Vienna's first Jane's Walks

Austria's capital Vienna was one of the newcomers in this year's edition of the global Jane's Walk Festival.

Andreas Lindinger, May 5, 2014

In 2012, Jane's Walk Vienna City Organizer Andreas Lindinger spent a year in beautiful Vancouver, BC where he immediately realized on his first Jane's Walk in Vancouver's West End that he wanted to bring this great initiative to Vienna. Two years later, Austria's capital joined the global Jane's Walk movement for the first time and proved that its beautiful landscapes, diverse neighbourhoods and rich cultural heritage provide a perfect setting for interesting walks.

With press reports on Austria's largest newssites ORF.at and derStandard.at, a radio show devoted to Jane's Walk Vienna on Austrian public broadcaster Ö1 and the word spread through websites and social media, the stage was set for a great weekend! In total, 140 people joined the four walks that were organized in Vienna during the Jane's Walk weekend. Here's a short recap:

Vienna's first Jane's Walk ever took place on Friday evening in Grinzing where Andy Nash, a US-born city and transportation planner who moved to Vienna seven years ago, led a walk through Vienna's beautiful vineyards where we could enjoy the evening sun and great views of the city before a thunderstorm set in at the end of the walk. Luckily, Andy had booked three tables at a traditional wine tavern where we continued our conversations and enjoyed Viennese wine and food.

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On Saturday, Manfred Chobot showed us the Yppenplatz and Brunnenmarkt area in Vienna's Ottakring district where he has been living all his life. His personal stories, exciting anecdotes and interesting facts on the development of the local markets certainly also provided new information and insights for the many people living in this area among the 50 participants at this walk.

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And finally, there were two walks in Vienna's Alsergrund district on Sunday. First, Fritz Hinterberger, his father and his children led a 3-generations-walk on which they shared their personal views and many interesting conversations among the walk's participants emerged.

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The fourth and last walk of Jane's Walk Vienna 2014 was led by Florian Lorenz and explored the old building of Vienna's University of Economics and Business Administration (WU) that was abandoned last year and now acts as a huge, lifeless barrier in the neighbourhood. By walking around and on this building, we explored its impact on the area, its historical development and possible future uses.

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Here you can find more pictures of the four walks:

As a City Organizer, I'd like to thank Vienna's first four courageous and creative walk leaders Andy Nash, Manfred Chobot, Fritz Hinterberger and Florian Lorenz for their exciting and diverse walks. Moreover, I'd like to thank all participants - some of them even joined Jane's Walks on all of the three days - for their interesting contributions and conversations as well as the positive feedback on Jane's Walk and the individual walks. More than once, they expressed their desire to have Jane's Walk in Vienna more often than once a year.

Finally, I'd particularly like to thank Denise, Nadia and Joshua from our global Jane's Walk Office in Toronto for their tremendous help and encouragement during the past weeks, Vienna's Walking Commissioner Petra Jens for her support as well as all journalists for their interest in Jane's Walk Vienna and all other people that contributed their time to make Jane's Walk Vienna happen.

With these impressions and experiences, I am already looking forward to Jane's Walk Vienna 2015 in May next year! Given all the positive feedback, more time for preparations and many people's expressed interest in leading a walk next year, I am sure that Jane's Walk Vienna will become an even bigger event and will perfectly fit in the City of Vienna's thematic focus on walking in 2015.

So, if you want to stay up-to-date on Jane's Walk Vienna 2015, I encourage you to follow us on Facebook and Twitter and to subscribe to our Newsletter!

In the meantime, I hope that you all enjoy walking through our beautiful city and raise your voices to shape your neighbourhoods in this rapidly growing and changing city. Because, as Jane Jacobs told us, "the citizen can be the ultimate expert on this; what is needed is an observant eye, curiosity about people, and a willingness to walk." (Downtown is for People)

Best,

Andreas

City Organizer Jane's Walk Vienna

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