Synthesis paper on the spatial planning challenges faced in urban, rural and mountain areas

The implementation of the Swiss federal programs known as "Urban Planning Policies for 2016+" and "Policy for the Development of Rural and Mountain Regions" will focus on the current challenges faced in the respective development areas. EBP has drafted a synthesis paper to accompany the two programs.

Reporting to the Federal Council

At the beginning of 2015, the Swiss Federal Council enacted the program known as the "Policy for the Development of Rural and Mountain Regions" and approved a revision of the program known as "Urban Planning Policies for 2016+". The two federal agencies responsible the programs, ARE and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), have now submitted a report on the implementation of the two programs. The report outlines what remains to be done in the next four years.

Five challenging factors

To provide a basis for an assessment, EBP drafted a synthesis paper drawn from various current reports. This work focused on identifying the main developments and outlining both the common and the unique challenges faced in the various urban, rural and mountain regions. In completing this task, we were availing ourselves of our extensive experience with interdisciplinary studies and analyses of social-spatial trends and developments. In our synthesis, we describe the development trends in light of five salient factors:

  • Societal change
    Population growth, immigration, individualization and demographic aging are the central societal developments. The challenges associated with these developments concern all regions and pose special challenges relating to social cohesion.
  • Regional competition, structural changes and digitalization
    Globalization and digitalization have led to significant changes in our economy. Innovation and entrepreneurial spirit are regarded as essential elements in any given region’s capacity to introduce new business models and manage structural change.
  • Growth and quality settlement and transportation development
    Settlement and transportation development continues to intensify. This has subjected landscapes and habitats to greater levels of stress in the form of emissions and noise. The challenges for all regions include quality-oriented settlement growth, sustainable forms of transportation and the harmonization of settlement development and transportation systems.
  • Climate change and resource scarcity
    Climate change has introduced an urgent need to increase expenditures for hazard prevention, especially in rural areas. Given the negative impact that our increased use of natural resources has had on biodiversity and habitat integrity, the preservation of ecosystem services remains a challenge.
  • Management of spatial development
    We can expect the call for institutional reforms to grow louder in light of the increasing significance of internationally connected systems, the preservation of functional spaces and mounting state burdens.

Contact persons