While wohnpartner fosters good-neighbourly relations in municipal housing estates, Vienna’s Urban Renewal Offices (Gebietsbetreuungen Stadterneuerung, GB*) are tasked with drawing on grassroots processes to take residents’ ideas on board and, in this way, to ensure that the population will actively participate in the development of “their” neighbourhoods.
Community work in municipal housing estates
Around 500,000 persons live in Vienna’s municipal housing estates. The service institution wohnpartner – Together for a Good Neighbourhood was set up in 2010 to strengthen local communities and promote social cohesion in municipal housing estates. 150 community workers support inhabitants through conflict management and community work in order to establish and foster positive relations and open communication among tenants.
wohnpartner creates a wealth of on-site offerings to nurture the sense of “belonging” and being part of a community. For this purpose, wohnpartner operates six Residents’ Centres (Bewohner*innen-Zentren) in various parts of Vienna. An active neighbourhood thrives on participation and codetermination.
This is why wohnpartner offers practical activities to join in and share, such as the first Viennese choir of tenants of municipal housing estates, chess games, learning tutors, gardening initiatives, etc. Meeting other residents and exchanging ideas has positive effects on the quality of living and housing.
Commitment to neighbourhood development
Grassroots processes are employed by Vienna’s Urban Renewal Offices (GB*) to support local residents in giving concrete shape to their ideas. Networks of residents and stakeholders are built, and everybody is welcome to participate actively in neighbourhood development. Moreover, GB* teams implement participatory top-down processes for the development and reorganisation of neighbourhoods. To render complex processes of urban planning and decision-making transparent, the GB* offices provide information at an early date, mediate and moderate where required and provide help in finding solutions through co-operative efforts.
There is a growing demand for codetermination and participation in Vienna’s districts. Therefore, the GB* offices organise neighbourhood management processes in the context of large-scale urban development projects by bringing the general public, political decision-makers and municipal administration representatives together for discussions.