Heimstätten für alte Leute

Christina Schraml

In the 1950s, an almost forgotten housing experiment was created in Vienna – the “Alte-Leute-Siedlung” (old people’s housing estate). In several inner courtyards of the Viennese Gemeindebauten (municipal housing blocks), the City of Vienna built single-story housing complexes exclusively for old people.



The micro-apartments were intended to meet the living and housing needs of old people. They were based on the basic idea of promoting barrier-free living through architecture and were considered an international showcase model for housing suitable for the elderly. Their residents were able to provide for themselves in the immediate vicinity. The location in the middle of the community promoted neighborly support as the housing estates were embedded in a social structure. Only twenty years later, the City of Vienna deviated from the model project and focused on the construction of old people’s homes.

What has remained of the model project of “Alte-Leute-Siedlungen”? How suitable for everyday life are Vienna’s Gemeindebauten (municipal buildings) for people with a limited radius of action today? What demands do older people make on their living environment? What do they need to participate in city life? What is the importance of neighbourly contacts for them?

The research project goes in search of the remnants of this pioneering project of social housing and asks about the needs and demands of older people for a liveable city.


Exploration tour of the “Alte-Leute-Siedlung” at Hugo-Breitner-Hof in the context of urbanize festival 2022 - more info see https://urbanize.at/fuehrung-alte-leute-siedlung/

Public Symposium in spring 2023 - more info tba


The immediate living environment plays a crucial role for older people in managing their everyday lives (c) Christina Schraml


Contact: christina.schraml@uni-ak.ac.at