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Vienna's Donaukanal: A "Powerfully (Precariously) Positioned Planning Proposition"

This article by Gabu Heindl, an Austrian architect and urbanist, was first published by Volume in their 50th issue, Beyond Beyond, the editorial of which is available to read here. Here, Heindl introduces the concept of "powerfully (precariously) positioned planning propositions" (PPPP) based on the Donaukanal project in Vienna.

In a certain sense, looking at the beyond is something that we cannot do today, other than from the vantage point of a beyond the ‘beyond’. Looking at the connections between progressive political movements and planning/building practices in modernity and their ways of departing into ever new ‘beyonds’, beyond the boundaries of historically given urban and social formations – today, we are certainly beyond these dynamics. And it is not so much postmodernism that needs to be invoked here, but rather two reflections on politics, planning/building related and otherwise, that are bound for the beyond. One reflection concerns how progressive, modernist, avant-garde politics, even at their height, were compromised by, or even complicit in, affinities with paternalistic, top-down governance (Red Vienna) or even with totalitarian rule (fascism). The second reflection, more pertinent to our present moment, concerns the extent to which the dynamics of going beyond have, since the late 1970s, shifted to a regime of (self-)government and accumulation which is addressed and theorized under labels such as neoliberalism, Post-Fordism or new spirit of capitalism.