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Cosmopolis lunch seminar with Freke Caset (VUB-UGent): Planning for transit oriented development in Flanders - followed by a reflection by VUB fellow Marc Schepers

9 November 2017 , 12.00h-13.00h VUB - Pleinlaan 2, 1050 Brussels, Building F, Room F 4.66

In Flanders, the policy domains of mobility and urban planning have never been firmly attuned. This apparent mismatch has resulted in a diffuse settlement pattern that hinges on, and is mutually enhanced by a mobility system dominated by car use. However, the preparatory documents for the new Spatial Policy Plan in Flanders (BRV, Beleidsplan Ruimte Vlaanderen) introduce a radically different vision on the spatial structure of Flanders that envisions a more sustainable and liveable mobility system.

The bar is set high, as the preparatory White Paper of the BRV posits an ambitious view in which Flanders in 2050 will be characterized by an efficient spatial organisation in which “people can go to work or school on foot, by bike (or with another future mode) and can make use of daily amenities in their direct living environment. The accessibility of important societal amenities is guaranteed, and new spatial developments are in sync with sustainable modes so that more multimodal trips take place. The spatial organisation in this way improves the mastering of mobility-related problems and energy efficiency” (p. 28, own translation).

This vision is firmly and clearly embedded within discourses on transit oriented development (TOD). In TOD-type urban planning strategies, mixed-use residential and commercial activities are clustered around public transport hubs with the aim of dissuading car dependency. The underlying assumption is that, by creating systematic patterns of proximity, accessibility and liveability will follow, as daily mobility paths become shorter and therefore create momentum for an increase in sustainable and social ridership (biking and walking).

This research provides an empirical and evidence-based view on the TOD discourse in Flanders. Drawing on existing knowledge about how spatial and network development influence each other (in particular the node-place model and its spin-off, the butterfly model), the land use and transport nexuses of all railway stations in Flanders and the Brussels Capital Region were systematically mapped by means of an extensive set of context-specific accessibility variables. Afterwards, cluster analysis was conducted which resulted in an adequate TOD typology discerning five types of railway stations with type-specific dynamics and development opportunities. This typology of railway station areas allows for more in-depth and type-specific analyses on differentiated future development opportunities and interventions, and serves as an input for further policy discussion in the planning process to be made.

Speaker: Freke Caset

Freke Caset holds a Master's degree in Geography (Ghent University, 2015) and is a PhD researcher working jointly at Ghent University (SEG research group) and Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Cosmopolis). Her research is funded by FWO and deals with the spatial development opportunities for public transport nodes in Flanders and the Brussels Capital Region.

Key research interests include: transitions to low-carbon and low-energy mobility, sustainable accessibility and the link between transport and land-use. Additionally, Freke is involved in the editorial board of AGORA Magazine and is a member of the RGS Transport Geography Research Group. 

freke.caset@ugent.be - @c_freke

Speaker: Marc Schepers

Marc Schepers is a VUB fellow, who is known as the founder of City Depot. You can find more information about him on this webpage: http://www.vub.ac.be/fellows/profiel/marc-schepers

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