Graffiti, Ankerbrotfabrik, June 2013

by Daniele Karasz

Shifting the ground on the “Island of Crete”

About migrants, brownfields and urban renewal in Vienna

Brownfields and the question of their reuse play a significant role in urban renewal projects. My research focuses on the reuse of different urban brownfields in Vienna. The aim is to comprehend the processes of reuse, to understand what kind of state and non-state actors are involved and how the processes of reuse are acted out. The research project particularly focuses on the involvement of migrants as actors in these processes. I thus look at the positions of migrants in urban restructuring processes in Vienna without taking the city itself, or a certain pre-defined group of migrants as an entry point to the analysis. The point of departure is the transformation of urban brownfields. Continue Reading →

»This street is constantly changing and it certainly will be changing further on. Streets like this are needed in the city, because they allow a change, people can try out different business ideas here, see if it works or not.«

A. Dika, architect, interview 2011


Beside their unique historical development, there are other similarities between urban quarters in St. Louis, Sarajevo and Vienna. One of the most important ones is the transnational identity and lifestyle of their residents that first of all assures their existential survival and additionally contributes to urban regeneration and to an improvement in quality of life for all residents. Given different opportunities, the new residents—the immigrants— can contribute to the society and thus help influence, shape and reshape it. Continue Reading →

Urban Quarters—Somewhere in the Mid-City

In the Bevo Area, South City in St. Louis, a Bosnian community in search of its own post-Yugoslav identity has unintentionally contributed to this city’s renewal. St. Louis is the second largest city in the US State of Missouri and has an estimated population of over 350,000 and is the principal municipality of Greater St. Louis, population 2,800,000, the largest urban area in Missouri, the fourth largest urban area in the Midwest, and the fifteenth largest in the United States.1 Like every other US city, St. Louis was formed by migration, especially in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries by immigrants from Germany, Ireland and Italy. They helped to shape the cuisine, religious expression, music and architecture of the city.2 In 1993 a new big wave of immigration from Europe began. These immigrants were war refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina, who almost immediately started reshaping the city by creating better living conditions for themselves. Continue Reading →

Ex-Yugoslav area with cafes and other places to go out in Vienna—Ottakringer Straße

At the border between the sixteenth and seventeenth Viennese districts on Ottakringer Straße, migrants from the former Yugoslavia have created a lively area with cafes and other places to go out that has a Mediterranean flair. While former commercial streets have gone to rack and ruin and empty shops have become a common sight in streets in Vienna and across Europe, the exact opposite is the case on Ottakringer Straße. Small, medium and large businesses run mostly by migrants supply residents during the day. In the evening, this street is transformed into an area where the second and third generations—young people whose parents and grandparents were working migrants and war refugees in the 1990s—go out.

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