Platform Land: looking back on a successful year

Four projects, three of them new, two general meetings and one conference each on intergenerational living and the demands of young people on life in the countryside: At its general meeting, Platform Land drew a positive conclusion and looked back on extensive activities. The new and old president is Andreas Schatzer, his deputy Leo Tiefenthaler.

Intelligent land management and the preservation of the attractiveness of rural areas are the focal points of the Platform Land, to which, in addition to the South Tyrolean Farmers’ Association and the Association of South Tyrolean Municipalities, the Province of South Tyrol, the Chamber of Commerce as well as economic, social and other associations – 15 members in total – belong.

The “FLOW” project, which aims to strengthen local cycles using the example of the Vinschgau Valley, was relaunched last year. Among other things, two dishes were created with ingredients from the Vinschgau Valley. Within the framework of “FLOW”, a “gender study” is also being carried out on the motives for women and men to stay or migrate. The survey of thirty selected persons is almost completed, followed by interviews with experts in the summer.
Also new is the “Impuls4Action” project, which supports sustainable development by means of an online toolbox in the areas of “water management, inner development and mire protection”. An expert webinar will be held in June. “Climate change in particular requires initiatives and tailor-made instruments for land protection, water management and the development of green infrastructures”, explained President Andreas Schatzer.

With the “SHELTER” project, the Platform Land is investigating the promotion and follow-up costs of internal development in the municipalities. In addition, a study is underway to compare the subsidies for inner development in the Interreg area.

The project “Vacancy Management” was continued. In the meantime, the Platform Land is supporting 13 municipalities in the survey of empty properties. “This is intended to create an incentive to use them again instead of new buildings in greenfield sites”, says Schatzer.
In addition, the Platform Land has proposed to promote redevelopment consultations and to push new forms of housing such as multi-generation houses or co-housing. This should be taken into account in the new housing promotion law. In addition, empty flats could be rented out more easily again by having a public company guarantee the rental payments and be liable for damages caused by the tenant, similar to the model “Sicher vermieten” in Vorarlberg.

Co-working was also a focus last year. For example, the Platform Land has called for better support for this modern form of working, for example through a Land subsidy for running costs and equipment. “In addition, start-up and innovation centres in rural areas are to be promoted in the longer term so that they can make a lasting contribution to the development of the population and economy, such as the planned technology park in Bruneck or BASIS in Schlanders,” said Plattform Land managing director Ulrich Höllrigl.

Platform Land also emphasizes the importance of local cycles. “They should be taken into account to a greater extent when awarding contracts, so that local producers and companies also have the chance to participate in the tenders,” Tiefenthaler demanded.
In view of current events, an online discussion on the topic of “Family & Work in Times of Home Office and Home Schooling” will take place on 24 June.

In autumn, the Platform Land will dedicate its annual conference to “Sustainability in Rural Areas”.

A new association committee was recently elected at the general meeting. Its members include the president of the Chamber of Commerce Michl Ebner, the president of the Association of Municipalities Andreas Schatzer, Provincial Councillor Arnold Schuler, the chairman of the South Tyrolean Farmers’ Association Leo Tiefenthaler, and the president of the CoopBund Heini Grandi.
Andreas Schatzer will remain president for the next three years, his deputy will again be Leo Tiefenthaler. “We have launched many new initiatives in the past term of office. In the next three years we would like to continue these and at the same time initiate new ones. There is still much to be done to increase the attractiveness of rural areas and reduce land consumption,” said Schatzer at the first committee meeting.