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Assessing Expanding Space Use versus Infill for Economic Activities

Book Contribution - Chapter

In order to limit additional (net) land take for economic activities, the reality of space use needs to be
properly understood since the location of economic activities and the patterns of space use vary in different
environments. This was assessed by comparing the spatial patterns obtained from a field inventory with
those from existing data for 5 case areas in Flanders (Belgium). Each case area is a transect from a high
density urban area to a suburban neighbourhood or even a semi-rural zone, in different (types of) regions:
inland-coastline transect, transects in the metropolitan areas of the major cities Antwerp and Ghent (exluding
the city centres), in the medium sized city of Hasselt (and its suburbs) and th smaller city of Aalst (and the
zone along an important access road), and transects incorporating small towns such as Deinze and Veurne .
The observations in the field were made from what is visible from the street, thus representing what is
normally perceived as economic activity. The statistics are based on official data, mostly derived from tax
returns and social security contributions, and on commercial retail data.
The location of economic activities and the patterns of space use vary in different settlement environments.
The analysis then compared similar settlement environments in different regions, and identified typical
characteristics for 8 location environments (with some further subcategories). These were presented to
experts in workshops and (group) interviews. This revealed that, in some environments, (the combination
of) data and statistics give a good understanding of the space use while, in other environments, gaps with
realities in the field are obvious. Therefore, suggestions are made for targeted new data collection methods,
such as remote sensing, crowd sourcing, and web data extraction.
Book: Real Corp 2018 – Expanding cities - Diminishing space.
Pages: 87-99
Number of pages: 13
Publication year:2018
Keywords:S180-economics, S240-urban-planning-and-development, S240-town-planning