The Rätikon, an Alpine Landscape of Usage

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Type and Duration

FFF-Förderprojekt, January 2021 until December 2021



Main Research

Sustainable Planning and Construction


Because of the dynamic spatial development in Liechtenstein, the main area of scientific investigation and of interest for spatial planning is the valley bottom of the Alpine Rhine Valley (Verein Agglomeration Werdenberg-Liechtenstein 2016; Universität Liechtenstein 2019; Broggi 2011). The municipalities of Liechtenstein are embedded in a highly in-terdependent web of economic and social relations with the neighbouring countries of the Alpine Rhine Valley. There-fore, Mario Broggi describes the settlement and landscape development in Liechtenstein as "Monegassation" and similarily to Monaco writes of a city state (Broggi 2011, S. 103). However another part of the landscape is constitutive for the identity of the people living in Liechtenstein (Merki und Frommelt 2018): The Rätikon, a limestone mountain range, that also covers austrian and swiss territory.
If we conceive of the mountain range Rätikon as the centre of the region of investigation, then differentiated processes of urbanization take place on the edges of this trinational region. Contrary to habitual conceptualizations of city regions, the centre of this region is characterized by a barren, seemingly unproductive mountain range, that still is constitutive for the identity of the people living in the region. Furthermore, for all its unproductivity, a plethora of groups make territorial claims in the centre of the region: hunters, tourists, foresters, hydroelectric power plants or the Alpenist association. Innovations such as the E-Bike make possible for masses of people to visit even the highest paths in the alps and therefore indicate the growing connections between the barren, unproductive centre and the urbanizing areas on the edge of the region.
To advance sustainable development in the region, a trinational initative "Naturpark Rätikon" (nature park Rätikon) was formed in 2017. The goal of the initiative is to set up a new governance structure that coordinates the sustainable de-velopment of the region: this includes the protection of nature and biodiversity, the protection and development of the unique agricultural landscapes in the region as well as the qualitity of the built environment (Schweizerischer Bun-desrat 2018). A further goal is to enhance local economy through the use of local resources. A feasibility analysis con-cluded that it is possible to set up a "Naturpark Rätikon" and that the necessary instruments of spatial planning are al-ready in place. (Internationaler Naturpark Rätikon 2019c). However, from our perspective the more striking question is which kinds of usage and which territorial claims are brought forward by the diverging actors in the region. The goal of this research project is therefore to identify actors of sustainable development in the region and subsequently build the foundation for a bigger research project that follows this project.