Often appreciation is just a question of perspective. As a high school student in Vienna, I spent warm afternoons riding my bike down the Prater Hauptallee, all the way to the Lusthaus and back, or sitting with friends on the cool grass of Heldenplatz, with the Hofburg palace as our backdrop. No matter the weather, one of my favorite pastimes was simply strolling through the inner districts, peeking into courtyards and every now and then just looking up. The statues and parapets that adorn the upper stories of Vienna’s baroque facades, the golden domes and Jugendstil details of secessionist landmarks or the inspired 20th century signage made me feel as if I lived in a palace, an eclectic gallery curated for royalty.

For many years, the Wiener Linien, Vienna’s Public Transport, had an ad campaign that read “Die Stadt gehört Dir” (“The City Belongs to You”). That’s how I felt then and still feel today. Even when my wallet was thin, Vienna has belonged to me in a way that no other city has. The beauty of the palaces, gardens and museums is both magnificent and accessible, it’s style ornate and universally valued. With the architecture issue, we hope to share with our readers in Vienna and beyond our insights into how the city was built for its inhabitants. The City Belongs to You.

Over centuries, the cityscape has developed to encompass many architectural traditions. In the cover story, we looked into that evolution and how current trends will shape Vienna’s face. Austria has been home to a number of names that have made architectural history in the 19th, 20th and 21st century, but they haven’t just shaped this city. In our international story, we visit some of the cities of the old Empire to see Austria’s architectural influence throughout the region. We’ve also met with some personalities who have helped it develop and flourish; read about them in our profiles.

After Vienna was crowned the world’s most livable city, you might want to claim your own corner. So we’ve given you a how-to guide to renting property in Vienna, including all the German vocabulary you’ll need. While most visitors assume Vienna’s housing is all baroque palaces and secessionist temples, one of the most far-reaching architectural feats of Viennese history is its social housing, the Gemeindebauten, initiated in the 1920s and one of the reasons Vienna can keep rental prices so low. Today, affordable housing is available in every district. To find out more about Austria’s architectural legacy, it just takes a visit to the Architekturzentrum at the MQ which we introduce to you in our art section.

This September, as Vienna comes back to life after a hot summer, there are plenty of events, concerts, plays and activities awaiting you. You’ll find our Metropolitan selection in the event calendar and the culture pages as well as restaurant and bar recommendations in the food & drink section.

Take time this fall to (re)discover this city that wants to belong to you. Look up, peek inside a courtyard. Vienna was made for it!

So … don’t be a stranger,