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Upcoming Events

Alpine Landscapes in Transition: Infrastructure, Culture, and Climate

12/05/2022 13/05/2022

Conferences 2022

Event location

ETH Zürich Institute of Landscape and Urban Studies
Neunbrunnenstrasse 50
Zurich, 8050

Symposium, 12-13 May 2022 

Research workshops, round tables and keynote
Call for abstracts, deadline for submission 17 December 2021
Organisation: chair Günther Vogt

Climate change, energy transition, urbanization, and industrialization have and will have tremendous effects on the Alpine landscape. Located at the crossroads of Europe, the transformations of this fragile environment need to be questioned. The symposium brings young researchers together with experts from practice, research, and the arts in a broad discussion about the past, present, and future of this unique landscape.

Alpine Landscapes in Transformation

The Alps are anything but static; they form a dynamic and sensitive organism. Their characteristic relief emerged from complex geological processes and was re-shaped by ice ages, erosion, and evolving life forms. Alongside these forces, humans have increasingly become major geomorphic agents. The consequences of human actions, calculated or unintended, have radically transformed the Alpine landscape, as illustrated today by climate change. The symposium addresses these changes and their representations through the lens of infrastructure, culture, and climate. Cases such as tunnels, roads, and dams shift substantial portions of mountain masses, re-structure entire water systems, revolutionise the mobility of people and goods, and generate new ecologies. These changes continuously challenge the established understandings of the environment. But they are also opportunities to question the worldviews those projects are predicated upon, allowing us to imagine alternative futures for the Alps.

An Interdisciplinary Gathering

This symposium is the opportunity to discuss past, ongoing, and future changes in the material and cultural reality of the Alps. It offers a moment of exchange and reflection to explore these transformations, following the development of industry, infrastructure construction, and climate change. This interdisciplinary gathering aims at consolidating the role of the spatial design and planning disciplines (architecture, landscape architecture, urban design and planning). Handling or even shaping new images of the Alpine landscape requires grounding these fields of practice both in contemporary scientific discourse, but also in the historical specificities of this cultural space. The production of a new and critical understanding of the Alpine landscape can only happen in close co-operation between disciplines, in a broadened field of expertise.


The event consists of two main parts: several workshops focussing on research, and an afternoon of round-table discussions. The research workshops gather doctoral students and young researchers working on the topic of the symposium, giving them an opportunity to exchange ideas and reflect on their ongoing work. They are followed by round tables with various actors from academia and practice actively involved with the Alpine landscape. They are articulated in two sessions: labour/migration/culture and water/infrastructure/landscape. These discussions will offer a fragmented miniature of the complex issues at stake. A keynote presentation by Prof. Dr. h.c. Günther Vogt will complement the symposium.

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Programme follows
Organisation: Team of the chair Günther Vogt, landscape architecture, Institute of Landscape and Urban Studies, ETH Zürich
ContactThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., doctoral students of the research project «Industrialisation in the Alps: Landscape, Architecture, Art, and Labour» (supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation, SNSF).

Read the call for abstracts here.

More information


Image by Julita.  

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