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Microsimulation of Residential Activity for Alternative Urban Development Scenarios: A Case Study on Brussels and Flemish Brabant

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

The historically rooted suburbanization of Flanders and the Brussels Capital Region (BCR)
in Belgium has resulted in severe urban sprawl, trac congestion, natural land degradation and many
related problems. Recent policy proposals put forward by the two regions aim for more compact
urban development in well-serviced areas. Yet, it is unclear how these proposed policies may impact
residential dynamics over the coming decades. To address this issue, we developed a Residential
Microsimulation (RM) framework that spatially refines coarse-scale demographic projections at the
district level to the level of census tracts. The validation of simulated changes from 2001 to 2011
reveals that the proposed framework succeeds in modelling historic trends and clearly outperforms
a random model. To support simulation from 2011 to 2040, two alternative urban development
scenarios are defined. The Business As Usual (BAU) scenario essentially represents a continuation
of urban sprawl development, whereas the Sustainable Development (SUS) scenario strives for
higher-density development around strategic well-serviced nodes in line with proposed policies.
This study demonstrates how residential microsimulation supported by scenario analysis can play a
constructive role in urban policy design and evaluation.
Journal: Sustainability
Issue: 6
Volume: 12
Pages: 1-28
Number of pages: 28
Publication year:2020