1. The city
Graz is the capital city of the Federal Province of Styria and the second-largest city in Austria. Counting 286.700 inhabitants in 2017 within a greater metropolitan area of 605.000 inhabitants, the city has grown rapidly since 2001 (226.000 inhabitants), making it the – in percentages – fastest growing municipality in Austria.
The city is located in the southern region of Austria, close to the country’s border with Slovenia and Italy. It lies 200 km southwest of Vienna, its closest urban agglomeration is the city of Maribor located in Slovenia 60 km from Graz. Graz is an important regional, cultural, educational and economic center. Due to its geographic location, the city has a long history of exchange with the eastern part of Slovenia. Further, the recent expansion of the European Union towards the east has re-positioned Graz in the center of a new south-eastern European region. A development that has led, for example, to the formation of the Europaregion Graz-Maribor that aims at fostering cross- border economic and cultural relations.
2. Educational Centre
Graz is a well-known, traditional university town. It is the second-largest destination to study in Austria, just behind Vienna. Four Universities, two Universities of applied Sciences (Fachhochschulen) as well as two Universities of Education (Pädagogische Hochschulen) are located in Graz, counting around 50.000 students in total.
3. Cultural Centre
Graz has a long history as cultural center and is an important location for culture and arts today. It has a lively cultural scene that encompasses traditional as well as contemporary cultural elds. Graz features several theatre and concert venues (e.g. Schauspielhaus Graz) as well as an opera house. Th e city offers several museums and art organ ization (e.g. Kunsthaus Graz, Künstlerhaus Graz, the Museum of Art History) which are well-known for historical exhibitions and contemporary programs. The location of Graz as a node in southeast Europe.
4. Economic Centre
Graz is the most important centre for work in Styria, with 170.000 people working in Graz. 87.000 of them are living and working in Graz, 83.000 people commuting to work in Graz, and 31.000 commuting to work outside of Graz. Moreover, Graz is the most important centre for technological innovation in Austria. Several internationally known companies are based in and around Graz (e.g. the automobile manufacturers Magna Steyr and KTM, or the plant engineering group Andritz AG).
Other important sectors are the service economy as well as the creative economy that the city aims to foster and expand. While the industrial sector is the economic motor of the greater. The city’s strategic orientation for the future of the city aims to intelligently change towards a knowledge-based economy with a focus on technology and the creative sec- tor. It aims at combining this with other positive factors for business locations like high living standards and international networks.
5. Urban context
The city of Graz developed along the river Mur in the northern part of a geological basin called Grazer Becken. Due to its topographic position it is surrounded by mountains on three sides. Therefore the city can only expand towards the south.
East & West
East of the river lies the historic city centre consisting of an organic and dense urban structure with historic and cultural sites such as Schlossberg, Uhrturm (Clock Tower), museums and universities, as well as the buildings of the regional government. Since 1999, the historic old town of Graz, as well as the baroque Eggenberg Palace (Schloss Eggenberg) are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The west side of the city (where the competition site is located) developed later than the East and features the typical qualities of an old suburb (Vorstadt). South & surroundings.