List of ongoing dissertations

Housing Affordability in the urban development of Vienna

Keywords: Housing Affordability, Rental Markets, Housing Policy Evaluation, Vienna, Spatial Econometrics

Abstract: I look at current housing affordability trends in Vienna well known for its long tradition and ongoing strong interventions into housing market dynamics. European metropolises such as Berlin, Paris or London are infamous for their rapid growth in accommodation costs, gentrification and ongoing decline of housing affordability, often accompanied by a reduction of social housing availability. Vienna on the other hand is often cited as the most well-known counterexample of these contemporary developments and one of the most livable cities in the world. Strong growth in population figures and an increasing commodification of housing is jeopardizing these qualities and endangering affordability. Even personal experiences and group specific problems of affordability may not go along with this picture, the empirical literature to back this status is not too broad and housing research is too little, especially when considering developments on a local scale. Therefore, I try to fill these deficits by providing evidence about housing costs in the contexts of urban development, especially rental prices on a sub-district level. In this perspective. the spatial structure of housing affordability is analyzed helping to identify areas that could potentially profit from intervention. Furthermore, I inspect the current status of policies and municipal measures aiming at housing affordability and evaluating their local impacts using spatial econometric methods.

Supervisor: Univ.Prof. Mag. Dr. Rudolf Giffinger

Green Gentrification in Vienna. On the interplay of environmental and social inequality.

Keywords: Environmental Inequality, Housing, Gentrification, Vienna, Climate Change Adaptation

Abstrakt: Cities are challenged by new development trends like growth in urban population, ageing societies, and economic disparities. On top of this, climate change poses new challenges to urban settlements. Nature-based solutions, like urban greening, are often seen as one of the main adaptation strategies to keep cities liveable. However, research has recently produced increasing indications that climate change adaptation can have unwanted consequences. Regarding housing, several studies (predominantly from the US) have shown that urban greening has triggered gentrification processes, a phenomenon often termed “green gentrification”. Vienna is in a particular position regarding housing and gentrification due to its high social- and affordable housing share. While there is this large, regulated sector, there is also a significant portion of the free rental market, making it possible to compare both housing models in the same city. Vienna is also an example of a city with little free space for more extensive new greening initiatives and, at the same time, significant housing pressure due to its growth, pitting social and environmental needs against each other.

In front of this background, the dissertation will take a closer look at the interaction between ecological burdens in the neighbourhood and housing costs, as well as the socio-demographic composition in Vienna. Vienna is selected as a case study due to its composition of the housing sector, and to the challenging situation typical of existing cities to solve climate change adaptation with the help of large nature-based solutions adaptation strategies.

Supervisor: Univ.Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Franziska Sielker

Social Infrastructure systems weaving together urban tissues: Strategical Interventions in unequal urban contexts and vulnerable neighborhoods

Keywords: Social Infrastructure systems, Strategic Planning, Urban Tissues, Inequality, Neighborhood Vulnerabilities, Territorial Capital, Urban Sustainability

Abstract: The aim of this dissertation is to understand how does strategical planning of social infrastructure systems contribute in waving together disparate and fragmented urban tissues. The research explores some of the impacts, influences and roles in which social infrastructure systems are intertwined within the social, economic, technological, political and environmental domains at the micro, meso and macro scales.

Specifically, the research looks at how social infrastructures can contribute in building up more sustainable built environments by reducing neighborhood and community socio-ecological vulnerabilities but also socio-economic and socio-technical disparities.

The case study assesses several informal and vulnerable districts in Medellin (Colombia) where different city administration agencies have strategically implemented public social infrastructures as schools, kindergartens, libraries and public spaces during the last 15 years. The assessment includes acquiring of original remote sensing imagery using drones (UAV’s) and transforming them into 3d models in order to analyze district urban morphology and place quality features. This empirical assessment deals with the qualitative and quantitative analysis of the Social (Human and Social capital), Physical (Spatial and Material) and Institutional (formalized and informal rules and laws, governance) dimensions of Social Infrastructure systems and its services. Therefore, the thesis understands the concept of urban tissues from a relational and organizational perspective, as the assemblage of living natural environmental structures of a place, together with the different human domains of the built environment.

The discussion of the research investigates the influence of social infrastructures on social cohesion and on the formation of territorial and social capital. It also examines how strategic planning practice can turn more inclusive by using digital tools for reducing technological inequalities while increasing participation of vulnerable communities in their own planning processes.

The expected contributions of the research are on the one hand on the broadening of the definition of social infrastructures at a meso-scale as socio-technical relational platforms for exchange. And on the other hand, on linking social Infrastructure strategical planning with its services and resources at the urban macro-scale.

Supervisor: Univ.Prof. Mag. Dr. Rudolf Giffinger

Black and white aerial view of Medellin with a colourful kindergarten in the foreground

© Drone Picture made by Santiago Sanchez Guzman November 2016. All rights reserved.

Calazania Kindergarten, Medellin, Colombia (2014). Taller de Diseño EDU.

Calazania Kindergarten, Medellin, Colombia (2014). Taller de Diseño EDU.