City Work

A crisis is a crisis is a crisis. As well as highlighting all that is, challenging times also highlight all that is not, all that is missing. Plugging these gaps, both social and physical, is one of the roles of design. Hence, in reacting to COVID-19 and all its long-term consequences, the design sector must demonstrate just how essential design can be as a seismograph and as a driver of and for a dynamic (urban) society. Social design, in particular, offers a range of analytical and activist-transformative methods that are as broad as they are effective in shedding light on and meeting specific needs – for example local solutions. 

Well before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the VIENNA DESIGN WEEK and Erste Bank, as part of their jointly organized Stadtarbeit format, had called for the submission of projects, ideas and concepts that address vacant and derelict sites and other gaps in the urban grain and develop new approaches to the idea of temporary use in the public realm. Even if we have taken some time to learn this lesson, it is now quite clear that patterns of use in urban space are not non-negotiable constants. The notion of the city is just as flexible and fluid as its reality – and recognizing this opens up great opportunities at a time when societies are being forced to reorganize and reorient themselves.

This year, the Erste Bank ExtraVALUE Design Award will be awarded for the sixth time. The winning projects were announced during the press conference of the VIENNA DESIGN WEEK 2020. The prize entitles the winners to participate in and to realize their project during the festival. Both winning projects will receive an implementation budget.