Open space is vital. Many challenges we face today converge in the open space: climate change, water quality, food production, renewable energy and biodiversity. No single sector, entrepreneur or researcher can address these complex challenges alone, even though the current system is organised that way. This is why the Open Space Platform was established.

Open Space Platform

The Open Space Platform is a shared workspace where policy, practice and knowledge come together to enable exchange and coalition building. Based on the needs and related challenges in the open space, such as the resilience of the soil and the water system, the preservation of open space for food production, vacant farms, or the pursuit of peace and quiet, Flemish partners, experts and civil society organisations join forces to formulate an answer. The Open Space Platform thus enables innovative and decisive working methods for carrying our projects in the open space. It encourages local entrepreneurship in many places at once. The ambition is always to initiate and accelerate integrated, physical change to promote a more robust open space.

Programme implementation

In light of this ambition of acceleration, a specific method and vocabulary were created. The programme implementation method represents a bundling of substance, people and resources to work in different places at the same time - where the same combinations of challenges are at play. For example, restoring brooks in agricultural areas, business parks struggling with flooding or water shortage and the desire to engage in circular water management, or villages wanting to make their streets and squares climate-adaptive. Local coalitions carry out similar open space projects in a learning environment supported by a programme team, which aligns and integrates policy goals, tools and knowledge. Indispensable ingredients for this method include connecting local entrepreneurship with policy urgencies, space for experimentation and innovation, collaboration, imagination, learning by doing and an integrated approach. 

Eight programmes are currently running: 

Water+Land+Scape serves as a driver of and provides support for coalitions addressing challenges related to agriculture, water and landscape (in conjunction). 

Flanders Breaks Out (Unsealing test Sites, Green-Blue Networks) is the breeding ground for several generations of projects involving unsealing and green-blue networks. 

Grond+Zaken brings together knowledge, policy and practice to get living soil on the offensive. 

Food landscapes is committed to protecting and boosting local food production in a robust landscape. 

Sheltered Oases aspires to a multitude of places for relaxation, stillness and safety in urbanised Flanders. 

Drought Test Sites calls for new collaborations between businesses and residents to combat water scarcity. 

The Agricultural Redevelopment Action Platform seeks ways to increase opportunities for agricultural development. 


Landscape Parks supports areas that want to develop tourism, social, economic and ecological potential through recognition as a landscape park. 



In 2013, the Flemish Land Company celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary. On this occasion, Architecture Workroom, together with Bovenbouw, carried out a forward study of the open space in Flanders. The publication 'The Open Space Offensive' formulated six urgent future projects, e.g. 'Ambitious Landscapes' or 'Smarter Agro', which later turned out to be the precursors of the 'Landscape Parks' and 'Water+Land+Scape' programmes, respectively. To get this offensive off the ground, the Flemish Land Agency found its first partners in the then Spatial Development Department Flanders (now Department of the Environment), the Association of Flemish Cities and Municipalities (VVSG) and the Association of Flemish Provinces (VVP). They collectively founded the Open Space Platform in 2014. Several phases followed, from researching pioneering open space practices, developing the programme implementation methodology, launching the 1st Water+Land+Scape programme (The Open Space Movement and Operation Open Space, 2014-2017), identifying the needs and development of other programmes (Open Space Works, 2017-2020) to further guiding and facilitating the platform as a whole. With the publication Open Space Coalitions, Architecture Workroom provides an review of 10 years of the Open Space Platform. 

Period: 2013 - 2023

Initiators: Flemish Land Agency, Department of the Environment, Association of Flemish Provinces, Association of Flemish Cities and Municipalities, Architecture Workroom Brussels

Partners: Flemish Land Agency, Bovenbouw, 1010au, Flanders Environment Agency, Department of the Environment, Association of Flemish Provinces, Association of Flemish Cities and Municipalities, KU Leuven - Department of Architecture - P.PUL research group, Voorland, Endeavour, VITO, GroenLAB