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Transferable development rights for reducing land consumption and sprawl in Switzerland: A spatially explicit exploratory analysis that combines role-playing and agent-based modeling

English title Transferable development rights for reducing land consumption and sprawl in Switzerland: A spatially explicit exploratory analysis that combines role-playing and agent-based modeling
Applicant Seidl Irmi
Number 122485
Funding scheme Interdisciplinary projects
Research institution Swiss Federal Research Inst. WSL Direktion
Institution of higher education Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research - WSL
Main discipline Other disciplines of Environmental Sciences
Start/End 01.11.2009 - 30.04.2013
Approved amount 266'006.00
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Keywords (5)

agent-based simulation; land consumption; role plays; spatial planning; transferable development rights

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary
LeadOne instrument to limit the unsustainable spatial development in Switzerland is Tradeable Development Rights (TDR). The proposed project explores the potential contribution of TDRs by creating a sound TDR-program for Switzerland, simulating a market and summarizing the results for potential implementation.Background:In Switzerland, the unsustainable development of settlements has for decades been perceived as one of the main unsolved problems in spatial planning. There is general agreement that current spatial-planning instruments are insufficient to overcome this unsustainable growth. The recent public initiative "Raum für Mensch und Natur" (= Landschaftsinitiative) and the plan to revise to federal planning law also underline the need for innovative methods to reduce land consumption and urban sprawl. Among the most promising are 'transferable development rights' (TDRs). In a TDR program, landowners in 'sending areas' can sell their right to build a parcel to landowners in 'receiving areas'. This results in less land consumption and sprawl in the former and increased density in the latter. Sending areas are generally rural locales in which development should be prevented or limited, while receiving areas are places in which a higher density is desired. Objectives: The objective is to explore whether TDR programs can be used to reduce land consumption and urban sprawl in Switzerland by directing future development to high-density areas. Our research process covers the following three steps: 1) creating a theoretically sound, conceptual TDR program, 2) building a suitable simulation model for TDR markets, and 3) summarizing our recommendations for potential implementation of such a program in Switzerland. Significance:The results of this project will contribute to the scientific development of TDR programs, and will lend detailed pro- and contra-arguments to the political discussion about their implementation in Switzerland. To our knowledge, the proposed project will be the first to mesh role-play with agent-based modeling to simulate TDR markets. We expect that this integration will provide more realistic representations of those TDR markets than previous studies provide, and that the outcomes can be better communicated to landowners, politicians, and spatial planners than pure simulation approaches.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Die Landschaftsinitiative: Wirkungsvoll und vollziehbar ohne negative Wirkung auf die Siedlungsentwicklung
Seidl Irmi (2009), Die Landschaftsinitiative: Wirkungsvoll und vollziehbar ohne negative Wirkung auf die Siedlungsentwicklung, in disP, 179(4), 61-62.
Flächennutzungszertifikate. Ein Instrument zur Senkung der Flächeninanspruchnahme
Seidl Irmi Schultz B. Gellrich M. (2009), Flächennutzungszertifikate. Ein Instrument zur Senkung der Flächeninanspruchnahme, in Wissenschaft & Umwelt Interdisziplinär, 12, 150-156.

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Fiskal- und Wachstumspolitik: zentrale Treiber des Flächenverbrauchs 08.04.2013 Zürich
Waldökonomisches Seminar 05.09.2011 Münchwiler
ROREP SwissLAB Schweizerische Studiengesellschaft 09.02.2011 Ascona


Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
Gut leben auf begrenztem Boden 29.11.2012 FDP-Frauen Bern
Zersiedelung – Treiber und Steue-rungs-instrumente 01.11.2012 Bern
Ökonomische Instrumente für die Raumplanung und ihre Chancen 13.04.2012 Bern
Forum der Schweizer Wohnbaugenossenschaften 23.09.2011 Luzern


Abstract

In Switzerland, the unsustainable development of settlements has for decades been perceived as one of the main unsolved problems in spatial planning. Swiss land-use statistics have shown that, between 1979/85 and 1992/97, Switzerland has developed 327 km2 of land. This is equivalent to a 13% increase in settled areas. Most of this expansion has come at the expense of farmland on the Swiss Plateau - a result of low-density sprawl. The main causes are economic growth and related changes in lifestyle that are reflected, in particular, by the rising number of one-person households and single-family dwellings. Compared with development in high-density areas, urban sprawl is associated with more negative consequences for the environment, higher infrastructure costs, and greater energy consumption.There is general agreement that current spatial-planning instruments are insufficient to overcome this unsustainable growth. Recent public initiatives, such as the "Raum für Mensch und Natur" (= Landschaftsinitiative), and planning forums, e.g., the "Raumkonzept Schweiz", also underline the need for innovative methods to reduce land consumption and urban sprawl, and different incentive-based tools are currently under political discussion. Among the most promising are 'transferable development rights' (TDRs). In a TDR program, landowners in 'sending areas' can sell their right to build a parcel to landowners in 'receiving areas'. This results in less land consumption and sprawl in the former and increased density in the latter. Sending areas are generally rural locales in which development should be prevented or limited, while receiving areas are places in which a higher density is desired. In Switzerland, knowledge about TDR programs is limited. Nevertheless, these programs are now attracting more public interest and are eliciting controversial discussions among landowner lobbies, politicians, spatial planners, environmental organizations, and scientists. The objective of this proposed research project is to explore whether TDR programs can be used to reduce land consumption and urban sprawl in Switzerland by directing future development to high-density areas. Our research process covers the following three steps: 1) creating a theoretically sound, conceptual TDR program, 2) building a suitable simulation model for TDR markets, and 3) summarizing our recommendations for potential implementation of such a program in Switzerland. Our planned approach combines role-playing and agent-based simulation. The former will be used to obtain information about possible incentives for landowners to buy and sell TDRs, and to calibrate the agent-based model. Simulation is necessary because current political settings and the time required for establishing these programs do not allow for rapid, practical testing. The proposed study is based on a prototype agent-based model of TDR markets that we developed recently in close collaboration with our project partners. Here, we plan to extend that prototype by using parcel-level data from the Canton of Zürich and know-how from three disciplines: economics, spatial planning, and land-use/land-cover change research. To our knowledge, the proposed project will be the first to mesh role-play with agent-based modeling to simulate TDR markets. We expect that this integration will provide more realistic representations of those TDR markets than previous studies provide, and that the outcomes can be better communicated to landowners, politicians, and spatial planners than pure simulation approaches. Overall, the results of this project will contribute to the scientific development of TDR programs, and will lend detailed pro- and contra-arguments to the political discussion about their implementation in Switzerland.
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