THE CITY OF LEOBEN
dipl.-ing. HEIMO BERGHOLD DIRECTOR OF CONSTRUCTION of LEOBEN
HISTORY & SETTING
Leoben Leoben, with its approximately 25.000 inhabitants, is the second largest town in Styria. It is situated in Upper Styria and is the capital of this region. The town is located in the Mur-Mürz valley. Together with two other towns, Bruck an der Mur and Kapfenberg, the so-called Upper Styrian region comprises 110,000 inhabitants. Leoben forms part of the highly industrialized region eastern Upper Styria. Steel and timber companies are the main employers in this area. Leoben is the main area of settlement and commerce in eastern Upper Styria. Around 40% of the inhabitants and 60% of workplaces in this region are in this area. Hence, Leoben supplies the surrounding rural area with an all-embracing offer of goods and services, medical and social care, schools and institutions for further education and cultural establishments. Population density Leoben consists of an area of around 107 km², this is approx. 230 km² per inhabitant. Due to the topographical situation only 6.4 km² can be used as building area (including commercial and industrial areas) and 4.3 km² as building ground. This results in a density of 5800 inhabitants per km². Although industry and commerce are still of utmost importance for the region, the town has been transforming itself into a science centre. Leoben is a highly specialised technology and university town. The Montan University is one of the core educational centres in the disciplines of metallurgy, mining, materials science and petroleum industry in Europe. Leoben has established itself over the last 15 years as an attractive place to live and work and one which offers sufficient workplaces and adequate basic conditions for self-employed. The appropriate infrastructure to minimize the migration of young families and the young contributed to the stabilization of the population.
Demographic development The demographic development of Leoben has been decreasing since the 1980s. This is certainly related to the steel crisis (Leoben’s main industrial sector) and the moving and partial closing of big companies. The economic and financial crisis of the last years accounted for the closure of many shops in the town. The current demographic change (youth, migration, demographic ageing) will definitely be an important factor of town development.