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Sustainability in Coastal Urban Environment: Identifying Resources and Users in Belgian Case Study Areas
Book Contribution - Chapter
This chapter presents an overview and analysis of the various aspects of resources and users in the two Belgian cases of Oostende and Brugge. These two case study areas lie next to each other and occupy around half of the total Belgian coastal zone. The Belgian coast is a densely populated and intensely used area due to its well-established infrastructure that makes the coast easily accessible for a broad (European) hinterland. Both the Belgian cases have a larger core and ring and are famous tourist attractions. While Brugge develops based on its two main pillars of multifunctional cargo port area and its touristic heritage, Oostende relies on strong beach tourism and a port as a passenger gateway. Both cases have witnessed their strong urbanization process decades ago and their development has become stabilized during the last decade. The economies rely more and more on commerce and service sector rather than traditional industrial activities. Agriculture has reduced to a marginal role, both in term of production and in term of employment. The major users include the local inhabitants, visitors, second-home owners, and various community groups. In Brugge, the port of Zeebrugge is one of the major users as it occupies a large area, which contains also valuable nature sites as well as important road, rail and waterway links to the hinterland. In Oostende, competition at the beachfront is one of the main issues. Generally ageing population, loss of agricultural lands, slight increase of mixed-use forest and nature areas, increase in port activities and urban sprawl are some of the trends observed in both cases. The scarcity of coastal space, and its contestation by a diversity of users for competing interests [mainly economic development and environmental protection] plays a pivotal role in generating a range of conflicts.
Book: Sustainability in the Coastal Urban Environment
Number of pages: 38
Keywords:coastal resources, environmental conflicts, coastal urban areas