Building on the urban sprawl data going back to 1885, the team of Felix Kienast is examining which political, planning and socio-economic factors contribute to urban sprawl and to unbridled soil consumption. The team is developing forecast models and aims to estimate, using various scenarios, the effect of new planning instruments and of financial incentive systems, as well as future soil consumption. Based on that, practical proposals to reduce urban sprawl should result.

Lay summary

Since the 1950s, urban sprawl has been progressing practically unchecked in Switzerland. There are, however, districts that have very successfully managed to keep urban sprawl under check. Overall, however, this trend has not been successfully stopped. In order to restrict the associated soil consumption, innovative instruments and measures are in demand. In order to develop these, it is necessary to better understand the causes of urban sprawl.

The project aims to examine the political, planning and socio-economic factors, the so-called drivers, which have been determining urban sprawl since the 1950s. Data on urban sprawl going back to 1885 will serve as the basis for this analysis. The identified drivers will be used in spatial forecast models. Thanks to these models, it will be possible to estimate future urban sprawl and soil consumption using a range of scenarios. In so doing, both developments that adhere to the principle of “business as usual” and situations that arise through the implementation of financial incentives and new planning instruments will be monitored.

Thanks to this project, it will be possible to draw up risk maps for soil consumption caused by urban sprawl. It will also work on coming up with practical proposals to reduce urban sprawl. For selected model districts and regions, an in-depth analysis will be carried out of the causal relationships between politico-administrative and socio-economic conditions, planning and economic steering instruments and urban sprawl.