In addition to supporting the use of private cars, covering large parts of a city with asphalt contributes to warming the city by creating an 'urban heat island'. In addition, a lot of asphalt does not allow water to drain freely.
in order to address such concerns, the Austrian capital Vienna is running a programme called “Raus aus dem Asphalt” (Get rid of the asphalt), which aims to reduce the urban heat island effect and also contribute to the shift to sustainable mobility. A competition for ideas back in 2021 saw more than 500 entries suggesting how to green the city's streets and squares. Today, the city is implementing some of these ideas.
For example, in September 2022 the City of Vienna announced that it plans to redesign the Schulgasse to form an extension of the Kutschermarkt farmers' market. The new design of the Schulgasse will include the planting of new trees and the addition of cycling lanes to transform the area into a car-free zone where residents and visitors can rest and socialise. The new cycling lanes close a gap of about half a kilometre in the area’s cycling network and the city’s cycling ring road. The Schulgasse will also be equipped with water fountains and have 35 new trees and flower beds. Pavements will be tiled to allow rainwater to drain into the ground directly. The Kutschermarket itself will then be able to extend by adding new vendor stands spreading out in the area. In the wider area, more cycling lanes will be added, as well as further traffic calming measures.
Ultimately, Vienna intends to cool down many parts of the city in a similar manner to counteract urban heat island effects and to deliver public spaces for its people instead of spaces for motorised traffic.
- Publication date
- 4 October 2022
- Traffic and demand management