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Having a say strengthens the sense of belonging

Vienna has been growing for many years and, hence, is engaged in a process of constant change. Neighbourhoods are restructured and new urban quarters are built from scratch.The word “to participate” is derived from Latin and signifies “to take part”, “to partake” or, by extension, “to codetermine”. For the restructuring of an existing urban quarter or the creation of a new neighbourhood, this means that participatory projects aim to integrate the interests of (if possible) all stakeholders and affected parties into the overall process. Vienna makes use of various tools towards this goal.


Tenants’ advisory committees

The manifold participation options open to the residents of Vienna’s municipal housing estates are described in the codetermination statute. It gives municipal housing tenants the right to elect a tenants’ advisory committee as the official tenant representative body.

The tenants’ advisory committee is concerned with the housing environment, with social contacts among tenant groups as well as with matters of housing estate administration and tenancy law. The committee representatives are contact points both for their neighbours and for the housing estate administrators and moreover deal with individual needs of residents.

Urban Renewal Offices (Gebietsbetreuungen Stadterneuerung, GB*) and wohnpartner

To ensure the transparency of planning-related decisions of the City of Vienna, the GB* offices and wohnpartner inform stakeholders and affected parties at an early date. They contribute to finding common approaches to solutions by mediating between parties and, if necessary, moderating this process. They monitor planned changes in-depth, so that uncertainties, opposing positions or conflicts can be identified at the outset and, thus, harmonised before the actual commencement of a project.

From guided tours of newly planned projects to topping-out ceremonies, from cultural events to greening initiatives – the citywide services of the GB* offices and wohnpartner are always present on-site and, in this way, help to give concrete shape to local residents’ ideas.

The prime objective lies in fostering understanding for current developments in a neighbourhood, urban quarter or district by giving a voice and the possibility of codetermination to local citizens, thereby generating and enhancing their sense of attachment and “belonging” to their living environment. In turn, this is to boost cohesion in order to render the living and housing environment more attractive, so that residents, workers and businesspeople will all feel equally at home in “their” neighbourhood.

Many of these initiatives have already been successfully completed, such as the public participation process for Johann-Nepomuk-Berger-Platz, where local residents were closely involved to improve the design of this greened urban square with their suggestions and requests. Another outstanding example concerns the process for Alfred-Klinkan-Hof, where tenants of this housing estate found common ground to combat the noise level in the courtyard by formulating rules for more peaceful, less noisy interactions of residents.

For further information (in German)