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PhD Defense Sarah De Boeck

27 May 2020 , 15:00, Online public defense via Microsoft Teams (click the link in the announcement to join).

Sarah De Boeck invites you to the public defense of her PhD thesis 'Making Space for the Foundational Economy: Urban Planning and Policy Perspectives from Brussels' to obtain the degree of Doctor of Interdisciplinary Studies: Urban Planning, Economic Geography and Urban Economic Development.

© Building Brussels, Sarah De Boeck

© Building Brussels, Frederik Van Dyck© Building Brussels, Sarah De Boeck

Despite a renewed attention for urban production in European and Anglo-Saxon post-industrial cities since the financial crisis of 2008, the displacement of productive activities and related employment opportunities in favour of residential and high-end service economies appears to be a common trend across European cities. The current Ph.D. project develops a foundational economy (FE) approach to urban economic development in the Brussels Capital Region (BCR) seeking to recalibrate urban economic policy and planning around those activities rooted in place, sheltered from interurban competition, and essential to the well-being of citizens. The empirical focus of the dissertation is on the history and geography of the Brussels construction sector (period 1965-2019), which is analysed through economic geography, urbanism, and spatial planning approaches. The dissertation thereby unearths alternative economic development strategies to anchor employment in the BCR in alignment with the spatial potential of places and the socio-economic profile of the population in former industrial neighbourhoods. More specifically, besides countering the privatization of land, and a push for public procurement, the strategic use of land ownership, and an integrated approach to urban development projects can help the local state to make space for the FE and combat processes of industrial gentrification. A foundational strategy, however, depends on in-depth sector-specific knowledge about current economic geographies and spatial needs of foundational sectors, as well as complementary strategies to improve zoning, real estate, management, and design in mixed urban areas, tailored to the different settlement patterns of production.

This research has been supervised by Prof. Michael Ryckewaert, Prof. David Bassens and Prof. Heidi Deneweth. Prof. Julie Froud (University of Manchester) and Christophe Soil (Université Libre de Bruxelles, were invited as members of the jury. Prof. Nele Arnouts and Prof. Ine Wouters take up the role of secretary and chair of the jury.

You can join the public defense on May 27th, 15h via this link: Join Microsoft Teams Meeting . Before joining, please mute your microphone and turn off your camera.