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Freie Mitte will be Vienna's biggest park since 1974, Source: Gugerell on Wikipedia, CC0 1.0

Vienna began construction of largest park since 1974

Vienna began construction of largest park since 1974

“Freie Mitte” will combine conventional park concepts and a novel urban wilderness dynamic

Vienna’s largest park since 1974 had its official ground breaking on Thursday. “Freie Mitte”, as the park is called, will be built on the site of the former north station in Vienna-Leopoldstadt by the year 2025. The City plans to create an amalgamation between a recreational area with skateparks and bike lanes and a wildlife reservation site.

A 93,000 m² nature and park area will be created on the site of the former Nordbahnhof by 2025. When “Freie Mitte” is complete, it will be the largest new park in Vienna since the Vienna International Garden Show in 1974, from which the Kurpark Oberlaa was born.

A new vision for the urban wilderness

The project aims to preserve parts of the old railway, as well as the unique local biodiversity and topographical distinctness. “Freie Mitte” will be home to many protected animals and plant species like green toads, brown hares, sand lizards, kestrels, various types of butterflies and grasshoppers.

The area with its distinctive old trees will be largely preserved and has already been upgraded with ponds and spawning habitats for the toads and the lizards. The wild part of the park will be reachable via a multitude of wooden walkways – perfect spots for gazing at the diverse flora and fauna.

Councilor for Climate ChangeCity Councilor for Climate Change Jürgen Czernohorszky admiring the wildlife habitat,
Source: Jürgen Czernohorszky on Facebook

At the same time, another part of the park will be developed more conventionally with sunbathing lawns, sports facilities, a bicycle course, a community garden and much more.

This phase of the park is called Park Belt 1 and is supposed to be completed in the fall of 2021. The area is along the side of the ÖBB railway line and will be separated from the rest with bushes. Park Belt 1 will make use of the hilly terrain with zip lines, hillside slides and more.

City Councilor for Climate Change Jürgen Czernohorszky expressed his admiration for the project’s ambition: “The “Freie Mitte” will not be a "gschniegelter" (meaning neat or sanitized) park, but a completely new type of recreational and natural space for the Viennese. This is ensured, among other things, by the urban wilderness and the remaining tracks of the old north station”.

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