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Austrian Northwestern Railway and Its Impact on Urban Development

Abstract: Austrian Northwestern Railway was built by the private company ÖNWB during the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the years 1869–1874 as a shortest connection from Vienna to Berlin. Austrian Northwestern Railway was a significant element of modernization of the northern region of Lower Austria, southwest of Moravia and the eastern and north-eastern Bohemia facilitating the exchange of goods and labor. In 1909 the nationalization was carried out and the flatter track which led north through Brno and Břeclav gradually gained the priority. Decades after, the Northwestern Railway remained divided as a result of the Iron Curtain and its importance continued to decline. During the construction of this railway the engineers used a few technical innovations concerning for example bridges (important city-forming elements) in Vienna, Znojmo over the Thaya river or in Ústí nad Labem. Completely revolutionary was the development of Railwaymen colony in Nymburk which was unprecedented at that time with its rectangular streets, alleys, gardens and a park-like square. This paper analyzes the impact of the railway on the cities. We selected four representative examples, four towns where we focus on their urban development depending on the arrival of the railway. The paper also addresses the issue of socio-economic impacts of Northwestern Railway (and the Industrial Revolution) on the selected towns: for example how they changed their functional structure (proportion of heavy industry to agricultural sites, the shift in residential development from family houses to multistory ones etc.). Those analyses are based on the history of town surveys, archival maps and statistical data (such as the number of houses and population) and they show how the town responds to the railway and how it is influenced by it.

KUGL, Jiří (2016). Rakouská severozápadní dráha a její vliv na urbanistický vývoj sídla. In: Pavel Holubec, ed. Člověk, stavba a územní plánování 9. České vysoké učení technické v Praze pp. 41-59. ISBN 978-80-01-06002-5. ISSN 2336-7695.