Sustainable development of alpine open spaces by enhancing spatial planning governance

Project objective

As a basis of the project’s research process, there is the need to get an overview of existing planning approaches concerned with the safeguarding of open spaces in all alpine states, including a clarification of the project’s definition of open spaces by assessing the state of research in various academic disciplines. The core intention is to conduct a comparative transnational analysis on the different legal backgrounds of spatial and sectoral planning (nature conservation, forestry, agriculture, etc.) and on the respective planning instruments. This covers planning approaches on multiple political or administrative levels, such as the national, regional or municipal level.

These planning approaches will be evaluated regarding their effectiveness to provide substantial (qualitative and quantitative) long-term solutions for the safeguarding of open spaces. One focus lies on the spatial distribution of open spaces in the vertical dimension (valleys, moyen-montagne or high-altitude areas) and the overlapping with existing protected areas. In addition to the extensive desk research, the findings of the comparative transnational evaluation of planning approaches are also informed by expert interviews with planning professionals and relevant stakeholders as well as by the results of the project’s local and cross-border workshops.

The Gathering of information on the effectiveness of spatial and sectoral planning instruments from all alpine countries is an important basis for the development of practical guidelines for planning professionals and policy-makers, which will be documented in a handbook. As a final project output, the handbook supports the target groups in their work for the safeguarding of alpine open spaces by informing them about specific open space characteristics as well as the available planning tools and instruments including their context-specific performance. Additionally, the handbook is supposed to contain concrete recommendations for the alpine-wide cross-border harmonisation of safeguarding instruments on various administrative levels.