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(22-23) All City All Land: New Urban Figures - Densification within the peri-urban landscape

New Urban Figures -Densification within the peri-urban landscape 

Campus Sint-Lucas Gent
Tutors: Roeland Smits

The future is urban (POPIN, 1994 )! Besides large compact cities, also smaller municipalities in Flanders are challenged with densification-processes that  are mostly solved by exporting dense inner-city models or building typologies, that not always harmonize with these peri-urban conditions. We use research by design  to explore alternative densification processes, using alternative housing types  and to rethink classic urban tissues which are more adapted to open space structures.


In Flanders, cities like Antwerp are facing the limits of  there administrative boundaries and count on smaller adjacent municipalities to participate in the regional (Flemish) policy-objective to address the envisaged population growth. The result was an interregional collaboration of the city of Antwerp with 13 adjacent municipalities to cope with the regional (Flemish) policy-objective to house 120.000 new households projected by 2030.

Although it seems a very simple assignment, it soon becomes clear that simply copying dense urban models or typologies (as e.g. the figure of a building-block or high-rise (apartment) buildings, … ) is not adequate to the complicated context of these peri-urban area’s with their seemingly unordered heterogeneous landscapes and the juxtaposition of all kinds of uses. Densification therefore, needs to be rethought with new urban models and building typologies.

The studio’s aim is to explore how peri-urban conditions can lead to alternative densification processes. Alternative forms of living (e.g. collective housing) and (open) urban structures will be investigated. By mapping the peri-urban condition, research by design will be used to question densification as a tool to create a different  kind of urbanity.


After some years of working in the adjacent municipalities of Antwerp, the studio’s objective is to explore similar policy-objective of densification within more regional and smaller cities in the outskirts of the same city. As a complement for the ‘building block book’, which is an instrument for the city of Antwerp to deal with inner urban developments, the studio aims to create a new policy supporting design-manual for peri-urban developments. The studio results, obtained by a research by design, will be used as a base for this design manual. An exact location for the studio in 2023 will be defined in January.