Empty streets, empty bars, empty towns. The places where the liveliness of our cities previously manifested itself have become ghost towns from one moment to the next - characterized by absolute loneliness, isolation, and desolation. In 2020, the world and global society find themselves in a situation whose magnitude few could have imagined. A global pandemic puts us in a previously unknown scenario full of uncertainties and challenges in our society.
The foundations of our collective lives have been shaken and our everyday life is stagnating in a state of emergency. The places where the liveliness of our cities previously manifested itself were at times characterized by loneliness, isolation, and desolation. In times of mandatory distancing, we are now looking for places that are considered largely low-risk, making public spaces in our cities the collective meeting places. Whether parks, streets, or simply the nearest bank - places are increasingly being taken over, appropriated, or even recaptured. This raises questions such as: What effects will this situation have on our urban development, in addition to the social consequences? How will our collective spaces change and adapt? What functions and priorities will be given to them in the future?
Because COVID-19 has invaded all areas of life and has become a challenge, especially in the city. Because metropolitan existence was thrown into chaos due to the increased risk of infection in rooms and ongoing distancing. The urban living spaces have concentrated outdoors and let
The current conditions caused by COVID-19 and the worsening urban climate reinforce alternative usage concepts for the remaining space reserves in the Vienna city area.
We have to stop occupying, building on, and condensing all of the city's reserves of land, but rather start giving back these revealed empty spaces to the city dwellers and creating urban space that is worth living in.
It is in the nature of evolution that organisms continue to develop on a macroscopic as well as microscopic scale. We were shaken awake with a false sense of security. A virus is shaking the foundations of our collective life and leaving it stagnant in a state of emergency - indefinitely. The social, societal, educational, and economic consequences of this volatile state are just as difficult to estimate as those of our growing generations, whose future is still to come.
Participation in social life in urban agglomerations is becoming a challenge for residents due to the collapse of our everyday lives. In times of obligatory distance and the resulting loneliness, we are now looking for places that are considered largely low-risk, which means that public spaces in particular are becoming social meeting places. Outside, outside, in the open-air or whatever term we use for it, what is meant is the opposite of one's own or even all other four walls. But what effects does this have on our urban structures in addition to social developments? How will our collective spaces (have to) change and adapt? Which functions and priorities will they get in the future?
We find ourselves in the waiting room of the future, which offers us both the opportunity and the challenge to rethink our urban spaces and place their previous function in a new context. Considering that our cities have been significantly shaped by the processes of industrialization and urbanization over the last two centuries, we have reached an important point. It will be essential for us to discard stagnant and outdated dogmas and set new goals for our metropolitan existence.
At the moment that reveals the fragility of our existence, it is time to make a virtue out of necessity. To prioritize the collective togetherness in the urban space and give the urban spaces back to the people who live in the city. To create sustainable and livable space by taking our urban landscape at its word and conviction and thereby combining the advantages and romance of our cities with the advantages and the idyll of the landscape in a mixture. urban-rural.
(c) Felix Redmann 2023