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Changing Cities, Changing Roles: Municipal Developments and the Urban Social Contract in Nineteenth Century Vienna
  • J. Alexander Killion, Western Michigan University

Humans have congregated in urban areas for millennia, but the way in which people have viewed the cities they live in has varied greatly over time. The nineteenth century brought extremely rapid changes in the interactions between people and space, especially in urban areas such as the Austrian capital of Vienna. The experience of Viennese inhabitants during this period is typical of what historian Reinhart Koselleck described as a “denaturalization of historical temporalities,” in which “the relations of time and space have been transformed, at first quite slowly, but in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, quite decisively.” This rapid transformation brought great changes to how the city operated around (as well as for) the inhabitants. In this paper I will examine how the interaction between people and the urban space of Vienna changed over time during the period of industrialization, primarily by examining how the inhabitants viewed the responsibilities that the city had to them. A good way to examine this subject is by looking at new services provided by the city, such as waste disposal and transportation, as well as the rationale for having the city provide them. In addition, I will examine the incorporation of the suburbs around Vienna into the city itself. With this approach, I can see the various effects that incorporation had, including who the driving force behind it was, how it affected the way inhabitants of both Vienna and the suburbs viewed the city, how it affected the services provided by the city, attitudes towards it, and what either group had to gain or lose from such a change. This paper will incorporate primary research from the City Archive of Vienna, recent secondary research on the city, and current as well as historical maps to examine the landscape of the changing city itself.

  • Vienna,
  • Municipal,
  • Socialism,
  • Public,
  • Administration,
  • Environmental,
  • History,
  • Urban,
  • Planning
Publication Date
Citation Information
J. Alexander Killion. "Changing Cities, Changing Roles: Municipal Developments and the Urban Social Contract in Nineteenth Century Vienna" (2015)
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