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Chapter 10 Sensitive Urban Renewal or Gentrification? the Case of the Karmeliterviertel in Vienna

Everyday Life in the Segmented City

ISBN: 978-1-78052-258-6, eISBN: 978-1-78052-259-3

Publication date: 10 November 2011


The Karmeliterviertel is an inner-city neighborhood in Vienna, which underwent a significant revitalization and renewal. Since the opinions of Viennese urban researchers differ to a large extent whether gentrification occurs in Vienna at all, this chapter examines the question, whether the revitalization of the Karmeliterviertel can be defined as ‘gentrification.’ This question is elaborated in the context of Vienna's overall ‘soft urban renewal’ strategy. Despite the fact that direct displacement of households from the Karmeliterviertel was prevented by the mechanisms of Vienna's strict tenancy law, also the local coordination office played a certain role. As higher-status groups moved in the neighborhood, the infrastructure and the amenities changed and were adjusted to their demands. This cultural redefinition resulted in the replacement of restaurants, cafes, and bars, which served the needs of longtime residents and low-income groups. The revitalization of the Karmeliterviertel thus has to be termed ‘gentrification,’ as their social spaces were displaced and as they are less visible in the neighborhood. This form of displacement develops a similar dynamic as direct displacement, when social relations, bonds, and networks, which provide options, coping strategies, and sources of a place-based identity, are dissolved. As gentrification results in homogeneity, the main challenge for a city is to maintain spaces of different milieus and thus to preserve authentic places, characterized by heterogeneity and urbanity.



Huber, F.J. (2011), "Chapter 10 Sensitive Urban Renewal or Gentrification? the Case of the Karmeliterviertel in Vienna", Perrone, C., Manella, G. and Tripodi, L. (Ed.) Everyday Life in the Segmented City (Research in Urban Sociology, Vol. 11), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 223-239.



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