Reducing the Urban Patchwork

Focusing on the essential

In our Intensified Density research project, the aim is to investigate and test small-scale modular redensification in suburban or Zwischenstadt zones by planning based on the mid-sized Austrian city of Graz. The first step was to define these suburban or peri-urban zones in terms of concepts and to identify them in the urban space of Graz.

Where are the boundaries between intact urban fabric and “unplanned” space with its “fringed edges”?

Bild zeigt Pinwand mit Stadtplan Graz

Work in Progress

Examining various planning documents, including the Regional Planning Model (2004), the Urban Development Concepts 3.0 and 4.0, and taking existing planning target areas into account such as Smart City, Europan, etc., the city was examined in terms of urban development so as to graphically circumscribe the area under consideration that forms the basis of our research project.

Stadtplan von Graz


286,686 inhabitants (valid 01/01/2017)
 of which around 62,000 students
2001 City of Human Rights

2003 European Capital of Culture

2011 UNESCO City of Design

Graz, the second-largest city in Austria, is meanwhile regarded as a fast-growing city with an additional 56,600 inhabitants since 2003. The city has fourteen research competence centres and eight universities.
The aim of urban development is therefore to densify inner-city areas and areas with good infrastructure. Work is currently under way on a new version of the Flächenwidmungsplan (FLÄWI) [Land Development Plan], and the Räumliches Leitbild (RLB) [Regional Planning Model], with the aim of passing a resolution in 2017. The Urban Development Concept 4.0 (STEK) currently in effect dates back to 2013, and the currently valid Regional Planning Model to 2004.

Plan mit Löschung des Grüngürtels von Graz


127 km² area with 50% green belt

1997 City Green Sectoral Programme

2006 Graz Streams Sectoral Programme

2007 Graz Green Network Concept

2010 Study on undeveloped areas in Graz

The city of Graz is situated in a sheltered basin site with a mild Mediterranean climate on the south-eastern edge of the Alps. The atmospheric inversion that occurs above all in winter, preventing air exchange, the high volume of traffic, domestic and industrial emissions cause severe particle pollution.
 Since the 1990s the city has had a City Green Sectoral Programme that led to the definition of specific green areas in the Urban Development Concept 4.0.
The study on undeveloped areas provides a definition of the minimum size of open public space as dependent on the existing building structure: from 3m²/inhabitant in single-family home areas to 10m²/inhabitant in densely developed urban areas. The green belt specified in the development plan comprises open land, forest and existing low-density residential areas (0.3 and 0.4) defined by an absolute limit on building land/development.

Plan mit Löschung des historisches Zentrum von Graz


The UNESCO world cultural heritage of the historic centre of Graz consists largely of the area of the former renaissance fortification belt and Schloss Eggenberg. In addition to the historic centre, historic suburbs and inner-city centres display largely built-up, space-enclosing and dense development, unified local character with a predominantly high level of design quality, and priority with regard to preservation: Südtiroler Platz (Murplatz), Jakominiplatz (Murvorstadt), Geidorf (Leechkirche), Guntarn-Hof (Leonhardkirche grounds), Griesplatz (Murvorstadt) and Lendplatz (Murvorstadt). The outer ring with historic suburban municipalities of Graz – Liebenau, St. Peter, Waltendorf, Ries, Mariatrost, Andritz, Gösting, Eggenberg, Wetzelsdorf, Straßgang and Puntigam – were transformed into districts of the city in 1938 and incorporated.

Plan mit Löschung der Altstadtschutzzone von Graz


1974 Graz Historic Centre Preservation Fund

1980 Historic Centre Preservation Act and Historic Centre Expert Commission

1999 Historic centre of Graz declared UNESCO world cultural heritage

2010 Schloss Eggenberg declared UNESCO world cultural heritage

The scope of the Historic Centre Preservation Act covers the historic centre and those areas of Graz whose landscape and architectural characteristics are formative for the physiognomy of the city and whose appearance, building structure, and building fabric are worthy of preservation. Block perimeter development from the Vorgründerzeit and Gründerzeit periods is a key characteristic of Graz. To protect the world cultural heritage, the Management Plan / Master Plan with buffer zones (Annenstraße and Ring) called for by UNESCO was drawn up by the city of Graz, with an analysis of the core zone and guidelines for action.

Plan mit Löschungen der mehrgeschossigen dichten Wohnbebauungen von Graz


In the period between the wars and during the war (1914-45) block development continued, generally with a homogeneous appearance. The 1950s to 1990s, by contrast, saw different development structures with variously conceived residential estates with free-standing solitary buildings and developments with a big-city and small-town feel. However, these areas with multi-storey buildings all display a high level of building density and urbanity.

Plan mit Löschungen der nicht zur Disposition stehenden Flächen von Graz


Districts and areas that are unavailable in terms of urban planning include monovalent districts such as purely residential and industrial areas, for example Magna Steyr, and non-valent areas, e.g. brownfields, disused railway track areas, etc. This also includes highly symbolic areas such as the railway station, hospitals, cemeteries, barracks, but also the Puntigam brewery or the Citypark shopping centre, for example.

Plan mit Löschung der Villenbebauung von Graz


The Regional Planning Model (2004) divides the city into fifteen urban morphological areas, including the low-density, open single-family home and townhouse development in the Mur area and green belt with two- and three-storey buildings. A distinction is made between single-family homes and urban townhouses from the Gründerzeit period that are tightly interwoven with perimeter-edge developments and the road grid. The latter areas are no longer purely residential as many dwellings have meanwhile been converted into offices. Recently, these areas have been redensified with new open multi-storey dwellings.

Plan mit Löschung der Europangebiete von Graz


Graz Mitte (Waagner Biro Straße, railway station area, Reininghaus, Don Bosco belt)

Mur West (Karlauergürtel, Mur, Gasometerweg, Herrgottwiesgasse)

Trade Fair Centre quadrant (area between Jakominigürtel, Münzgrabenstraße, Petersbach, Kasernenstraße)

Smart City is an expansive EU-funded urban development concept (Horizont 2020) that develops new urban districts using the latest energy and digital technologies, usually with the aim of developing energy-self-sufficient districts.
The central Smart City areas include former industrial areas near Graz main railway station, in the area surrounding the Helmut List Hall that was built in 2003. The Science Tower and a school campus are currently being built. The aim is to create living space for around 3800 people in addition to office buildings. A total of approx. 330m Euros is being invested by private project partners and the local authorities of Graz. The project is supervised by StadtLABOR Graz on the basis of a participatory district management concept. The current planning area, from Wagner Biro Straße to Reininghaus, was already dealt with in the EU-funded Urban_Link Graz-West project in 2000–2008, with a total of forty sub-projects being carried out.

Plan mit Löschung der Europangebiete von Graz


Europan 05 (1997-2000): Mobility and proximity – New landscapes of urban living – Liebenauer Hauptstraße

Europan 06 (2000–01): Europan come back – Graz Wetzelsdorf

Europan 07 (2002–03): Suburban Challenge – Grazer Feld Straßgang

Europan 09 (2007–08): Sustainable city and new public space – Graz Puntigam Brauhaus

Europan 10 (2009–10): European Urbanity Inventing Urbanity – Graz Puntigam

Europan 11 (2011–12): What architectures for sustainable cities? – Graz Liebenau

Europan 12 (2013–14): Adaptable City 1 – Eggenberg, Smart City

Europan 13 (2015–16): Adaptable City 2 – Railway station area

Europan 14 (2017–18): Productive Cities – Kärntner Straße

Europan is the biggest European residential and urban development competition initiative for young architects under forty and has been in progress since 1989 in nineteen European countries. In addition to Vienna and Linz, Graz is also a regular participant in the biannual competition. The aim is to find innovative and experimental approaches for locations proposed by the various cities, to support young architects, and to build the winning projects.

Plan mit Löschung der größeren Bauprojekte und Wettbewerbsgebiete von Graz


2006 Graz Model

2012 Expert Advisory Committee for Building Culture

For certain larger contiguous areas, the local authorities draw up development plans and development guidelines based on land use plans that define the degree of building development and regional planning. The areas subject to the development plan are defined by the local authorities. To ensure quality and to develop these areas, in most cases architectural competitions are held based on the Graz Model, or the Expert Advisory Committee for Building Culture is consulted if the new building or extension has a larger gross floor area than 2000m², with the exception of commercial areas.

Stadtplan Graz mit Route


After reducing the area under review based on the above factors, field research was performed in areas of the Andritz, Gösting, Gries, Jakomini, Lend, Liebenau, Puntigam, St. Leonhard, Strassgang, Waltendorf and Wetzelsdorf districts. Based on a total of seven defined routes, a search was conducted for potential sites.

Links – city map:

Altstadtsachverständigenkommission Schutzzonen


Bebauungspläne rechtswirksam Graz

Bebaungspläne Entwurf Graz

Digitaler Atlas der Steiermark

Entwicklungsplan 4.0 STEK der Landeshauptstadt Graz

Europan Projektarchiv

Flächenwidmungsplan  u. Stadtentwicklungskonzept 4.0 Graz

Katasterplan, Verkehrslärmkataster, Radkarte, etc. Graz, etc.

Flächenwidmungsplan 3.0 2002 Graz

Räumliches Leitbild zu STEK 3.0

Stadtentwicklungskonzept und Flächenwidmungsplan 3.0 Graz, Fassung 3.04, 2002

UNESCO Weltkulturerbe Managementplan 2013 Graz


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Criteria for Structural Design in the Peri-urban Space