The Wood Village Kuchl, a Case Study on Community Development through a Full Dedication to Wood——2019世界木材日研讨会
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Salzburg University of Applied Sciences
Kuchl is situated in the broad valley of the Salzach river, in the heart of the Salzburg Tennengau region, and has a population of about 7200. Wood is a major local economic factor, with many family-operated businesses such as carpentries, furniture designers and wood artists, wood-house makers and saw mills. Since 1943, Kuchl is the seat of a technical college for wood technology and economics (“Holztechnikum Kuchl”), with today over 400 enrolled students. In 1995, Kuchl also became a Campus site for the Salzburg University of Applied Sciences, with over 300 students located in Kuchl. Today, Kuchl has developed to an Austrian focal point in education, research and innovation, which has now a huge impact on the entire Austrian wood sector. In 2008, the village of Kuchl started the coordinated initiative “Holzgemeinde Kuchl” (Wood Village Kuchl). This initiative combines local stakeholders, i.e. wood-related businesses, the city council, and the wood schools. The mission is to spark interest and awareness for wood in its broadest sense, promote wood-related professions, and employ collective marketing initiatives for the region in general, and also for the wood-based industry and businesses. The city council has pledged itself to use wood to a high extent in city-initiated building projects. Due to these combined efforts, Kuchl was awarded the “most wood-friendly village of Austria”. In an ongoing social science research, the regional stakeholder network is analyzed for existing motivations and personal reasons to act, for perceptions and adjustment mechanisms, opinions and future ideas. The dedication to wood has become a critical factor in sustaining economic and residential development. The “Wood Village Kuchl” might be a role model for other communities as well.