ, if it is to remain an attractive player at the European
level of metropolitan regions in the long term. The challenge is to strengthen
Vienna’s standing as a metropolis in the south of Central Europe.
In keeping with the principle of sustainability (Brundtland Report, resolution of
the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio) the city
pursues development that meets the needs of today without compromising the ability
of future generations to meet their own needs. Environmental, economic and social
needs should receive equal priority: the sustainable use of natural resources, an
improved quality of life for all population groups, the protection of bio-diversity
and the avoidance of risk for human beings and the environment.
Planning Model “Compact City”
In order to encourage the sustainable use of land, the concept of the “compact
city” in combination with the outer demarcation of building zones was laid down as
the basis for the spatial plan for structural development. This plan defines three
target categories for the desired density of development in Vienna:
• Compact construction with buildings of at least three to four storeys is
envisaged for the densely built-up urban zone. In centrally located areas
accessible by high-capacity public transport the targeted building density is even
higher. High-rise buildings may also be erected if the locational suitability
requirements laid down in the High-Rise Building Scheme 2002 are met. Urban
development plans are to be adopted for these areas.
• The second category defines development axes/concentrations. These areas are
adjacent to the densely built-up urban zone and are accessible by high-capacity
public transport. This category is earmarked for medium-scale building density.
• The third category includes the remaining areas of the city suitable for building
where because of the location and existing structures lower densities are sensible.
This area is dominated by loosely built-up spaces, and in areas bordering the
countryside features a high proportion of green space with single family homes and
small plots of land with weekend chalets.
In addition to the above mentioned zones, urban development in Vienna must also
take into consideration some 2,500 protected historic buildings which include the
zone protected by the Vienna Building Code (approximately 14,000 buildings) and by
the provisions of the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage (Schönbrunn Palace, city
Spatial Development Plan
Over the coming years and decades Vienna’s traditional orientation toward the south
and west will be replaced by an urban development characterised by impulses and
opportunities for development in all directions. STEP 05 takes up these impulses,
“bundles” and guides them. The Regional Development Plan highlights Vienna’s new
orientation toward a modern, economically and politically integrated Central
Europe. The Spatial Economic Development Plan, the Development Plan for Green Areas
in the Urban Region, and the Plan for Structural Development provide guidelines for
the development of the inner urban structures. The perspectives formulated in these
plans are brought to a synthesis in the Spatial Development Plan for Vienna.
The Spatial Development Plan shows that the development of Vienna should continue
to focus mainly on axis areas which are accessible by high-capacity public
transport, something which is necessary if the inhabitants of the areas surrounding
Vienna are to have access to jobs and central infrastructure facilities in the city
without the use of a car.
In the next few years, Vienna will continue to pursue a policy of compact
structural development, and sustainable and economically viable urban expansion.
The prerequisites for this are:
• checking the growth of motorised individual means of transport,
• preserving valuable space on the outskirts of the city for recreational purposes
• applying building methods that save space and energy in the newly developed urban
• making city districts accessible by extending the underground railway network and
introducing new, modern tram lines to encourage the development of new business
locations, new office centres and modern communities with mixed demographics.
Green Areas in the Urban Region
Vienna is rightly referred to as the “green city”. Where development is geared to
sustainability, the maintenance and further development of landscapes and green and
open spaces represents an important element of economic locational development and
forms the basis for the long-term preservation of the quality of life. The
Development Plan for Green Areas in the Urban Region is based on these principles
and, first of all, demarcates the border between the higher-ranking landscapes –
Bisamberg, the arable landscape of the Marchfeld, the Danube region, the terraced
landscape in the south of Vienna and the Vienna Woods – and those areas of the city
which are available for development. Outside this line, no building or settlement
is permitted for the next ten to 15 years.
In addition, the plan also defines those areas which are already protected by
zoning. These comprise parks, municipal gardens, historic gardens including their
buildings, cemeteries, sports areas, important stretches of green which separate
parts of the city and the like. In contrast to the urban landscapes, these green
areas inside the built-up urban areas do not generally have a “landscape
character”, but fulfil a variety of functions for the inhabitants of the city in
addition to their ecological and climatic functions.
Green Area Plan mais:wien
STEP 05 defines the Bahnhof Wien Europa Mitte/Erdberger Mais (Railway Station
Vienna Central Europe/Erdberger Mais) as one of 13 target areas. It is the largest
and most important development area in the densely built-up urban zone and due to
its size has been broken down into three sub-zones. One of these is Neu
Erdberg/Simmering (mais:wien), which covers approximately 250 hectares and has
therefore been sub-divided into seven individual part development areas. A Green
Area Plan was drawn up for mais:wien on behalf of the Municipal Department for
District Planning and Land Use Central West (MA 21A), upon the basis of which an
EU-funded study on green and leisure areas was drawn up for the part development
area St. Marx. Details of the two studies can be found in the Environmental Report
As announced in this report, a study, “Grüntown”, has now been drawn up for the
part development area Erdberg. Grüntown should build on the thematically relevant
planning concept and offer a plan for green and leisure areas in the zone around
the TownTown office and business centre which are both practical and cross-
sectoral. The actual implementation and realisation at the strategic and
operational levels of the recognised development objectives of a sustainable system
of open spaces and green areas will be ensured by “environmental construction
supervision”. Hence, URBAN II funding can be used to implement a development
process which for the first time ensures the environmentally compatible and user-
friendly execution of a green area planning system within a high-quality working
and residential area at every stage of development, from the planning stage, to the
construction and landscaping stages.
Structural Plan Aspanggründe
In 2005 a planning competition was held for phase 1 of the development of the
Aspanggründe, also a sub-area of mais:wien. This site is located approximately 2.5
kilometres away from the inner city as the crow flies and has a completely
different development history to the other part development areas. The structural
plan Aspanggründe-Eurogate, which was based on a draft by the architect Lord Norman
Foster and subsequently developed further by MA 21A, formed the basis of the
competition and incorporated the idea of a central green area. The architect A.
Wimmer emerged as the winner of this competition.
His urban development plan envisages a generous network of green areas and open
spaces, and also includes the steps of the Arsenal terrace in the design plan. The
result of the competition was also incorporated in the zoning plan and development
plan. In terms of the environmentally friendly planning of this area, spaces which
are not built upon are to be landscaped. Furthermore, in the inner courtyards,
underground and overground buildings are to be prohibited in parts of the
courtyards for ecological reasons, namely the seepage of precipitation water.
Gardens are to be planted on the flat roofs and made accessible according to the
current state of the art. A competition to design the “green heart” of the
Aspanggründe will follow to ensure that the public green spaces are safeguarded as
areas which provide enjoyment in everyday use.
Infrastructure Projects to Meet Environmental Goals
At the infrastructure summit in March 2005 the mayor of Vienna obtained permission
from the federal government for projects which had been drawn up to achieve certain
environmental objectives in urban development. For example:
• The development of the Railway Station Vienna Central Europe (on the current
South Train Station site) as an attractive through station which strengthens the
traffic axes Paris–Budapest and Berlin–Trieste, and which is also linked to local
transport systems. In addition to this, optimal conditions for urban development
are to be created on the areas of the Südbahnhof and Ostbahnhof (South and East
•The re-establishment of the connection Donauufer-/Donauländebahn and the expansion
of the goods terminal at the Freudenau dock.
•The construction of the Regional Ring between the A 23/A 4 intersection and
Süßenbrunn (intersection S 1/S 2), will for the most part be executed as a
tunnel. In addition, the A 22 after the Prater intersection will also be connected
to the A 4 via a tunnel. Part of the A 23/B 3d which will provide access to Aspern
and run parallel to the Ostbahn will be constructed as a tunnel.
Public Participation in Park Design
In accordance with the guiding intention of the Vienna car park concept, “peoples'
garages” have been planned in the vicinity of the Klieberpark and Bacherplatz. The
Klieberpark garage is currently under construction.
Other Planning Projects
• The centre of the Hernals district and the adjacent area is to be architecturally
and functionally upgraded. The main priorities are to gain space for pedestrians,
speed up public transport, make the areas around tram stops more attractive, and
implement measures for cycle traffic. In the last one and a half years, ten modules
have been developed with public participation and will be realised in three stages.
A separate public participation procedure with neighbours and interest groups was
carried out for St. Bartholomäus Platz. During this process the main objectives
were defined in a six month participation process and laid down as the basis for
the detailed surface planning.
In continuation of the EU programme URBAN Wien-Gürtel Plus, the city launched the
• Target Area Gürtel Project to tackle a wide range of
issues with broad public participation. The main emphasis is on issues which
concern local residents such as noise and safety.
The work of the Gürtel Advisory Committee, which examines the ideas and proposals
submitted by members of the public and recommends them to the city council for
implementation, is already bearing fruit. Following joint negotiations between
local residents and bar and restaurant owners – there had been complaints about
excessive noise from the Gürtel central reservation during the night – “noise
reduction agreements” were reached. A permanent solution was also found for the
waste problem on the central reservation of the Lerchenfelder Gürtel. The Target
Area Gürtel office also offers residents continued support with their traffic-
related concerns. The office commissioned a study which examined the feasibility of
transferring the traffic lanes on the Mariahilfer Gürtel near the church Maria vom
Siege onto the central reservation. An additional pedestrian crossing on the outer
Gürtel near the Josefstädter Straße U 6 station was also investigated and is to be
The approximately 75 hectare site of the Nordbahnhof development zone currently
consists almost exclusively of the extensively used land of Austrian Railways. As
early as 1979 Austrian Railways released a 200 metre strip of land in
Lassallestraße for development. Subsequent development has been concentrated along
Engerthstraße and Vorgartenstraße to date. The next step will be the development of
• Rudolf-Bednar Park. More than 31,000 square metres are available for this park
which will be the “green heart” of the future city district. The Municipal
Department for Architecture and Urban Design (MA 19) organised an international
competition for its design. Under the lead management of MA 21A an
interdisciplinary planning team drew up a requirements profile for the park. The
results provided the basis for the general conditions and conceptual formulation
for the competition.
Help from the Specialist Information Service and Electronic Planning Atlas
Given the diversity of themes and tasks facing them it is sometimes a challenge for
staff at the Municipal Department for Environmental Protection (MA 22) to
satisfactorily co-ordinate their exchanges with other municipal agencies,
contractors, partners and customers. The Specialist Information System (FIS) or, if
one emphasises the heart of the system, the Electronic Planning Atlas (EPA) has
therefore been implemented to support operational procedures, cultivate networks
and contribute to the management of knowledge. As environmental issues usually have
a direct spatial reference, access is integrated as a central element via user-
friendly web maps. The space-oriented visualisation forms the basis for an
intuitive interpretation of space-related issues which is complemented by
information tables, images, photographs and text documents. A thematic navigation
component ensures that the desired information is easily found. The purpose of the
development was to enable the city administration to publish all relevant data on
its intranet under the motto “fast, easy and full of content”, and also make it
accessible to partners and contractors.
Less Dust from Road Tunnels
New high-priority roads should “bundle” traffic and thus reduce traffic emissions
in residential areas. In some instances, they will be constructed as sub-surface
roads in Vienna. In order to reduce the burden still further pollutants will be
filtered out. With the financial support of the federal government and the
provinces, an Upper Austrian company, Aigner, set up a pilot system in the
Plabutsch Tunnel near Graz and developed it to maturity. Since May 2006 the
electrical filter has also been in use at another location in the EU, namely on the
Ravenna–Milan motorway (at Cesena).
Protection against Vibrations – No Longer an Issue
Large deep building pits for underground car parks, drain construction, securing
contaminated sites and tunnel drilling during the construction of underground
railways often leave people feeling slightly uneasy. When panes of glass and
furniture in the home start to vibrate or small cracks appear in the plaster of
buildings, politicians and civil servants are usually inundated with complaints. It
was problems such as these which prompted the Municipal Department for Bridge
Construction and Foundation Engineering (MA 29) to study the problem of “soil
dynamics” in detail. It quickly emerged that problems involving subjective
perceptions such as vibrations cannot be resolved by discussion. Only the use of an
objective measurement procedure can help solve conflicts between members of the
public and contractors.
To this end, MA 29’s environmental unit purchased a high-capacity measurement
system (HBM Spider Mobil) designed especially for use on building sites and with
exposure to wind, dust and low temperatures. The aim is to show people the
vibrations which are occurring online – i.e. with no time delay – on the basis of
the specific case. In addition, with the help of software co-developed by MA 29,
significant measurement values can be recorded, analysed and the vibratory stress
on humans and buildings determined. A large number of successfully implemented
construction measures in shock sensitive projects testify to MA 29's expertise in
soil dynamics. Examples include work carried out for the Municipal Department for
Water Engineering (MA 45) during the securing of contaminated sites, for Vienna
Waste Water Management (MA 30), for Wienstrom in connection with the construction
of the power plants in Simmering and Donaustadt and also for the municipal
transport company Wiener Linien during metro construction.
One recent example is the execution of MA 30’s Wiental main sewer – relief sewer
which runs from Stadtpark to Rüdigerhof. Countless protected historic buildings
such as the Konzerthaus, the Musikverein and Secession, valuable art collections
and exhibitions such as the Museum of Applied Arts, the Künstlerhaus and the Wien
Museum Karlsplatz, as well as transport infrastructure (metro) are located in the
immediate vicinity of the shaft structures and tunnels which have a diameter of
eight metres. As part of a geotechnical report for MA 29 a separate assessment of
the impact of vibrations on the adjacent buildings was carried out along the
approximately 2.6 kilometre section. The result was impressive: None of the
buildings examined had suffered any damage!
Planning Starts with the Foundations
Ecology has been gaining relevance for many decades now. The unintended incidental
and long-term consequences of civilisatory interference in eco-systems and their
impact on human beings have gradually become a key area of interest in the
In the civil engineering sector, this means, among other things, that unsecured
areas with varying hazard potential – such as old landfills, industrial sites and
relics from World War II – must be secured and rehabilitated. Only then can such
“brownfield sites” be used for new purposes. After all, such sites are usually
centrally located and are thus highly sought after building land.
A modern city needs a modern infrastructure. Supply lines and waste disposal lines,
communications systems, traffic structures and museum archives (underground depots)
are increasingly being erected beneath the surface, using geotechnical methods and
special underground engineering techniques.
One important factor for municipal civil engineering is that only public property,
i.e. streets, squares and parks can be used for infrastructure which is to be laid
underground. A knowledge of which lines have been laid at which depths, and of the
prevailing underground conditions, is crucial for the choice of construction
method. However, there is a complete lack of basic comprehensive analyses for
municipal civil engineering purposes!
Within MA 29, the environmental unit has been examining eco-efficient criteria for
some time. In co-operation with ÖkoKauf Wien AG 11 Civil Engineering, the ten most
common methods of construction used in underground engineering were analysed and
possible synergies between the various sequences of construction work ascertained.
A CD-ROM version for internal and external users is currently being created. The
results should be available from ÖkoKauf Wien (www.oekokauf. wien.at) in the middle
In December 2005 the Digitalised Building Plot Register of MA 29 – Bridge
Construction and Foundation Engineering was made available as a first point of
contact for all building sponsors, planners and construction companies. This
database contains well over 50,000 sets of data about the ground beneath Vienna.
For a small fee this information can also be accessed online.
A large number of big new projects have been planned and executed in Vienna over
the last few years. For some of these projects, such as the third waste
incineration plant in Vienna Simmering, MVA Pfaffenau (building sponsor: Wiener
Kommunal-Umweltschutzprojektgesellschaft m. b. H./WKU) or Repowering KW Simmering
(building sponsor: Wienstrom), environmental legislation requires an environmental
impact assessment. In this respect the city has determinedly followed its special
“Viennese way” with MA 29 providing ecological and eco-efficiency consulting
services in the area of geotechnology.
With contributions from:
MA 18 – Urban Development and Planning
MA 19 – Architecture and Urban Design
MA 21A – District Planning and Land Use Central West
MA 22 – Environmental Protection
MA 29 – Bridge Construction and Foundation Engineering
MA 45 – Water Engineering