Vienna Waits for You

Imagine a city where public housing is widely available to citizens from diverse economic backgrounds. We’re talking about 80% of a city qualifying. Now imagine that once you qualify, you always qualify. No stigma. No massive rise in living expenses. No suffocating mortgage. In short, imagine Gemeindebauten, which is described as “social housing” but also roughly translates as the rent is not too damn high. Francesca Mari in the NYT Mag (Gift Article): Imagine a Renters’ Utopia. It Might Look Like Vienna. “To American eyes, the whole Viennese setup can appear fancifully socialistic. But set that aside, and what’s mind-boggling is how social housing gives the economic lives of Viennese an entirely different shape … Imagine having to think about [your housing expenses] to the same degree that you think about your restaurant choices or streaming-service subscriptions. Imagine, too, where the rest of your income might go, if you spent much less of it on housing.” As an American, I’d probably spend the extra money on a vacation home. (The song is already in your head, so here’s Billy Joel’s Vienna. Come to think of it, maybe I’d spend the savings on piano lessons…)

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