The wishes will leave your head and walk around the neighbourhood. Let's meet in the plains next door.Gabriele Sturm

The wishes will leave your head and walk around the neighbourhood. Let's meet in the plains next door.

CO HABITAT for all beings.

Can public places also consist of ecologically valuable, species-rich open spaces - as a CO HABITAT? Is it a place at the cutting edge of time? Is it a possible public place in the city of the future?

Regarding these questions, Gabriele Sturm provides a stage for biodiverse vegetation in various places with her project. She brings the issue of these species-rich biotopes as a CO HABITAT for all beings for the public and social space. With a viewing platform reachable by several steps, the artist staged an urban “wilderness” of biodiverse communities as a special sanctuary at four different stations. The floor surfaces are arranged as glazing bars, between which the rain falls to the ground. Glass allows daylight to continue to shine on the vegetation. This intervention, which barely touches the ground, permeable to light and water, addresses the concern to keep interventions as minimal as possible in order to implement concepts in coexistence with other forms of life, to keep the space diversely animated.In her art actions, performances, and discussions, Gabriele Sturm keeps reconsidering the subject of the CO HABITAT from different aspects and discursively recontextualizes biodiverse and temporary vegetation spaces. She regards unplanned species-rich vegetations as sites in the urban landscape that add up to a living pattern of opening and closing spaces. Urban spaces in transformation are potential, yet unrealized, undefined sites whose areas are taken over by nature. A site not yet defined is a site of possibilities. Gabriele Sturm’s project is aimed at exploring the ecological, experiential, and, most importantly, social relevance of biodiverse habitats for our quality of life in the city, offering opportunities of discovering a paradise together at every station of the project.

1st station - September 9 until October 3, 2020
CO HABITAT as a habitat with species-rich vegetation

CO HABITAT as a possible format for public space

in the Kulturfabrik F 23: UN / PLANNED VEGETATION

In this project Gabriele Sturm stages unplanned vegetation.

She presents these species-rich habitats as a possibility for public places - as co-habitat.

Unplanned plant (communities) emerge in temporarily existing areas of the city. Planned and planted vegetation receives a stationary allocation in our green spaces and gardens.

In the area of the Kulturfabrik F 23, newly planted islands of flowers, the project of the F23 "The Flowers", sprouted and blossomed this summer like unplanned flora lush side by side.

With actions, interventions, discussions and workshops, Gabriele Sturm will repeatedly subject her project "CO HABITAT as a habitat with species-rich vegetation, CO HABITAT as public space" to a new level of reflection and reposition these unplanned and temporary vegetation spaces with different discourses.

2nd station - September 18, 2020 until May 15, 2021
CO HABITAT - a possible form of use?

The kick-off of the second station of the project will take place within the framework of "ZukunftsErwachen 2020" from 18 to 20 September 2020, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. in each case, in the Zukunftshof (former Haschahof), Rosiwalgasse 41-43, 1100 Vienna.

The installation is accessible from Tuesday to Thursday in dry weather from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and by appointment at

The Zukunftshof, former Haschahof, was "shut down" for a long time. During this time partridge and other bird species, marjoram vegetation carpets and many different ecologically valuable plant communities have developed a habitat there. Now the open spaces in the yard are being cleared and prepared for use. Parts of the unplanned, biodiverse vegetation have been left in jointly selected places for this art project.

The use of areas raises questions about the right to space, the associated planning of the design and, consequently, the allocation of these resources. This problem arises with an 'either - or'. As a consequence of such a situation, unplanned, species-rich vegetation as a habitat is completely removed and transformed into a cleared green space consisting of monotonous lawns, rudimentary shrubs and replacement plantings of a former tree population.

However, if the areas are defined as a consciously shared habitat, as a mutual assistance that allows both sides to gain form, if instead of an 'either-or' a 'but-also' is considered, could an understanding of a CO HABITAT allow for another method?

At the Zukunftshof, the Steppensteg stages the biodiversity area as a possible CO HABITAT and focuses not only on possible 'future-oriented' forms of use, but also on those of agricultural management around the farm, which is located in the midst of the most fertile arable land. The vegetation of these fields is determined by the annual change of ploughing and, as a result of this intervention, has numerous independent species, which are called Segetal vegetation.

3rd station - October 6 until November 19, 2020

The "Steppensteg", a viewing walkway made of steel and glass, highlights the space between the houses. Something that is always there, the familiar surroundings in the generous green space between the municipal buildings of the Schrödingerhof is questioned as to its self-evidence and its familiarity.

The Walkway serves as a meeting point, viewing and observation platform. For the residents* as well as for passers-by, the walk-in sculpture is a possibility to consciously observe the surrounding space and to focus on it. The artistic intervention and the accompanying program with a lot of presence on site can set an impulse for social interaction. Gabriele Sturm invites people to meet at the footbridge and traces the liveliness between the houses as a social network. The flora of the green space and its "inhabitants" will also be included in the social network and placed in the space as a possible CO HABITAT.

What can be perceived in the space between the houses? Our perception filters for identifying a place as landscape or green space are collectively shaped. Everyone sees only what he/she has learned to see.

A closer look opens up new perspectives; the unfamiliar, previously unregistered becomes perceptible. The artist invites us to perforate these filters in a collective process and to search for an extension in order to perceive the silent sensations in this living space between the houses.

As an instrument of perception, Gabriele Sturm encourages the senses to take their own senses as a benchmark "in operation", or to intensify them.
Forms, color nuances, sounds, smells... Is there a scent beyond the menus that steam in different kitchens? In the green space between the houses, curry aroma may interweave with the scent of clover.

The fauna and flora, the social possibilities that characterize the space between the houses are made tangible as essential parts of the quality of life in a big city.

4th station - June 11 until end of October, 2021

In the SEESTADT ASPERN, Vienna's new urban district, public spaces are a central component. Therefore, the Seestadt is particularly suited to the question of how public spaces can offer a new quality of life as CO HABITAT, not only because they bind greenhouse gases, particulate matter and pollutants to a high degree, but also because a common habitat consisting of biodiverse plant communities with as many living creatures as possible offers a complementary option to the cleared, species-poor urban green spaces.

Large-scale planning was done for the new district. Many buildings are already inhabited, and new building areas divided into grids vibrate with color and continually transform themselves. Some of these grids are cultivated, others are populated by wildflowers. A juxtaposition of newly planned green spaces and many temporary biodiverse vegetation spaces lets us revisit the question at this site of how we can allow public spaces to emerge as a CO HABITAT - a biodiverse vegetation space that allows habitat for "all" living things, including the antrophogenic, on an equal footing - i.e. a SUPER COHABITAT, or integrate it into existing public spaces and green spaces. Various microhabitats on roadsides, field edges, public green spaces to balcony flowers, vegetable garden designs, parts of the Edible Seestadt, etc. allow these habitats to be understood as a SUPER COHABITAT and united into a network of biodiverse habitats.

From the U2 station Seestadt Aspern to the temporary art intervention STEPPENSTEG one can start an informative and with the eyes of field researchers walk, which begins with the exhibition FRAUEN BAUEN STADT, then following the line of the subway to the street "Sonnenalle", which stands for the guiding idea "the way is the goal" and for pedestrian friendly city.

This street, which invites you to stroll in the middle, the artist advises after walking up and down the middle of the street to stroll along the small path next to the street, which has a particularly interesting and varied wild plant flora along the road and field edges.

After studying Local Biodiversity of the Sun Alley roadside, you/they arrive at the end of this wild plant flora at Marie Trapp Square, which is landscaped with fine details. Discovering these details and humming or singing parts of Sound of Music, one reaches Hannah Arendt Platz.

This public space is an open meeting space divided into different functions, a green living room, play zone, green center, infiltration basin for rainwater, etc. ... and its structure of rings allows to study current aspects of the design of public spaces. From the Hannah Arendt Park, an extensively managed vegetation zone with tall grasses and wildflowers can be seen, next to which Vienna's largest community gardens are located, in Madame d'Ora Park. Behind it on the rampart this time is located STEPPENSTEG, from which the view can sweep over the community gardens, a refuge of biodiverse vegetation, parts of Hannah Arendts Park and the Seestadt campus.

Following the LIZ CHRISTY path from STEPPENSTEG, various info offers and place designs in Seestadt, including a public compost heap as a breakthrough in public space achieved through much commitment, can be experienced.

This project spans its field of content this time between Hannah Arendt's THINKING WITHOUT LANDS, Liz Christy's COMMUNITY GARDENS and GREEN GORRILLAS, Madame d`Ora's artistic photography and the current exhibition " FRAUEN BAUEN STADT". All these positions can be illuminated and thought about with a new perspective on the question of how public spaces can be developed as CO HABITATES.

Hannah Arendt, political theorist, writes about a freedom that is defined by participating in social processes, having one's own political voice, the question of whether we simply have freedom, it can be given to us and taken away. (cf. "The Freedom to Be Free"). In her analysis of totalitarianism, especially National Socialism, Eichmann trial and the possibility of resistance or at least doing nothing, she writes in a letter: "What is at issue here are the arguments they used to justify themselves to themselves and to others. It is on these arguments that we are entitled to judge. These people were not under the direct pressure of terror either, only the indirect one. I know about the differences of degree in these things. There was still a space of free decision and free action." (Quoted p.35, in "Hannah Arendt, Ich will verstehen. Selbstauskünfte zu Leben und Werk." Piper Verlag, 5th edition 2013) Madama d'Ora, created photographic portraits of the Viennese artistic and intellectual scene and later continued to work in Paris as a society, fashion, and artist photographer. She returned to Vienna after the war, photographing destroyed Vienna, refugee camps, and later a slaughterhouse series. At the end of this station in the Seestadt, a panel discussion will be held to investigate her life and work." Piper Verlag, 5th edition 2013)

Madama d'Ora, created photographic portraits of the Viennese artistic and intellectual scene and later continued to work in Paris as a society, fashion, and artist photographer. She returned to Vienna after the war, photographing destroyed Vienna, refugee camps, and later a slaughterhouse series.

Dialogue tour with Katarina Rimanoczy, Project Essbare Seestadt
The research project Essbare Seestadt was co-founded by Katarina Rimanoczy, a resident of the Seestadt. In consultation with responsible persons and together with many residents she has come closer to the desire of a lively and natural district and has also initiated a Liz Christy path. Liz Christy was a seed bombs throwing Green Guerrilla activist who in 1973 in New York City, along with other dedicated city residents*, removed months of trash from a brownfield site and created one of the first COMMUNITY GARDENS from it. The subversive greening method and space appropriation for community gardens have become a successful model for neighborhood communities and care close to home today.

Artist's position by Irene and Christine Hohenbüchler
Right outside the front door, a hedgehog can run across the path, as long as it finds dense shrub groups and near-natural green space. The garden of Irene and Christine Hohenbüchler is life-friendly and therefore also a possible habitat for hedgehogs. In the course of the project, the two artists built a small village of hedgehog houses, which can provide hedgehogs with a protected nest and hibernation. Approaching other living things is a challenge. How much do we actually understand about the living world of hedgehogs present in "our" environment? How can we imagine what they need? Do we have any idea of how much stress they have to cope with in the struggle for survival due to the dwindling habitat and the lack of food due to insect mortality? The few existing shrubs in the green spaces are shaped, formed, foliage removed according to our anthropogenic needs. To give hedgehogs back a chance to survive, a replacement structure is a possible transitional option, such as small houses with specific design. They can be helpful as a stop-gap until green space planning allows niches for species-rich habitats. In an observational, learning process and exchange between Christine and Irene Hohenbüchler, Gabriele Sturm and some hedgehogs, the difficulty of providing a replacement structure became clear. How much would one have to know and understand of a highly complex system in order to be able to expand one's own imaginary world with a new form of world perception? That would be for a SUPER COHABITAT a form of approach to a jointly animated space.

At the end of this station in the Urban Lakeside, a panel discussion will be held to discuss the experiences of the 4 stations and the possibilities of a change of species-poor public urban spaces and a different relationship of us to our environment.

Concept: Gabriele Sturm


In the area of Kulturfabrik F 23, Breitenfurter Straße 176
2. Station: Zukunftshof (ehem. Haschahof), Rosiwalgasse 41-43, 1100 Wien
3. Station: Schrödingerhof, Gußriegelstraße 42-50, 1100 Wien
4. Station: Maria Potesil Gasse/Madame d´Ora Park, near Gemeinschaftsgarten "Kraut und Blüten", 1220 Vienna

Further Information

Gabriele Sturm, *Osttirol, living and working in Vienna

You can find a video to the guided tour on September 26th, 2020 on Youtube.

You can find more about the project here (German only):


The wishes will leave your head and walk around the neighbourhood. Let's meet in the plains next door.Gabriele Sturm

Time Period

end of August, 2020 until October, 2021

1st Station: Kulturfabrik F 23, September 9 until October 3, 2020
2nd Station: Haschahof/Zukunftshof, September 18, 2020 until May 15, 2021
3rd Station: Schrödingerhof, October 6 until November 19, 2020
4th Station: Maria Potesil Gasse/Madame d´Ora Park, near Gemeinschaftsgarten "Kraut und Blüten", June 11 until end of October, 2021

Education - Events


Go to documents


Projektseite CO HABITAT

Cooperation partner/s