The district “Seestadt” is located in the peripheral area of the Austrian capital Vienna. Previously it was an airfield surrounded by landscape, nowadays it is a huge construction site. The goal: creating a new living space for over 20.000 people.
Taking the metro number 2 from the city centre until the last stop “Seestadt”, the train empties quickly. Past the futuristic office buildings of the fair grounds and the blocks of flats, the area becomes more and more rural. Highways, garden plots and wide fields emerge. Then suddenly, out of nothing, you see a conglomeration of cranes and shell constructions. Leaving the newly built metro station, you don’t have the feeling to be in a big urban area anymore. Barren landscapes, earthen ground and bushes that move with the wind.
Seestadt. The construction cranes swivel through the air, trucks bomb along the narrow sand roads, the amount of dust is breath taking and the machines roar. Construction workers in orange jackets hammer nails in walls, it smells like tar. Here, concrete is mixed and there, a couple of workers have their coffee in the midday heat – and this day in, day out, for almost 4 years now.
Variety and mixing action
The 240 hectare project “Seestadt” is realised by different building enterprises that implemented their numerous ideas here – allegedly “smart”, as for example the concrete is mixed on-site and the leftovers are re-used. Also the further transport logistics are economical and sustainable, says Thomas Holaus, project manager for construction logistics and environmental management. Up to now, there hasn’t been a project that attached this much importance to the environment.
Huge signs show, how it will look like, supposedly by the end of next year. Every living block has a different shape, also the materials are differently used. The will be a “Campus” which is a combination of a schoolyard, a kindergarden and various possibilities for shopping, so people will not have to leave their “village” anymore. So far, you need a lot of imagination to picture how green and idyllic it ought to be here one day. Although, the first people will move into their houses in August – construction noise aside.
Living, leisure, work, education
The community, participation and a pleasant, social and engaged way of interaction between the people living here is emphasized. In the “Flederhaus” (flitterhouse) people assemble; cultural events like an open air cinema and activities like flying kites are supposed to better the cohabitation. Neighbourhoods were concluded by the construction enterprises in advance. Of course, not everybody knows each other so far, as only a part of the flats and houses has been rented out yet. Some of the residents are apparently worried about the high proportion of foreigners that is supposed to be at 70%.
Further criticism shows, that the municipality goes over the people’s heads. Also rumours lead to discontent: some people suspect that a mosque will be built but not a church, others criticise the many underground garages, whereas it was said in the beginning that “Seestadt” would be a car-free zone. Furthermore, it was said in the beginning that the houses would only be two-storied but now it can easily be seen that they will have at least four or more floors.