Together into a transregional future
The Sarganserland-Werdenberg Regional Association’s board conducts periodic reviews of its defined strategic activities to help develop Sarganserland-Werdenberg as a great place to live and work, and to raise its national and international profile.
Projects developed as part of these strategic activities act as an engine for regional development. They are complemented by targeted communication to improve the positioning and perception of the region, both internally and externally. The main strategic issues affecting the region’s image are monitored by the association’s Specialist Groups.
Keeping abreast of developments within national and cantonal-level institutions, as well as in areas where infrastructure located outside the region has the potential to affect the region (e.g. facilities connected to the Confederation/armed forces, agriculture and the economy, welfare, roads, justice, health and private institutions) is another key aspect of the association’s role.
Decisions taken at regional level are generally of overarching, strategic importance. The association’s role is to work actively to resolve issues where there is a clear and immediate need for coordinated action.
One of the association’s key tasks is to support the process of establishing a strong regional awareness and identity. This allows the region’s representatives to position the region as a whole on key issues, and to articulate requests on behalf of its residents.
Development goals and strategies
- Strengthen cooperation in the region and the Alpine Rhine Valley
- Coordinate housing policy across municipalities
- Ensure housing and transport links develop in tandem with each other
- Strengthen the region’s poly-centric structure (Buchs as a regional centre and Pizol [Sargans-Mels] as a development area)
- Protect our environment and culture
- Encourage sustainable energy generation
The Location Marketing projec
In 2019, a number of targeted measures were taken to help establish more connections with key stakeholders in the region. There were two aims behind this plan: firstly, to increase identification with Sarganserland-Werdenberg as a region, and secondly, to raise the region’s profile externally.
Together with the Sarganserland-Werdenberg Employer’s Association, the Sarganserland-Werdenberg Regional Association set up the Location Marketing working group. The group was set up for commercial reasons with a view to improving the region’s positioning as a hot spot for highly qualified high-tech specialists, and combating the shortage of skilled workers. The working group also included the Sarganserland-Walensee Valley Association and the Werdenberg Economic Organisation (WWO), an association of municipal-level commercial and industrial bodies.
Sarganserland-Werdenberg can offer plenty of high-paying, prestigious jobs, but attracting people to the region means positioning it in terms of quality of life, leisure, housing, education and cultural amenities, and competing with other locations on these criteria.
The Shining Lighthouse projec
The Sarganserland-Werdenberg Regional Association cooperated with the Institute for Innovation, Design and Engineering at the University of Applied Sciences of Eastern Switzerland (OST) for this project. The idea behind it was to work together with the population to find innovative, forward-thinking ideas and projects for the Sarganserland-Werdenberg region, using a workshop format and an unconventional approach to problem-solving.
The OST brought together the thoughts, ideas and concerns expressed during the workshop to capture the requirements for the projects. These requirements were then discussed in more workshops until they could be turned into concrete plans. The whole process was about turning vision into reality.