Historical morphological changes of the southern Viennese Danube tributaries 1755 - 2010


Main Author: 
Tanzer, Julia
Original title: 
Historische morphologische Veränderung der südlichen wiener Donauzubringer 1755 - 2011
Original language: 
Year of publication: 
Short abstract: 

This master thesis is part of the interdisciplinary project URBWATER (Vienna's urban waterscape 1683-1918. An Environmental History), and has a look at the links between water bodies, urban development and human water uses in Vienna from the late 17th to the 20th century. Like in many other cities, humans and their needs for urban development, flood protection, navigation and power generation have influenced fluvial morphology and dynamics in and around Vienna with sometimes unintended consequences that required further interventions. In the present project, the state of the waterscape of the southern Viennese Danube tributaries as well as man-made structures such as bridges, mills, dams and embankments are reconstructed for eight points in time between 1663/83 and 2010. A regressive-iterative approach, using geographical information systems (GIS) and based on historical maps, (hydro-)technical reports and other historical documents is applied. Subsequently, impacts of human changes to the aquatic environment are analysed over time. From the reconstruction it is evident that as southern Vienna developed from a rural landscape with few scattered settlements to a densely populated area, the waterscape underwent major changes: In the 17th and 18th century local bank enforcement in villages and diversion of millstreams, which peaked in the 19th century, prevailed. However, after 1900 rivers were increasingly channelized and vaulted in order to make room for the growing city. Concomitantly, length of surface water bodies was reduced by 29% in the whole project area or 39% in the more densely populated Danube terraces and sinuosity (river curvature) of the Liesing sank from 1.21 (sinous) to 1.01 (straight) between 1755 and 2010. The consequences of these developments affect costs and feasibility of restoration- and flood protection projects until today.

Publication info
Master thesis, University of natural reources and life sciences Vienna
Place of publication: 
Austria, Vienna
Page : 
Electronic source
Date accessed: 
Monday, August 1, 2016