Monday, February 1, 2016

The Cost of Living in the Mountains: The Swiss Experience

Doing a bit of work related research and reading and came across this perspective regarding communities in mountain settings and slope issues:

Hazards due to slope instabilities affect about 6% of the Swiss territory. The estimated annual cost for protection against landslides amounts to CHF 2.9 billion (Note the Swiss Franc is nearly at par with the U.S. dollar), which is about 0.6% of the gross domestic product or equivalent to CHF 400 per inhabitant. In 1991, new measures have been adopted to prevent and mitigate natural disasters. According to the federal recommendations, regional authorities (Cantons) are required to establish hazard maps to be incorporated in regional master plans and local development plans. ((Stozzi, Amrosi and Raetzo, 2013)

The cost of roughly $400 per inhabitant for living in the mountains and in areas of landslide risks suggests that if a state (say Washington) wants to keep geology hazard mitigation costs down it might be a good policy to consider limiting development in hazardous areas. Of course living in mountain settings does have a lot of appeal so maybe it is worth it.

1 comment:

Better Day said...

Well said Dan. We are in close proximity to the Oso slide. There are several places in Washington where building permits should not be allowed. Safety is more important than revenue.