Manfred Schrenk, ISOCARP member and director of CEIT ALANOVA initiated the ISOCARP UPAT with the municipality of Schwechat and Vienna International Airport located in it. The ambition of the mayor is to transform
Schwechat, an industrial town into a ‘knowledge hub‘. This eastern gateway to the capital of Austria is situated at the heart of Europe 60 km from Bratislava, capital of Slovakia, at the cross roads between the West and Russia, the Adriatic and the Baltic, on the Danube, with an oil pipeline network feeding the largest refinery in Europe. EU enlargement offers Schwechat a unique opportunity to exploit its multimodal transportation infrastructure in cooperation with its neighbours from Austria, Czechia, Slovakia and Hungary already federated into the new transregional institution ‘Centrop‘.
A truly global UPAT comprised members from Europe (Netherlands, Serbia, Spain, UK), Russia, India and Argentina, with guidance from Mexico and local young professionals. Responding to local data and presentations, they pooled their diverse expertise to produce an ambitious integrated vision for Schwechat‘s future in its new context.
LAND USE AND DEVELOPMENT ISSUES
Schwechat presented complex planning issues. Part of Vienna‘s greenbelt much of it is affected by airport noise, especially after the construction of the third runway. Few areas lend themselves to new housing for the additional 4000 people the municipality wants to attract to its 16000 inhabitants in a city region of 1.6 million population. Densification of the existing town and its free standing villages is required instead. Conversely, land affected by the runway can be used to create the missing link between the town and the airport by developing an innovation hub of regional importance.
The UPAT proposed creative synergies drawing on Schwechat‘s existing industries and brands (refinery, plastics factory, brewery, international airport and the Danube port, rail marshal yards), its outstanding transportation networks and its existing links with the technical university to develop its R&D activities. Its nature reserve along the Danube, green riverbeds, numerous sports facilities and settlement structure into compact villages surrounded by fields, its good social services as well as the proximity to Vienna, one of Europe‘s main cultural centres can attract and retain the knowledge workers required to develop CEIT, the newly founded Central European Institute of Technology and its adjacent technology park.
Preoccupied with through- and commuter traffic generated by the 18000 workplaces, lack of housing and the threat of becoming a low value added logistics hub, the municipality of Schwechat acknowledged the benefit of ideas from planners who operate at much larger scales. Acting as catalyst between the municipality and the airport authority, the UPAT was able to convince both parties of the necessity to conceptualise development strategies together and simultaneously at local, regional and international levels. They also recognised the need to create institutional capacity involving all public administration levels, key functional sectors as well as major private stakeholders.
The UPAT clients were possibly taken aback by the scale and the boldness of the proposal but their intention to continue to work on these ideas with the local initiators demonstrates the great value of ISOCARP Urban Planning Advisory Teams which, in turn, are building ISOCARP‘s reputation as a high quality useful professional organisation.
Judith Ryser (GRB)
Darinka Golubovic (SRB/EST)
Carlos Scornik (ARG)
Gildo Seisdedos (ESP)
BK Jain (IND)
Fedor Kudryavtsev (RUS)
Tom de Wit (NLD)
Clemens Beyer (AUT)
Gregor Wiltschko (AUT)
Christian Fertner (AUT)
Stephanie Rüsch (AUT)
Andor Farnkas (AUT/HUN)
UPAT Local Coordinator
Manfred Schrenk (AUT)
ISOCARP VP in Charge of UPATs
Ismael Fernandez Mejía (MEX)