In this issue TheCityPlan section looks at Vienna, the Austrian capital.
A city-state with around 1,800,000 inhabitants, Vienna is unanimously considered one of the European cities with the highest quality of life.
As usual, we examine our subject with the aid of five density maps to get a contemporary reading of the city. Developed from GIS data readily available on the Internet - highlighted by us to facilitate interpretation - the five maps give easy-to-read snapshots of population density, natural contours, service provision, public transport and natural greenery.
When overlaid on the reference population-density map, the other maps show a substantially compact city structure surrounded by equally compact outlying areas with no evidence of ragged urban sprawl.
The geographical contour map shows Vienna to lie on mainly flat land, bounded by the beautiful River Danube coursing north-southwest, and by a system of hills running along its western flank.
Surprisingly, Vienna’s population map does not present lower population density in the old town center, a regular feature of other European capitals, largely on account of the concentration of services in the downtown area.
Closer examination reveals that it is the semicircle immediately around the old town center with a population “depression”. This semicircle was the former glacis - or open area in front of the old bastions - built on during the city’s 19th century expansion that saw the creation of public buildings and urban parks; hence the lower residential density.
Vienna has a network of canals and waterways. Of particular note is the main canal running parallel to the river creating a very long island to the east of the city. Two other canals once provided further protection to the historic city, running along the city walls to the north and west.
The services map clearly shows...
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