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The area opened for the public in 1981 after a referendum. Before that, it was part of a nearby hospital complex
Last week, the Steinhofgrund in Vienna, a green area with a complex history and climate significance celebrates its 40-year anniversary. Steinhofgrund is a 42-hectare plot of land with trees, wildlife and fields overlooking the Wiener Gesundheitsverbund hospital district.
The Steinhofgrund was originally part of the Otto Wagner Hospital, where the Central European University plans to move in the near future. However, in 1981, with a referendum, 53% or around 140,000 Viennese citizens spoke out in favour of opening the area up to the public.
Previously, the large plot of greenery was used by the hospital as a recreation area and or gardening. After that, Steinhofgrund became an important spot for leisure for the whole city. City Councillor for Climate Change, Jürgen Czernohorszky, who attended the park’s birthday, explained that it was extremely important for biodiversity and that it was one of the most popular day-trip destinations in Vienna.
Vienna Woods Biosphere
In 2005 the Steinhofgrund grounds became part of the Vienna Woods Biosphere Reserve and in 2007 the park was enlarged by an additional 15 hectares.
The Vienna Woods Biosphere was established the same year and it covers large swaths of forests in the foothills of the Alps near the city. The environmental benefits of having such a large area as a protected natural reserve is that it offers a significant boost to biodiversity and air quality. City officials refer to the biosphere as the ‘lungs of Vienna.
In the following years, local park management authorities made substantial improvements by installing play equipment and a fruit tree planting campaign.
Furthermore, the park is home to a number of sheep that graze the grass fields as a form of sustainable maintenance. Steinhofgrund also has camping areas, picnic areas and an unforgettable view of the city.
Councillor Czernohorszky underlined the park’s importance as both a space for people and animals: “The recreation area with its extensive meadows and its large playground is ideal for children of all ages. At the same time, the area offers a habitat for many animal and plant species in the urban area.”
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