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IP 5a (Phase I): Cantonal strategies for the development of metropolitan areas: potential and limits

In 2001, the Swiss Federal Government defined a new set of goals for the development of Switzerland’s metropolitan areas (“Agglomerationspolitik”). Due to the rules governing Swiss federalism, the Swiss Confederation has only a few instruments with which to directly enhance these goals. Hence, cantons and cities bear the main responsibility for the formulation and implementation of strategies to guide metropolitan development. However, cantons and cities have proven rather hesitant to do so up to now; and it has been rather difficult to develop new structures and institutions for improving cooperation between Swiss metropolitan areas.

This project, which ended in November 2007, focused on the experience of formulating and implementing metropolitan strategies in Swiss cantons. The goal was to identify the substantive and organisational profiles of cantonal metropolitan strategies, and shed light on the conditions that frame the elaboration of these strategies. This was achieved through in-depth case studies of five cantons: Aargau, Bern, Grisons, Neuchâtel, and Ticino. The scientific results are published in a report to the “Tripartite Agglomerationskonferenz” (the Conference of the Confederation, the Swiss cantons and cities), which funded the project. The report serves as a basis for a profound discussion on current cantonal metropolitan strategies, and as a decision-making aid for elaborating such strategies in the future:

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Project leader:
Prof. Daniel Kübler, University of Zurich

Research assistant:
Larissa Plüss, University of Zurich