Alpine Industrial Landscapes in Transition. Towards a transferable strategy for brownfield transformation in mountain regions
Since a few decades in many European mountain regions a process of economic restructuring is leading to the decline of traditional heavy and manufacturing industry. The issue of brownfield transformation is therefore becoming a crucial topic in the sustainable development of peripheral and rural areas too, although not yet officially recognized. The complex environmental, economic and social challenges posed by brownfield transformation in mountain areas, added to the structural limitations of marginal contexts as such, require the development of a context-specific, transferable strategy. In this perspective, the Alps, as the most developed mountain region in Europe, can play a key role as a laboratory for brownfields conversion. The first results of this research, which include a comparative analysis of the most representative industrial brownfield typologies found in mountain areas, suggest that an effective and transferable transformation strategy can be successfully developed only if a “landscape approach” based on structuralist planning principles is used. Through the development of an according strategy, the research wants to show that industrial brownfield sites can be positively and constructively interpreted, in the Alpine context and possibly in other mountain regions, as a valuable territorial infrastructure to be reactivated rather than simply a vacant land to be redeveloped.
alpine industrial landscape, landscape transformation, brownfield recycling, mountain region