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The AlpWeek Report questions the link between the Alps and its people

The AlpWeek report was published in April 2017. It summarises the principal elements that were discussed during the AlpWeek event, held in October 2016 in Grassau/Achental in Germany, and it concludes with perspectives for the next AlpWeek.

Under the slogan “Alps & People”, this fourth edition of AlpWeek was dedicated to the many aspects of the connections between the Alps and the people who live, work and spend their spare time there. The population of the Alps is facing major challenges and is at the same time the main player able to tackle these aspects. One of the aims of AlpWeek was an exchange to think about new Alpine-specific solutions in order to enhance the social, cultural and natural heritage of this region.

The three topics debated were:

  1. Demography: Strategies and ideas for the active shaping of demographic change in the Alps

Some strategies presented during the AlpWeek aimed to discuss the difficulty for remote communities to attract new inhabitants, in part because they find it difficult to open to new and different lifestyles. Thus, the sessions discussed how Alpine traditions could be preserved in harmony with the necessary development of new cultural approaches, including the availability of accommodation and health commodities, the availability of education and mobility services but also the social integration of new inhabitants through associations and organizations of civil society.
The report highlights the key role of Alpine municipalities to contribute to these aspects: “this is only possible through constant dialogue between local administrations and inhabitants in order to identify common challenges and solutions”, says the report.

  1. Culture: Why we need culture when talking about the Alps

The ideas that emerged during this session show that “the development of the Alpine cultural landscape reflects the divergent cultural understandings of preservation and progress. As a result, culture in the Alpine region is hardly or only to a limited extent perceived as an economic factor, although there are convincing examples that this is indeed the case”, presents the report. Thus, a precondition for future development in most Alpine areas is a strong cultural consciousness: “this can be a success if a balance is found between native traditions and imported ways of life”.

  1. Quality of life: The balance between a high quality of life for future generations, without further damage to the Alpine environment

The AlpWeek also discussed the question of quality of life, ranging from the socio-economic developments that affect it, the link between quality of life and major environmental problems, and the influence of key players such as municipalities and associations. Among the solutions presented, was suggested the adaptation to local conditions if citizens’ initiatives and public measures complement each other.

Click here to read the report

27 April 2017

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