Thursday: 8.09.2022, Garage Grande

Let’s take a look at what is behind the now no longer empty garage in the heart of Ottakring, a district that has always been known for its diversity.  The owner of the building plans to demolish the building in 2022 and left it in the meanwhile for three-years interim use to the team of the area management. When the team took over, the first difficulties emerged in reaching out to the neighborhood. However, the team went from door to door to present the project and ask for ideas for its use, with the guideline that the space should be also adapted according to the existing needs of the surrounding residents.  With success: a few days later, many of the people visited the former Garage to get a clear picture of it and start dreaming of alternative uses. 

So, in only a few years, the formerly vacant space has become a focal point and started animating the area to a lively neighborhood, with an extraordinary gathering place in the Grätzl (Viennese term for neighborhood). Here, knowledge on the topic of “urban climate and urban greening” is gathered and exchanged. This frames the activities and invites to experiment new uses, away from one’s own home and public space. With events like the “Spielstadt Ottakring”, where they invited around 300 children and young people from the surrounding area and all over Vienna to design, develop and appropriate their own city and community, a lively exchange is also created beyond the neighborhood.

Following the International Training for Urban Advisors, as on the first day, we started by loosening up by reflecting on the previous day, blindly of course. After the presentation of Garage Grande and another project where vacant spaces are temporarily repurposed, the concept of Parking Day and Mei Meidling were discussed interactively with the trainers. It was especially helpful for the trainees to see a practical example of reactivation of vacant spaces (Garage Grande). In the following steps, the participants were divided into groups and asked to develop an activity for the next day in Meidling, which would then be tested in the Meidling climate event. After an hour, each group presented their first ideas to the other groups. It was interesting to see the diversity of the ideas developed, which was also caused by the different backgrounds of the trainers. Afterwards, the group went to the Brunnenmarkt for a light lunch. In the afternoon, each group continued working on their own concepts and bought the necessary material for their activities the next day.