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“Commons” in mountain areas : research on the modernity of an ancestral collective use of lands

This research focuses on practical studies in mountain areas – which are typically constrained by a limited availability of resources and face a significant phenomenon of land pressure to build (in various urban areas of the Alps) – of an ancestral but still very effective collective property (« collective » land tenure system) whose hybrid legal regime oscillates between civil law and public law, namely the « commons » (or « sections de communes », « communaux cultifs », « bourgoisies », etc.).

Their original legal nature is intangible, a part of the population has permanent and exclusive property rights which are distinct from those of the municipality. This research will assess whether this type of original property management is still of interest to achieve the goals of a sustainable society in the future, in particular, land-use control and the fight against excessive artificial use of soils.

Furthermore, modernity of the commons must be questioned in order to consider its reuse to better preserve natural resources or to provide services to the population(s) in addition or parallel to the classic public policies (on infrastructures, land use, farming, culture, tourism, water, etc.).

This is a public academic research led by the Centre Favre in partnership with several research centers (in law, geography), public administrations (financial, forestry, municipalities, etc.), owners’ associations and courts. It is supported and largely funded by Fondation USMB.

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