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Creating and testing new ways

Jul 12, 2017
Climate change, scarce resources, development pressures: there is a global need for new ways and forms of social and economic cohabitation. The Alps too are the setting for social innovations.
Image caption:
Making ideas work together: social innovations as solutions to challenges in the Alps. © CIPRA

Unconventional ideas develop when creative people meet others from different backgrounds: city and mountain dwellers, young and old, as well as representatives from the worlds of science, culture and art. Numerous projects and initiatives in the Alps show that people and organisations are actively looking for new ways to foster sustainable development.

Looking to the future

Plans are underway to revive Istria, the area bordering Slovenia to Croatia, by supporting new ideas. The “Sustainability Park Istra” is a youth project intended to provide an impulse for young people to get involved and come up with ideas for sustainable development in concert with the local population.

The MonViso Institute in Ostana, Italy, has adopted an experimental approach to its research into sustainable change and design. Six abandoned buildings in the mountains have now been converted into a campus to serve as a laboratory for the use of students, scientists, artists and tourist professionals alike. The proximity to nature and the open landscape are intended to help visitors think creatively.

The Future Academy at Rätikon, Switzerland, is dedicated to the question of what are the possible, reasonable and desirable future scenarios for the Alps. It awards project grants to a pilot community in collaboration with the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) to enable young artists and scientists to gain a direct insight into various areas such as crafts, farming or tourism, and to create scenarios and project ideas for the future development of the municipality.

Taking up good ideas

Together with representatives from the fields of tourism and science, CIPRA Switzerland is pursuing a trans-sectoral approach with the “innovation-generator”. The aim is to stimulate ideas for more sustainability in tourism. The most promising project ideas are selected and technical and financial support provided to develop them into business plans.

CIPRA’s fourth and last I-LivAlps-Workshop is also offering a sort of on-the-spot laboratory: September 2017 will see young adults, experts and representatives of various organisations developing prospects for remote mountain areas in Italy’s Valle Maira. “Innovation processes offer a new perspective for the sustainability debate”, says Andreas Pichler, Executive Director of CIPRA International. The co-existence of cultures, participation processes and the testing of sustainable lifestyles have not only produced new solutions, they have also provided spaces to permit the creation of a sense of community and shared responsibility. (de, fr) , ,