Pilot: Flanders - Belgium
Flanders - Belgium
Flanders is the northern region of Belgium. It covers an area of 13 521 km² and counts approximately 6.35 million inhabitants. The region has a very high population density (475 inhabitants per km²) which is more than four times the average density of the European Union. Only 7% of the area is rural and 2.5% of the population lives in the rural area. The average age of farmers is more than 50 years (only 5% of farmers are younger than 35 years). Few farmers have a successor. Young farmers suffer from a lack of funds when starting up and therefore need some support.
The overall ambition is to create sustainable climate resilient productive landscapes, balancing agricultural intensification with environmental concerns and climate resilience.
A set of challenges have been identified, and will be updated according to a “monitoring – understanding – adjustment” cycle in a co-creation with the identified stakeholders. The methodologies developed in the PoliRural project relate to a cascade of global megatrends to relevant regional trends and to policy options in an explicit geo-referenced framework. The PoliRural tools developed will be tested and implemented in the Flanders’ region to face rural challenges related to:
The open space is under increasing pressure from urbanisation and therefore soil sealing. The trend to ‘seal soils under building materials’ is in Flanders of major concern. Landscapes are increasingly being fragmented.
Climate smart production landscapes
Agriculture is severely affected by the water issue, with increased risks of drought, flooding, and soil erosion. There is a need to transform the tension between intensive farming, water consumption and soil care into a collaboration for a new climate resilient production landscape.
How could the many nature reserves and heritage landscapes in Flanders, be safeguarded in a changing climate and under high pressures of land use? Can these landscapes expand into regional parks of urbanised Flanders?
How could a city and rural area be mutually reinforcing and supportive? Particularly in the urban fringes with fertile farmland, short-supply-chain farming is becoming increasingly more important. How could food production be integrated in the distribution in spatial terms in the city?
Expected impact (qualitative)
The major question to be answered is how farmers and villagers can be supported to develop their businesses, remain compliant with environmental concerns, improve climate resilience and manage the highly valued rural landscape of Flanders. Remote Sensing and geomatics technology can deliver the first geo-located insights to help develop and subsequently monitor new policy options and business strategies. In addition, global and regional trend analysis can pave the way to promote new business models that can support rural communities with their activities.
Progress bar can help orient the user in terms of what the pilot was doing, what is happening now and what will happen in the future. While the structure of the bar will be the same for all pilots, its content will differ from pilot to pilot. A dynamic front end with a predetermined colour scheme can be used to differentiate past, present and future, like in the graphic below.
Flanders - outcome
Meet the Flanders Pilot team!