Target areas of Vienna urban development (2014)

Target areas of Vienna urban development (2014)



Vienna is the capital of Austria and its cultural, economic and political centre. It is composed of 23 districts. Famous for its classical music, classicist and modern architecture, Art Nouveau buildings, imperial palaces, the State Opera, theatres, the traditional Viennese coffee houses and the Lipizzaner horses, Vienna attracts up to 6 million tourists per year. It is the home of over 100 museums and 13 universities as well as the seat of several United Nations offices (e.g. OSCE, OPEC, UNIDO and IAEA). According to the statistics of the International Congress and Convention Association, Vienna is the second most popular congress location worldwide, hosting up to 200 international conferences annually. Regarding life quality, the city was ranked as the second most liveable city worldwide in several 2015 surveys. As a global smart city, it reached third place among European cities in a 2014 ranking.

Vienna is located in the north-eastern part of Austria at the transition between the foothills of the Austrian Alps and the plane of the Vienna basin. The elevation ranges from 540 m asl in the West to 150 m asl in the Southeast. Flowing from North to Southeast, the river Danube crosses the central part of the city The city area covers approximately 400 km². The population currently amounts to 1,800,000 and is expected to rise to over 2,000,000 in the next few years. 

Read more about Vienna City in case study report TU1206-WG1-014


Over 2000 years ago, the Romans established the fortified city of Vindobona on the river Danube as a military camp to protect their empire against Germanic tribes in the North. Since 1145, the city was the centre of the Babenberg dynasty, followed by the Habsburg dynasty in 1440, when Vienna became the capital of the Holy Roman Empire. During the Siege of Vienna in 1529 and the battle of Vienna in 1683, the city fended off the Ottoman armies advancing from the East. From 1804 onwards, Vienna was the capital of the Austrian empire and hosted the Vienna congress in 1814/1815. Drawing migrants from other parts of the empire and incorporating surrounding suburbs, the city’s population grew from 500,000 to 2,000,000 during the second half of the 19th century. It formed the capital of the Austro-Hungarian empire after 1867, and of the First Republic of Austria after World War I. Following World War II, Vienna was divided into four sectors and occupied by the Allied Forces until 1955.

Land use

The forests of the Vienna Woods cover the western city area, while the central and eastern parts are covered by housing estates, industrial areas and office buildings. The area of forests, parks, gardens and green spaces amounts to > 45% of total city area. At the northern and eastern city margins, the land is used for agriculture while industrial areas are situated in the North-east, South-east and South.