Vienna’s 22nd district is undergoing a change with its developing new urban centre. Seestadt is designed to be a smart city, and according to aspern, it is with its 5 billion investment value, space for more than 25,000 future residents, and 20,000 potential workplaces one of Europe’s largest development projects. All fine and well, but just how does it feel to actually be there? We went and took a tour.
The project began developing in 2009 and is still ongoing.
Find out more about the project in this video:
The cost of a Seestadt apartment, if buying can start from € 60 per m2, and even € 6.92 per m2 when renting. Compared to Vienna’s centre, where the average apartment rent costs € 8.65 per m2, it seems like a great deal. A full list of home providers in Seestadt can be seen here.
With the hype surrounding the ‘new’ district of Austria’s capital, we just had to go and see it for ourselves.
To get there we took a metro from Schottenring station, and the ride to Seestadt took us around 35 minutes. Despite Sschottering being our end (and last) station, the journey there was an experience in itself. The metro at one point goes above ground, some couple of meters above the road, through fields, building complexes, and what it seemed like cities within a city.
After all this scenery, Seestadt was finally in sight. Arriving there on a train, to the ‘city’ surrounded by green fields, really did feel like the beginning of a dystopian movie.
Once we got out of the station, the first thing we saw was the artificial lake, called Asperner See, with its perfect clear and clean water. In fact, the whole district had a Mediterranean feel to it – hence the name. For a while it was nice to forget you’re living in a huge metropolis with concrete as far as your eye can see, for a while it was nice to pretend you’re somewhere at a seaside.
Another thing immediately noticeable is the fact that no building is the same, and even the buildings themselves sometimes don’t look the same. A window there, a balcony there, a tree here – no order, just a beautiful mess, and a nightmare for anyone with OCD.
Now, the thing is Seestadt is not complete yet. Despite people already living there, and many vibrant businesses already functioning there, construction sites still operate and surround the ‘city’. The area is still developing and growing.
A World of Its Own
While walking around the centre, there is a certain feeling of unrealness present. The whole centre somehow feels more like a part of a larger theme park than a place where people actually live. Or a vacation destination/holiday complex you visit for 14 days and get bored of after 7 days.
The idea of a 15-minute city, living and working in one place, raising little ones in a safe environment, and joy, and happiness is certainly there. And it certainly is the perfect place for young families, as the children can roam and run free as they please, with no danger in sight.
However, we do wonder: is it too perfect?
Have you seen Get Out or The Stepford Wives? It kind of felt like that – like there’s a flaw underneath the perfect surface. Dystopia in utopia.
We noticed a lot of families with children live there, which is great, but if the place is so perfect, does it consequently learn the children the world is without problems, and everyone is as well-off as them? Does it create a bubble for them? Maybe that’s something for the parents to decide upon.
Overall, from the technical point of view, the ‘city’ seems like a perfect sustainable place to live, where the materials used for build are sustainable, no driving is needed to go to work, and there is more than enough space for greenery.
And despite writing rather harshly about the whole atmosphere, we do like the idea, like the design, and like the district. It’s a perfect place for a getaway, somewhere to relax at, and pretend to be somewhere on the coast – even if just for a little while.
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