Small communities in mountain regions are facing major challenges, such as demographic change, migration of the young, well-educated generation, increasing competition in tourism and questions of basic services. Furthermore, currently climate-related changes as well as natural hazards seem to be increasing. Their resources are limited – financially, in terms of personnel and in terms of know-how. Against this background, a model project of the Swiss Federal Office for Spatial Development analysed and promoted the so-called resilience of various municipalities (Link). This approach focuses on inherent strengths as well as resilience and adaptability with the aim of making better use of regional potential and strengthening regional value creation. The Swiss Centre for Mountain Regions (SAB) would like to draw inspiration from this model within the framework of the Interreg Alpine Space Project “BeyondSnow”.
Recognising inherent strengths and promoting adaptability
The starting point is a situation analysis in eight thematic areas:
These encompass basic supply, energy industry, tourism, trade, agriculture/forestry, security, finances and institutional structure. On this basis, the resilience of the municipalities is to be presented, compared, typified and evaluated. The aim is not only to look at the current situation, but also to assess future viability. From this, the local and regional need for action is determined and the comprehensive development strategy is defined. An initial plan for implementing measures with concrete local and regional project ideas is to be drawn up. The local and regional actors are involved in all steps from strategy to implementation in a participatory approach.
Vulnerability and resilience analysis as an instrument for regional development
The above-described model will be adapted and tested within the framework of the BeyondSnow project in the destination of Sattel Hochstuckli (Switzerland) in order to search for new forms of tourism and reduce its snow-dependency. In comparison to the original model that evaluates the general situation, the focus will be put on tourism and related sectors. It is the aim to enrich the already existing tourism strategy of the municipality of Sattel with the new findings and to develop concrete measures.