Densification policies are at the core of the current revisions of the Federal Act on Spatial Planning. This research project analyzes the effects of densification policies on the housing market and the socio-economic composition of the population by making use of quasi-experimental research designs. We compare areas that have been singled out for a denser settlement development with very similar areas that have not been subject to such densification interventions. Evidence from densification-policy effects in other countries (particularly in the United States) point to potential, unintended effects of these densification policies, such as larger and more expensive housing units.

Its high demographic and economic growth, its comparatively highly regulated housing markets and the high percentage of tenants make Switzerland an interesting case to study spatial planning policies. Besides, Swiss spatial planning is fragmented as well as politicized because Switzerland features small-scale local and cantonal governments with a comparatively high autonomy as well as direct-democratic instruments at every level of government.