Use of space

This indicator shows how space is used in Flanders and paints a picture of the building density and amount of natural land that has been developed.

29% built-up area

  • In 2022, 29% of the surface area of Flanders was built up, and this figure continues to rise.
  • The majority of the remaining surface area is used for agriculture.

What do we see?

Every year we see an increase in the area of land intended for buildings and related uses in Flanders. In 2022, this surface area amounted to 393,551 ha, an increase of 10% compared to 2010. Most of this surface area is used for residential buildings and for transport and communication infrastructure. Of the remaining area, the majority is used for agriculture.

What’s the aim?

The amount of built-up area has a big impact on the environment and biodiversity. It negatively affects the natural water and carbon cycle. As this influences emissions and our water reserves, we aim to limit the built-up area in a circular economy.

To reduce the amount of built-up area, we need to find ways to use space more efficiently. For example, by creating more living or useful space in a smaller surface area. However, this can only be achieved while taking into account other factors like housing needs, etc. 

The use of open space for construction has a major impact on the environment, biodiversity and on the natural carbon and water cycle. Within a circular model, we want to minimize the use of space by organizing the occupation of space more efficiently, for example, by increasing the living area per square meter, by compacting housing units and/or by reducing the size of lots. This is challenging given the development of both population and economy. The Strategic Vision Spatial Policy Plan for Flanders includes as a strategic objective that by 2025 a decrease in the average daily additional space occupancy from 6 to 3 hectares per day must be realized. By 2040, this occupancy should be limited to 0 hectares per day.

What does this indicator measure?

This indicator shows how the space in Flanders is used and how this use evolves. The data is provided by Statbel. 

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