Vienna, City of My Dreams!
Let Vienna inspire you by seeing it through the eyes of Eugene Quinn – DJ, creative mind, rebellious optimist and one of the biggest advocate for the city!
While most people visit Vienna to experience the spirit of Waltz, Sachertorte, and Schönbrunn, Eugene Quinn loves to look beyond these clichés to bring out the more versatile and exciting sides of his city of choice.
Together with five equally enthusiastic fans of Vienna, the former BBC journalist created space and place. This unique group of humorous urbanists and activists mixes politics and culture to tell new stories about Vienna and encourage people to engage in their city
. “Vienna is a lot more interesting as a city than the way it is presented to the world”, Eugene shares his impressions, “We call ourselves rebellious optimists because we are looking for solutions instead of celebrating problems which is an approach that people sometimes tend to have here!”
Their many uncommon and creative projects to show the diversity and greatness of Vienna include the Coffeehouse Conversations. Eugene invites Viennese as well as foreigners to one of Vienna´s many traditional coffeehouses to let the spirit of a once brilliant coffeehouse culture revive. Theodore Zeldin´s question menu is the thread that helps people connect. “So far, we have had people from 66 different countries, and the Viennese love to come for some fresh air! Participants find out what they have in common, they share their experience and swap perspectives,” Eugene gives a taste of the intercultural experience. “In times of rising borders and intolerance, it is important to send out another message!”
Luckily, you have the chance to be part of a Vienna Coffeehouse Conversation on Tuesday, 27th February, just on the evening before the UFGC starts!
However, Eugene is not only one of your moderators on the conference, but as your DJ will also share his love for music. Something he usually does on neglected squares around Vienna to connect people with different backgrounds and give especially kids with a migrant background a chance to listen to their music in a public space. “We like to tell stories with the music that we play. And at the conference, we are going to play music from cities all around the world. We´ll also take requests from people if they have a song about their city!”
As an activist for walking, Eugene also offers a lot of special tours through Vienna. “I think walking provides so many
opportunities for environmental health but also for creativity, just go for a stroll around your neighborhood, get oxygen in your brain and get the blood flowing, bump into friends or go deeper into ideas!”
In Smells like WIEN Spirit you can walk with Eugene and experience 20 different, but distinctive Viennese smells like the brewery in Ottakring or the famous Manner chocolate factory.“Usually, people expect the city to smell bad, but Vienna smells really good!”
Within the conference, you can join Eugene on walks through The invisible Smart City, or find out Why Vienna is judged the most livable city in the world, something that the rather melancholic locals apparently are not used to appreciate. “I wanted to show to the Viennese how good their city is, how easy it is to live here compared to London in terms of beauty and space, opportunities, culture and free culture. The inequality in Vienna is so low compared to other cities.”
You can also be part of the Vienna Ugly Tour and look at some of the architectural fails of the city.“The walks are quite unusual and interesting ways for people to have adventures around the city with me!”
Especially with the Vienna Ugly Tour, Eugene also experienced that it is not always a walk in the park to do things differently and start something new. He got fined several times by part of the city council because he was not officially qualified as a guide. But even though the situation was tricky, he didn´t give up but rather used the international media attention the case got as publicity, because suddenly even more people wanted to come on the tour.
“To me, Vienna is a kind of model city for a less capitalist way of moving forward. I think so many official entities have lost a kind of vision and excitement for the future, but we are happy to fill that space!”
I am a very optimistic person.
I love my city because poor people live well here.
The best work-related decision I ever took was to become a migrant.
Everyone can live more sustainably, simply by walking more.
Every city should have street parties.