Donaukanal Partitur represent a regulation and development guidelines for the Viennese Danube Canal. The project is a commission by the Vienna Municipal Department 19 - Architecture and Urban Design - based on the winning proposal of an invited competition. It comprises two urban planning tools - one regulatory: the "Nicht-Bebauungsplan", one developmental: a series of "Urban Scores" - specifically designed for that linear urban space of the Viennese Danube Canal along the water. These tools have become part of a more general discussion around new planning tools for public space within city planning.
The planning area consists of 162.500 m2 of river bench land valuable to the city of Vienna, a city, which will grow considerably in the next 20 years (20.000 new inhabitants per year). So there is high demand for central housing and more density. Vienna also experiences an intense pressure from private investors to use this space for private gastronomy – another international tendency of cities recovering their river benches. Hence, Donaukanal Partitur may also take a leading role for the development of free non-commercial space for leasure and recreation in other city centres.
Donaukanal is a result of Otto Wagner´s regulation plan of late 19th century. The first Vienna Metropolitan Railway was built along the Donaukanal with "cinematographic" windows to the water - to name just one of many spatial historic qualities worth preserving or enhancing again. Within the general change of European cities from industrial to cultural cities and as part of the STEP 2005 the Viennese Danube Channel has been appointed a "target area" for city development in Vienna and since then been subjected to investments mostly of gastronomy. The area, which we call "low-line" of Vienna, has since become a very active and lively place but the number of consumption spaces also raised to such a high level, that in some areas there is hardly any place left for non-commercial use, even though there used to be a "free" and "cheap" recreation place right in the middle of the City (e.g. during the depression era of the 1930s it was called the "Viennese Riviera".)
The process-based approach includes earlier studies, a masterplan as well as all stake-holders throughout the process. It´s goal is not about creating any sort of "corporate identity" for this large site, but to create a consistent planning culture when it comes to public space, to set up rules transparent to the public; a sort of advocacy planning in favour of future, yet unknown ways of public interaction intervention or use of the place.
In order to stop the neo-liberal development of "privatizing" large pieces of the river bench, the basis for any further development is the "Non-Building Plan". Relating to well-known "building plans" this plan (sort of a Non-land-use plan in the scale 1:500) - describes all areas which are to be kept free from any built structure in order to ensure enough place for any sort of use by pedestrians, cyclists, families, youth, tourists, etc. Special care is being taken to "read" the exisiting qualities of the space in order to allow joyful arrival, open access to the water, enough free space to ensure safety even with increased use, open sight and vision.
As a diagrammatic tool the Partituren "read" the linear place in the manner of a score, analysing existing and planning new infrastructure for future development. The different "Partituren" involve built structures, landscape features, restoration plans, traffic design, mobility, logistics, electricity, water, cleaning and waste management. The goal is to strengthen public infrastructure towards an independency of commercialization of public space.