Alpine Towns as Key to Sustainable Development in the Alps

More than two thirds of the population in the Alps live in urban areas. Yet the topic of "towns" tends to be neglected in the context of mountain areas. The report "Alpine Towns" examines how this settlement system influences the sustainable development of the Alps. This should help to anticipate trends in the Alps so that good solutions for the future can be developed already today.

Brig David_Schweizer_web
Brig-Glis, alpine town
© David Schweizer

The report "Alpine Towns”

Alpine towns are the link between mountain regions and lowland centres. They are transport, economic and social hubs. Larger towns are found along the main Alpine valleys or at the edge of the Alps: however, it is often the smaller and medium-sized municipalities that provide public services, cultural offerings and economic opportunities for their regions. This typical settlement system forms the socio-economic backbone of valleys and regions.  

The State of the Alps Report aimed to understand how this settlement system influences the sustainable development of the Alps: as the origin of challenges such as urbanisation, resource consumption and flows of people and goods - but also as a central part of sustainable solutions for the future.

The report was prepared by two teams of authors in close cooperation with the international working group of the Alpine Convention. The first part of the report "Facts, Maps and Scientific Debates" examines Alpine towns with a transnational, analytical view. The second part, "Five Pictures of the Future", presents five possible future scenarios from a city perspective: They illustrate the challenges and opportunities Alpine towns could face by 2050. Both parts provide insights and recommendations for all political and institutional levels: These are fundamentally summarised in the four postulates. The two main parts and the postulates can also be used independently. 



Swiss Federal Office for Spatial Development ARE

Section International Affairs

Alpine Convention

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