TransitionBase Vienna: the other side of Seestadt

If you have enough Zeit und Lust to take U2 subway to its very end at 22nd Bezirk, you’ll notice that a huge development is on the way there. Aspern Seestadt is a new town inside metropolitan Vienna, offering homes and offices for more than 20.000 citizens. Aspern Seestadt is quite well-known, thanks to its huge advertising campaign.
But something else is happening there, which might not be visible at first visit. Located at north-western corner of Seestadt, hidden in beautiful trees and bushes, and overlooking a vast green agricultural field is our destination: TransitionBase Vienna.

At first glance it looks like a squat or a farmer’s den. If you dare to go off the beaten path towards humble huts instead of following paved road to glamorous mid-rise buildings of Seestadt, you will find an amazing and unique settlement there. TransitionBase is a village, a park, a laboratory, a camp and a living exhibition created and maintained by Transition movement, with support from other initiatives like Green Skills.
A lot of things are waiting to be seen there, but first let’s get to fundamentals. For those who are not familiar with the Transition movement
, it is an initiative started in UK with goal of addressing peak oil, climate change and economic stability by offering alternative solutions like permaculture. Now it is a worldwide phenomenon. That being said, the TransitionBase towns offer an stage for sharing knowledge, testing prototypes and expanding the dialogue to everyone who wants to change his or her lifestyle and environment.

What will you find there? A lot! You can learn first hand knowledge and expertise about alternative materials and construction systems, learn how to build a solar oven, or even your own Biomass plant that generates hot water for your outdoor shower or your cottage’s heating system. Interested in permaculture? You’ll find some experts there, ready to give you enough knowledge in order to grow your own tomatoes. Maybe you are an architect or construction worker, or planning to build your own holiday hut, at TransitionBase town there are fine examples of alternative building systems, made out of bale straws, clay, transport pallets, even a small den built under a tree. And after a long and hard-working day of learning, you could rest and enjoy the beautiful scenery of Donaustadt!

But hurry up! Aspern Seestadt development will devour this small village in five years! However there already some efforts to save it and integrate it with new developments by its organizers. We have high hopes that they succeed, and so we already imagine TransitionBase Town of the the future, a little paradise in midst of urban jungle.

P.S. Although the buildings are there to visit, you might not find a lot of people there all the time. Listen for event announcements and don’t miss them! Last time it was a nice party with very nice people, live music, handmade food and drink, and even a fairytale reading for kids and adults :-)

By: Ehsan Bazafkan and Florian Eckmayr