Linz - NBS as a motor for urban growth

Cropland, Grassland, Rivers and lakes, Urban, Wetlands
Nbs actions:
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Area Characterisation

The city’s Grünlandkonzept (green space strategy) provides detailed strategic indications for local land use and infrastructure planning (Stadt Linz, 2013). Enhancing and protecting urban green areas is seen as a way of increasing the city’s attractiveness, and will also form part of the upcoming transformation of the city harbour area. Linz AG, a holding company owned by the municipality, is planning to position the harbour on the Danube river as an important regional and international business location, inter alia by means of intensive greening for parts of the area (Masterplan Linzer Hafen, 2017).

NBS policies in the city of Linz are driven by the Urban Development (Stadtplanung) Department, which incorporates biodiversity protection strategies in urban planning goals. Activities are planned using statutory planning instruments, without seeking systemic innovations.

Although NBS are not the explicit focus, the city follows, throughout its urban planning strategy, a greening approach which results in nature-based solutions to address development problems.


NBS project 1: Landschaftspark Bindermichl-Spallerhof

The city has created a landscaped park area of 8 ha over a highway tunnel. The area is divided into different functional zones, including playgrounds and sports facilities. It serves as a recreation space for two nearby residential areas.

NBS project 2: solarCity

The new solarCity residential area was developed on the outskirts of the city, in a rural area close to an ecologically important wetland. The buildings of solarCity achieve high energy-efficiency standards compared to those that were common during the planning and construction period, and the area is well connected to the city centre by public transport. In order to protect the nearby sensitive areas, situated in the floodplains of the rivers Traun and Danube, a landscape park was designed between the settlement and the floodplains; this meets residents’ recreational needs without compromising the protected landscape close by. The landscape design included the extension of a small lake and the renaturation of a small river. Rainwater in solarCity is collected separately from the sewers, in open green ditches.

NBS project 3: Urban greening strategy

The municipality systematically develops green areas within the city and on the outskirts, in order to increase recreational opportunities for residents and improve the quality of urban life. Besides traditionally designed green areas like urban parks, innovative types of open space have also been created (for instance the urban beach on the banks of the Danube River, and the greening of the industrial area of the harbour). During the 1990s, the city started to change existing land use/development plans for the inner city area, in order to protect green areas within housing blocks by prohibiting in-fill, preventing the laying down of impervious surfaces in courtyards, and requiring the creation of vegetated surfaces over underground garages and in courtyards (Alter Bebauungsplan „O100/II“ | Innenhofgrün, 2017). The recent plan for the reorganisation of the harbour area is intended to create areas for recreation which are accessible to the public. These areas will in part be situated at ground level, providing access to the water, and in part on the green rooftops of new warehouses (Projekt Neuland, 2017).

Potential impacts/benefitis

NBS benefits
Transferability of the Results

Lessons learned

Urban greening used by the city of Linz as a strategy for urban regeneration and growth makes the management of conflicts between investment interests and the goals of protecting biodiversity and green spaces potentially difficult to manage. Although the strategy creates qualities which are crucial for attracting economic activities, competition for land, especially in the inner city areas, can lead to such conflicts, which then need to be resolved without compromising the overall goal of restarting urban growth.

Publications & Reports

The solarCity development has benefitted from national funding as well as from ERDF funds.


Gunther Kolouch, Magistrat der Landeshauptstadt Linz (Linz City Administration)

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