Vienna is widely recognised as an example of urban sustainability, crowned as one of the most liveable cities worldwide by several quality of life rankings. Despite being highly committed to incorporating the ecological and social dimension into its urban development strategy, Vienna is undergoing a deep transition, orienting its urban policy more closely toward economic criteria and techno-managerial solutions to climate change. While European capitals have been extensively studied, research on Vienna’s environmental policy strategies lacks international visibility in urban studies. To address this paucity of research, this article identifies and unpacks critical junctures, moments characterised by policy shifts occurred in the last 30 years. The article disentangles the synchronisation or de-synchronisation of the inter- and cross-level relations underpinning Vienna’s policy changes. From a methodological standpoint, we employ a process tracing method relying on evidence gathered through the analysis of regulatory and policy documents complemented by interviews with key informants involved in the policy-making process at different territorial levels. The findings cast light on the benefits of and barriers to multilevel coordination in the realm of climate policy and adaptation strategies, pinning down the critical junctures and the multilevel interaction in Vienna’s climate policy evolution.
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