In metropolitan areas (such as Flanders ) rural areas are experiencing an increasing competition for land. Besides urbanisation, this competition is due to new societal expectations of the countryside such as space for housing, commercial activities, nature, woods and recreational areas. As a consequence, rural spatial planning processes must attempt!to!balance!the expectations and goals of a variety of stakeholders. To cope with this increased complexity, spatial planning policy needs to adapt. More and more, the government takes on an enabling instead of a steering role. This shift results in a more decentralised, participatory style!of rural planning. Nevertheless, developing a well balanced, fair and participatory rural planning process appears to be difficult. Previous research has shown that spatial planning processes in Flanders and elsewhere often lead to resentment among the involved actors and the implementation of the planning goals often lags behind. The objective of our research is to get a better grasp of these decentralised, participatory planning processes. By getting insight into the success and failure factors of past planning processes we hope to formulate policy guidelines for the governance of rural planning processes. Within this research, we focus on cases in which the stakeholders were satisfied with the course of the planning process. For each “successful!case”, in-depth interviews with the involved actors on the perception of the process are performed. Based on these cases, we define factors that exceed the particularities of the case study and that define success or failure of the applied planning approaches. Furthermore, the interviews will also provide insight in the differences in perceptions different stakeholders have of the same planning processes. After all, different stakeholder might define and experience ‘success’ of a planning process in a different way. In the highly urbanized region of Flanders land is constantly under high pressure. Especially agricultural land is vulnerable as the Flemish spatial planning policy explicitly formulates that the total area of industry, recreation, forest and nature reserves in Flanders should increase at the expense of agricultural land. Within our cases we therefore focus on planning processes in which agricultural land is taken over by other functions (e.g. nature or industrial developments). Insight in the governance of such planning processes should provide guidance to policymakers and practitioners in Flanders and other countries with similar planning challenges. Although the research is focused on cases related to farmland loss, the results are expected to contribute to knowledge on other planning cases too.