By Karl Neuwinger
“The city is not merely a repository of pleasures,” writes Charles Montgomery in Happy Cities. “It can enhance or corrode our ability to cope with everyday challenges. It can steal our autonomy or give us the freedom to thrive.” In this year’s “Living and Quality of Life” survey, the citizens of Vienna voiced their satisfaction – or at least mostly – giving high marks for safety, health services and housing choices.
Commissioned by the City of Vienna in cooperation with the Institute for Empirical Social Research (IFES), the study, done at five year intervals, was based on 8,450 interviews between March and December of 2018.
With the waves of newcomers in recent years and the rightward political shift, one might think the influx was controversial. But a full 41% of voters said they were very happy with the city’s growth, according to the daily Kurier, while 31% were fairly happy, 17% indifferent and only 8% unhappy.
Overall feelings of security are also up, with 42% feeling very safe over 34% in 2013. Some 31% felt fairly safe, 17% neutral, and only 3% unsafe.
Housing options are also viewed positively, with 53% rating these as good or very good, representing a 2% drop in comparison to 2013.
In health care, however, the shine appears to be wearing off. While 73% still find services either very good or good, this is down from 80% in 2013, and some 9% find them bad or very bad – up from just 3% in 2013.
So on the whole, things are good. And even if they’re bad, well, it’s by Vienna standards. As cabarettist Helmut Qualtinger once said, “The problem for every Wiener: He can’t stand it anymore in Vienna. Except that everywhere else is worse.“