Almost 200,000 square kilometers of territory divided between eight states and more than 5,000 municipalities. The Alps are home to over 14 million inhabitants and 13,000 different species. Fourteen UNESCO protected sites also confirm that the Alpine region is a valuable natural and economic resource. How has it changed over the last decade? And what are the challenges ahead in terms of demographic, economic and sustainability development? Looking at data is the basis for answering these questions. In a new publication, the Alpine Convention and Eurac Research have collected 25 maps that illustrate various key issues in the Alpine region and describe their historical evolution, current situation or future trends. Among these issues are tourism, transport, urban-rural relations, climate change and energy consumption.
For example, the map of demographic change shows that, in several Alpine areas, the average age of the population is higher than the national average. In the mountain areas of Belluno and Friuli, this trend is becoming more pronounced with the passing years, thus becoming a wake-up call for the depopulation of these territories. Peter Laner, a Spatial and Urban Planning expert at Eurac Research, explains: “The data are a photograph of the current situation and are the basis for further studies. In this case, administrators could investigate the factors that influence this trend, for example, why young people leave countries and do not create new families."
Based on the data collected in the publication, other dynamics that can be analyzed in depth, such as differences between the various regions in tourist visits, energy consumption, and also the different effects of climate change on mountain areas and adjacent areas. The data represented in the 25 maps come from the studies that the regional development experts of Eurac Research have conducted in recent years and for the most part are data collected on a municipal basis, and therefore able to describe in detail the specificity of mountain municipalities.
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