Practices

The Alps 2050 Atlas: common spatial perspectives for the Alpine area: towards a common vision

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This atlas is part of the ESPON project Alps 2050 that develops spatial visions and perspectives for the Alpine region towards the year 2050. The spatial perimeter goes beyond the Alps in the morphological sense (which is mostly congruent with the Alpine Convention perimeter) but also considers the Territorial Cooperation Programme Alpine Space and the Macro-regional strategy EUSALP.

 

The Atlas brings together the relevant maps from the project that show structures, patterns and trends that contextualise the spatial development. Firstly, this atlas serves analytical purposes and gives background information for the Alps 2050 main report, and secondly, provides general visualisation, orientation and inspiration.

 

Obviously, the selected set of maps cannot cover all relevant themes in a perfectly balanced way. The availability of meaningful data that covers the transnational area adequately on selected territorial levels is clearly a limiting factor.

 

The main impressions from the Atlas can be summarised in the following bullet points:

-Territorial development in the Alpine Region is characterised by diversity and complexity. Comparing the different thematic maps reveals very different pictures: Sometimes underlining the relevance of the morphological context, sometimes stressing the contrast between urban and rural areas, sometimes revealing differences between North and South or East and West.

-The complexity underlines the postulate of contingency: spatial development is not necessarily determined by mountains and morphology, but spatial development is a political process open for political struggles, societal debates and democratic decisions.

-Aiming at tailor made territorial strategies means to carefully consider this complexity on the ground, considering parallels and differences. From a transnational perspective, the parallels can be perceived as common challenges that stand in the heart of macro-regional strategy implementation. At the same time, regional and national differences can be a potential for diversity, best developed on political levels of the European multi-level system in subsidiarity.

-The Alpine region certainly is a very dynamic region offering multiple opportunities for future development without focussing solely on growth dynamic.