Perceptions of the Alps are often rather rural than urban. However, around one third of Alpine inhabitants live in densely populated settlements. They take on important functions for large territories and often have a large international reputation. What do we know about the Alpine settlement system? What is the role of these towns for sustainable development in the Alps? How can we support small places? Our pilot action served to answer these questions.
We studied the impact of Alpine towns on this territory in a report. It investigated the current state of the settlement system and developed five scenarios that identified new development possibilities for the future. In parallel, we supported small-scale pilot activities that helped eight towns to take the lead in climate change adaptation and mitigation.
To this end, Switzerland collaborated with Germany, Slovenia, Austria, Norway, the European Commission, the Alpine Convention, the Alpine Town of the Year Association, and stakeholders at the local level.
Content & Link to the Territorial Agenda
Both the report and the small-scale activities in towns shall help to develop place-based and sustainable solutions supported by the whole society. By setting an example, the pilot action seeks to inspire other small and medium sized towns across Europe.
The report looked at the impact of towns on the Alpine region – as source of environmental, climatic, economic and social challenges, but also as an essential part of their solutions. This report is addressed to policy makers from the international to the local level as well as to interested citizens.
The Alpine settlement system
The other part of the pilot sought to link spatial development more strongly with climate issues by supporting pilot activities at the town level, thus contributing to the objective of a Green Europe. In its implementation, the pilot built on local potential: It brought together civil society, public administration, and other stakeholders, contributing to the objective of a Just Europe. Any implementation in the local context – no matter the scale – is crucial for a successful fight against climate change: the small-scale activities show that municipalities can immediately implement low-threshold climate action by harnessing local potential.
We created long-term potential by involving well-established networks in the Alpine area and building on bottom-up actions. The pilot action relied heavily on the local Alpine partners, the Alpine Town of the Year Association and its member towns.
Temperature Change in the Alps
Projected temperature change in the Alps until 2050
1. Report on the State of the Alps ‘Alpine Towns – Key to Sustainable Development of the Alpine Region’:
The report consists of two parts. Part one presents current facts, maps and scientific debates around the Alpine settlement system. Part two presents five future scenarios that were developed in a broad participatory process. The scenarios offer perspectives for the development of sustainable and future-proof strategies. The findings are intended to benefit not only the Alpine region, but also small towns in other territories. The results are published here https://alpinetowns.alpconv.org/
2. Small-scale ‘Climate Action in Alpine Towns’:
The pilot provided a framework for eight towns to introduce participatory and co-creative approaches to planning processes around climate change adaptation or mitigation. Creative projects were implemented in Idrija, Tolmin, Belluno, Trento, Sonthofen, Brig-Glis, Annecy, and Chambéry in 2021 and 2022. Local funding and support from the pilot lead and the TA2030 partners ensured a solid base for future strategic approaches. To learn more about the individual projects in the towns, visit: https://www.alpinetowns.org/climate-action-in-alpine-towns/
The TA2030 network brought together Switzerland (Lead), Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Norway, the European Commission and the Alpine Convention. The implementation was in the hands of the Alpine Towns of the Year Association and the eight selected Alpine towns. Local partners contributed their own resources, funding, personnel or knowledge to the projects and received additional seed capital.
In the preparation of the report all Alpine countries, many non-governmental organizations, research institutes, local experts, students and other interested parties were involved. The research for the report was funded by the Swiss Presidency of the Alpine Convention 2021/2022.
For further information contact firstname.lastname@example.org, Federal Office for Spatial Development ARE, Switzerland
|18th of June 2021||Peer learning workshop “Climate action in Alpine towns – How to?”. Knowledge support to the local project consortia to develop climate action.|
|16th and 17th September 2021||Report Scenario Development Workshop Part 1 in Innsbruck.|
|20th October 2021||Report Scenario Development Workshop Part 2|
|7th April 2022||Alpine Towns ‘Atelier’ in Innsbruck: Development of project ideas and strategies from the report results|
|9th November 2022||Alpine Towns Report – Final Conference, Bern CH|
|7th December 2022||Climate Action in Alpine Towns – Final Event and Peer Learning Workshop ‘Surfaces’|
|19th January 2021||Kick-off meeting for the TA2030 Partnership|
|29th January 2021||Kick off meeting with the Alpine towns|
|18th February 2021||Participation in the ESPON Joint session Pilots LAB TA2030, promoted by PT PRES & ESPON|
|6th May 2021||Participation in the pilot action “A future for lagging regions: fostering the implementation of spatial strategies” kick-off event “Putting the Territorial Agenda 2030 into practice”, promoted by the German Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community (BMI) and the German Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development (BBSR)|