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The surprising certainty of spatial conditions for businesses: a starting point for a supporting policy tool

Book Contribution - Chapter

Economic activities can be found all over Flanders: not only on business parks, but also in residential areas and outlying areas. An important insight within the spatial-economic policy is that the choice of location is often not the primary concern for a company. Spatial-economic policy unites business questions and other social questions in space. In order to give shape to this policy, it is important to estimate when and how interventions are possible. The Environment Department has been conducting research into economic locations since 2015. In order to understand how economy and space interact, we start from the micro scale (the business in a certain location). Behind the location of a business lies a certain individual consideration, which is part of the business logic. Over the years, literature, observations in the field through a 37,558 ha site inventory, interviews with companies, design research, etc. have provided information on location factors in the form of stated and observed preferences. This results in spatial parameters that correspond to the demand of companies at the level of an area (proximity to the market, freight transport needs,...). The processing of the site inventory by economic area types (or economic ecotopes) and linking it to relevant area characteristics (visibility, pedestrian passage,...) results in 24 'ideal-typical' areas (or segments). With this rich research material we can support policy to make spatial considerations: (1) does an area have the right spatial characteristics for the companies located in it and (2) if we transform the area from one segment to another, what does this mean for the current companies? Decision trees as a way of weighing up the situation are central.
Book: Plandag 2020
Number of pages: 10
Publication year:2020