OpenSpaceAlps is one of fifteen projects approved in the frame of Call 4 of the Interreg Alpine Space programme. It brings together seven partners from Austria, France, Germany, Italy and Slovenia to work on the topic of near-natural open spaces in the core Alpine and EUSALP areas.
The main objective of OpenSpaceAlps is to foster sustainable development of the Alpine area by contributing to the safeguarding of open spaces featuring environmental and natural values. In the valleys, these open spaces are decreasing due to e.g. development of settlements and transport related areas, whereas in the higher altitudes they are being dissected by tourism, forestry and agriculture related infrastructures. The path taken is to initiate and facilitate processes towards the adoption of new spatial planning approaches in the alpine countries as well as to promote multilevel, transnational spatial governance.
First steps of the project having been started 8 months ago gathered alpine planning instruments in the different countries, a summary of all project results related to former INTERREG or other projects concerning the topic of natural spaces, ecological connectivity and the role of protected areas as back-bones and biodiversity reservoirs for the alpine space.
Next steps involve the analysis of governance approaches of planning strategies in pilot areas, an alps wide mapping of open spaces where protected areas of all categories are occupying an important place and a concept for a network of spatial planning institutions allowing an integrated approach of spatial planning in the Alps considering human activities and the needs of nature and ecology.
Several parks of the ALPARC network are directly or indirectly involved in different work-packages of the project. In this sense, this new project is an excellent continuation and practical implementation for the results of the work of the last 15 years concerning ecological connectivity.
The LeadPartner of this project is the spatial planning agency of Salzburg (A). ALPARC is partner and workpackage leader dealing with the international dimension of the project including governance aspects, ecological connectivity concepts and biodiversity protection strategies within alps-wide spatial planning approaches. The project will end by Summer 2022. ALPARC is supported by the German Ministry (BMU) for this project.