Alpine region cities coordinate to enhance green infrastructure

Munich and other Alpine urban centres are in a state of transformation, with many experiencing rapid growth. This is causing urban sprawl and endangering green spaces and landscapes in and around cities. To help fight this, a coordinated effort within city-regions was launched.

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Two LOS_DAMA! officers visited the City of Grenoble in June 2018 for Job Shadowing ©Linda Mertelmeyer, City of Munich Two LOS_DAMA! officers visited the City of Grenoble in June 2018 for Job Shadowing ©Linda Mertelmeyer, City of Munich

" LOS DAMA offers a unique and great opportunity to raise regional cooperation to a very important political level, and a growing city like Munich definitely needs to work closely with the region in terms of landscape and open space development. "

Susanne Hutter-von-Knorring, Head of Green Planning, City of Munich

As cities such as Munich continue to transform and grow, urban sprawl becomes an increasing problem, threatening open and green spaces. Areas for recreation or agriculture are lost, important animal habitats destroyed, and bogs may dry up, which in turn contributes to climate change. Preventing the loss of green areas and their special qualities presents a coordination challenge involving multiple cities, communes and regions. Without shared objectives and coordinated plans, safeguarding landscapes and enhancing green areas is next to impossible.

To overcome this challenge, the EU-funded LOS DAMA project is bringing together city-regional stakeholders with the aim of protecting liveable open spaces while also connecting people and green spaces throughout the region. The result is an increase in awareness amongst the public about the importance of protecting and managing the peri-urban and often agricultural landscapes in and around major Alpine metropolitan areas.

Strengthening regional cooperation

The LOS DAMA project offers a unique opportunity to enhance city-regional cooperation and serves as an excellent vehicle for creating new joint projects. For example, the project is developing a toolbox of methods for facilitating the joint implementation of cooperative plans for protecting and managing peri-urban landscapes in a sustainable manner. In addition to the toolbox, the project is also developing several comprehensive landscape approaches. The comprehensive approaches provide guidance on how to design processes more generally,  while the toolbox provides applicable methods.

The project has also founded the Metropolitan Alpine City Network, a coalition of urban and metropolitan authorities committed to working with stakeholders to enhance their green areas and develop green infrastructure. The network serves as a political representation of the local level within the multilevel governance of EUSALP.  It also offers LOS DAMA practitioners and the regional stakeholders a platform for sharing best practices, building capacities and sharing knowledge. Soon, this network will issue several policy recommendations for further developing green infrastructure. Between October 2017 and September 2018, the network expanded from five to 12 cities and metropolitan authorities and is likely to be enlarged further, helping to ensure the project’s legacy is durable.   

From pilot to practice

To test the validity of the project tools, pilot activities were organised in each of the seven city-regions (Munich, Salzburg, Vienna, Trento, Ljubljana, Turin and Grenoble). These pilots used online surveying, GIS-mapping, educational conferences and master classes to test and transfer the LOS DAMA tools and approaches to the local and transnational levels. Because of the success of these activities, many local mayors and political representatives joined the Network of Alpine Cities and committed to the LOS DAMA approach. As a result, the LOS DAMA Project has successfully raised awareness about the value of protecting peri-urban landscapes.


“I think this is a great initiative as it means the city is focusing more attention on outdoor spaces. I hope this will kick-start projects for green spaces in Munich that put a stronger focus on recreational value, that will hopefully improve infrastructure and put the spotlight on places that need more support.”


Stefan Wallerius, participant at event hosted at a spring market in the German town of Gauting by Munich South-West Regional Management. People were encouraged to take part in a survey to identify their favourite nature spots in the Munich area.


“We created the characters that would be present in the Bois des Vouillants. Then, we placed these characters in the park and the public will go from one to the other to meet them .It’s a family day, everyone should have fun. We hope that the children – who will go looking for clues on the trees – and the teenagers – with more sophisticated riddles to solve – and the adults, will all equally enjoy participating in the game.”


Pascal Servet, artistic director of the “7 Snakes”, a game organised for residents of Grenoble, France in the Vouillants forest in October 2018, to encourage them to discover the natural surroundings of their city.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “Landscape and Open Space Development in Alpine Metropolitan Areas” is EUR 2 598 520, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 2 208 742 through the “Alpine Space” Operational Programme for the 2014-2020 programming period. The investment falls under the priority “Energy Union and Climate”.