Since the settlement area in the Alpine region is limited, the aim should be a sustainable development of land consumption. Inner development has a key role to play when it comes to shaping sustainable urban and village development. The priority of inner over outer development has become a consensus in the professional planning discourse.
In practice, however, the situation is different in many municipalities. Small towns especially, in shrinking or stabilising areas, are confronted with a loss of function (including housing and trade). This can be seen in vacancies and wasteland in town centres, while on the outskirts or in town districts it is not uncommon for more land to be designated for residential and commercial purposes. On the one hand, this is due to exogenous as well as structural and overall social factors, such as demographic change, changing housing needs or digitisation in the retail sector. On the other hand, obstacles and blockades to targeted inner development are due to a gap between knowledge and implementation.
At the same time, the need for intensive involvement of the local population and actors is becoming apparent: where municipal actors actively support inner development in interaction with the owners, local civil society, local economy and residents, there can be a successful drive towards living residential and supply locations.
The Impuls4Action Toolbox aims to provide actors with suitable examples, projects, methods and experts in this area, in order to promote the exchange of know-how and encourage improved inner development, because every area of land consumed is not only no longer available to the future generations, but can also limit in the here and now, for example, the availability of agricultural land for food production, reduce ecosystem services and make areas more vulnerable to climate change, leading to increased costs for development, while at the same time making inner cities or town centres desolate and aged.