Economic and social restructuring processes create challenges for remote rural areas. Many younger residents are moving away from their homes to look for work, which means the average age of those left behind is constantly on the rise. As the general population decreases in number and increases in age, general services can no longer be maintained. For this reason, rural areas are becoming less attractive as potential residential regions. To maintain the quality of life in these areas, innovative solutions are necessary. On the other hand, more easily accessible urban and suburban regions struggle with untenable loads on their capacity; problems in these regions are different, including unsustainable traffic volumes, competing land use claims, and housing shortages.
We are conducting applied research to meet these challenges with socially innovative, ecologically acceptable, and economically sustainable solutions. The competence of our interdisciplinary team is due to multiple experiences in international projects that have been implemented in regional development projects in South Tyrol and other mountain regions. For instance, we investigate the social and ecological impacts of trans-alpine heavy goods vehicles, opportunities for economic diversification, the creation of added value in rural areas, as well as the possible forms of coexistence between humans and wildlife.
Our team consists of experts from various fields of interest, including economic, geographic, social, cultural, agricultural, natural, traffic, spatial and planning sciences. We are structured in four research groups: