ReHABITAT-Settlement: Sustainable rehabilitation and activation of a single-family housing estate in Mistelbach

Exploration of a sustainable single-family house redevelopment, with a holistically conceived definition of sustainability that starts with people, is based on sufficiency and also takes into account green and open spaces, social factors and mobility. The result is an integrated overall concept at the house and settlement level, and a transferable approach for other communities.

Short Description

Starting point / motivation

Fortunately, more and more municipalities are striving for climate, soil and environmental protection goals, writing them down in development concepts and joining various alliances. The renovation of the building stock also plays an important role in achieving these goals.

However, the renovation rate has been stagnating at a very low level throughout Austria for years (1.4 %; cf. Amann 04/2020), especially in the one- and two-family house sector. There are many reasons for this, but they are not being specifically investigated.

There is a lack of new approaches to motivate homeowners to renovate, and subsidies alone are clearly not enough. Instead, vacancies and underused buildings are on the rise. Municipalities that try to motivate owners to rent or sell vacant buildings are rarely successful.

Furthermore, the common definition of "sustainable renovation" falls short. "Sustainable" is primarily understood as the improvement of a building's energy efficiency, taking into account ecological aspects, cost efficiency and the improvement of living comfort for the users.

The claim to make more optimal use of existing living and development space is, if at all, only very weakly pronounced. Sufficiency strategies are disregarded, outdoor spaces, climate-friendly mobility, social, community-building and community-promoting factors and a settlement-wide view are mostly completely missing.

Contents and goals

The planned project pursues the goal of holistic sustainable settlement renovation and housing activation. It begins - long before technical considerations of thermal renovation or ecological improvements of buildings - with the people, their needs and living situations.

The approaches and possible renovation measures are developed in a participatory manner and are based on sufficiency. The reduction of all resource consumptions and the living space per capita is aimed for and, in addition to the optimisation of individual buildings, also takes into account a settlement-wide perspective, private, (semi-)public green and open spaces, mobility as well as social, community-building factors. A section of a single-family housing estate in Mistelbach (Lower Austria), comprising 32 buildings from the 1970s and 1980s, serves as a pilot.

Within the framework of the exploratory study, the possibilities and feasibility of demonstration projects in the pilot area will be explored.


The basis for a successful process is laid with innovative, community-building activities to establish contact and trust with owners and residents. A detailed analysis of the existing situation is followed by an information evening that introduces the variety of topics and possibilities for action for sustainable settlement redevelopment.

In the next step, the residents' needs and visions for the future are surveyed. This is followed by needs assessments and discussions at household level on sufficiency strategies, conversion options, space optimisation, biodiversity-promoting garden design and energy issues.

Subsequently, the potential of the pilot settlement for building associations (= functional and organisational combination of optimised individual buildings), for energy communities, jointly used green and open spaces, the redesign of public spaces, as well as for sustainable mobility will be examined in a settlement workshop.

Prospects for success will be explored, resource requirements identified and a catalogue of measures drawn up. Tailor-made options and utilisation concepts for house and garden at the property level, as well as at the settlement level, are outlined and brought together.

Expected results

The result is an integrated overall concept at the house and settlement level, as well as an approach that can be transferred to other communities for exemplary settlement redevelopment that saves energy, makes more optimal use of space, keeps materials in circulation, promotes biodiversity, improves the microclimate, increases the health of people and the soil, encourages environmentally conscious mobility and, last but not least, strengthens the community of residents, thus sowing the seeds for new projects, ideas and activities.

Project Partners

Project management

Dipl. Ingin Julia Lindenthal, Austrian Institute of Ecology

Project or cooperation partners

  • Municipality of Mistelbach
  • Soil Alliance / Initiative of Climate Alliance Austria
  • Energy and Environment Agency of Lower Austria
  • Natur im Garten GmbH
  • juri troy architects

Contact Address

Austrian Institute of Ecology
Dipl. Ingin Julia Lindenthal
Seidengasse 13/3
A-1070 Vienna
Tel.: +43 (6991) 523 61 11