"Policy instruments" project completed

Land-use change in Bern-Westside between 2002 (above) and 2008 (below)

Models show that it makes sense to consider both a soil indicator and an urban sprawl indicator when making spatial planning decisions.

Land-use change in Bern-Westside between 2002 (above) and 2008 (below)

The researchers studied design, effect and acceptance of viable policy instruments. They focussed on three instruments:

  • Duty per square metre graded according to soil quality and level of urban sprawl (market instrument)
  • Quota system of soil index points (market instrument if contingents can be traded)
  • Construction ban on good quality soil (non-market instrument)

All these instruments have the potential to reduce the use of good soils, but they differ considerably with regard to their potential acceptance. The costs of the duty are clearly visible. The quota instrument offers the most flexibility for spatial planning. Overall, the study showed that sufficient information is a key factor in improving the acceptance of a selected instrument.