The big smoke and the small smoke


Strategic revitalization creates new attractive urban space in Toronto and in a small Austrian city. A comparison.

In Toronto the waterfront is going to be the largest urban revitalization project in North America. Rethinking, reimagining and redefining leeds to what the waterfront can be: an attractive urban space where tourists, students and inhabitants can meet. Almost the same is happening right now in a small surrounding city of Vienna, called Korneuburg: There, the old wharf is reconstructed to be a nice, livable area, too.

Toronto Waterfront (Medium)
The waterfront is now a relaxing area (c) Andrea Geyer-Scholz

 Waterfront Toronto’s approach is strategic revitalization since 2000 as opposed to simple real estate development to literally change the face of Toronto (“The big smoke”). Before, there was an industrial area which seperated the city from the water. Not only the Toronto University is close by, but also there will be flats constructed which should be affordable for middle-class people. It will be a place where tourists, families and students encounter each other. Artists and athletes can live out themselves.

The redevelopment project is an elaborated plan – by now it’s in phase 3. The revitalization of the area includes public transfer, housing developments, lakeshore improvements and the naturalization of the water. Next year it should be all set.

Waterfront Toronto: Welcome to our new blue edge

Critics fault the missing footbridges for pedestrians to get to the area. Another critique point is the planning on expensive housing – not for the middle-class. Mayor Rob Ford is not interested in seeing affordable housing on the waterfront, he said: “The location to me is ridiculous — you don’t use prime property for affordable housing.”

Werft Korneuburg (Medium)
The wharf in Korneuburg (c) city development fund

In a smaller extent the same is happening right now in Lower Austria, in the placid Korneuburg. This is a suburban area, situated only seven kms from Vienna. On the riverside there is also an unused area, an old wharf right next to the beautiful Donau. Now it is planned to build a new public urban district where work meets time off. Living, exploring, experiencing, health and education have complied. Roland Raunig, head of the city’s development fund is happy about all the requests he gets. Not only from the small city but also from Vienna, people are interested in the new workspaces and flats in the surroundings.