Located amidst the European Alps, the Austrian city of Innsbruck has developed from a small Roman settlement into a centre for the House of Habsburg. Today the self-styled “Capital of the Alps”—host to the Winter Olympics in 1964 and 1976—is a vibrant urban region that aims to valorize the mountains to face the post-Fordist competition between urban centres. The present article traces the urban development of Innsbruck, from Roman times to the present, focusing on the age of post-Fordism and globalization. Looking beyond the administrative boundaries of the core city, data on land cover and demographic conditions for the whole urban region of Innsbruck is described and explained. Next, the pivotal role that tourism and, in particular, cable cars have been playing in the urban development of Innsbruck since the late 1920s, is analysed and linked with ongoing trends in place branding. From both internal and external perspectives, Innsbruck is shown as promoting itself as an Alpine-urban city that provides a postmodern leisure society with optimal conditions for work and leisure at different altitudinal zones. The increasingly urbanized high-mountain environment is becoming a core element of the place brand of Innsbruck.
SKILL LEVEL: Medium, designed for the person that likes a challenge, but does not want to be too challenged.
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