DP 35: 'Goethehof'. A Guided Tour to a Landmark of Social Innovation of the Red Vienna Period

Section: Work and Equal Opportunities

Enormous architectural and construction efforts were mobilized during the inter-war period of 1919 and 1934 in the city of Vienna to realize more than 380 huge building complexes and fight massive homelessness that had put the city into misery. The working paper describes a tour around one of the landmarks of that time, the Goethehof in the 22nd district, which offered shelter in more than 700 modern high quality homes, including technological innovations such as running water and gas pipes in every kitchen, a toilet and all rooms enjoying day light and fresh air; but also social innovations such as the community housing itself, offering a kindergarten and a library inside the building complex. The Goethehof is also a symbol for the ongoing social and political divide of that time between the Austro-Marxists, the conservative patriarchal Catholics and the Austro-fascists. The polarisation culminated in the uprising of February 1934 – and the Goethehof as one of the last bastions of the workers’ movement was partly destroyed, its defenders killed or arrested. Today the Goethehof stands for continuous unitary social housing policy not only in the city of Vienna but in the whole country, and a policy that uses social housing as a macro-economic tool to provide long-term social security, stability and cohesion.

Authors: Susanne Giesecke, AIT,Vienna

Result of this Event: "Social Innovation 2015: Pathways to Social Change": registration open!


Category: Discussion Papers

Publication Date: 2016

Procurement: Online (download)