Acceptance of building density in the Swiss canton of Zürich (Conjoint/Spatial planning)


The Swiss canton of Zürich wants to find out under which conditions the population is willing to accept more people and buildings per quarter – what is commonly referred to as an increase in building density - to use as a basis for the development of their long-term spatial development strategy (LaRES). While there is agreement on the part of most parties that a higher density is to be aimed for in existing designated building zones, time and again there are reservations on the part of the local residents when it comes to developments in their own community (“Yes to an increase in density, but not in my own backyard”). For this reason it is important to know and to understand the requirements of the local population.


Anovum was commissioned by the Office for Spatial Development and the Statistical Office of the Swiss canton of Zürich to develop and conduct a representative survey of the population. The study collected data on residents‘ opinions with regard to an increase in building density in their community and, based on methods of conjoint analysis, developed a preference model (stated preference). From this Anovum was able to determine to what extent respondents are willing to accept a higher building and population density if, at the same time, they are offered particular benefits. An interdisciplinary team of research specialists and spatial planners then prepared a final report and recommendations.


The results provide a representative and quantitative basis for spatial planning. They show empirically collected respondent preferences in connection with building density. In this way residents (voters) already get to have a certain share in making decisions before or during planning processes (“under which circumstances I would be more likely to accept such projects in my own community”) and not only when there are specific development projects on the
table (“I am for/against it”).