Designing the Nature of the Green Belt

August 2 – 10, 2014

University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU)

Vienna, Austria

Summer School in cooperation with the Euroleague for Life Sciences

Application Deadline: May 2, 2014

Notification: May 16, 2014

Course Fee: 190 Euros, including meals, materials, and excursion.

Travel, expenses for public transport and accommodation are not included in the fee; a list of inexpensive housing possibilities will be provided.

Credits: 4 ECTS

To apply, please send a personal statement and portfolio to the summer school coordinator Nicole Theresa Raab. Location: Vienna, Austria Accommodation: Fares of the BOKU student dorm will be published beginning of April. 

The Institute of Landscape Architecture, and the Institute of Spatial Planning and Rural Development at the BOKU Vienna are hosting a summer school to explore the role and potential of the green belt as a spatial instrument in a peripheral territory of Vienna. The 22nd district consists of diverse landscape, historical, agricultural, and urban elements, and is subject to intensive pressures of urban development as the city grows rapidly in population.  The summer school poses the following questions:

What can landscape provide in an expanding urban area in pursuit of sustainable development structures? Is the green belt an appropriate tool for ensuring open space quality in the contemporary city?  How can spatial planning contribute to the protection and development of the Green Belt in a fast growing city?  What kinds of nature exist or are foreseen in the greenbelt and what kind of design is appropriate? Can particular spatial, aesthetic, and ecological qualities be found or created within the network?  What kind of urban – greenbelt relationship can be defined now and in the future?   What types of “green” space can be embedded in and adjacent to the green belt in order to ensure functionality at the local, regional, and metropolitan scales?  What spatial strategies can be developed to ensure a multi-layered performance of the green belt in the defined location?  

The summer school will offer an interdisciplinary workshop setting, combined with lectures and excursions as a basis for the development of design and planning strategies.  Master-level students from the fields of landscape architecture, spatial planning, geography, natural resource management, ecological engineering, and related fields are invited to participate.


In 1905, Vienna’s municipal government established the city’s Green Belt, when the city council approved a scheme to expropriate large areas of meadows and woodland on the city’s periphery The initial phase of Viennese urbanist Eugen Fassbender’s original vision designated nearly 6,000 ha for preservation, and included such diverse and established landscapes as the Park of Schloss Schönbrunn, Prater, the Zentralfriedhof, Laaerberg, and the Lobau wetlands.  The Lobau wetlands were the only area north of the Danube integrated into the original scheme.  Although Vienna’s population hovered around 2 million in 1910, decision-makers at the time did not foresee great development pressures being exerted upon the agricultural and rural area which represents Vienna’s 22nd district today.  

The green belt has continued to act as a planning instrument for the city, and in 2005, the year of its 100th anniversary, its size had grown to more than 21,500 ha, including 12,000 ha of designated protected areas.  The green belt extends around much of Vienna’s territory, and an overarching goal of Vienna’s urban development strategy seeks to increase the amount of protected landscapes and improve connectivity between protected areas, particular in the North-eastern peripheral territory initially left out of the original vision.  This North-eastern territory is characterized by a wide range of built and unbuilt elements, including 1960s social housing, historical village structures, and empty voids, and marks the juncture between the Marchfeld, the largest contiguous agricultural plain in Europe, and urban development.  

After a decline in population during the mid – late 20th Century, Vienna has reached a stage of intense growth again, and the population is expected to exceed 2 million people by 2035.  Thus, the city is expanding rapidly, and the need for new housing and related infrastructure is driving the process, particularly in peripheral areas such as those the Viennese term trans-danubia, where land remains available and somewhat affordable.  The 22 nd district is home to one of Europe’s largest mixed-use development projects, the Aspern Seestadt, or Vienna’s urban lakeside, a 200 ha site that will be home to 20,000 residents. Lecturers BOKU Lecturers:

ILA// Kim Thornton, Roland Wück

IRUB// Franz Grossauer, Paul Himmelbauer, Gernot Stöglehner


Guest Lecturers



Associate Professor of Countryside Planning and Management at the

University of Copenhagen, Denmark



Senior researcher and lecturer of Landscape Architecture at Warsaw

Agricultural University, Poland



Lecturer of Landscape Architecture at the Academie van Bouwkunst and

owner of Atelier Font.



Lecturer in Urban and landscape design at University of Maribor, Slovenia

Lecturer at ERUDIO College for sustainable tourism, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Owner of Landscape Architecture Studio  OBLIKOVANJE KRAJINE Tanja SImonic Korosak s.p., Maribor, Slovenia