Ghost Palace

I came across Neil Freeman’s Ghost Parcels via Streets Blog Chicago. Neil superimposed property parcels that Cook County still keeps track of over the express-ways through Chicago.

The Dan Ryan and Stevenson expressway interchange in Bridgeport/Chinatown. Image: Neil Freeman
The Dan Ryan and Stevenson Express way interchange in Bridgeport/Chinatown. Image: Neil Freeman
The Ohio Feeder and the Kennedy Expressway in River West. Image: Neil Freeman
The Ohio Feeder and the Kennedy Express-way in River West. Image: Neil Freeman

To quote Chicago Street blog:

The visuals are a byproduct of a research project Freeman is doing on housing typologies. The base layer is from Bing satellite images, and the parcels are from the Cook County assessor’s office. The reason these parcels under the expressways aren’t just shown as one continuous polygon is because [the Illinois Department of Transportation] never dedicated the parcels as right-of way. It’s most likely because, like all government agencies nowadays, they’re short-staffed. It’s not a priority task because parcels under elevated highways usually don’t generate any tax revenue.

If you want to go searching for ghost parcels in Vienna then you don´t need to superimpose data from the city surveyor department onto satellite images, they do that for you. The city map has three extra superimpose tabs, Kulturgut (Cultural), Umweltgut (Environmental), and under the Flächenwidmung (Zoning) Tab you can see the zoning plan for the city (there are also other superimposed versions but they are more hidden). If you check the checkbox Grundstückskataster and zoom in until scale 1:3000 then you will also see the property borders in blue and your search for ghost parcels can begin.

Ghost Parcels in Vienna

A4 Erdberg, Tangent Erdbergerstrasse
Ghost parcels at the Autobahn intersection near Erdbergerstraße 202 in Vienna.

Above is one of my favourite examples of ghost parcels in Vienna. It shows the area around Erdbergerstraße where the A4 Autobahn and A23 Autobahn intersect. Underneath the Autobahn you can see some irregular parcels that are spanned in between the outer boundaries of those roads, they show parts of former parcels that where cut up but never unified and reassessed underneath the publicly owned road (quite similar to Chicago). The house parcels have all been neatly redrawn except if you look to the Bahnhof Erberg (a subway depot, also publicly owned) which has some property borders run right through it. If you extend the lines of the property borders from the Südosttangente, then they match up with those from the road Franzosengraben further south. Small parcel remnants along the Erdbergerstraße give clues as to what was here before the subway depot was built. These and the Franzosengraben parcels used to be vegetable fields, some houses in the area of autobahn intersection where however razed.

There used to a set of ghost parcel near Schönbrunn Palace that looked into the future. They showed zoning and parcels for a to be built underground tour bus parking lot, with ramps and all. Sadly, I do not have screen shot of that former anomaly. The parking lot will be above ground and the zoning has been revised, it no longer shows up on the internet version of the city map.

Vienna´s modern and car friendly autobahn network

Did many houses get razed and neighbourhoods destroyed when the autobahns where built around Vienna? No, most of them where built in open fields, some took up rights of way that had been previously reserved for future railways, others were built as elevated expressways over existing roads and cutting through neighbourhoods. But the original plans did envision a lot of destruction.
A lot of destruction was planned. This is a plan from 1971 how the autobahn was supposed to be built.

Bundesstraßennetz in Wien gemäß Bundesstraßengesetz 1971
Bundesstraßennetz in Wien gemäß Bundesstraßengesetz 1971

and this is what was built

Vienna Autobahn Network 2015 v1.0
The autobahn network of Vienna and surrounding area as of 2015, with cancelled and projected roads.

Some of the more, for this day and age, unbelievable plans were to build an A20 from Floridsdorf west then south and then east until Kaisermühlen over the Gürtel. The A1 was supposed to cover the Vienna River all the way until Karlsplatz close to the national opera (already scrapped in the 1971 plan). The A3 would have come from the south but was merged earlier into the A2 further south and the A4 only reaches to the A23 (the intersection with ghost parcels discussed above). The A21 was built but further south and is called S1 now and in some time in the future supposed to have a bridge over or a tunnel under the Danube and finish something like a lopsided circular autobahn around Vienna together with the A21, A1, S5 and S33. Across the Danube heading north the A24 has has been built as S2, the A5 further west will stop earlier at this circular Autobahn.

So all in all, less than half of the proposed autobahns were or will be built. The half not built, is the half involving a lot of destruction. Politicians and planers met with stiff resistance when trying to push through a modern car friendly autobahn network. That doesn’t mean no buildings were lost to “progress”. One of the more prominent losses was the Inzersdorf Palace.
Inzersdorf is situated in the south of Vienna in the 23rd district.

Inzersdorf am Wienerberg 1870
Section showing Inzersdorf am Wienerberg from the Franzisco-Josephinische Landesaufnahme 1870.
Same area, a digital map of Inzerdorf under the Kulturgut Tab of the city map, checkbox “Historische Stadtpläne” “Franziszeischer Kataster 1829“
Same area, a digital map of Inzersdorf under the Kulturgut Tab of the city map, checkbox “Historische Stadtpläne” “Franziszeischer Kataster 1829

The Inzersdorf Palace was located on the maps above to the left in the centre of Inzersdorf with French Baroque gardens to south and to the north an extensive English styled park around part of the Liesing River. An older four cornered fortress/palace was located on the east tip of that park.
The newer palace in Inzersdorf was first mentioned 1640. Both palaces were damaged during the Second World War and both were torn down 1965, the older to make way for public housing and the newer, with its gardens, to make way for an autobahn intersection.

How can you see the Ghost Palace?
Under the Kulturgut tab of the city map you can superimpose several old city maps including the vectorized Franziszeischer Kataster 1829 onto satellite images or the current city map. To do this, open the Historische Stadtpläne and check one of the checkboxes next to the historical maps. Note, some of them are only visible after zooming in to a finer scale. Search for the address Draschestraße 109 and there you have it.

Inzersdorf 2015
Franziszeischer Kataster 1829 superimposed onto current satellite images of Inzersdorf with a ghost palace directly underneath the autobahn intersection.


  1. […] The special intersections solutions in this group are from around Vienna. For example the bottom right shows the Verteilerkreis Favoriten [Link in German] or in the center far left is the Knoten Prater A4/A23 [top right of that pdf] that was recently upgraded from a clover leaf intersection. In the top right is the intersection that was built after the Inzersdorf Palace was torn down as described in my post Ghost Palace. […]


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