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The exchange platform for Flemish spatial zoning plans: the local government challenge

Peter Willems

(Submission #177)


For many decades, in the Flemish Region, thousands of spatial zoning plans have been enacted by all administrative levels in compliance with territorial visions and policies spanning various legislation adaptions. However, a geographical digital survey of all of these plans, which is complete, continually updated and reliable, is still lacking. Easy access to these plans nevertheless is broadly considered as a critical factor for substantially improving the efficiency and efficacy of public and private processes, not limited to the area of spatial planning alone. Therefore, the Flemish Spatial Development Department in consultation with provinces and municipalities, developed an exchange platform which allows all participants to upload their own (geographical) data and use those of the other participants. This platform was put into production at the end of 2014. It was presented at the GWF-INSPIRE 2015 Conference. Since last year the first local governments are participating entering their data to the platform, which upgraded this spatial data infrastructure into a real exchange platform. To convince local governments to make use of the platform the well-known tactic of the carrot and the stick has to be applied. Particularly in this emerging phase most benefits can be gained focusing on the added value of participation. At first there are the general efficiency gains and cost savings, generated by the principle of single collection versus multiple access and use of the data. Likewise, the unique composite authentic data source that has been created, guarantees users that current and complete information is always consulted. Nevertheless, some specific benefits for local governments have been sought, in the first place by looking for solutions grafted onto the platform that lead to a decrease of effort for the local governments. Especially administrations with none or limited GIS-knowledge or -infrastructure receive significant support entering this exchange story. And, last but not least, participating is a way for local governments to measure up to the European INSPIRE directive and its Flemish implementation decree. On the other hand, special attention will constantly be given to eventual inhibiting factors, bottlenecks or other difficulties that can lead to adverse effects for the participants. The final purpose on the long term is to have ‘radical digital’ procedural planning processes. Before that point is reached, some local governments probably will have to be forced by legislative action to step in this exchange infrastructure. The ambition is that this will only be a small minority.


Topic Area:  [2.4] Regional cooperation: building SDI for better governance
Abstract Type:  Oral Presentation

Additional fields

Comments:   spatial planning, exchanging spatial zoning plans, added value

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