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Defining Economic Typologies based on an Economic Activities Database

Book Contribution - Chapter

Economy and especially economic activities play a fundamental role in cities and in surrounding areas: it
keeps the city functioning, in terms of jobs, goods and services. Considering this fundamental role of
economy and economic activities and the vast amount of space it uses, it should be deeply studied and
understood in order to guarantee a solid future to the sector itself and the cities.
This paper represents an attempt to research more in depth this matter: it tries to show how economy is
organised and structured in a city and surrounding areas and how it can be analysed and considered by policy
makers. The aim is to define economic types that represent the frame on which different types of spatial
policies, ideally one for each economic location type, should be developed and implemented by policies
The project is based on a visual economic activities database. This contains information on all the visible
economic units where people work or that are meant to be worked in. The study areas are the northern part of
Brussels and two other areas located in Flanders (Belgium). Thanks to this visual inventory, we first tried to
define a GIS methodology that defines and subdivides the economic fabric into different areas, according to
the concentration of economic activities. This work is based on the hypothesis that the morphology of parcels
with economic units on them is an indicator of location choice of companies. Secondly, we combined the
database of economic activities with the data on economic fabric concentration in order to define and
analyse different economic location types which represent potential economic locations for companies.
In this paper we will explain the method used for the data elaboration and the difficulties encountered during
the work. We will also discuss how this new economic location types could be used as an instrument in a
planning or policy process to define the future perspective for a specific area.
Book: Real Corp 2018 – Expanding cities - Diminishing space. Are “Smart Cities” the solution or part of the problem of continuous urbanisation around the globe?
Pages: 159-168
Number of pages: 10
Publication year:2018