In the early 1970s, around 300,000 housing units were classified as “substandard flats”, i.e. units without running water and/or toilets. “Gentle urban renewal” came into being with the introduction of the 1974 Urban Renewal Act and a pilot project for the first “idea workshop” in the 16th municipal district Ottakring. This resulted in numerous impulses for creating structures that would bring about “gentle urban renewal”, such as the first Urban Renewal Office as a contact point for residents or the Land Procurement and Urban Renewal Fund (today’s wohnfonds_wien).
As a result of these efforts, urban renewal today means much more than simple construction measures. Rather, modern urban renewal implies the following:
- informing district residents about planned developments in good time,
- harmonising the interests of different players,
- encouraging and living cultural diversity,
- sustainably improving the quality of life in the respective neighbourhood.
To allow for social diversity, to safeguard affordable housing in Vienna and to offer high quality of life for all.
These are the goals of wohnfonds_wien in its support of subsidised housing in Vienna, thereby safeguarding high quality of refurbishment and construction projects. wohnfonds_wien co-ordinates developers, building owners, municipal departments and service centres of the City of Vienna. Building owners and tenants can participate in subsidised renovation projects and, thus, have their own property or rental flat upgraded to a modern dwelling with the financial support of the City of Vienna.
Right from the beginning, the Urban Renewal Offices (Gebietsbetreuungen Stadterneuerung, GB*) proved an important partner in urban renewal zones. The focus is always on the involvement of the community to enhance quality of life in the respective district.
The GB* offices function as active hubs in neighbourhoods and are there to answer queries regarding Vienna’s housing and tenancy laws, living environments and neighbourly interactions in urban quarters. As a client-oriented institution with currently five local branches, the GB* offices provide a wealth of free-of-charge services including counselling, information and project work at the district level.
Rehabilitation and refurbishment
The service centre of wohnfonds_wien offers comprehensive advice for all property owners – from questions relating to all aspects of housing space to different rehabilitation models.
The renovation of entire, occupied urban blocks is one key tool of “gentle urban renewal”. The objective lies in rendering the quality of life in densely built-up Gründerzeit quarters even more attractive. “Gentle urban renewal” is co-ordinated by wohnfonds_wien and comprises the support of all refurbishment and construction projects as well as the development of concepts for the upgrading of entire urban blocks including the surrounding public space.
Another option is provided by “small-scale block renewal“. This comprises measures for the urban-structural improvement of individual buildings also outside areas up for the renovation of entire urban blocks. “Small-scale block renewal” is linked to the subsidised refurbishment of individual buildings, such as the “Sockelsanierung” model (i.e. the comprehensive rehabilitation and refurbishment of a single occupied building with sitting tenants).
Rehabilitation projects for municipal housing estates additionally involve the thermal-energy renovation programme “THEWOSAN”. Here, the goal is to reduce heating and energy costs for tenants by means of optimised insulation and the use of state-of-the-art heating and/or cooling technologies as well as eco-friendly materials. As a result, THEWOSAN contributes to the sustainable improvement of the environment, reduces maintenance expenses, stimulates the economy and enhances housing quality.