Economic Geography

Economic Development Dynamics in Rural and Mountain Regions

Current Projects


Mountain Hubs

Mountain Hubs in Switzerland - New cores in peripheries?

Project is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (11/2023 – 11/2027)

In mountain areas in Switzerland, so-called "mountain hubs" are arising, which centralize the basic functions of life, such as living and working, in one place. On the one hand, such projects/investments respond to current developments in the new world of work (teleworking). On the other hand, solutions to the challenges of mountain communities, such as migration, are to be provided. The longitudinal study contributes to understand new centers in the periphery on different levels of inquiry and to follow change of urban-rural linkages.

PhD student: Ellena Brandner



Digital Multilocality

Hand mit Mobiltelefon

Digital Multilocality: Urban-Rural Linkages in the Swiss Alps

Project is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (12/2018 - 05/2020)

Digital technologies have become a central part of our everyday lives. Their use challenges traditional forms of work. This project is funded through the SNF “Digital Lives” program. In this regard, the project contributes to the scientific and public debates about the potential and risk of digitalization on locally independent work arrangements and resulting economic benefits in Switzerland.

Partners: Dr. Sigve Haug, Science IT Support, University of Bern

PhD student: Reto Bürgin


Fact Sheet Forschungsprojekt Digitale Multilokalität.pdf (PDF, 169KB)

Social Innovation

Treffpunkt von Plattform Haslital

Social Innovations in Swiss Mountain Regions: Shifting Away from Growth Dependency in the Tourism, Construction and Healthcare Industries

Project is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (11/2018 – 11/2022)

In Swiss mountain regions, the question of future growth opportunities is an important issue in view of increasing economic, social and ecological challenges (e.g. out-migration, limited building land, unfavourable exchange rates of the Swiss franc). The aim of the project is to investigate the role of social innovations in connection with (future) growth issues in the Bernese Oberland. Social innovations are new approaches to solving social and economic challenges, which above all involve new forms of cooperation (e.g. staff sharing in tourism, new forms of basic services, public-private cooperation in the renovation of second homes, etc.). In the project, a special focus will be placed on the tourism, construction and health sectors.

Partners: Prof. Irmi Seidl, WSL; Dr. Monika Bandi Tanner, CRED

PhD students: Pascal Tschumi, Andrea Winiger, Samuel Wirth

Completed Projects

Federal Strategy For Mountain Areas and Rural Regions in Switzerland (Expert Mandate)
 Project Timeline  January 2013-April 2014
 Funding  State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO
 Description  Based on the so-called Motion Maissen the Swiss Federal Council was assigned to develop a coherent strategy for the development of Swiss mountain and rural regions. We developed several input papers and a final report. 
 Involved Researchers
  • Heike Mayer, University of Bern
  • Paul Messerli, University of Bern
  • Daniel Baumgartner, Ernst Basler & Partner
  • Erik Gløersen, University of Geneva
  • Jacques Michelet, University of Geneva