Historical Films on Spatial Development in Switzerland

The Avalanche Winter of 1951

01/27/1951

In the winter of 1951, 91 people died in avalanches – numerous houses, facilities and, in some cases, entire parts of a village were destroyed. Made aware of the dangers by these events, measures were initiated to protect the population: firstly, shelters were built and an avalanche forest established – and from 1960, hazards were mapped.

Link to the archives of Memobase

Severe Weather Hits the Calanca Valley

10/05/1951

In the 1950s, the Calanca Valley was marked by hard work and poverty. Natural hazards plagued the valley – including landslides that destroyed buildings.

Link to the archives of Memobase

Floods in the Ticino

11/23/1951

The snowmelt following the avalanche winter of 1951 led to high waters in the Ticino and the Engadine that destroyed houses and the infrastructure.

Link to the archives of Memobase

The Historic Centre of Bern

03/12/1954

The content of the film is only available in German and French.

After the Second World War, people looked for comfort instead of tradition. To make room for new buildings, some towns even wanted to demolish their historic town centres – including Bern.

Link to the archives of Memobase

Avalanche Barriers

10/15/1954

After the avalanche winter of 1951, protective measures were taken against avalanches all through the 1950s. Avalanche forests and shelters were built to avert much dreaded dangers and death.

Link to the archives of Memobase

The Halen Housing Estate

01/29/1960

At the beginning of the 1960s, the Halen housing estate was built in a forest clearing near Bern. Halen was built using a construction method focussing on structural density and designed as a communal housing estate intended for families.

Link to the archives of Memobase

Land Speculation

12/08/1960

The strong increase of settled areas after the end of the Second World War led to an overheating of the land market in the 1960s. In 1963, the Social Democratic Party SP and the Swiss Federation of Trade Unions submitted the so-called “land-rights initiative” (rejected in 1967). The Federal Act on Measures to Promote Housing of March 19th, 1965, conferred new tasks on the Confederation, among them the promotion of an “suitable long-term settlement” of the country.

Link to the archives of RTS

 

The Magadino Plain

06/16/1961

At the end of the 19th century, a water correction took place in the Ticino, and the Magadino Plain was able to develop from marshland into an intensively used agricultural area. In 1974, the Bolle di Magadino Nature Reserve was created. In the following decades, the settled area began to penetrate further and further into the plain.

Link to the archives of Memobase

National Roads

11/16/1961

From 1954 till 1959, national roads were beginning to be planned. The first section – between Lausanne and Geneva – was opened in 1963 in view of the organization of the Expo ’64 in Lausanne. Switzerland wanted to present itself with a modern transport infrastructure at the Landesausstellung, its national exhibition.

Link to the archives of RTS

Nature Conservation

05/18/1962

In the 1960s, “gems of the Swiss landscape” were increasingly caught up in the maelstrom of potential builders and speculators. Measures were sought to curb rising land prices, and the population was made aware of the need to protect the landscape in order to preserve it for posterity.

Link to the archives of Memobase

Typhoid Fever in Zermatt

04/05/1963

The typhoid epidemic of 1963 was caused by contaminated drinking water. As a result, Switzerland introduced a ban for construction projects that were outside the scope of general sewerage projects.

Link to the archives of Memobase

Satellite Town Meyrin (GE)

07/19/1963

The need for additional housing space that had existed since the 1940s also led to new concepts of housing development in Switzerland and, in Meyrin, to an entire satellite town being built.

Link to the archives of Memobase

Construction of the Swiss National Roads

09/20/1963

In Switzerland, national roads were planned from 1954 till 1959 – quite late by international standards. The first section of the new motorway network was inaugurated just in time for the opening of Expo’ 64 in Lausanne.

Link to the archives of Memobase

Men and Planning

10/04/1963

The village landscape as the very emblem of a safe personal biography slowly disappeared, towns grew endlessly and traffic ate up the landscape. “Plan wherever planning is still to be done” became the motto – because land-use planning had started later in Switzerland than in other European countries.

Link to the archives of Memobase

Jura Water Correction

11/01/1963

Between 1962 and 1973, the second Jura Water Correction was carried out to prevent recurrent and catastrophic flooding.

Link to the archives of Memobase

Private Residential Building

01/24/1964

The housing shortage of the 1960s was a topic that was observed with great attention and also was of great political concern. In 1965, the Federal Act on Measures to Promote Housing Construction was enacted. Among other things, the Delegate for Housing Construction advocated setting up Swiss national land planning.

Link to the archives of Memobase

A1 Lausanne – Geneva

05/01/1964

The inauguration of the motorway section between Lausanne and Geneva took place just in time for Expo ’64. The event was celebrated as a “great day for motorized Switzerland”. However, the construction of national roads did not really take into account the spatial impact of the new infrastructure on junctions: what led to a “gold-rush mood” in some places, triggered bitter resistance against the planned traffic lines in others, e.g. in Faido (TI).

Link to the archives of Memobase

The Construction of the A9

01/08/1965

The construction of the national road network mainly took place between 1965 and 1975. The realization of the new traffic infrastructure was also considered an aesthetic challenge as road construction always involves interventions in the landscape.

Link to the archives of RTS

Modular-Type Construction

09/24/1965

The housing shortage that prevailed in the 1960s, had new construction methods emerge. Innovative construction techniques based on prefabricated concrete elements were tested to allow building more flats in a shorter time. At the same time, there was a call for spatial planning meeting the demand for new flats to be built in places that made sense from the point of planning.

Link to the archives of Memobase

The A2 and Its Structures

10/28/1966

The construction of national roads had to deal with a lot of topographic obstacles. Here, engineering feats came into their own. The new structure was to “perfectly fit into the grand landscape”. However, the impact of the national roads on the spatial structure were largely disregarded in the planning.

Link to the archives of Memobase

The Spreitenbach Shopping Centre

10/27/1967

In the 1960s, Zurich’s rapid development began to penetrate as far as the community of Spreitenbach in the Limmat Valley. The former village slowly turned into a part of the Greater Zurich Area. In 1967, the foundation stone for the first Swiss shopping centre was laid here – based on the American model – to supply the new satellite town.

Link to the archives of Memobase

“Flon” – the New Lausanne Neighbourhood

05/27/1968

To relieve Lausanne of the increasing car traffic, the former industrial district of Flon was to be redeveloped. A two-tier road system for through and city traffic was planned. However, the plans were never implemented. In recent years, the Flon district has developed into an attractive new neighbourhood of Lausanne.

Link to the archives of RTS

Le Landeron

06/02/1968

In 1963, Shell bought land in Cressier (NE) and, in 1964, began to build a large refinery there that was put into operation in 1966. A Category 3 national road had already been planned in the Cressier area within the scope of the national-road project 1954-1959. The prospect of an easily accessible location boosted the influx of industrial activities into the formerly agricultural area between Lake Bienne and Lake Neuchâtel.

Link to the archives of RTS

 

The Blenio Valley

11/01/1968

The Blenio Valley is an example of the problems the mountain regions faced in the post-war period: the villages were marked by emigration. Land consolidations were to keep agriculture in the valley. Switzerland was seeking to safeguard the future of its mountain regions.

Link to the archives of Memobase

A2 Lamone-Melide

11/08/1968

The construction of the national road system was wholly dedicated to progress: Switzerland was realizing a new road network that promised progress and corresponded to the modern era. However, in the beginning, little thought was spared to the impact on the landscape and settlement structures.

Link to the archives of Memobase

Rising Mountains of Trash

06/13/1969

Ever since the 1950s, Swiss municipalities have been confronted with the problem of supply and disposal: rising mountains of trash and increasing amounts of waste water required major investments and a co-operation between municipalities.

Link to the archives of Memobase

What Is Spatial Planning?

11/14/1969

The conference „Vereinigung Landesplanung Schweiz” or Swiss Association of National Planning (VLP-ASPAN) found an answer to the question of: „What is spatial planning?” The respective contribution moreover provided an impression of the spatial dynamics prevailing at the time, shaped by the beginnings of suburbanization. Two weeks before the lecture was broadcast on September 14th, 1969, the constitutional article on spatial planning was adopted.

Link to the archives of RTS

Landscape Conservation

04/15/1971

The content of the film is only available in German.

The Swiss Foundation for Landscape Protection was founded in 1970 by Pro Natura, Swiss Heritage Protection, the Swiss Association for National Planning, the Swiss Alpine Club and the Swiss Tourism Association. In 1972, the Federal Decree on Urgent Measures in the Field of Spatial Planning was adopted, requiring the designation of provisional protected areas.

Link to the archives of SRF

Go or Stay?

03/19/1972

In 1972, the authors of this report asked landowners of the municipality of Savièse near Sion in the Canton of Valais whether they had ever sold or would sell land – and why. This contribution reflects the situation of the inhabitants of a mountain village faced with a dilemma: are they to stick to agriculture or open up to new sources of income?

Link to the archives of RTS

The crisis of the Swiss City

05/08/1972

The content of the film is only available in German.

At the beginning of 1960s, a marked out-migration of people from Zurich began, which lasted until the 1990s, as new living space was created on a grand scale in the Limmat Valley and Glatt Valley.

Link to the archives of SRF

Surlej

06/01/1972

In 1965, a construction consortium planned to develop the village of Surlej in the Upper Engadine lake district into a town of roughly 25,000 inhabitants. The project was prevented by the resistance organized by the Pro Surlej association. The statement by an Engadine inhabitant shown here is an excerpt from a longer report.

Link to the archives of RTS

The Wiggertal Regional Planning

11/07/1972

The content of the film is only available in German.

The contribution on Wiggertal provided insights into the work of regional planning before the introduction of the Federal Act on Spatial Planning.

Link to the archives of SRF

 

 

 

Decentral Concentration

10/24/1974

The content of the film is only available in German.

Since the 1950s, Switzerland had been pursuing a strategy of “decentral concentration”. In 1965, the ORL Institute of the ETH Zurich was commissioned to develop models and leitmotifs for the settlement of Switzerland. By 1971 they were available and were, later on, merged into the so-called CK-73.

Link to the archives of SRF

 

A Village Turns into a City

01/26/1975

After the Second World War, more and more villages were subjected to “settlement pressure” as a result of economic and urban growth. Small villages become agglomeration communities. The contribution shed light on the situation before the Federal Act on Spatial Planning came into force.

Link to the archives of RTS

Joint Planning

11/25/1975

The content of the film is only available in German.

In his speech, Federal Councillor Furgler pleaded for a responsible co-operation between private investors and the public authorities in the field of spatial planning.

Link to the archives of SRF

Back to a Healthy Amount

05/08/1976

The content of the film is only available in German.

On June 13th, 1976, a referendum was held on the first draft of a Federal law on spatial planning. The draft law was rejected.

Link to the archives of SRF

 

 

Lavaux

06/06/1977

This programme was broadcast a scant week before the vote on the Volksinitiative, the popular initiative to protect the Lavaux region, launched by environmentalist Franz Weber. Thanks to this initiative, the Lavaux region has been protected by the Vaud Constitution since 1977. In May 2007, the Lavaux region was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Link to the archives of RTS

New Version of the Law

09/22/1977

The content of the film is only available in German.

In 1976, the first draft of a Federal law on spatial planning was rejected by the people. The Delegate for Spatial Planning, Marius Baschung, explained the differences between the first draft and the subsequent work on a second draft, which came into force on January 1st, 1980.

Link to the archives of SRF