Architectural Heritage, Monument Protection, Integrated Conservation, Preservation of the Urban Environment, Urban Renewal, Rehabilitation Zones


Austria has a very long tradition in monument protection. Already in 1853, the central commission to research and preserve the built historic monuments started to operate. The current law on monument protection is from the year 1923. Hence, the most successful steps to secure the country’s built cultural heritage date back to a new provincial legislation, administration and finance system implemented in the early 70ies of the 19th century based on so-called Old-City Preservation Acts. By this sensitive approach, Austria safeguarded the most important historic city centers of Austria like Salzburg, Graz and Vienna vividly in their traditional characteristics without turning them into museum cities without contemporary life. Especially Vienna managed to balance the protection of its extent historic urban environments with parallel ongoing directed urban expansion.

This paper will reflect the genesis of this very successful integrated conservation process for its capital Vienna in the context of the Austrian tradition of monument protection and the European Year of Architectural Heritage 1975. Further, it will outline its legal, administrative and financial framework. Finally, it will describe its different phases of development reacting on shifting goals during the course of the times.



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