Pilot Projects Productive Landscape

Project Details


Main research question/goal
The aim of the “Pilot Projects Productive Landscape” (PPPL) program is to support exemplary projects that test in “real time” how agriculture in Flanders can once again become a driving force for an innovative social and spatial evolution. We start from the increasing need for qualitative answers to current and future challenges in open space. Growing population numbers demand an improved food production. Available land is increasingly occupied by the expansion of housing and services. Frequent floods and dry periods require more sustainable ways of water management, in which agriculture could play a larger role. How can we create a productive landscape in which production, energy-sharing, nature, recreation, heritage, biodiversity and greening, all challenge and develop Flemish open space?

Research approach
In 2013, ILVO, the Flemish Government Architect and the Flemish Government set up a partnership to conduct ‘research by design’. This term refers to the beginning of a structured search for innovative and integrated solutions for open space. First the partners select 5 themes or key challenges for the existing rural area and its future development. The themes are: 1) Re-use of agricultural patrimony, 2) Scale enlargement of agriculture and the relation with landscape, 3) Organization of cycles, 4) Relationship between water and agriculture in the context of climate change, and 5) Relationship with the urban fabric. Via a contest, candidates (cities, municipalities, organizations, companies, individuals, etc.) can sign up for a multidisciplinary (architectural, technical, socio-economic) guidance of a project that can be realized in the short term. Through action-based research using research by design, the project partners examine the identified challenges in five selected concrete cases.


The 'Pilot Projects Productive Landscape' program or PPPL represents an innovative step in the intense interaction between city and countryside. The selected pilot projects are expected to be inspiring (examples of) answers to the question how agriculture, society and policy return to a positive balance to meet future challenges. The five selected projects study issues such as 1) rezoning of an area designated for residential expansion into an open space, 2) dealing with water and maintaining livable agriculture, 3) the multiple uses of space and the fine-tuning of a high-productivity cultivation through a rooftop greenhouse, 4) managing re-use of farm properties, and 5) the expansion of a 21st century urban productive park. Through immediate tests and effective implementations on the field, we expect to provide exemplary demonstrative knowledge about managing and maintaining open space, food production and a qualitative living environment. The use of research by design, the monitoring of the learning trajectory and feedback to policy reinforces the valorization. For the Flemish Government Architect’s team, vision development and knowledge building on spatial development in rural areas is largely unexplored. The partners believe that this project contributes to a renewed integration of functions, actors, city and countryside, and as such to a constructive instead of a defensive story.
Effective start/end date1/09/1331/08/18

Data Management Plan flag for FRIS

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