userAlpPlan Network

AlpPlan Doctoral Colloquium 2024

ARL International ARL International
published on 22/04/2024

“Empowering young researchers in alpine territorial development”
Format: online meeting (invited participants only)
Date/time: Friday, 26 April 2024, 09:00 – 13:00 CET

The colloquium opens an opportunity for doctoral candidates to present their ongoing or planned research for discussion. It encourages young researchers to share their ideas, including also different challenges they face during their research process. In this way, participants can gain new perspectives on their ideas incl. feedback from experienced scientists and, moreover, network with other young researchers.

Scientific experts / reviewers: 

  • Univ.-Prof. Dr. Hubert Job (Julius-Maximilians-University Wuerzburg, Chair of Geography and Regional Science)
  • PD Dr. Marco Pütz (Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Research Group Regional Economics and Development, Zurich-Birmensdorf)
  • PD Dr. Thomas Streifeneder (Eurac Research, Institute for Regional Development, Bolzano)
  • Dr. Arthur Schindelegger (BOKU University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna, Institute for Landscape Planning)



“Understanding local development in lagging behind regions. The Italian instrumental, political and institutional context”
Marco Del Fiore
Interuniversity Department of Regional and Urban Studies and Planning, Politecnico di Torino (IT)

“The research program focuses on the topic of policies and instruments related to local development in "left behind places" (Pike et al., 2023). The investigation starts from the picture that Rodríguez-Pose (2020) and Rodríguez- Pose et al. (2021) draws of places that do not matter or left-behind places, characterising them as places: (1) outside the focus of political elites and mainstream academia; (2) to which, due to the location and structural problems, it seems impossible to improve the situation (3) where there is a collective sense of loss (4) which, to express their discontent and indignation, turn to populist governments (Gajewski & Knippschild, 2024). 
The research theme emerges within the European framework, outlined by the territorial cohesion policy, and in the Italian context, with the new relational territorial interpretation introduced by the "National Strategy for Inner Areas" (Barca et al., 2014; European Commission, 2014). The objective of the research is to examine on one hand, the institutional and instrumental issues and, on the other hand, the methodological and political philosophy. For the first topic, contributions are planned concerning the role of small and medium-sized cities in the development of functional territories within the Italian national context, as well as research on the role of Green Communities Strategy as territorial instruments for reevaluating the relationship between cities and mountains. Regarding the second topic, the research aims to analyse political cultures and their impact as a parameter for evaluating institutional innovation through a comparative analysis between the National Strategy for Inner Areas (Italy) and the Rural Agenda (France).”

Keywords: Left behind places, Cohesion policy, National strategy inner areas, political culture, institutional innovation


“Using a choice experiment to analyze public preferences for urban greening”
Antonia Schneider
Research Unit Public Finance and Infrastructure Policy, TU Wien (AT)

“Discrete choice experiments (DCE) are a method for analyzing respondents' sensitivity to marginal changes of multidimensional objects. In my dissertation I conducted a DCE to investigate preferences and WTP for urban greening measures in Vienna. While I have now almost finished three journal articles on different aspects, the discussion with colleagues, reviewers, and at conferences regularly returns to the design phase of the experiment. In my presentation, I want to talk about what I would have liked to know earlier and discuss how to navigate the beginning of an empirical Ph.D.”

Keywords: Discrete Choice Experiment, Experimental Design, Ph.D. Process Review, Urban Greening, Methodological Knowledge


 “’The Concept of Central Open Spaces’ as a contribution of spatial planning to the long-term safeguarding of H2O resources in the Alps”
Kerstin Ströbel
Chair of Geography and Regional Science, Julius-Maximilians-University Würzburg (DE)

“The rise in average global temperatures and in the European population are significantly impacting the availability and consumption of water resources. Hazardous natural events in the Alpine region have steadily increased in recent years and pose a serious threat to life in the Alps. To safeguard the quality of life in the Alpine region, it is necessary to address landscape usage and water management through the lens of spatial planning.
Current research on spatial planning and water management primarily discusses the Netherlands or the implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive. As a significant water supplier for the Alpine states, the Alpine Space requires to be integrated urgently into this debate to secure water availability in Europe.
The following research questions are posed: Is alpine, multifunctional spatial planning efficient enough to unite land uses and land use conflicts with the aim of protecting the resource H2O in the long term? How does national spatial planning in the Alps deal with the challenges associated with the resource H2O?  To what extent can monofunctionality of spatial planning through open spaces guarantee resource security and how can planning benefit from a “Concept of Central Open Spaces”?
A comprehensive literature analysis will be carried out to provide an initial Alpine-wide definition of "open space" and the needed functions of the " Concept of Central Open Spaces ". To support this, GIS analyses will be used to localise open spaces for the protection of H2O resources, which will be qualitatively supplemented by expert interviews targeting governance aspects.”

Keywords: Climate Change, Open spaces, spatial planning, water management, Alps


“Analysing environmental change: the case of forest adaptation to climate change”
Jan Zumoberhaus
Department of Geosciences, University of Fribourg (CH)

“My research examines forest adaptation to climate change in the Swiss mountain valley of Valais, using it as a case study to explore how various actors, predominantly foresters but also scientists and policymakers, interpret and analyse complex, indeterministic, and dynamic changes in biophysical nature. Concrete issues discussed in this region encompass tree dieback, interspecific succession, intraspecific adaptation, game browsing, the spread of pests and non-native and invasive species, and extreme events, such as storms, droughts, or wildfires. Mobilising Critical Realism as its theoretical foundation, I develop a metanalytical framework across the dimensions of ontology, epistemology, and critique in order to delve into the analytical depths of forest transformations. This framework illuminates the analytical movements in forestry that bring concrete natural events into relation with abstract causal mechanisms triggered by climate change, empirical experiences with meaning-providing theories, and an explanation of biophysical change with a critique of social conditions. In conclusion, it is argued that such a metanalysis must acknowledge both the biophysical conditions of environmental change as well as its discursive-intellectual embedding in social relations. By doing so, this research contributes to a deeper understanding and appreciation of the diverse analytical processes that individuals and society mobilise to conceive and address the profound impacts of global change, particularly global warming, on local ecological systems and human-nature relationships.”

Keywords: Climate change adaptation, forests, biophysical systems, analytical movements, Critical Realism