Guideline for higher-density development in the Canton of Thurgau

In recent years, Switzerland has undergone a sweeping paradigm shift away from low-density development and toward higher-density development. Working together with EBP, the Canton of Thurgau has now drafted a guideline to help its cities and municipalities manage the various processes of higher-density development.

Meeting the challenges and exploiting the opportunities

The revised Swiss Spatial Planning Act establishes higher-density development as an important goal in development planning. Swiss cities and municipalities are expected to play a central role in the realization of higher-density development. While there are many opportunities associated with higher-density development, city and municipality representatives continue to be confronted by significant challenges when it comes to actually implementing the corresponding specification. These challenges include complex planning issues and, not least, the need to establish intensive dialogue with property owners and residents.

Guideline for cities and municipalities

The Canton of Thurgau wanted to draft a guideline for higher-density development as a means of calling the importance of the subject to the attention of city and municipal representatives while at the same time providing them with additional motivation to help secure a high level of quality in the implementation of densification projects. However, the primary aim of the publication is to provide concrete, process-based assistance for the effective implementation of densification principles.

The path to higher-density development

The guideline presents six steps to successful densification, beginning with site selection, continuing on with planning processes and concluding with appropriate type of monitoring. The guideline focuses, in particular, on two core elements. The first is a description of six possible strategies for settlement development and their respective consequences. The second element is an outline of the broad spectrum of formal and informal instruments, procedures and means of achieving successful densification. The guideline also encourages cities and municipalities to adapt their approaches, strategies and implementation plans to their specific community needs and resources.

Examples of higher-density development

Specific examples of densification in the Canton of Thurgau are presented to illustrate the application of implementation concepts at various levels of scale.

Picture Credits: Amt für Raumentwicklung, Simone Hicks

Contact persons