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Structural vision Meerdaal



The management committee for “Meerdaalwoud, Heverleebos & Dylevallei” has expressed the desire to considerably expand its scope to an area that is adjacent to the Sonian Forest. This will result in enhanced complementary recreational and natural networks which connect the old forest- and natural areas in the region. The goal of this research was to create a renewed connection so the ecological, social, environmental, economic and scientific functions of the region can function in its best way and fulfil these on a sustainable way.


Our research was guided through a participative trajectory of coproduction an a focused analysis of the area. SumResearch and its partner BOS+ created a multidisciplinary approach. At the start of the project an introduction day was organised for all the different actors with a visit by bike and car through the region. The participatory character and involvement was thus stimulated immediately.


At the start, a desktop research was conducted regarding the juridical, planological, context and the existing spatial structure, in order to get a clear view on the existing data. We mainly focused on the ecological and recreational aspects, but also the infrastructure, settlement structure,.. were taken into account.


In a second phase, the whishes and needs of the inhabitants, visitors and stakeholders were research in a qualitative and quantitave way. Automatical and manual counts of visitors, mini-enqueries, an intaeractive webpage and a number of in depth interviews with experts were conducted.


SumResearch and BOS + partner were selected to make these structural. working constructively through a multidisciplinary approach. The study began with an introduction, incl. Field exploration by bicycle and car, so that the different partners met and the study area. It was then examined the legal / planning context and the existing spatial structure of the area and inventoried. Here the main focus was on ecological and recreational level, but also infrastructure and accessibility, settlement structure, etc. are discussed.


The wishes and needs of users and stakeholders forms SumResearch and BOS + an important and necessary source of information. Qualitative and quantitative method was performed research. So there were automatic and manual user theses place, there were mini-surveys conducted and there was an interactive web page where people could express their opinions about the area, developments, problems, etc. With some experts follow-depth interviews.


The data were collected as input for a SWOT analysis to come to function fulfillments within detected areas. On this basis development principles formulated at different scales flowing further in the final structure plan.

The specific areas are bottlenecks / compression zones are then further elaborated appointed to investigate the possibilities and provide solutions.


The final element of the research is an action plan, this is the translation of the choices made within the structure plan. These actions are phased, running at different times and can be very diverse.

Client: Agentschap voor Natuur en Bos

In collaboration with: BOS+



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