Climate change, digitalisation, demographic change, new lifestyles – these and other transformations affect Alpine Towns in very specific ways due to their geographic characteristics, their settlement systems and economic conditions. Mayors and local decision makers have to deal with new topics that are highly complex and closely interwoven and require improved strategic planning, based on forward thinking approaches. The method of Exploratory Scenario Planning offers an opportunity to discuss future challenges, to deal with uncertainties, to address correlations between them and to open the strategic discourse to ideas and approaches “outside the box”. Also, the method can be applied in a participatory way, integrating stakeholders from different sectors and their viewpoints.

For the format of the 9th Report on the State of the Alps (RSA9) the Swiss Presidency of the Alpine Convention has decided to make use of this co-creative Exploratory Scenario Planning which involves the overall know-how and expertise of the RSA9 working group and other participants from Alpine Towns. In a series of interactive workshops, key factors with high relevance for future-proofing Alpine Towns and their alternative development pathways are discussed, leading to consistent “Pictures of the future”. These will become part of the RSA9 and will be further developed with the help of a toolbox – highlighting first steps that need to be taken to reach an anticipated scenario.

If you want to know more about the Exploratory Scenario Planning, check out this video.

Text by Helen Lückge