In 2020, the annual exchange meeting of the City of Vienna on the subject of urban greening took place on September 16, as part of the IBA_Vienna at the “West”. IBA is the abbreviation for Internationale Bauausstellung (International Building Exhibition). The tradition of Building Exhibitions exists for more than 100 years: in the middle of the 19th century it became customary to present innovations in building technology at world exhibitions. Since then there have been a number of International Building Exhibitions at irregular intervals. What they all have in common is that they have always been mirrors of their time in terms of social, technical and cultural trends and developments. The IBA_Vienna is the first International Building Exhibition to be launched in Vienna, Austria. The City of Vienna has set itself the task of developing groundbreaking solutions and approaches to the challenges of our time. The centre of the exhibition is the issue of "new social housing". The IBA_Vienna is considering itself as a process and platform with broad involvement of key players in social housing and neighborhood development - in addition to planning and execution, developers and financing, research and teaching, as well as politics and administration, it is primarily the Viennese population.
In the in-person meeting under strict COVID-19 precautions, where I was invited to give a keynote lecture, the results of the city-internal project Greening Buildings 2.0 were presented and put up for discussion, from the topic of fire protection and the legal framework to current implementation projects and publications. My part was to talk about building greening and health and the effect of urban green on humans. In this scientific lecture, I introduced the TecEUS project as a best-practice example of how green facades and other urban green infrastructure could be used for research elucidating effects of environmental pollution on human health and wellbeing. The subsequent Q&A session was inspiring, and the audience (including important stakeholders for urban green and city administration) expressed interest to learn more about our project´s findings in the years to come.
Details and presentations can be found here:
Plant workshop - Children's University 2020
At this year's Children's University 2020 Vienna (kinderuni.online), the participating children were able to take a closer look at the plant's cycle. A booklet about “Hanna the hen - and her journey through the city” showed the advantages of urban greenery and why it is so important to have plants in the city. What is the cycle of the plant? How does it work in the city? And what are the advantages of plants in the city, especially in terms of heat regulation, rainwater management and air quality? The booklet gives an insight into the latest research at the university. This raises the question of whether there are differences in air quality between the city and a green courtyard, and whether plants can act as a biofilter for pollutants in the air, especially for technologically critical elements. In the booklet, the TecEUS project is linked to current research on the topic. The brochure was created and designed by DI Pia Minixhofer and DI Philipp Spörl from the Institute of Soil Bioengineering and Landscape Construction (IBLB). It shows why natural cycles are so important for the (urban) environment. If you are interested in the booklet for children (6-10 years), please feel free to contact the authors.
The FWF stand-alone project "TecEUS - Technology-critical Elements in Urban Spheres" under the PI Johanna Irrgeher started with 01.04.2020 in his three-year project duration. The project team, made up of partners from the Montanuniversität Leoben, the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna and the Medical University of Vienna, met for a virtual kick-off meeting. The team was happy about the official start of the project, albeit differently than expected.
The project TecEUS aims to assess the release, exposure and accumulation of selected technology critical Elements (TCE) (Ga, Ge, In, Tl, Y, Nb, Ta, Te; platinum group elements (PGE) and rare earth elements (REE) along with technology-metals (Li, Be) in an urban environment. This is accomplished by applying advanced analytical techniques based on inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) in combination with models for material flow analysis.
Back in April 2017, today's project team initiated the idea of a transdisciplinary joint project aiming at the investigation of technology-critical elements in urban spheres. Therefore, we met at the BOKU in Tulln and took the opportunity to visit the cleanlabs for trace element and isotope ratio analysis at the Institute of Analytical Chemistry.