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Affordable housing or green spaces? Vienna says yes to both

Affordable housing or green spaces? Vienna says yes to both

The city announced a new affordable housing complex that will feature green and sustainable examples from the ground to the top floor

Today, local authorities in Vienna announced a new project for subsidised affordable rental housing in the city’s Donaustadt district, that will feature an abundance of green spaces in, on and around the new development.

The project focuses on upgrading an existing building, creating a sort of green façade with 12 ‘pockets’ that will be hyper-concentrated green spaces. These ‘pockets' will lead to a leisure area, which is an inner green courtyard for the residential complex.

Overall, the project combines the two main goals behind Vienna’s city planning principles – sustainability and affordability. The concept presents a win-win solution, showcasing the capital’s role as a model climate city.

Subsidised housing is probably the most attractive in Vienna

Subsidised housing has a certain reputation, however, policymakers in Vienna seem unburdened by it. Indeed, the city owns around 25% of the housing stock, or around 220,000 units and Wiener Wohnen, the city’s real estate company is probably the biggest player on the local market.

This particular climate has allowed city officials to utilise housing as a tool for increasing social equality by offering subsidised units. At the same time, considering the enormous housing stock, coupled with the goals set out by the Paris Climate Agreement, they also need to manage various ecological factors.

The Vienna City Councilor for Housing, Kathrin Gaál, was quoted in a press release, saying: “The goal of Vienna's housing policy is to combine affordable housing, sustainability and public infrastructural development to achieve the highest possible quality of life.”

The project at a glance

The new housing project will offer citizens 520 new subsidised units and 320 communal apartments. It was developed by the Viennese architectural firm SUPERBLOCK and it builds upon an existing structure on the plot.

According to a statement by the city, the architectural design calls for keeping parts of the old building, but it also elongates rooms and raises ceilings. The overall idea behind the design was to keep the original building as a façade and expand behind it while also keeping the urban surroundings in mind.

Ulli Sima, Vienna’s Councillor on City Planning, explained that the project would involve as little ground sealing as possible, coupled with a façade greening approach.

The new complex will have a green courtyard, separated from the street. Residents will be able to access it through 12 green 'pockets' – areas with high-density greenery, that will act as sort of ‘lungs’ – providing cool air in the summer, and acting as CO2 and fine dust particle filters in addition to noise reduction filters.

Finally, the complex was designed to have a lively ground floor, equipped with shops and office space, as well as communal rooms. At the same time, the roof of the complex will function as a 1,200 square metre terrace, that all residents will be able to use.

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