NEBKrit - Quality criteria for buildings and neighbourhoods on the basis of the New European Bauhaus

Develop criteria of aesthetics and social inclusion based on the values of the New European Bauhaus to complement existing sustainability criteria in order to evaluate buildings and neighbourhoods more broadly. Since todayʼs necessary transformation of the economy always includes cultural and social aspects, such a broader assessment makes more sense than todayʼs usual methods.

Short Description

Starting point / motivation

As president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said in her State of the Union 2020 speech, the current challenge is to create a systemic modernisation of the entire economy, society and industry through the sustainable use of raw materials, energy, water, food and land.

However, this is not only an environmental and economic project, but must also become a new cultural project for Europe. It is necessary to give systemic change a face in order to combine sustainability with its own aesthetics. In this sense, the mission of the Call for Proposals "Technologies and Innovations for the Climate Neutral City" is necessarily linked to aspects of aesthetics and social inclusion in order to win as many people as possible for the transformation.

The NEBKrit project aims to contribute to ensuring that this technical and economic transformation can be supported by the cultural and social context. The strategic goals of the Call are linked to cultural and social issues and thus made more resilient. This linkage particularly increases the competitiveness of the solutions to be evaluated.

The NEBKrit project can contribute significantly to system transformation in Austrian cities and municipalities because the building projects required for this are evaluated more comprehensively and thus become more culturally and socially compatible.

Contents and goals

The market for building certification is complex, dynamic and largely focused on environmental sustainability, even though more holistic assessments that take social and governance aspects into account are on the rise. What the market wants are rating systems that are easy to use and aligned with overarching policy and reporting structures.

In particular, the fit with EU initiatives and policy frameworks is seen as crucial. Todayʼs rating systems thus focus on sustainability criteria. Social criteria are rare, aesthetic criteria are almost never applied. The innovation of the NEBKrit project lies in the combination of these three areas as a further development and linking of established models.

The aim is to develop assessment criteria for subsidized demonstration buildings and quarters. An assessment methodology shall be presented that

  • is based on already established, but future-oriented systems and can be integrated into them accordingly.
  • should be valid and compatible at the European level and ensure that Austrian specifics can be depicted.
  • is manageable and practicable because it is based on existing data collections and their collection methods.


For the criterion of aesthetics, it is proposed to start from some of the eight criteria for a high building culture of the Davos Building Culture Quality System (DBQS). The DBQS has already been transferred to the Austrian situation in the course of the 4th Baukulturreport (BMKÖS 2021). With reference to current building culture policy objectives and the klimaaktiv evaluation method, the DBQS is therefore to be adapted to the Austrian and current framework conditions.

For the criterion of social inclusion, existing assessment systems for social aspects of building should be used as a basis in the field of residential construction. For the aspect of diversity, on the other hand, assessment perspectives are needed that address questions of segregation, mixed use/flexibility and potentials of public space.

As a result, a new assessment model for aesthetics and social inclusion is sought that is compatible with existing sustainability criteria (klimaaktiv) and current political frameworks (EU taxonomy), as well as efficient and effective to use, and provides a comprehensive picture of the quality of buildings as well as neighbourhoods and settlements.

Expected results

Building rating systems are becoming increasingly important. The development is increasingly moving away from a perspective focused exclusively on ecological sustainability towards broader goals and sets of criteria as suggested by the acronym ESG (environmental, social, governance).

The specific perspective of building culture is the optimal basis for this because it stands for a broad, comprehensive picture of the qualities of buildings as well as urban districts and settlements. Building culture addresses not only the level of the built stock, but also the social level, i.e. the effects of the built environment on social interactions, behaviour and opportunities of people, i.e. ultimately on society, and the processes surrounding the planning, construction and use of buildings.

Project Partners

Project management

Plattform Baukulturpolitik

Project or cooperation partners

IBR & I Institute of Building Research & Innovation ZT GmbH


Contact Address

Plattform Baukulturpolitik
Robert Temel
Wipplingerstraße 23/3
A-1010 Wien
Tel.: +43 6991 9467310