Spatial Planning in Alpine Areas. The Case of Annaberg.

Recently I was teaching for the Center of Regional Planning and Regional Development (TU Wien) in a seminar 'Spatial Planning in the Alps' which we held in Annaberg, Lower Austria. Annaberg is an ideal location to develop and eventually test strategies of how a small, shrinking municipality in an alpine area can in future juggle challenges such as (amongst others): 
  • maintaining sustainable land use (and the cultural landscape), 
  • competing on the international tourism market, 
  • facing climatic changes as a (lower-alpine) community which invested in winter tourism, 
  • creating job opportunities within the region, and, 
  • dealing with a negative demographic development of the community. 
Constructing a region around Annaberg. Ötscherland as regional sketch (S. Zech).
Map showing the central area of the municipality and the different lodgings which students resided in.
Within the seminar the students developed a first image of the issues by creating exemplary roles for different actors on site (politicians, tourists, farmers, pilgrims, teachers, etc). These hypothesis and visions were then challenged and tested on site during a two days stay which included a participatory 'ideas evening' during which people from the community and students discussed what is at stake in Annaberg. We now published the resulting works of the students in a documentation which will be available for the people in Annaberg. We want to thank all people who participated in the event in Annaberg and the very supportive members of the municipality, all of which contributed a lot to the results of the seminar. 
In future the Center of Regional Planning and Regional Development may deepen the work on Annaberg in collaboration with the municipality. 
Below you find some impressions of the extensive walk we undertook to understand land-use, municipality structure and geography of Annaberg. 

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