intangible cultural heritage

Cooperation culture

area : Steirisches Vulkanland
category : social practices
The foundation of Steirisches Vulkanland has also established a new cooperation culture, which is visible in the cooperation between our municipalities, a cooperation which is groundbreaking for an optimal administration and planning structure while incurring a minimal expense to the community.
There is a sensible size and efficient framework for all things. Ants do not live by themselves in the forest, but nor is there only one anthill in the entire world. This principle is referred to as “Subsidiarity” in corporate structures, and essentially targets the evolution of individual capabilities, self-determination and personal responsibility. Formative tasks, organisational forms, actions and solutions should therefore be implemented at an optimal level in order to keep the overall cost to the community to a minimum. Once we have subscribed to a concept of sustainability, the term expense takes on a larger meaning than merely the cost to the public purse.
In order for Subsidiarity to be sustainable in a region, a culture of cooperation is required which transcends multiple levels and organisations, between people, families, neighbours, companies, associations as well as between municipalities, regions and the entire state. In Vulkanland, work has been ongoing on a cooperation culture between municipalities and institutions since 1995. Numerous successful solutions and designs have emerged on the basis of this work. The main resources of this cooperation culture – trust and gratitude – have been very slow to develop. This has made the cooperation and the distribution of work all the more valuable. Not everyone has to do and know everything – in this way, subsidiarity is joined with solidarity.
Today, 79 municipalities are active in Vulkanland Association (a gratifying Styrian record). The cooperation between the municipalities currently extends from sustainability planning (see the theme officers of the municipalities and the “HBI Model”), through institutional cooperation, the optimisation of communal infrastructure (see the small regions in particular in this regard), joint training and seminars, to positioning, the coordination of vision, appreciation through valorisation and awareness-raising, and identity and brand development. These latter areas are dealt with at the level of Steirisches Vulkanland.
This outstanding distribution of responsibilities and their efficient execution have opened up space for planning and development in Vulkanland. Our cooperation culture is bearing fruit! And this has also become a valuable intangible cultural legacy, which clearly differentiates us from other areas. The division of labour within the framework of solidarity is important, so as to ensure that no one is overwhelmed by excessively onerous duties or responsibilities. But also, it prevents needing to entirely reinvent the wheel. This saves resources, builds relationships and cuts costs.
Our cooperation culture is also having an impact: The example set by the municipalities has already led to the establishment of numerous Vulkanland Networks in different fields. These include theatre groups, choirs and singing groups, life gardens, holistic health providers, as well as vintners, farmers and entrepreneurs.
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