Indicator landscape

Area occupied by buildings outside of the building zones


The long tradition of building outside the building zones of cities, villages and hamlets has various functions: Farm buildings, outbuildings and mountain and protective shelters have always been used across Switzerland. In various regions,  scattered settlements are also a traditional settlement pattern outside of building zones. In more recent times, buildings have been increasingly errected for the purposes of supply and removal, recreational and sports facilities, among other things.

Buildings in the open countryside change and shape the landscape. Depending on the size, type, colouring and number of buildings within a section of landscape, it may be impacted more or less intensively and positively or negatively in terms of trend.

Outside of building zones, buildings may now only be built under certain conditions, and building activity is subject to controlled development. In this way, a clear and lasting separation should be achieved between building zones and non-building zones.

Assessment of the state
impossible to evaluate impossible to evaluate
Assessment of the trend
impossible to evaluate impossible to evaluate
Area occupied by buildings outside of the building zones 2007: 12159

Data for the graph: Excel
Source: Federal Office for the Environment: Swiss Landscape Monitoring Network

Due to the current situation of different data sources per time period, conclusions cannot currently be drawn about the development over time. The following conclusions are based on the 2014 results (TLM). Across the entire country, buildings outside of building zones occupy 11,870 hectares. This corresponds to around 21% of the entire area covered by buildings in Switzerland.

There are huge differences between regions: The Central Plateau (5,709 ha) and the Northern Alps (3,362 ha) have by far the largest areas of all the regions. Together, they contain more than 75% of all areas occupied by buildings outside of building zones.

Nevertheless, the Central Plateau has the smallest percentage (16.7%) of area occupied by buildings outside of building zones because its settlement area and related building zones account for a very large proportion of the entire area occupied by buildings. The region with the overall highest percentage of area occupied by buildings outside of building zones is the Northern Alps (35.7%), where there are vast areas of settlement types that are traditionally found outside building zones.


The “Building stock outside of building zones” indicator provides a quantitative description of the area occupied by buildings outside of building zones. To calculate these figures, the Federal Office of Topography’s VECTOR25 (2007 version) and TLM (2014 version) landscape models and the Federal Office for Spatial Development’s building zones (2012 version) were used.

Due to methodological changes in the survey process for VECTOR25 and TLM, time series cannot be analysed. The structure of the building stock in TLM is still not fully completed, which is why an analysis of the number of buildings is pointless at this time. The update had less of an impact on the area occupied by buildings.

Last updated on: 30.11.2017

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