Amenity Migration

Funding:
Tyrolean Science Fund (Tiroler Wissenschaftsfonds)

Duration:
2010–2011

Project coordination:
Dr. Sigrun Kanitscheider

Amenity migrants select the places to live in according to a variety of criteria, such as an attractive landscape, favourable climate and interesting social, cultural and/or tourist infrastructure. The district of East Tyrol is an example of a peripheral Alpine area and offers many of the sought after characteristics. This makes it a potential destination for older amenity migrants. At the same time, it ranks among the regions suffering from a loss of the economically active population due to its peripheral location vis-à-vis the urban centres that offer educational and job options and because of its agriculture and tourism-based economic structure. Given the demographic change, amenity migration in Europe will become more significant and relevant for the competitiveness of the destinations of these migration flows.

This project aims at investigating the development potential of older immigrants (Best Age Rural Pioneers, BARPs) for the regional economy of East Tyrol. In a first step, I will analyse the current situation in several municipalities with the people who have already moved there. Guided interviews with the immigrants will serve to capture the motives for the move, what use these people make of the local infrastructure, plus specific interests and requirements. With the help of the interviews with local economic actors and politicians as well as BARPs themselves, I will identify the economic relevance of the newcomers and possible conflicts in the use of limited resources as well as assessing their social integration.

In cooperation with all interviewees, I will then investigate whether older people moving into the area, with their specific requirements and interest, could be an economic factor for the selected municipalities in East Tyrol. If so, we shall then develop possible strategies for these municipalities to attract more BARPs to settle there.
Taking selected municipalities as cases in point, I will assess, in close cooperation with the local population, if and under what conditions older immigrants might provide the East Tyrolean municipalities with an attractive opportunity for diversifying their economy. Such diversification should make use of existing tourist infrastructure and complement it where necessary. Special emphasis will be put on maintaining regional economic and agricultural but also social structures. The results of the project should provide the East Tyrolean municipalities, but also other rural municipalities in the Alps, with a profound analysis of the requirements and interests of older amenity migrants and of the opportunities and risks arising from this kind of immigration.

In assessing the sustainable regional development opportunities of a rural Alpine region under current conditions of global change, particularly social change, the project fits in with the substantive research focus Environment/Sustainability: Alpine Space/Global Change at the University of Innsbruck. The conditions that trigger amenity migration in the source areas, such as the typical motives for the move, economic opportunities, know-how, etc., stem from global change.

In assessing the sustainable regional development opportunities of a rural Alpine region under current conditions of global change, particularly social change, the project fits in with the substantive research focus Environment/Sustainability: Alpine Space/Global Change at the University of Innsbruck. The conditions that trigger amenity migration in the source areas, such as the typical motives for the move, economic opportunities, know-how, etc., stem from global change.

Initial results were published in the article listed below, further publications are in preparation:

Bender, O. & S. Kanitscheider (2012): New Immigration Into the European Alps: Emerging Research Issues. In: Mountain Research and Development 32 (2), S. 235–241.