Since the early 20th century, landscape has become a focus of space planning in Europe. In recent years, landscape concerns have also gained momentum in Flanders. In addition to a number of legislative initiatives, a number of science-based documents have been developed to integrate landscape into spatial planning. They should support a professional and well-founded assessment of the landscape in all its aspects. Divergent policy areas are each integrating landscape into spatial planning from their specific discipline. Landscape seems to be used more and more as a kind of common argument to justify that the plan or design solution provided is the right one. Nevertheless, in Flanders, a limited knock-on effect of landscape care in spatial planning is observed. 

The study assumes that spatial design has a specific place within spatial planning. The designer is often the one closest to the implementation of a plan. In fact, at the end of the (planning) journey, they are often the ones who determine whether concern for the landscape is actually reflected in the design of the space. Their expertise and practical experience can be an important source of information and/or inspiration for the effect of landscape care in spatial planning and serve as a model for a so-called 'landscape approach'. In a first part of the research, landscape architecture is situated within the field of spatial planning, but also in relation to other policy domains. In the second part of the research, the focus is on the way designers (and their agencies, administrations, etc.) translate general spatial visions (usually drawn up by planners and urban planners) into concrete designs. The focus is on how landscape is integrated into spatial design. Both research components draw on the expertise and experience of policy-makers and/or practising designers through semi-structured in-depth interviews. The selection of projects to be investigated in the second part is based on the research findings and criteria from the first part of the study. The results from the in-depth interviews will be processed using a software package for qualitative data analysis. This should result in an assessment framework for the integration of landscape in spatial design, which will be fed back to experts from the field and academics. Based on this, recommendations and conclusions will finally be formulated regarding the integration of landscape in spatial design in Flanders. 

A study on the integration of landscape in spatial design in Flanders is a research project of the research centre Futures through Design.

Een onderzoek naar de integratie van landschap in ruimtelijk ontwerp in Vlaanderen

project team
Sylvie Van Damme
Geert Baert, Pieter Uyttenhove (Ugent)
01.02.2007 – 22.05.2013