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White paper



On May 4 2012 the Flemish government approved the green paper "Flanders 2050: human scale in a metropolis". This green paper is the basis for the creation of a new policy plan on spatial development in Flanders. The developed vision in the green paper is evaluated and tested for feasibility, relevance, causal relationships, etc. SumResearch was responsible for the coordination in the transition from the green paper to the white paper and leaded up the team of Grontmij, Royal Haskoning DHV, WES, ILVO, LDR-advocates, TML and Radboud University Nijmegen.

The new policy plan contains a general note and a number of policy frameworks. This is done in a process of coproduction in various working groups in which external actors are present and writing groups where a core team continuous to work on the produced material. The mission of our team was to follow up the four workgroups, the four writing groups, deliver input for the work texts and carrying out scientific research to support the different hypotheses. 


As direct input for the white paper ‘Beleidsplan Ruimte Vlaanderen’, SumResearch also conducted research on the polycentric city structure in Flanders. The starting point was creating a typology of cities and towns, and indicating the main urban regions. Brussels, Antwerp and Ghent are "top urban regions", Leuven, Bruges, Mechelen, Hasselt-Genk and Kortrijk are "urban regions level 1".


For each of these 8 urban regions we determined the daily urban system, based on the provincial traffic model of De Lijn (2009). A daily urban system is defined as "the area of influence" of an urban region. The concrete boundary is operationalized through the maximum acceptable travel times on the public transport network of train, tram or bus.


The produced maps indicate a lot of potential for Flanders to further grow into a polycentric network of cities and facilities on different levels. The strategic nodes (e.g. train stations) which are fully integrated in an urban region offer more potential for futire development than nodes that are not. The daily urban system of Brussels contains 177 stations (train/metro). The other urban areas have also a big potential: Antwerp (45), Ghent (38), Leuven (25), Bruges (13), Mechelen (33), Hasselt-Genk (7) and Kortrijk (11).


Client: Departement Ruimtelijke Ordening, Woonbeleid en Onroerend Erfgoed

Ontwerp: SumResearch



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