Prof. em. Dr. Bernd Scholl | Spatial Development

Options for Handling Existing Buildings outside the Building Zones – A Chance for Inward Development?

About every fourth building in Switzerland is outside of the official building zones. Based on changes in the agricultural structure, more and more of these buildings have lost their purpose, which poses the question of how to deal with this particular building inventory.

The first question is how to approach this built inventory. The need for this discussion about a built inventory that is outside the building zones is already clear from the numbers: About every fourth building in Switzerland is in this category, as about every eighth resident lives in one of these buildings. Because of the consummate structural change in agriculture as well as the growing demands on the land outside the settlement area, what is taking place inside this built inventory is a conversion process. Although these are in fact legally allowed, nevertheless, it is extrinsic to the zoning system.

For a long time, the actors of spatial planning have not had an overview of the spatial impact of these changes. Without such an overview, the possible effects could not have been recognised early and correspondingly prevented. The research plan focuses on this particular point. Goal of the project is to identify handling options for buildings in use outside of building zones and buildings outside the building zones that are no longer in use within the terms of a sustainable spatial development and with the consideration that all actors interests could be bypassed.

Therefore, the hypothesis will be that through the integration of the building inventory into the land use management process, (1) the missing overview can be created, and (2) spatial planning can have an effect by focussing on conversions, thus the buildings outside of building zones can be understood as an opportunity. Amongst the aspects of sustainable spatial development that have been wisely implemented, this could contribute to limiting the impact of land use.


Prof. Dr. Bernd Scholl
Rebecca Körnig-Pich
Carmen Baumann


October 2014 – September 2017