The architecture talk show debates Town and Country: contrasts and prejudices.
After years when it seemed as if city and countryside were converging, merging into a “rurban” unity, the last elections in the USA, Great Britain and Austria all showed how strong the polarization between town and country still is. In spite of the digital availability of all information, it is now possible to successfully campaign again with the old bogeyman of the city as a cosmopolitan Babylon. The assertion that the streets in Vienna, one of the safest cities in the world, are no longer safe to walk is met with widespread credence. On the other hand, progressive cities (such as the Sanctuary Cities in the USA) are emancipating themselves from their repressive state governments under the flag of municipalism. Today, as then, it is a romantic projection. The reality contrasting with this romanticism comprises roundabouts, bypasses, urban sprawl — but also, and especially in Austria, communities and regions that are actively involved in the building culture. Neighbourhood initiatives in the city, on the other hand, always have something of the rural idyll about them despite their undisputedly positive impact. Can Austria even do cities, or does it want to look to the countryside forever with longing?
Elisabeth Leitner, Professor of Architecture at the FH Kärnten and initiator of the platform Kulturhauptstadt 2024
Elke Rauth, urban researcher & head of the urbanize! festival
Georg Renner, Political Editor, Kleine Zeitung
Armin Thurnher, Editor-in-chief and publisher, Falter
Moderated by Maik Novotny, architecture journalist