Construction in the Alps , Source: Tiia Monto on Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0

The Austrian Alps are gentrifying and the locals are fleeing

The Austrian Alps are gentrifying and the locals are fleeing

They demand a seat at the decision-making table, as property prices are going up

In the Austrian Pinzgau province houses are being bulldozed for the development of luxury apartments and chalets, pricing out the locals. Foreign investors have bought a plot in the town of Uttendorf, where they plan to build 15 luxury apartments.

The property in question had one traditional single-family house, now recycled by the developer into luxury apartments to be sold to people around the world.

Gentrification of the Alps

In Kaprun, the cost of land has gone up to 800 - 12,000 euros per square meter. This is putting enormous pressure on the locals, who are demanding more adequate legislation on the matter. They want to have a seat at the table when it comes to deciding on the development of the region.

More and more family-run hotels and guest houses have been transformed into chalets and apartments in recent years.

This is pricing out the locals and there is talk of selling off their land because the cost of living and maintaining a family business is becoming unmanageable, as reported by the ORF.

Local landlady Simone Orgler reportedly was of the opinion that if a chalet was run like a hotel, everything would be fine. “You can keep track of the guests and they pay taxes. The real problem starts with the anonymous handing over of keys, where no one is financially accountable before the government and money flows out of the region, into The Netherlands or Great Britain, or elsewhere.”

Uncontrolled gentrification has proven time and time again that it can drive away local inhabitants and drastically shift the demographics of an area. This produces a situation with questionable sustainability as more and more aggressive projects target the residents in a way that makes them increasingly marginalised. Pinzgau region might have to carefully consider what the right move is, or risk changing the region forever.  

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