Viennese cultural assets
Old town conservation - the Vienna Protection Zone Model
Within the protection zones, buildings characteristic of the cityscape and forming ensembles dating from all epochs - including the Gründerzeit, the late 19th century - can be protected from demolition or alteration. For this purpose, a major portion of the Viennese housing stock has been inventoried by the Municipal Department for Architecture and Urban Design and the condition of buildings evaluated allowing a distinction to be made deeming them either worthy of conservation or not worthy of conservation. However, such distinction of buildings has no legally binding effect and is just an initial appraisal of the housing stock, which remains open to discussion. Parts of the inventorisation results were integrated into Wien Kulturgut, the City of Vienna's land register of cultural assets, where they are available for public viewing.
In 1972, the Old Town Conservation Amendment was passed, enabling the City of Vienna to designate protection zones, independently of monument protection which is beyond the city's scope of jurisdiction. In the 1990s, the Viennese Protection Zone Model was introduced to deal with protection zones, leading to improvements in basic data organisation, evaluation and analysis of buildings and providing both for the assessment of existing protection zones and the designation of new zones.
The Protection Zone Model is broken down into several work packages. The first step included a comprehensive digital acquisition of literature data concerning the housing stock. The second step included what is known as rapid inventorisation, which included the inventorisation and evaluation of approximately 60,000 of the city's buildings in selected areas of the Vienna metropolitan area. The third step, known as basic inventorisation, consists of extended data collection from the building files for buildings in protection zones and inspection of the property.
The data collected through inventorisation was entered into a GIS database. In order to make parts of the information available to the public, these were integrated into Wien Kulturgut, the City of Vienna's online land register of cultural assets. Queries may be made regarding protection zones in Vienna and selected information on individual buildings (location information, building data, state of conservation, photographs). Furthermore, the building evaluations made under the Protection Zone Model form an important basis for decision-making by urban planners.
In addition to architectural information, the land register of cultural assets also provides information on five other areas, some of which can also be represented as maps.The subjects are: works of art in public spaces, city history, city archaeology, art collection MUSA - Museum on Demand and a collection of links to museums/collections/theatres.
Provincial governments are responsible for the protection zones, which are incorporated in the respective provincial building codes. Subsidies within the protection zones are provided by the Viennese Old Town Conservation Fund.
The City of Vienna's sustainable and considerate care in preserving the old historic centre and its architectural heritage led to the city centre being designated a UNESCO world heritage site in 2001.
Facts & Figures
- Vienna's housing stock (according to the City of Vienna's Statistical Yearbook): 168,693
- Buildings in protection zones: 24,642
- Total protection zones: 135 (as of 2010)
- Minimum number of buildings required for designation as protection zone: 3
- The first protection zone was identified in parts of the city centre in 1973
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