Resilient development of the “Siedlungsstraße” of the Municipality of Ober-Grafendorf

The Lower Austrian municipality of Ober-Grafendorf is exemplary in many respects: The community of 5,000 inhabitants is a climate and energy model region, is one of the E5 municipalities and KLAR regions, and is pursuing an ambitious strategy to strengthen inner development. At the same time, like many other Austrian communities of comparable size, it owns an aging workers’ settlement. This represents a challenge, especially in terms of energy.

Given this context, the project RESI.GO – resilient Development of the “Siedlungsstraße” of the Municipality of Ober-Grafendorf sets itself the goal of a model development of an approximately 80-year-old workers’ housing estate in the context of growing pressure on housing, demographic changes, an ongoing energy crisis and the advance of climate change.
To this objective, replicable and scalable solutions for a socially sustainable, resilient existing neighbourhood development will be designed in close cooperation and demonstrated by means of selective pilot actions within the framework of the research project.

The following steps will be applied for this purpose:
• a broad prospective assessment of the existing situation and needs that extends beyond the boundaries of the neighbourhoods;
• a subsequent development of long-term resilient utilization concepts for public and private spaces, especially in the area of tension between working and living spaces as well as the mobilisation of affordable housing;
• an analytical comparison of possible, novel energy supply concepts, including those that span neighbourhoods, at the thermal and electrical level (e.g. neighbourhood storage, waste heat recovery, energy communities);
• a cross-thematic assessment of possible local social, biodiversity and environmental measures (e.g. community gardens, rainwater harvesting);
• a restructuring of open space and mobility patterns (e.g. e-mobility offers, sponge city).

These steps are intended to make the settlement a transregional model for sustainable, fully comprehensive existing neighbourhood development. With the involvement of all stakeholders and users, transdisciplinary approaches to improving the identified problems at the settlement and community level will be designed and tested.

In the scope of the project, already implemented measures of the municipality will be taken up. One possibility is the already locally applied sponge-city principle of the ” Ökostraße” (eco-street). The existing buildings will be integrated into this rainwater utilization concept. Through this, the regional water cycle of the surrounding neighbourhood can be regulated in a more efficient and energy-saving manner. Due to the advancing shortage of living space in Ober-Grafendorf, especially for young families, concepts for housing mobilization are to be applied. The issue of high energy costs is also to be counteracted by the cross-quarter design of an energy community.

The result of RESI.GO is a precise roadmap for the preservation-focused development of the neighbourhood “Siedlungsstraße” and the surrounding area; as well as a generalized guideline for the replication and scaling of the applied procedure of assessment and solution identification to other typologically similar workers’ settlements. Furthermore, the project is intended to develop Ober-Grafendorf into a national testbed in which theoretically effective measures of other research projects can be implemented and tested in practice quickly and with reduced administrative effort due to the special responsibilities (private and public space from one source).

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