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Objectives and conflicts regarding alpine landscape developments


Frame project

This project is one of 35 research projects, which are currently under way in the Swiss National Research Program NRP48 "Landscapes and Habitats of the Alps". This program focuses on the following question: Which developments in the alpine region are socially desired as well as ecologically and economically acceptable?

In the context of sustainable development of the resource alpine landscape it is necessary that these developments are supported by a large part of the population. Therefore people's manifold objectives and desires must be known and included in planning measures.

The aim of the project is to examine people's perceptions and assessments of landscape changes and to understand the underlying socio-cultural and psychological driving forces:

  • What are the wishes and reservations of the Swiss population concerning alpine landscape development?
  • Are there differences between various subgroups?
  • How can conflicts that may arise from different development aims be solved?

These questions are dealt with in three separate subprojects which complement each other thematically and methodically.


  • Dr. Marcel Hunziker (Project coordinator)
  • Dr. Matthias Buchecker
  • Katrin Gehring
  • Susanne Kianicka


Swiss National Research Foundation (SNRF), NRP48 (Financing)



Three subprojects

Subproject I: Qualitative study (PhD thesis of Susanne Kianicka)


  • Comprehension of different meanings of an alpine landscape
  • Understanding of interrelations between people's different senses of place and their needs and aims regarding local landscape development


  • Seminstructured Interviews


  • Local inhabitants and tourists in Alvaneu (Albula valley) and Savognin (Surses) in the Mid-Grisons region, Switzerland
  • Regional decision-makers in politics and economy

Subproject II: Quantitative study (PhD thesis of Katrin Gehring)


  • Investigation of preferences regarding (alpine) landscape and landscape developments
  • Building a comprehensive preference model to explain landscape preferences
  •  Determination of landscape-related factors as reason for leisure mobility


  • Standardized questionaire including visualisations of actual and possible alpine landscape scenarios


  • Swiss population with focus on residents in two alpine valleys (Albula valley, Surses).
  • Tourists in the two valleys
  • Experts and decision-makers on local and national level

Subproject III: Quasi-experimental consensus-finding by Matthias Buchecker and Marcel Hunziker


  • Identification of methods appropriate for consensus-finding
  • Evaluation of efficiency and effectiveness of the chosen methods
  • Stimulation of social processes towards consensus


  • Conducting two consensus-finding experiments
  • Standardized survey of the participant's attitudes before and after the experiment
  • Participant observation during the processes


  • Inhabitants of the Albula Valley and Surses