Life on the construction site


…so, what’s going on in Seestadt?

An dieser Wand werden Planungen und Errungenschaften festgehalten (c) DM
A blackboard for plans and achievements

Eight months ago, it looked a lot different here – until today, a lot has changed: where once flat country and shell constructions could be found, there are completed houses today. This is where they live – the first inhabitants of the so called “Seestadt Aspern“. This transforms the city that emerged out of nowhere to a new district of the Austrian capital, Vienna.

Das ist sie: Die erste Familie, die in ihre Eigentumswohnung im September 2014 zog (c) DM
This is the first family that moved in their condo in september 2014

From September until now, already more than 1000 people moved in, either in condos but also in rented or cooperative flats. “We were part of it since the beginning and are really proud of our new, self-created centre of our lives“, says Arthur Meyer [all names edited] father of a family who’s just leaving a playground. A couple of these child-friendly parks do already exist in the middle of the recently build apartment blocks. “However, it’s about time for the kindergarden to open its doors. If this doesn’t happen in December, I’ll be mad.” An incorrect time-schedule seems to be a common problem, considering the opinion of the inhabitants.

Hier muss man sich erst mal zurechtfinden... (c) DM
It is hard not to get confused here…

Sandra Valitzky has only been living in the new part of the city for two month now, in a cooperative flat. “I found the flat on the fly, on the internet. Now, there’s finally sufficient space for my small family.” Previously, she used to live in a one-room apartment in the centre of Vienna. “That doesn’t work with a husband and a baby. Here, I almost pay the same price, however, for 30 m² more.” Though, the 29-year old is not too happy with the public transport connection: “Only every second Metro goes until the Seestadt-station, most of the times, my husband picks me up with the car from the metro station as it would be a good 15 minute walk to our flat. Luckily, the bus service is working as well, now.”

Ein Bus, der durch die Seestadt fährt und unzählige parkende Autos (c) DM
The first bus driving through Seestadt and many parking cars around the district

Once entered the car, it is not easy to find a parking place again. “They are building houses really fast, but they take their time with the correspondent car-parks and garages.“ Uncountable requests for one of 1900 parking lots are still to be answered, but the city takes it’s time with that. In the current year, about 550 parking places are supposed to be made available south of the lake – “until then, a temporary parking lot is supposed to work as a temporary solution“, declares the city of Vienna.

Viel Verkehr ist etwas anderes - Ampeln braucht es hier eigentlich noch nicht (c) DM
A lot of traffic looks different – no traffic lights needed here yet (on the weekend)

So, what about the noise? “True, there’s a lot going on here during the week, but that’s not different at all in the city centre. At some point, the construction noise simply fades out. Moreover, the children like to watch the diggers and cranes. In return, it is dead silent on the weekends here, almost as in the countryside.“

Ein Labyrinth aus Bauzäunen (c) DM
A maze of construction fences

Walking through the empty streets on the weekend, your path will often be blocked by fences. “It is pretty hard to find a way out“, says Mrs. Valitzky, smiling. “The children are having fun, though. It is really interesting to see the progress made here every day. “

This minimarket is supposed to supply the inhabitants of Seestadt at the moment
This minimarket is supposed to supply the inhabitants of Seestadt at the moment

The houses are set-up, the stores are missing. “This is not really thought out. There are some supermarkets where you can go shopping, but they are about 15 minutes away – except for a minimarket and a candy store, there’s nothing here, yet.” Therefore, people are actually still forced to use their cars in the environment-friendly, “car-free“-city. People get rid of their frustration via Facebook. However, the social network still gives people the opportunity to contact others – for example neighbours and Seestadt Mamas.

Der Anfang der Seestadt (c) DM
The Seestadt “gate”

The 240 ha area will allocate 20.00 people in the future and is also called “City of the way of life in the 21st century“. Living, working and leisure are combined in a lot of (cultural) programmes. The city will play the main role considering energy-efficiency and sustainability in Europe. Until this summer, people are supposed to move in another 2400 new, architecturally diverse flats – so far, only 420 of the 10.500 planned flats are ready for occupation. Last year, only 8.500 flats had been announced – The construction frenzy seems to be unstoppable.

Communitiy projects support solidarity
Communitiy projects support solidarity
A ghost-town on the weekends
A ghost-town on the weekends
Information on a construction fence
Information on a construction fence
The safety-instructions on some of the fences are sometimes misleading
The safety-instructions on some of the fences are sometimes misleading
A last glance at the almost idyllic Seestadt from the metro 2
A last glance at the almost idyllic Seestadt from the metro 2


Fotos: DM

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