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Housing Affordability in the urban development of Vienna

Housing Affordability, Rental Markets, Housing Policy Evaluation, Vienna, Spatial Econometrics

I look at current housing affordability trends in Vienna well known for its long tradition and ongoing strong interventions into housing market dynamics. European metropolises such as Berlin, Paris or London are infamous for their rapid growth in accommodation costs, gentrification and ongoing decline of housing affordability, often accompanied by a reduction of social housing availability. Vienna on the other hand is often cited as the most well-known counterexample of these contemporary developments and one of the most livable cities in the world. Strong growth in population figures and an increasing commodification of housing is jeopardizing these qualities and endangering affordability. Even personal experiences and group specific problems of affordability may not go along with this picture, the empirical literature to back this status is not too broad and housing research is too little, especially when considering developments on a local scale. Therefore, I try to fill these deficits by providing evidence about housing costs in the contexts of urban development, especially rental prices on a sub-district level. In this perspective. the spatial structure of housing affordability is analyzed helping to identify areas that could potentially profit from intervention. Furthermore, I inspect the current status of policies and municipal measures aiming at housing affordability and evaluating their local impacts using spatial econometric methods.

Univ.Prof. Mag. Dr. Rudolf Giffinger

CZECH Alexander

The Spatial Interrelation of Space and Information

Geo-Data-Science, Spatial Semantics, Datamining, Centrality

The goal of this dissertation is to study the spatial distribution of internet-based information. Moreover, how this information relates to real word geographies. For this, a corpus comprising of 3.65 billion (or about 300 TiB in data) web documents is geotagged to 3.5 million postal addresses in Randstad (Netherlands). In total, this produces 16.1 million matches to 840 thousand addresses. The validity of these geotags is tested with a semantic similarity check between documents tagged to the same addresses, employing the doc2vec method to produce document embeddings. This validity check is done for four different languages (Dutch, English, French and German).

After geotagging documents to addresses, a PageRank for addresses tagged to documents is calculated. PageRank is an iterative algorithm that assigns a scores measuring importance to graph vertices. It has been developed to score webpages in a Webgraph and calculates the score based on the graph structure. In the case of this work, a Webgraph was constructed from the initial corpus of web documents. This graph has been extended by the geotags to the addresses, whereby the geotags can been seen as an edge to real world vertices. In turn, this allows for extending a Webgraph PageRank score towards spatial entities.

The research area of Randstad is a metropolitan area comprised of a number of municipalities. For the four major cities (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht) a spatial semantic profile is constructed. The data for these profiles is based on spatial entities data-mined from OpenStreetMap (for example Stores, Museums, Schools etc.) that are recoded into 11 distinct classes. A self-overlapping raster layer is generated and for each raster cell and a semantic vector is calculated using and adapted version of term frequency–inverse document frequency method. In addition, all PageRank values of addresses within a cell are collected. This allows for creating a neutral semantic profile of each city, one that is weighted with the PageRank values and one individual semantic city profile for each language.

Lastly the PageRank value is to be compared to centrality measures. The geographic centrality is also calculated with the spatial entities data-mined from OpenStreetMap, by giving them an initial value of one divided by the number of occurrences in the dataset. These values then are distributed along the edges of a street graph, in a way that is comparable to a personalized PageRank algorithm. The web-based PageRank is then compared to the calculated centrality measure.

Univ.Prof. Mag. Dr. Rudolf Giffinger

ECKER Martha

“Making local refugee inclusion work”. An investigation of three Austrian initiatives centered around refugees through ASID and bricolage

refugees, inclusion, bricolage, regional development, ASID

This dissertation investigates three local initiatives
centered around refugees in Austrian non-metropolitan regions (Salzkammergut, Waldviertel, Trofaiach). The empirical approach combines mostly qualitative methods (interviews and document analysis, descriptive statistical analysis of regional data) with the meta-theoretical ASID (agency, structure, institutions, discourse) framework in order to understand local path-specific developments. Used as a middle-range theory, the concept of bricolage further enables the investigation of how local actors (co-)create local initiatives for and with refugees in these three case study regions by exploring their (collective) repertoire, assemblage process and unique outcomes. This enables an examination of local collective agency in the field of refugee inclusion that also takes into account local context and aspects of multi-level governance.

Univ.Prof. Mag. Dr. Rudolf Giffinger


Urban Living Labs as a Smart City approach: how socio-technical innovation transforms urban development

smart cities, socio-technical innovation, urban living labs, urban transition

Under the demand of urban sustainable development, the smart city movement has been on stage for more than a decade, with its concept changing and evolving during the time, from a technology-centred model to a more balanced social and technological strategy. Meanwhile, Urban Living Labs (ULLs) came up in recent years as an approach that uses emerging technologies to cope with urban challenges. Nowadays, ULLs often have a focus on citizen participation and social value creation, which meets a distinct smart city understanding within a heterogenous discussion. The linkage between these two concepts are noticed but not clearly elaborated yet
This doctoral thesis will study how ULLs can be regarded as a tool of smart city development, and how the innovation process happens in ULLs. It is argued that ULLs could contribute to the smart city strategy, but there is a lack of investigation on how ULLs’ approach is linked to the socio-technical innovation process in the smart cities. Aiming to explore the nature linkage between these two concepts, this paper tries to raise an analytical model based on literature review and Delphi method survey data from ULLs experts. It is expected to identify key indicators for evaluating the socio-technical innovation approach of ULLs, as well as the smart city transition process driven by ULLs.
This research is using qualitative data analysis as basic research methods. Based on the theory review of transition studies and innovation studies, it is assumed that urban open innovation, which connects traditional technological innovation and social innovation, is an effective approach for the urban transition of a smart city. Therefore, an analytical model is constructed based on the quadruple helix (government, industry, academia, and citizens), as well as an analytical framework for the analysis of the socio-technical transition process induced through ULLs.
In the empirical research design, a mixed methodology of qualitative and quantitative methods would be employed. The European Network of Living Labs (ENoLLs) is chosen as the study database. A structured profile analysis will be conducted on these cases to identify the ULLs in the database and to evaluate the characteristics of the socio-technical innovation process in these ULLs. Then a survey based on Delphi method would be conducted to collect experts’ views to identify several key indicators in the supposed socio-technical innovation process of ULLs, and how the innovation process is contributing to smart city development. The next step, a single case will be chosen as an empirical research object. The case will be analysed based on observation and individual interviews with stakeholders involved in the ULLs innovation process. The purpose of the case study is to elaborate the linkage between ULLs and smart city development, through identification of the characteristics of the innovation process.

The expected outcomes of research would include:
1. The research is expected to find the evidence that ULLs could support smart city development from the local level, through the interactive innovation between different stakeholders in the ULLs approach.
2. Some key indicators could be identified to evaluate the socio-technical innovation approach of ULLs, as well as the smart city transition process driven by ULLs.
3. ULLs could be understood as an effective instrument to influence the urban transition process in smart cities. So that the results of the research can be useful for both urban planning authorities, which would like to invoke urban innovation, and urban living lab organizers, who would want to amplify their good practice from local level labs to higher level of urban development.

Univ.Prof. Mag. Dr. Rudolf Giffinger


Towards a Bicycle Oriented Urban Development with the use of User-Generated-Data

cycling, gis-analysis, user-generated-data, mobility

The bicycle as a simple, inexpensive and efficient mode of transport is now firmly integrated into urban development policy objectives. A modal split shift towards active mobility and thus also towards bicycles is regarded as a normative goal in urban development policy and spatial planning under climate policy perspectives and sustainability aspects.
Against the background of a relational understanding of space, which aims at the overall picture of urban mobility systems, the significance of classical data sources is often limited. This circumstance is further strengthened by the insufficient spatial granularity of the data, which is predominantly oriented towards administrative structures and statistical containers, as well as the temporal snapshot characteristic. In contrast, user-generated data offer the possibility to obtain large samples of observed behaviour over a long period of time and thus to record spatial phenomena.
The aim of this dissertation is to use bicycle tracking data as an interface between mobility and user-generated data to gain new insights for the implementation of a bicycle-oriented development approach in spatial development.
By overlapping new innovative data sources with existing ones, the questions to be explored, among other things, are
- where cyclists are travelling on which infrastructures and how great the diversion is for using different infrastructures,
- how urban areas with high (or low) bicycle traffic are characterised,
- how bicycle-based urban accessibility can be assessed on the basis of actually measured user-generated mobility data and the willingness to take detours to use different infrastructures,
- where and in what form cyclists are hindered.
Based on the dimensions of the Bike-Oriented-Development concept and the results of the analysis, indicators are formed. The evaluation on the basis of the indicators contributes to a better understanding of urban cycling and its influences.

Univ.Prof. Mag. Dr. Rudolf Giffinger


Social Infrastructure systems weaving together urban tissues: Strategical Interventions in unequal urban contexts and vulnerable neighborhoods

Social Infrastructure systems, Strategic Planning, Urban Tissues, Inequality, Neighborhood Vulnerabilities, Territorial Capital, Urban Sustainability

The aim of this dissertation is to understand how does strategical planning of social infrastructure systems contribute in waving together disparate and fragmented urban tissues. The research explores some of the impacts, influences and roles in which social infrastructure systems are intertwined within the social, economic, technological, political and environmental domains at the micro, meso and macro scales.

Specifically, the research looks at how social infrastructures can contribute in building up more sustainable built environments by reducing neighborhood and community socio-ecological vulnerabilities but also socio-economic and socio-technical disparities.

The case study assesses several informal and vulnerable districts in Medellin (Colombia) where different city administration agencies have strategically implemented public social infrastructures as schools, kindergartens, libraries and public spaces during the last 15 years. The assessment includes acquiring of original remote sensing imagery using drones (UAV’s) and transforming them into 3d models in order to analyze district urban morphology and place quality features. This empirical assessment deals with the qualitative and quantitative analysis of the Social (Human and Social capital), Physical (Spatial and Material) and Institutional (formalized and informal rules and laws, governance) dimensions of Social Infrastructure systems and its services. Therefore, the thesis understands the concept of urban tissues from a relational and organizational perspective, as the assemblage of living natural environmental structures of a place, together with the different human domains of the built environment.

The discussion of the research investigates the influence of social infrastructures on social cohesion and on the formation of territorial and social capital. It also examines how strategic planning practice can turn more inclusive by using digital tools for reducing technological inequalities while increasing participation of vulnerable communities in their own planning processes.

The expected contributions of the research are on the one hand on the broadening of the definition of social infrastructures at a meso-scale as socio-technical relational platforms for exchange. And on the other hand, on linking social Infrastructure strategical planning with its services and resources at the urban macro-scale.

Calazania Kindergarten, Medellin, Colombia (2014). Taller de Diseño EDU.
Drone Picture made by Santiago Sanchez Guzman November 2016. All rights reserved.

Univ.Prof. Mag. Dr. Rudolf Giffinger