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The artificial Danube Island is today an important urban greenway and a crucial element of Vienna’s green network (Stadtentwicklung Wien, 2015). It is the result of two major flood protection projects that have had a fundamental impact on the Danube riverscape in Vienna. From 1870 to 1875 the branching river was straightened into one main riverbed with a large parallel inundation area of 825 hectares of almost flat ground. Overflows of the swiftly moving alpine river were then limited, but flooding remained a risk. In view of this, 100 years later, the inundation area was transformed into a 160-meter-wide flood-relief channel and an artificial island parallel to the main stream. The island is 21.1 kilometers long and 200 meters wide on average. A mere technical project in 1969, the island was later transformed into a multipurpose greenway in the course of an interactive planning process that lasted almost twenty years.

Taking the artificial Danube Island as a case study, the paper focuses on the interrelationship of site, planning process, and urban design. With this in mind, the objectives of this paper are:

⎯ to analyze the role of greenways in Vienna’s urban development plans;

⎯ to review the history of the island and the interaction of the actors involved;

⎯ to analyze the shift in planning strategies and the consequences this has had on form, function, and meaning at site scale; and

⎯ to discuss how the findings can inform the transformation of a technical infrastructure project into a multifunctional greenway.



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