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Preserving landscapes through smarter location choices

Jul 09, 2014
Ever more families in the Alps are realising their dream of a house in the country that is not too far from the city. This brings with it problems such as urban sprawl and high mobility costs. An online calculator can now show whether such a move is worth it.
Image caption:
The dream of a house in the country can often lead to additional land usage and urban sprawl. © Thorben Wengert,

Economic development and population growth mean that towns in the Alps continue to spread outwards into the surrounding environment. Housing is often located some distance from good infrastructure. An online calculator developed under the MORECO (Mobility and Residential Costs) project allows mayors, elected representatives and local planners to determine which settlements should be developed for reasons of mobility, cost and sustainability – and which should not. In just a few clicks local people – who mostly continue to work in the city – can also calculate whether, given the extra time and costs involved in commuting, such moves are worth it.

MORECO also shows that municipalities with sustainable spatial development and well-planned mobility infrastructure can reduce both additional land usage and car dependency. The final declaration of the project partners thus also calls for settlements to be built only at mobility hubs, with the promotion of sustainable means of transport. One project partner, the Union of Alpine Towns and Municipalities, suggests that these mobility measures could be financed from toll revenues on Alpine roads.

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