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Climate Change and Territorial Effects on Regions and Local Economies - Case Study Alpine Space


The ESPON projectdeals with the impacts of climate change on the European regions and their economies as well as the consequences for spatial planning. The overall objective is to identify the vulnerability of regions to climate change. Therefore the project seeks to analyse the regional sensitivities towards climate stimuli and the likely economic effects of climate change on European regions also considering mitigation and adaptation measures. Eventually, the project aims at the development of new potential regional typologies with respect to the multitude of aspects and consequences in the context of climate change.

Case Study "Alpine Space"

Already today the climate in the Alps has changed significantly and affected regions and local economies. Future climate change, especially the increase of temperature, a higher variability of precipitation and an increasing occurrence of hazards, will reinforce this development and modify today's living and working conditions. Therefore, the Alpine space as rural area with relative densely populated valleys and several Metropolitan European Growth Areas in the surrounding lowlands needs a transnational strategy how to foster climate change mitigation and adaptation.

The case study "Alpine Space" aims at an in-depth analysis of impacts of the different climatic stimuli on Alpine tourism, of the specific sensitivity of Alpine tourism and the adaptive capacity of the tourism sector. The main focus lies on the institutional and cultural dimension of vulnerability. For the adaptive capacity assessment of the tourism sector a specific set of indicators for assessing adaptive capacity has been developed and a standardized survey has been conducted with representatives of public authorities and non-state organizations in all Alpine states. The case study therefore complements the pan-European vulnerability assessment conducted in ESPON Climate with a qualitative approach by integrating qualitative data into the indicator based overall methodology.


  • Juhola, S., Kruse, S. (2015) A framework for analysing regional adaptive capacity assessments: challenges for methodology and policy making, Mitigation and Adaption Strategies for Global Change. (2015) 20: 99-120.
  • Matasci, C., Barawid, N., Kruse, S., Thalmann, P. (2014) Exploring Barriers to Climate Change Adaptation in the Swiss Tourism Sector, Mitigation and Adaption Strategies for Global Change. 19/8, 1239–1254. DOI 10.1007/s11027-013-9471-1
  • Kruse, S., Stiffler, M., Baumgartner, D. and Pütz, M. (2013) Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change in the Alpine Space: a Case Study on the Adaptive Capacity of the Tourism Sector, in European Climate Vulnerabilities and Adaptation: A Spatial Planning Perspective (eds P. Schmidt-Thomé and S. Greiving), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118474822.ch15.
  • "Klimaanpassung im Alpenraum" in the annual report of WSL 2010 (German version)
  • "Adaptations aux changements climatiques dans l’Arc alpin" in the annual report of WSL 2010 (French Version)


ESPON CLIMATE is funded within the ESPON 2013 Programme (European Spatial Planning Observation Network).

Lead partner is the Institute of Spatial Planning (IRPUD), Technical University Dortmund, Germany.