Surrounded by an urban desert, sterile concrete or oedema as well as exaggeratedly well cared-for green spaces, an increasing number of animals are losing their final retreat. Urban growth is unstoppable. However, wherever man leaves well alone, along comes nature and regains its hold, albeit in tiny asphalt and concrete cracks.
Gstettn - here extreme biotopes have developed in the city centre, in gaps between buildings, on old factory sites and overgrown gardens, there where man once lived, but is there no longer. For many species, these spaces are the last retreat in the city. There are more than 2,000 flora species in Vienna, as well as half of Austria's breeding birds and two thirds of its mammals.
Vienna's Gstettn is home to a number of threatened species, such as the praying mantis, great crested grebe or sand lizard. Numerous mammal, bird and amphibian species have found their habitat, such as foxes, hares, raccoons, tree frogs or magpies. Insects, like the glistening rose beetle, the strange ant lion or the Viennese peacock moth are here too. In the world of flora, Viennese rocket and shepherd's purse which are traditionally found here, now compete for the sunny spaces with new species like tree of heaven and golden rod. Behind an inconspicuous wall along a main road, or one adorned with posters, secret niches are to be found, undiscovered by humans, and will hopefully remain so.
The vast area in Wienerberg is a special Gstettn. On the one hand, because Vienna forbids any kind of obstruction, thus giving development a chance, which not possible in most other Gstettn, and on the other hand because the former brickworks pit also encloses pond areas, which although made by man, have developed into a special "Gstettn Water" area.