Shaping Regional Futures—The Zurich “Metrobild”

  • Anna SchindlerEmail author


The interrelation between regional design and planning is a subject that has been important to the Metropolitan Area of Zurich since the first steps were taken towards founding the “Zurich Metropolitan Conference” in 2005/2006 ( It is the first time that the federal planning system in Switzerland has opened up to one of the many activities in the metropolitan area of Zurich, considering the whole region as a functional space. A unique new form of spatial planning tool has been created, merging the structure plans of eight adjacent cantons into one big picture of the metropolitan region, thereby literally shaping the future of the region. The planning system in Switzerland is organised on different levels, and the function of the Zurich Metropolitan Conference and its projects is not part of this formal institutional framework. This is an advantage in many respects because it is possible to transcend the borders between the different levels of Switzerland’s federal system more easily, but it also creates difficulties for the implementation of new interdisciplinary ideas in existing political and administrative structures. The competencies in the federal system are clearly regulated and supported by a legal basis that has often been legitimised and reaffirmed through referenda. Any attempt to collaborate across the boundaries of cantons and municipalities presents the system with new challenges. The “Metrobild” Project to create a “picture” of the metropolitan area, introduced by the Metropolitan Conference, illustrates the advantages and disadvantages of involving regional design in (formal) planning. Although not the basis, it was an important source of inspiration for the Metro-ROK (“Raumordnungskonzept”, the Spatial Planning Concept of the Metropolitan Area of Zurich). Even though concrete planning at the metropolitan level might not yet be a reality, planning without looking beyond the municipal boundaries is no longer an option today. The following two examples show what regional planning means in concrete terms for a city such as Zurich.


Metropolitan Area Zurich Political system of Switzerland Regional design Regional planning 


  1. Berchtold Krass space&options (2011) Schlussbericht Metrobild, ein Bild für den Metroraum ZürichGoogle Scholar
  2. Hosoya Schaefer Architects AG Zurich (2011) Schlussbericht MetrobildGoogle Scholar
  3. KantonsplanerInnen des Metropolitanraums Zürich (2015) Raumordnungskonzept für die Kantone im Metropolitanraum Zürich. Metro-ROKGoogle Scholar
  4. Metropolitankonferenz Zürich (2011) Jurybericht zum Workshopverfahren MetrobildGoogle Scholar
  5. Stadt Zürich, Hochbaudepartement, Amt für Städtebau (2010) RES, Räumliche Entwicklungsstrategie des Stadtrats für die Stadt ZürichGoogle Scholar
  6. Yellow Z Urbanism Architects (2011) Metrogartenstadt, auf dem Weg zu einer landschaftsbasierten urbanen RegionGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Urban Development of the City of ZurichZurichSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations