Urban sprawl initiative fails

The Young Greens’ Urban Sprawl Initiative aimed to put a freeze on the total area of building-zone land in Switzerland, while only allowing the creation of new building zones if building land elsewhere of at least equivalent size was downgraded to offset these new zones. Initially, the initiative was popular in the opinion polls, but it was a very different story on voting day. The proposal was decisively rejected by 63.7 per cent of the electorate on 10 February 2019. This was mainly because voters believed the initiative was too radical and rigid. Its opponents pointed out that the Spatial Planning Act (SPA), revised in 2013, was adequate, effective and beginning to come into its own, with the cantons working to implement its stricter regime. Any constitutional amendment would therefore have been counterproductive. Furthermore, the revised SPA not only prevents building zones from expanding, it also allows these zones to be withdrawn.


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