Switzerland: An Urban Portrait

Professors: Roger Diener, Jacques Herzog, Marcel Meili, Pierre de Meuron, Christian Schmid
Book image and map production, research: John Palmesino, Ann-Sofi Rönnskog, Christina Holona, Thomas Friberg, Jonathan Koellreuter, Stephanie Stratmann, Lukas Kueng, Ramias Steinemann, Ueli Degen, Jürg Keller, Florian Tschacher, David Vaner, Christian Müller Inderbitzin
Organization: Martin Josephy
Manuscript editor: Anna Schindler
Research assistants: Manfred Perlik, René Bossart, Orlando Eberle,
Roger Sonderegger
Statistical analyses: Markus Krause
Sponsor services: Martin Josephy, Thea Rauch-Schwegler, Esther Dürrholder
Assistants: Reto Geiser, Marco Corti, Miriam Lähns, Max Schubiger
Teaching, fieldwork: Emanuel Christ, Simon Hartmann

© 2006 Birkhäuser – Verlag AG, P.O. Box 133, CH-4010 Basel, Switzerland.
A division of Springer Science+Business Media.
Realization in collaboration with Müller+Hess, Basel
Printed in Germany
ISBN-10: 3-7643-7282-6
ISBN-13: 978-3-7643-7282-8

What has happened is unbelievable, indeed almost inconceivable. Since we began our urbanistic studies on Switzerland in 1999, institutions and companies that seemed sacrosanct as an expression of continuity have suddenly begun to move. Developments have occurred that contradict the conventional cliché of this country’s proverbial slowness and resistance to change of all kinds.

This process overrides the specifically Swiss form of resistance, the culture of refusal and prevention of density, of height, of mass, of concentration, of chance, and of nearly all the other characteristics that are desirable in a city, and which the Swiss also love with a passion – just not in their own backyard.

The result of our research is a new view of Switzerland that calls existing images into question and explores its urban potential by means of five typologies: the metropolitan regions, the urban networks, the quiet zones, the alpine fallow lands, and the resorts. It is a new urban topography that challenges Switzerland’s traditional model of social solidarity.