Plenary Speaker

Maria Vassilakou

Maria Vassilakou

Deputy Mayor and Executive City Councillor

City of Vienna, Austria

Maria Vassilakou started her political career as Secretary General of the Austrian Students’ Union. In November 1996 she became Member of the Vienna Provincial Parliament and in 2004 Head of the Green’s Parliamentary Group. Since November 2010 Maria Vassilakou is Deputy Mayor of Vienna and Executive City Councillor for Urban Planning, Traffic & Transport, Climate Protection, Energy and Public Participation. Maria Vassilakou is the first Executive City Councillor with a migration background. Having been born in Greece, she moved to Austria as a teenager, growing up to view Vienna as a modern, open and diverse city. Representative of such diversity, her experiences and interests have influenced the nature of her political focus, and projects to date.

Maria Vassilakou considers pedestrian traffic a key part of Vienna’s overall urban mobility strategy. Currently journeys on foot add up to 27% of all journeys made in Vienna. The city’s transport policy aims to stabilise pedestrian traffic at a high level and improve infrastructure for pedestrians. Deputy Mayor Vassilakou believes that essential steps towards attaining these objectives comprise traffic calming measures and the reclaiming of public space. Additional plans to make walking even more attractive over the coming years include the creation of new pedestrian boulevards and a pedestrian signage system.

“Vienna’s hosting the Walk21 conference will further enhance public awareness of walking as a healthy, ecological form of urban mobility. We expect the Walk21 conference to provide insights and expertise on how we can get even closer to our idea of a walkable city.”