Reconfiguring Public Space through Green Urban Commons

On the significance of agrarian movements for urban space in Vienna.

Project funded by the Vienna Fund for Science and Technology
Department of Political Science, University of Vienna, Austria


The project engages with the connection between the public and self-organised appropriation of land in Vienna for agricultural-horticultural purposes.

Public space in the city is very often being associated with images of certain localities, such as squares and parks or as spaces for (political) protests, but is rarely being related to as a collective means of material production (Green Urban Commons). Nevertheless, occupation and agricultural use of unsealed urban areas are significant historically, today and maybe in the future: How do movements or initiatives, cultivating such areas, relate to each other? To what extent are issues of agriculture, food culture(s) and urban are thereby being re-negotiated?

Based on data gathered in the field, from existing literature and coeval sources, we will, inter alia, seek to answer three basic questions:

  • Which are the conditions for the emergence of social movements, who co-shape urban spaces, by claiming land for agricultural purposes?
  • What are the factors for success or failure of such movements and how do they impact the production of public space?
  • Which (constructions of) meaning are developed or contested by these movements?

A historical part of the project will reconstruct the history of movements, which claimed or created Green Urban Commons in urban space. A second approach will focus on contemporary movements, using qualitative ethnographic as well as political-science methods and quantitative analyses.

The third part of the project will consist of localising the findings within broader theoretical perspectives.

For more information, please contact Stephan Hochleithner directly or visit the projects website.