Research, Ongoing

A Multiscalar spatiotemporal analysis of the economic geography of advanced producer service clusters in Brussels.

The project starts from the Innoviris Anticipate call 2015 concerning urban development - Brussels' economic function: entrepreneurial dynamic, (re)location of enterprises and tertiary sector importance. The context of this problematic is the question of the weakening of the distinction between city and its periphery, inter alia through uneven agglomeration advantage dynamics and the influence of ICT that can undermine importance of physical proximity.
The double aim of the project is (i) the qualitative and quantitative cartography of the recent spatio-temporal dynamics within the advanced producer services sector (i.e. financial services, legal services, management consultancy, accountancy and auditing, advertising) and (ii) the tracking of socio-spatial dynamics that could explain the shifting economic geography of these sectors. The project is focused on competition and complementarity at three scales: Brussels within the world city network, the Belgian "global-city-region" (including Flemish and Walloon cities) and the Brussels metropolitan region s.s. More specifically, the focus will be on financial center formation in Brussels and the service ecologies around the various European Institutions.

The basic hypothesis is that urban clusters will maintain a comparative advantage concerning complex and high-quality core activities, whereas labor-intensive and routine activities will more easily more to the edge and beyond. The project's ultimately intends to make targeted recommendations on the further localization economies within the Brussels Capital Region and nuance policy choices about the strengthening of the advanced producer services complex by highlighting the impact of such cluster formations on the labor market, housing market, consumption spaces, etc. A key element here is the curtailing of socio-spatial polarization effects that are usually associated with such regional economic policy.

This research is funded by Innoviris, research grant PRFB 8 and is based on cooperation with IGEAT (ULB) under the co-supervision of Gilles Van Hamme and with the support of:

ADT-ATO (see

Brussels Commissioner for Europe (see

Febelfin (see