(Article of periodic en Anglais - 2014)

Document title

Planning Rural-Urban Landscapes: Railways and Countryside Urbanisation in South-West Flanders, Belgium (1830–1930)

Authors(s) and Affiliation(s)

De Block Greet (1) ;
(1) Department of Architecture, Urbanism and Planning, University of Leuven


In the international literature on today’s urban condition, Flanders is presented as prime example of urban sprawl, generally described as unplanned incremental development induced by the quantum leap of private car ownership. The research on rural-urban landscapes in south-west Flanders qualifies and substantiates this assertion by analysing pre-war keystone processes of infrastructure planning in relation to land-use patterns and landscape transformations. The research reveals that not only the development of rural-urban landscapes reaches back far beyond the welfare state, fuelled by railways prior to highways, but also shows that the supposedly chaotic hybrid landscape has its roots in drawn-out landscape ideologies inscribed in public works policy. The analysis—which crosses the divides between disciplines (landscape and infrastructure planning), concepts (rural-urban, modern-traditional), and geographical scales (national, regional, local)—reveals consistently planned mechanisms of public works policy and landscape change underlying both the diffuse regional urbanisation patterns and local landscape transformations, which are generally perceived as spontaneous or vernacular developments. Infrastructure planning facilitated a spatial organisation that attributed centrality to the transport network rather than the metropolis, and that conceived a resilient infrastructure framework rather than a stylistic spatial constellation in order to steer and geographically root heterogeneous modernisation processes within the landscape.


Article of periodic

published at : Landscape research / ISSN 1469-9710

Editor : Taylor & Francis, Abingdon - ROYAUME-UNI (1976)

Millesime : 2014, vol. 39, no5 [pp. 542-565]
Published in 20140903

Bibliographic references : 68



Digital Object Identifier

Go to electronic document thanks to its DOI : 10.1080/01426397.2012.759917

2013, © 2013 Landscape Research Group LtdTous droits réservés © Prodig - Bibliographie Géographique Internationale (BGI), 2014
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