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What constitutes quality of life? What does a rural, mountain area like the Entlebuch offer in terms of quality of life today and in the future? How can quality of life be provided sustainably? These and similar questions were addressed in a research project conducted by the Centre for Development and Environment (CDE) at the University of Bern, and are now shown in an interactive exhibition at the UNESCO Biosphere Entlebuch. The exhibition was designed participatively, and offers the opportunity for the visitor to reflect on their own quality of life and to mirror their findings with scientific results. It is, in the view of the authors, an important topic with regional up to global relevance.

How satisfied are the people of Entlebuch and of comparable regions with their lives, and how sustainable is the provision of this quality of life? These basic questions were the impetus for a research project that the CDE launched together with the UNESCO Biosphere Entlebuch and other partners in 2017. The research project investigated these questions with qualitative and quantitative approaches and identified 'sustainable quality of life' as a multi-layered concept that takes into account nine aspects that add up to quality of life: Social relations and equality, nature and landscape, employment and income, participation and belonging, housing, mobility, health and safety, education and knowledge. These aspects are evaluated in terms of their social, economic, and environmental impact. Further, sustainable quality of life puts emphasis on inter- and intra-generational equity.

Hügellandschaft Biosphäre EntlebuchThe 479 registered associations in the Entlebuch provide a rich range of leisure and cultural activities and at the same time create a close network of social contacts. According to the research results, the latter are the most important component for a high quality of life. © UNESCO Biosphäre Entlebuch

Given that the research topic is relevant to all people, the UNESCO Biosphäre Entlebuch decided to develop an exhibition in parallel to the research project, building on the results obtained. It was designed to transfer important knowledge stemming from the research, to promote the exchange between research and local actors and, even more importantly, to make people think about their own quality of life and the sustainability of their levels of quality of life. In order to do so, the most important results were made tangible by means of portraits: six protagonists of the Entlebuch with different backgrounds tell the visitors what quality of life means to them and what the region offers to obtain a high quality of life. This is the starting point for the visitor's own reflections that are compared with the research results. The exhibition encourages people to think for themselves by confronting them with different views, results, and statements that are all directly related to their own lives. And it encourages people to get involved by expressing their wishes in the exhibition and then making these wishes available to local decision-makers, such as the Biosphere Reserve management and municipalities. As a form of knowledge transfer, the exhibition intends to promote the participation of the population in the further development of the scientific results and to contribute to raising public awareness on regional sustainable development.

The exhibition is supplemented by an accompanying programme that delves into various thematic aspects and encourages discussion. Individual elements of this will later be integrated into the exhibition. In this way, the entire exhibition project itself is to be made sustainable: thanks to the participatory approach, the UNESCO Biosphere Entlebuch hopes to anchor the discussion about a sustainable provision of quality of life in the region and beyond. In the long term these topics are planned to be increasingly taken up in projects within the region.

Listen: Wie Gehen Hohe Lebensqualität und Nachhaltigkeit Zusammen?

Interview mit Florian Knaus, Scientific Coordinator, UNESCO Biosphäre Entlebuch [interview in German]

More information

WE LOVE ÄNTLIBUECH can be found at Entlebucherhaus, Schüpfheim;
Duration: 30 September 2021 – 20 March 2022.
Opening hours: Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday, 14:00-18:00.

Further information on the exhibition and the accompanying programme:

Further information on the research projects and the obtained results:


For further information on the exhibition you may contact Florian Knaus, scientific coordinator of the UNESCO Biosphäre Entlebuch: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; +41 41 485 88 59

For further information on the research project you may contact Thea Wiesli, research associate at the Centre for Sustainable Development and Environment (CDE) at the University of Bern: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; +41 78 850 63 00

Cover image: Beautiful landscapes play an important role in providing a high quality of life by adding to multiple aspects in parallel: they provide aesthetic enjoyment and offer optimal conditions for recreation, exercise and living, they strengthen identification with the region and create a feeling of home. © UNESCO Biosphäre Entlebuch

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Deadline 31 October 2021.

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Candidate nominations should be submitted by 15 November.

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Deadline for nominations is 31 October 2021.

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