Strengthen small- and medium-sized urban centres
As an historical condition, the alpine urban system is dominated by small and medium-sized cities and towns. These play an important role in the hierarchical urban system in providing employment and services to local populations of sometimes vast catchment areas. However, their role is threatened by the polarizing influence of large alpine and specifically pre-alpine metropolises (MEGAs).This has negative effects on the alpine towns, notably impacting migration, job markets, service provision, transport and mobility, and hence local living conditions. In order to ensure local employment, retain human capital and maintain a high level of services, it appears essential to increase competitiveness of alpine towns and local centres.
To reach these aims, the CAPACities project recommends the formation of small-scale alliances and linkages between alpine towns in proximity, based on shared functions and complementarities. The InnoCité project delivers recommendations at local scale, e.g. for structural actions, such as improving urban quality, commercial and service offer or accessibility, or for immaterial actions, such as promotion, marketing and communication that may help to position alpine towns in the urban network and enhance their visibility. In addition, other projects such as ACCESS, COMUNIS and demochange relate more indirectly to competitiveness and attractiveness of smaller alpine towns. They developed recommendations on, for instance, how to jointly develop commercial zones, how to attract young people for professional education and improve transport and communication networks.