International Building Exhibition - New Social Housing

IBA_Vienna 2022 - Innovations for the Future of Social Housing

The IBA_Vienna 2022 is the first International Building Exhibition to be held in Vienna. Vienna thus sets itself the task of developing groundbreaking proposals for solutions and approaches to the challenges of our time. What takes center stage is the topic of “new social housing”. Everyday patterns of behavior and processes are to be questioned with regard to their relevance and accuracy and, if necessary, renegotiated; new actors are getting involved and municipal, housing and social policy instruments and strategies are to be newly interlinked. As a consequence of the thematic orientation of the IBA_Vienna, the development of social neighbourhoods as products of social interaction comes to the fore and becomes a central content of the Building Exhibition.

Cities are growing all over Europe while in the meantime the economy and to an increasing extent the population have still to struggle with the consequences of the global financial crisis. It is therefore the responsibility of the cities to search on time for new ways in order to continue to offer affordable and high-quality living space. This need for structural development naturally also applies to Vienna as a leading city in the field of social housing.

By 2022, a total of more than 100 innovative projects and processes will therefore be implemented in nine neighbourhoods and at 15 individual locations, both in selected areas of the urban development and the built city. New models and processes in connection with issues of social housing are being tested to make Vienna fit for the demands of the future: Affordability, mobility, living together and healthy living & working are the focus of the International Building Exhibition "IBA_Vienna 2022".

Reasons for an IBA in Vienna

For many decades, Vienna has a high reputation for its successful social housing policy and for the high standards in housing construction as well as in the urban renewal. The question hence arises, why has Vienna then decided to organize an IBA on the subject of “New Social Housing” and the answer is short: Because housing in Vienna is also facing new huge challenges at the beginning of the 21st century.

  • The rapid growth of the city, especially in recent years, which - albeit at a slower pace - continues at a constant rate, will cause the population of Vienna to increase from the current 1.9 million to more than 2 million in the very near future - this corresponds to an increase of roughly 1/3 of the total population in recent decades. Vienna will reach again its historic peak from the beginning of the 20th century (the so called Gründerzeit). The City of Vienna has therefore resolved to further increase the high level of subsidized new construction, currently at 9,000 housing units per year - all in all 13,000 new apartments shall be provided per year.
  • The flight to tangible assets such as “concrete gold” has increased also in Vienna the real estate prices. The incomes are stagnating in large segments of the population and since the COVID 19 crisis they have actually been falling. The City of Vienna provides with gross rents of maximally 7.50 Euro / m² very affordable renting conditions with new municipal apartments and especially with the SMART housing program which is responsible for up to 50% of the new subsidized housing construction.
  • Vienna is facing a demographic transformation: On one hand, the city population becomes in average younger, and Vienna, which was traditionally the oldest among the federal states of Austria, became lately the federal state with youngest average population. On the other hand, the number of elderly and very old people increases and their specific needs have to be taken into consideration too.
     
  • Finally, Vienna has been challenged also by global events such as the new financial crisis of 2020 and the global refugee movement. Social differences are increasing on a European scale. For the City of Vienna, it is therefore highly important to pursue a policy of social inclusion and social mix. Vienna is proud that one cannot identify the social status of another person from the mere housing address as it is the case in many other cities in the world. And this shall be the central goal also under economically difficult framework conditions.
  • The challenges of climate change and climate protection to which Austria committed itself i.a. in Paris in 2015 are constantly relevant for housing in Vienna: On one hand, high energy standards have to be further improved through meaningful, innovative and holistic solutions that are implemented without leading to technological and highly expensive dead ends as housing has to stay affordable. On the other hand, by increasing the resilience of housing construction with regard to climate change. Vienna has already now the highest number of multi-story passive houses and will go on elaborating on future-oriented themes in the framework of its smart city activities.

Vienna meets these challenges by proclaiming an International Building Exhibition (IBA according to its German acronym). The IBA_Vienna aims at having a broad and sustainable effect supporting innovations on a variety of levels. The IBA_Vienna is therefore active on three main levels of activities.