Land is our most valuable resource. The Earth has a finite surface. A careless or purely capital-driven treatment of this resource has changed the design and function of our towns and villages in the past decades.
The progressive sealing of the soil is contributing to the climate crisis while speculation and the hoarding of land increases the price of housing, threatens public space and makes it more difficult to have sensible traffic and transport policies. Outside the major centres weak or unapplied spatial planning regulations result in a landscape with shopping centres, chalet villages and a broad carpet of single-family houses while village centres become deserted, traffic explodes and lost arable land threatens food security.
But a lot has changed in recent years. Public awareness for the climate crisis and the lack of affordable housing has been raised. City administrations and politicians are slowly becoming aware of their responsibilities and have started taking action, not least because the financial pressure has increased and the scarcity of land is no longer an abstract matter. Where the pressure was strongest, new approaches and instruments are already being tested. This is a good time to analyze the state of our country, to identify the most pressing problems and to test the efficiency of various national and international concepts and projects.
The key to an environmentally sound, just and beautiful Earth is so close and yet remains abstract in everyday life. With the exhibition ‘Land for us All’, the Architekturzentrum Wien sheds light on the complex relationships between land policy, spatial planning, the economic background, social issues and climate goals. It graphically explains common concepts such as the division of competencies, Austria’s system of financial equalization between federal states, spatial planning regulations and zoning, as well as mechanisms such as the influence of interest rate policy on land prices or the connection between private land ownership and wealth distribution. After all, a deeper understanding of the land policy context is essential for the transition to climate-friendly and socially just development of our society. The exhibition prepares the ground for it.
Curators: Karoline Mayer & Katharina Ritter, Az W
Assistance: Christina Kirchmair