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Architecture Workroom
Brussels

Towards a Visionary Housing Production in Flanders

Urbanisation in Flanders is exploding. The traditional model of a freestanding dwelling on a private parcel of land is unsustainable in the context of this looming spatial and socio-economic evolution. The study 'Naar een visionaire woningbouw' is charting stumbling blocks and developing a number of innovative spatial models to indicate the new direction the current Flemish spatial development policy may have to choose.

Study Towards a Visionary Housing Production in Flanders

download the study as PDF

In the past decades, Flemish policy has favoured the ideal of the privately owned freestanding dwelling. The combination of this spatial model with equally spread economic growth has inevitably led to a continuous, evenly spread urban sprawl covering the whole of the Flemish territory. Hoping to counter this trend, the 1997 'Ruimtelijk Structuurplan Vlaanderen' formulated its preference for ‘high quality infill development’ or ‘deconcentrated clustering’. More than ten years on, it has become abundantly clear that the hoped-for break with current trends hasn’t sufficiently happened. Demographic studies predict an increase in the number of households by 330.000 or 13% between 2011 and 2030. Unless the established trend is reversed, urbanisation will keep expanding, covering as yet undeveloped parcels and residential extension areas.

The Study Naar een visionaire woningbouw is outlining an innovation programme intended to stimulate a break with current trends. The challenges and stumbling blocks in Flemish housing policy are being charted by extrapolating the results from interviews and workshops with the parties concerned. In a innovation program, spatial questions will be translated to design studies on pilot sites, which will lead to actual realizations. In the innovation programme, a number of new housing formulas, operational strategies, partnerships will be developed and tested, which will act as leverage to effectuate a break with current trends and as an inspiration for new policy measures to be drawn up, such as the 'Woonbeleidsplan' (Housing policy plan) and the 'Beleidsplan Ruimte Vlaanderen' (Spatial policy plan Flanders).

This research project fits in with one of the Flemish Government Architect’s objectives, which is to develop spatial concepts to meet growing demand, that are also worthy alternatives to the traditional freestanding dwelling. 

The present spatial and social challenges, such as scarcity of open space and the growing awareness of environmental issues and climate change are essential requirements for the development of new spatial models. 

The Study Naar een visionaire woningbouwis a collaboration between Architecture Workroom, Pascal De Decker (docent of Hogescholen Gent and WenK St.-Lucas and researcher with Steunpunt Ruimte en Wonen), Michael Ryckewaert (researcher ASRO and also with Steunpunt Ruimte en Wonen) and Dirk Somers (Bovenbouw architecten).

Commissioner: Flemish Government Architect

Tags

Flanders, completed, think tank

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Towards a Visionary Housing Production in Flanders
With structural support from the Flemish government and regular support from the Brussels capital region and other regional and local governments.