Taking Soil Functions into Account in Spatial Planning

In Switzerland, it takes about 1000 years to form 10cm of soil. However, between 1985 and 2018, it only took a second to lose 1.1 m2 of agricultural land (Sen; OFS, 2021), and urban expansion is not finished. By 2050, the Chamblioux-Bertigny sector, spanning the municipalities of Givisiez, Granges-Paccot, Villars-sur-Glâne, and Fribourg, will experience unprecedented urbanization: on this 73ha area, the covering of the N12 motorway, the new cantonal hospital, an activity hub, a new district, and a park will be built. The scale of this project provides a unique opportunity to consider the integration of soil value into spatial planning.

Who should do what, when, and how?
Starting from this observation, two institutes of HEIA-FR, iTEC (Institute of the Built Environment) and TRANSFORM (Institute of Architecture), have joined forces to establish a LivingLab and support the professionals responsible for the project's development. The institutes provide their respective expertise and accompany the stakeholders in their reflection to answer the question "Who should do what, when, and how to better take into account the value of soils in spatial planning?"

"LASOL is an opportunity to have privileged contacts with other project stakeholders and to develop a common understanding of the issues related to considering soil quality in such a project"

Barbara Gfeller Laban (Service de l'environnement du canton de Fribourg)

Through various workshops where project owners, soil protection bodies, and other industry professionals meet, LivingLab members identify key stages of the process in which soil specialists can intervene. Furthermore, LivingLab members aim to identify existing tools and develop new tools in the field of soil, accessible and understandable to all stakeholders, including spatial planning specialists, decision authorities, soil specialists, construction specialists, and public authorities. Finally, LASOL facilitates exchanges between project stakeholders, thereby promoting a shared understanding of sectoral issues, both from the soil and spatial planning perspectives.

"The LASOL living lab allowed me to observe the significant delay in considering the theme in spatial planning procedures and the difficulty in determining the best form of implementation (how and at what stage(s) of the procedure)"

Jocelyn Bottinelli (Mandataire de la DIME)

This project will be presented at the centennial of the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) on May 20, 2024.