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Land for all

The "Bodenfreiheit" association in Vorarlberg wants grass, not concrete. Now, for the first time, a village green has been protected from development. © M.E. / pixelio.de

Fewer and fewer areas remain untouched by building development. Vorarlberg has therefore seen the establishment of the "Bodenfreiheit" (ground clearance) association, which is now successfully buying up land for public use.
There is currently so much vacant development land in the Austrian state of Vorarlberg that twice as many inhabitants as today could build a house without changing the population density. But there is little land to be had on the market, with the result that on average another 1,500 square metres of pastureland is turned into development land every day. Open spaces are disappearing and public places are being turned into commercial or private spaces. Why not then buy up free development land and make it available to the public as parks, toboggan runs or simply open spaces? The "Bodenfreiheit" association was formed in 2012 to take a different approach to land use and open up a discussion on the development of residential areas.
The first plot of land has now been "liberated". The municipal authority in Dafins had in the past leased a piece of land next to the village church that was for a long time used for public events, rather like a village green. When the owner decided to sell the land for development, an initiative group was formed. With the support of the "Bodenfreiheit" association and additional funding from the state of Vorarlberg and the diocese, the municipality was able to purchase the land. What was intended as development land is now an unspoilt area for the use of present and future generations.

Sources and further information: www.bodenfreiheit.at (de)