Regional development and life quality
ALPARC believes that alpine protected areas and their wider regions, in the context of regional development, have a trump card to play: quality of life and quality of visit. This quality is linked to
- esthetically attractive natural and cultural landscapes,
- a healthy environment,
- cultural identity and authenticity,
- a high biodiversity and an intact natural environment,
- the distance to urban and touristic centres and thus,
- a perceived slower pace of life.
Globalization is increasing spatial inequalities through the concentration of capital and knowledge in city regions, creating drawbacks for peripheral alpine regions. Such regions can benefit, however, from new societal trends – a rising consideration of health and quality of life, the slow movement, the green economy concept - by developing innovative pathways that built on their endogenous natural and cultural assets.
Today, many protected areas – especially the ones inhabited – have developed the mission to encourage an integrated regional development that considers all dimensions of sustainability. The focus lies on increasing people’s well-being rather than increasing material conditions. Innovation and experimentation with new approaches and tools are clear tasks, and new governance structures, partnerships and participation play a key role. ALPARC is convinced that there is an essential need to highlight innovative models and develop an alpine-wide understanding on how an integrated regional development – with protected areas and their assets at its heart – should look like.
For us, alpine protected areas can be lighthouses for peripheral rural regions, and pioneers of sustainable development that inspire others.