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Zoning laws Does limiting urban sprawl mean bad architecture?

The town of Schwyz recently tore down some medieval buildings with beautiful wall paintings in order to create space for some multi-storey buildings. According to the 2014 federal zoning law, Swiss municipalities are obliged to limit urban sprawl. However, building new, incongruous structures in historic town centres can often change the local character. (SRF/

Free space is getting scarcer in Switzerland. The equivalent of eight football pitches is covered with new buildings every day. In order to prevent green spaces from disappearing, the Swiss government revised the federal zoning law in 2014. Since then, communities have been obliged to limit urban sprawl.

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However, the ruling has sparked a debate over the quality of modern architecture. Some new multi-storey buildings are significantly changing the appearance of traditional villages. The Swiss Heritage Societyexternal link is asking for more consideration when planning new units in historic centres.

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