Home news Sprouting initiative: How to build the Switzerland of tomorrow

Sprouting initiative: How to build the Switzerland of tomorrow

Spatial planning, that means in the Switzerland always, the undesirable too
      channel. Sometimes in the literal sense. As in 1963 in Zermatt a typhoid epidemic
      broke out, the three people brought to the grave and hundreds to the hospital, responded
      Public shock – and politics came under pressure. She revised the national
      Water Protection Act, and since then applies: A residential building may only in Switzerland on one
      Parcel to be built, connected to a sewer and to a sewage treatment plant

Because the tube meter costs a lot and not every hamlet can afford its own sewage treatment plant, it is worthwhile to build closer to the neighbor. Thus Salmonella Typhi became one of the first drivers of internal structural consolidation, as the jargon puts it.

History shows that the most curious factors and the most varied laws determine how and where Switzerland is built and how the country ultimately looks.

Spatial planning is a patchwork and an eternally tough negotiation process, combined with numerous setbacks and a lot of frustration.

This awakens the desire for radical, simple solutions. As she proposes, for example, the Zersiedlungsinitiative, which is voted on Sunday. The initiative calls for the construction zones throughout Switzerland to be frozen at today's level.

The referendum will fail, the latest polls show. Also, because the initiators could not convincingly demonstrate that it actually stopped urban sprawl and did not fuel it.

But the big questions remain urgent beyond voting Sunday:

What does our country look like when tens of millions of people soon live here? This is what the statisticians predict for the year 2035.

And how do politicians, planners and investors manage to make these people, all of us, feel at home in a ten-million-strong Switzerland?

1. Reorganize the DETEC

The Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC) is the super-ministry of Switzerland. What is distributed in other countries to countless members of the government in this country has a single Federal Councilor among themselves. The DETEC determines the national roads, public transport, energy and climate policy, the landscape and the forest. Only Doris Leuthard, who led the department for eight years, did not make much of her concentrated planning power. She saw her task in balancing out the various interests as dispute-free as possible. It is up to Simonetta Sommaruga, her successor, to change that – as soon as possible.

Of course, the federal government has only had something to say in spatial planning for a few years now, and it is still the cantons and municipalities that compile and implement the directive and zone plans. But why the Federal Office for Spatial Development (ARE) is so low in the departmental pecking order is incomprehensible.

In fact, it is the most important office in the entire DETEC. Equal to a general staff, the ARE would have to stand above all DETEC offices and tap all decisions on the one question: What does that do with our country?


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