Planungsgemeinschaft Ost (Planning Association East) is a joint planning organisation of the Austrian federal provinces of Burgenland, Lower Austria and Vienna. It was founded in 1978 to facilitate the preparation and coordination of activities impacting spatial planning in the region of East Austria. In an agreement based on Article 15a of the Austrian Federal Constitutional Act (B-VG), its tasks are defined as follows:
Cooperation within PGO focuses on the topic of spatial planning and related planning decisions in the fields of traffic, transport and mobility, business, green spaces, energy and climate protection. These are key fields of activity for the successful future development of East Austria.
PGO does not have legal personality (i. e. it is neither a society nor an association). Its representatives are public service officials working for the offices of the provincial governments of Burgenland, Lower Austria and Vienna, as well as politicians from the three federal provinces. If responsibilities or decision-makers change in public service or at political level (provincial governor, provincial government members), membership in PGO changes accordingly, which ensures that the current political decision-makers are always part of PGO.
When PGO was established, the main purpose of the new organisation was to strengthen the position of the three East Austrian provinces at national level, i.e. towards the other six federal provinces of Austria. Given its proximity to the former Iron Curtain, the region of East Austria was lagging behind the other parts of the country.
PGO was founded at a time when the immediate environs of Vienna experienced moderate population growth while the growth rate in Vienna itself was down to zero. Between 1991 and 2001 the centres of growth shifted to communities further away from Vienna. From 2001 to 2015 population development also picked up in the metropolitan region and the federal capital city as such.
Although PGO mainly focuses on representing its members’ common interests in spatial planning towards third parties within Austria, its tasks and activities have changed in line with geopolitical developments. The fall of the Iron Curtain and the subsequent enlargement of the European Union have opened up new opportunities.
Therefore its tasks now also include establishing a strong position for the region of East Austria at European level, and harnessing its agglomeration benefits. In this context, the Vienna metropolitan region serves as a major hub for economic growth and innovation within Austria.