UN Awards City of Vienna for Excellence in Urban Planning
The UN today (4 October 2010) awarded the City of Vienna with the 2010 Scroll of Honour of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT), the UN's most prestigious award in city planning.
The award, which honours individuals and institutions instrumental in improving living conditions in towns and cities, was presented by the Director-General of the United Nations Office at Vienna (UNOV), Yury Fedotov, in the presence of the Director of the UN-HABITAT Geneva Office, George Deikun, to Vice-Mayor Michael Ludwig and Mayor Michael Häupl at the historic "Roter Salon" at the Vienna City Hall.
"The UN recognizes Vienna for putting people at the heart of its building programme by renovating rather than demolishing older infrastructure. As a new citizen I can say that Vienna is not only a beautiful and very safe city but also one that cares about its citizens," said Yury Fedotov.
Vienna was awarded for putting people and their views first in a model urban renovation programme. Under the multi-million dollar programme the sub-standard housing stock has been reduced over the years to below nine per cent following improvements to more than 5000 buildings with nearly a quarter of a million apartments.
Vice-Mayor Michael Ludwig pointed to challenges and achievements in the refurbishing process with respect to the historic architecture of Vienna, with many residential buildings dating back as far as the "Gründerzeit" at the turn of the previous century. "Vienna tries to adapt the stock of old buildings to the needs of the inhabitants today and also in the future. Important upcoming issues are reducing energy consumption to preserve the climate, intergenerational housing as required by demographic change and integration of new and old citizens of the city in terms of migration," he said.
The awards were bestowed in the framework of World Habitat Day celebrated worldwide. This year's theme "Better City, Better Life" echoes the UN's efforts to raise awareness about the state of the world's towns and cities and the basic right of all to adequate shelter.
The Director of the UN-Habitat Geneva Office, George Deikun, recognized Vienna's contribution to city planning with its urban renovations programme, which will serve as a model for cities in Eastern Europe: "Vienna joins over 100 other cities in the world today in commemorating this year's World Habitat Day. Cities are among the greatest legacies of humanity and among the greatest achievements of our civilization. The city of Vienna attests to this achievement with its 2000 years of urban civilization."
The Global Observance of World Habitat Day is held today in Shanghai, where awards are presented to some of the other winners of the 2010 Scroll of Honor which include China, Colombia, Morocco, Singapore and South Africa. The observance of World Habitat Day highlights the actions and policies that can improve well-being for the billion people who live in slums and other sub-standard housing around the world.