Deputy Mayor and Executive City Councillor, City of Vienna
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 Parliamentary Group of the Green Party. 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 brought the importance of cycling strategies in the centre of political debate and made it crucial to Vienna’s integrated mobility strategy. With a public transport mode share of 37 %, Vienna’s goal to double the cycling mode share from 5 % to 10 % by 2015, is quite ambitious. In Maria Vassilakou’s view, reaching this goal is not only possible, but necessary. The City has tailored its efforts through a revamping of their cycling strategy and organizational structure, improving infrastructure by closing the gaps in its existing 1200-kilometre cycle network, and increasing public engagement via improved public relations, communications, and cooperation. By hosting the Velo-city Conference this year and naming 2013 the “year of cycling”, Vienna is going to generate even more public enthusiasm towards cycling.