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Landscape: an evolving category of public action in Brussels

Le paysage dans l’action publique bruxelloise : une catégorie en évolution
Het landschap in het Brusselse overheidsoptreden: een categorie in ontwikkeling
Sophie Hubaut
Traduction de Jane Corrigan
Cet article est une traduction de :
Le paysage dans l’action publique bruxelloise : une catégorie en évolution [fr]
Autre(s) traduction(s) de cet article :
Het landschap in het Brusselse overheidsoptreden: een categorie in ontwikkeling [nl]

Résumés

Alors que les références au paysage se multiplient en Région de Bruxelles-Capitale, l’article analyse sa place et sa signification au sein des Plans Régionaux de Développement (1995-2018). L’article entend ainsi montrer que le paysage peut être considéré comme une catégorie de l’action publique bruxelloise et qu’il constitue en ce sens un bon analyseur de son évolution. L’analyse permet de dégager à la fois des évolutions marquantes, telles que l’assimilation progressive du paysage à la nature à mesure que le référentiel de durabilité supplante l’intérêt pour le patrimoine, et son changement d’échelle en lien avec le processus de métropolisation. Elle met aussi en évidence certains contenus plus stables dans le temps tels que l’association du paysage à l’imaginaire de lenteur ou la perception de celui-ci comme un objet relativement positif et consensuel.

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Notes de l’auteur

The article is the result of doctoral research within the framework of an FRS-FNRS research fellowship.

Texte intégral

1In recent years, there have been an increasing number of references to landscape in public action within the Brussels-Capital Region. Examples include the organisation of the Brussels Urban Landscape Biennials since 2016, the Metropolitan Landscapes study carried out on the initiative of the Flemish and Brussels administrations and Bouwmeesters (2016), the CIVA exhibition devoted to Designed Landscapes (2018) and the preparation of the Beeldkwaliteitsplan or Landscape and Urban Quality Plan for the Canal Area [2019], under the direction of perspective.brussels. The Plan régional de développement durable (PRDD) adopted in 2018, which defines the priorities and objectives of the Brussels-Capital Region in terms of economic, social and mobility development, as well as in terms of the environment and spatial planning, also attaches importance to landscape as an “obvious and urgent” challenge in the face of urban densification [PRDD, 2018: 92].

2Although references to landscape are gaining momentum in regional public action in Brussels, the meaning of the term remains relatively vague, as a pre-established shared definition does not exist. Beyond the case of Brussels, the semantic diversity associated with the term “landscape” has been addressed extensively in the academic debate [Olwig, 1996; Donadieu and Périgord, 2012; Antrop, 2013; Paquot, 2016; Franceschi-Zaharia, 2019]. In Western culture, the term can refer to a pictorial representation or a view of an expanse of land – this is the initial and relatively common meaning of the term in English – or even the aesthetic experience of observing and casting an eye over it [Genard, 2006]. By extension, the term can also refer to the land itself and its more material dimensions, its physical and ecological characteristics, as well as the political and social organisation which gave rise to these characteristics [Besse, 2009]. In a more metaphorical way, the word also expresses the idea of a “whole” or a setting, as well as the notion of environment (political landscape, media landscape, etc.). However, each of these meanings of landscape does not, in itself, shed light on its use in public action in Brussels. It therefore seems relevant to question its meaning in this context.

3Does landscape still mean the same thing since Brussels became a Region? What has it been associated with over time? This article aims to show that landscape may be considered as a category of public action in Brussels which has been constructed socially and politically over time [Berger and Luckmann, 1996; Candau and Le Floch, 2002], and that it is therefore a good indicator of its evolution. The underlying hypothesis is that the study of the evolution of landscape reveals the evolution of the main issues of public action and its predominant frameworks [Muller, 2015], i.e. the representations of the world which structure public action.

  • 1 The analysis covers the contents of the first two PDRs published in 1995 and 2002, the two drafts o (...)
  • 2 In the second part of the research, this leads to questioning how the landscape category is coordin (...)

4In order to grasp this, the article is based on an analysis of the Brussels Regional Development Plans (PRD) drawn up during the first regional legislature and renewed or modified with each new government between 1995 and 20181 [Périlleux, 2009; Levy, 2013]. In accordance with the Code Bruxellois de l’Aménagement du Territoire (CoBAT), the PRDs define the strategic orientations of regional policy and oversee the hierarchy of plans. They propose a vision of regional development in the short, medium and long term, and thus establish the framework for regional public action [Levy, 2015]. Therefore, although their critical analysis cannot foresee their concrete implementation and effective translation into lower instruments2, the PRDs testify to government commitments and the dominant discourse regarding regional planning.

  • 3 More precisely, it is a lexicometric analysis of co-occurrences, which consists in identifying the (...)

5The analysis of these plans was carried out through a qualitative analysis of their content – consisting of texts and maps – and a quantitative analysis of their discourse3. The results of both analyses were similar and allowed us to identify the main themes associated with landscape, the different forms of landscape which are highlighted and the elements of discourse which support them. Thanks to the distribution of the plans over a period of almost 25 years, their analysis has made it possible to identify both significant changes in the landscape during this period as well as more stable elements.

1. A constant over time: landscape as a vector of urban attractiveness

  • 4 Income tax is a source of regional income, which therefore depends on the fluctuations in the numbe (...)

6In the PRDs, landscape is always associated with demographic arguments: it must allow the Brussels population to be retained or draw people to the city. Based on a previous socio-demographic inventory and the explanations drawn from it, each PRD aims to improve the attractiveness of the region in order to stabilise the population of Brussels, increase it or promote its mix, and thus ensure the financial survival of the Region4. Landscape is not exempt from this perspective: in each plan, it is proposed as a vector of urban attractiveness, either as an image of the city or as a living environment, a notion which encompasses both a formal aesthetic sense and a more social and environmental meaning [Luginbühl, 2001].

7The PRD adopted in 1995 by the first Brussels government reflects the context of an urban exodus which has been going on since the 1970s [Vandermotten, 2014] (Figure 1). It aims to stem the outflow towards the outskirts through a “major policy to protect the heritage, living environment, landscape and embellishment of the city” [PRD, 1995a: 79]. The argument is that the quality of the urban landscape, i.e. the elements which “contribute to the beauty of the city” [PRD, 1995b: 11] and in particular its heritage, play an essential role in the quality of the living environment and, consequently, in the residential attractiveness of the city.

Figure 1. Population curve in the Brussels-Capital Region between 1970 and 2018 and key publication dates of the PRDs.

Figure 1. Population curve in the Brussels-Capital Region between 1970 and 2018 and key publication dates of the PRDs.

Sources: Population movements, 1970-89: Statbel; 1989-2018: IBSA

8In the early 2000s, while the population curve had stabilised and was beginning to rise, the socio-economic profile of the inhabitants was deteriorating, with the effect of increasing public expenditure and reducing tax revenue, according to the second PRD (2002) [PRD, 2002a]. This is why the new plan pursues the objectives of the previous one in terms of attractiveness and aims at a return to the city of the wealthier population. Noting that this target group is drawn to the nature and serenity found in the outskirts, it sets as challenges the sustainable development of the Region and the improvement of its living environment [PRD, 2002b]. In terms of landscape, these challenges are reflected in two sectoral policies, namely the renovation, development and embellishment of public space through an “ambitious public space policy” [PRD, 2002c: 13], as well as the reinforcement of the green character of the Region through the Maillage vert et bleu, i.e. the connection of green spaces via walks, streets lined with trees, etc., and the reconnecting and opening up of waterways in order to improve their recreational, ecological, hydrological and landscape functions.

  • 5 According to IBSA figures, the actual number of additional inhabitants between 2009 and 2020 is 150 (...)

9The demographic trend changed following the adoption of the second PRD. In 2009, when the new regional government announced its intention to amend the PRD, the Federal Planning Bureau projected that by 2020, the number of inhabitants would increase by 170 000: the Region was going to experience a true “population boom” [GRBC, 2009]5. One of the Region's main challenges was therefore to absorb this sudden population increase within its borders. To do this, it aimed to densify the city, i.e. to build more housing and facilities without encroaching on undeveloped areas in order to preserve a quality living environment and an attractive image. In the following plan, the PRDD, landscape is associated with two facets of the urban densification issue:

  • On the one hand, it is seen as a counterpart to urban densification. The plan notes the negative impact of densification on the surface area and use of green spaces, urban biodiversity, environmental resources, the quality of the living environment and thus the resulting residential attractiveness and social mix. In view of these effects, which are considered problematic, the PRDD proposes to develop “an active landscape policy which aims to preserve and enhance large open spaces” which are undeveloped and predominantly green, in Brussels and the outskirts [PRDD, 2016: 69; PRDD, 2018: 91-92];

  • On the other hand, landscape is seen as a means to design the dense city. The building of towers – an architectural form ensuing from the urban densification supported by the PRDD – must follow a landscape logic, i.e. follow the ridge lines and valley bottoms in order to respect and accentuate the topography of Brussels, be along the edges of open space in order to reinforce the urban structure, and act as visual landmarks in the city and, conversely, as observation points with panoramic views of the region. According to the PRDD, these principles must make it possible to move towards “a new perception of the urban landscape” [PRDD, 2013: 34; PRDD, 2016: 39], in reference to the skylines of international metropolises, whose towers and the image they project are considered to be vectors of urban attractiveness.

2. The evolution of landscape over the course of the predominant frameworks of public action in Brussels

10Over the past thirty years, landscape has therefore been linked above all to the concept of attractiveness. However, it has been linked to other frameworks as well, which have added different shades of meaning to landscape. The analysis of the discourse shows the initial importance given to built heritage, followed by the interest in the green and blue components of the city (figure 2). It also shows the change in the level at which landscape has been dealt with over time. This evolution is linked to a shift in the predominant frameworks of public action in Brussels which are most often associated with landscape: the heritage framework which prevailed in 1995 was gradually replaced by sustainable development from 2002 onwards, and by the process of metropolisation as of 2013.

Figure 2. Word clouds of the components of landscape and their characteristics

Figure 2. Word clouds of the components of landscape and their characteristics

These terms, translated from French, are derived from the lexicometric analysis of the French version of the documents. They are represented in proportion to their probability of co-occurrence.

2.1. Built heritage and its public spaces in the first PRD

11In 1995, landscape was mainly classed as the built or inorganic environment. It was composed of buildings and architectural ensembles (Figure 2), as well as major public spaces and the perspectives created by them: the main historic roads in the city centre, the major routes made by Victor Besme, the entrances to the city and the banks of the canal. As suggested by the adjectives used (major, central, large, important, etc.), these are components of a remarkable nature.

12This content reveals the predominant attention to heritage in urban public action at the time, as a reaction to the dilapidation and destruction of the old fabric of Brussels before regionalisation, commonly referred to as “bruxellisation”. This attention echoes the demands made by the movement for the reconstruction of the European city, spread by a generation of young activists opposed to “bruxellisation” in the 1970s, who have since become public officials [Levy, 2015; Doucet, 2017]. On the other hand, the emphasis on heritage, public spaces and city entrances was also a way for the Region and for Charles Picqué, its minister-president, to assert the legitimacy, identity and image of the young city-region [Demeter, 2009]. Thus, the PRD defended a policy of embellishing the living environment based on the respect for architectural typology, the visibility of public spaces and built-up areas and the reconstitution of the urban fabric.

Figure 3. Main landscape components in 1995

Figure 3. Main landscape components in 1995

Source: Excerpts from the “Cadre de vie” map of the first PRD

2.2. An increasingly natural landscape

13With each plan, landscape took on a more natural connotation. The concept of the Maillage vert et bleu in the 2002 PRD is a sign of this, as are the references to the natural environment, waterways, ecology, ecosystems and biodiversity in the PRDD (Figure 2). Furthermore, the nature associated with landscape had less and less of a man-made aspect, with architecturally designed parks and green spaces giving way to open spaces, ecological networks and corridors and nature reserves. At the same time, the emergence of the notions of network, framework and infrastructure in the plans suggests the transition from a city segmented into areas – such as heritage protection areas or green space areas – to a city structured by networks: landscape networks, mobility networks, economic networks, etc.

14This gradual likening of landscape to nature goes hand in hand with the appearance and evolution of sustainable development in public action in Brussels. In the second PRD, the Maillage vert played “a major role for the sustainable city” [PRD, 2002c: 119] insofar as it was a response to a spatial imbalance of green spaces, which are mainly located in the outer ring. By connecting green spaces to each other and improving their access, the network would make it possible to increase the quality of the living environment and thus limit the urban exodus and urban sprawl. In this sense, the sustainable city was initially defined as a compact city.

15During the 2000s, the sustainability framework developed significantly on an international scale, particularly by means of exchange networks between cities and the signing of international agreements relating to the environment [Emelianoff, 2007]. In Brussels, the green party in government between 2004 and 2013 contributed to its rise and to the increase in the number of “sustainable” planning instruments [Bilande et al., 2016], including the new PRD, with the notion of sustainability added to its name (PRDD). Sustainability thus became central to this new plan, due to global challenges such as global warming and the production of greenhouse gases. Given these challenges, not only does the sustainable metropolis have to be compact, but it also has to preserve its natural resources according to the PRDD, in particular water. It is on the basis of this diagnosis that the PRDD refers to the unbuilt landscape.

16It associates it first of all with the urban geomorphology and the waterways, the topography, the valleys, the tributaries of the Senne and the wetlands. More specifically, the PRDD proposes to make water visible in the city where it is not and to establish it as a marker of urban identity. In order to avoid problems related to flooding, water pollution and loss of biodiversity, the PRDD also insists on the importance of “reviewing the relationship with the natural morphology of the city” [PRDD, 2018: 4], i.e. taking into account the physical characteristics of the region: the topography, valleys, watersheds and water runoff when planning the city, as opposed to zoning, which does not take these natural characteristics into account.

17Secondly, and more generally, the PRDD associates the landscape with an underlying natural structure which existed before urban development, formed by the networks, open spaces and linear axes of the valleys in Brussels. The PRDD proposes that this natural and landscape framework should serve as a guide for urban development. In order to ensure its structuring role, it reverses the narrative [Cogato Lanza, 2005; Lestrange, 2016]: it is no longer a question of considering undeveloped spaces as residual or awaiting urbanisation in the manner of “traditional planning” [PRDD, 2013: 104; 2016: 71; 2018: 92], but as spaces which participate fully in the city and its development by providing a series of social, sanitary, ecological, nutritional, etc. services.

Figure 4. “Natural” components of landscape highlighted in the second PRD and the PRDD.

Figure 4. “Natural” components of landscape highlighted in the second PRD and the PRDD.

Source: Excerpts from the PRD(D) maps

2.3. Adopting a new perspective

  • 6 Depending on the source, this metropolitan region refers to the area served by the RER, a geographi (...)

18Finally, the analysis of the PRDs shows a gradual change of scale regarding the view of the city and its landscape over the course of the plans, from the urban to the metropolitan scale. The analysis shows that at first, landscape referred mainly to the neighbourhood, the city and the urban area (in 1995 and 2002), then to the Region (in 2013 and 2016), and finally to the metropolis6 (in 2018) (Figure 3), reflecting a broadening of the regional scale at which Brussels-Capital develops its ambitions, while remaining limited by its borders and therefore its regional competences.

  • 7 The discourse analysis does not take into account the English term metropolitan landscapes which ap (...)

Figure 5. Frequency of co-occurrences related to landscape scales with respect to the number of occurrences of paysag* in each plan7

Figure 5. Frequency of co-occurrences related to landscape scales with respect to the number of occurrences of paysag* in each plan7

19In the first two PRDs, landscape is generally described and perceived at eye level from the public space. These plans recommend the development of aesthetically pleasing built-up areas, views and public spaces with special attention to detail: street furniture, signage, planting, lighting, paving or even the integration of works of art, in keeping with the recommendations of the Manuel des espaces publics [Demanet and Majot, 1995]. The PRDD, on the other hand, describes landscapes on a completely different scale, viewed from above and from a distance. It recognises the capacity of tall buildings to provide a new perception of the landscape: from their heights, views become vast panoramas, while the towers create a skyline with “metropolitan perspectives” [PRDD, 2013: 35]. Media images of skylines as well as aerial views, a landscape analysis tool inherited from geography and landscape ecology [Antrop, 2013] and popularised by satellite imagery, feed the metropolitan landscape aesthetic which overrides the sensory experience of the urban landscape and the detailed scale [Genard, 2006; Vanhaelen and Le Maire, 2017]. This change in perspective is also reflected on the covers of the PRD summaries from 1995 [Région de Bruxelles-Capitale, 1996] – representing the paving stones of Brussels – and 2016 [Perspective.brussels, 2016] – representing a bird's eye view of Brussels (figures 6 and 7).

Figure 6. Cover of summaries intended for the general public for the 1st PRD (1996)

Figure 6. Cover of summaries intended for the general public for the 1st PRD (1996)

Credit: Brussels-Capital Region

Figure 7. Cover of the summary of the second draft PRDD intended for the general public (2016)

Figure 7. Cover of the summary of the second draft PRDD intended for the general public (2016)

Credit: Brussels-Capital Region – perspective.brussels

20The landscape components have also changed in scale. Since 2002, isolated green spaces have been linked by the Maillage vert, which involves global planning for the entire region of Brussels. In the PRDD, the largest of these, such as Bois de la Cambre or the Heysel plateau, are included in Metropolitan Landscapes [Mabilde et al., 2016], which go beyond the regional boundaries. In the same way, the structuring spaces, i.e. the public spaces which structure the city and its landscape, have become increasingly important over time (figure 8). At first, they concerned a few historical roads, concentrated in the heart of the city in 1995, and then extended beyond the regional boundaries in the form of structuring open spaces in the 2013 draft PRDD. The canal surroundings – which are also considered to be structuring – are the focus of urban and landscape regeneration policies in each PRD. However, the area targeted by these operations has expanded over time: it initially concerned a section of the banks of the canal bordering the Pentagon, and then gradually covered a larger area – the Territoire du Canal (Figure 9) – corresponding to the operational borders of the Plan Canal [Chemetoff, 2014]. Based on the Beeldkwaliteitsplan or Landscape and Urban Quality Plan [BBS and ORG, 2019], the PRDD advocates the redevelopment of this area according to a “metropolitan” approach [PRDD, 2018: 29], i.e. by developing an overall identity and coherence over the entire area despite the specificities of the local urban fabric.

Figure 8. “Structuring” spaces in 1995, 2002 and 2013, according to the PRD(D) maps

Figure 8. “Structuring” spaces in 1995, 2002 and 2013, according to the PRD(D) maps

Figure 9. Canal surroundings to be reclassified according to PRD(D) maps

Figure 9. Canal surroundings to be reclassified according to PRD(D) maps

21This change in scale with respect to landscape goes hand in hand with an awareness of the globalisation process at work and the Region's ambition to become part of it [PRDD, 2013: 103; 2016: 121; 2018: 156]. The plan is in fact part of an international context of metropolisation based on economic exchanges and competition between metropolises [Sassen, 2009; Ghorra-Gobin, 2010]. According to the PRDD, this context implies taking into account the “metropolitan area of a city” which, in the case of Brussels, extends beyond its regional boundaries. It therefore requires a dialogue to be initiated with Flanders on issues such as housing, mobility and landscape. In 2013, the PRDD proposed to establish transregional corridors of landscape cooperation to this end, making way for Metropolitan Landscapes in the last two versions of the PRDD, in reference to the study by the same name [Mabilde et al., 2016] which brought together the two regional administrations with a view to defining the metropolitan landscapes.

3. Pacifying, connecting, linking and reaching a consensus: an imaginary of slow mobility

22In addition to highlighting the links between landscape and the sometimes stable, sometimes fluctuating contours of public action in Brussels, the analysis of the PRDs also reveals a close and permanent association between landscape and the imaginary of slow mobility on the one hand, and landscape and the imaginary of connection.

23The imaginary of slow mobility associates landscape with pedestrian and cyclist activities. The main landscape projects proposed in the PRDs are circuits: the Promenade verte on the outskirts of the Region, the Chemins de la ville in the city centre (figure 10), the cycling and pedestrian paths of the Maillage vert and the metropolitan landscaped parks. Other landscape projects also aim to pacify or “civilise” major roads, i.e. reduce the speed of traffic. This is the case of Parkway E40 at Reyers, which consists in transforming the entrance to the E40 motorway into an urban boulevard (figure 11). These projects refer to a “grammar of slow mobility” [Pelgrims, 2018] intended to improve the experience and comfort of slow travellers and to reduce the impact of car traffic: aesthetic and material qualities and the continuity of cycling and pedestrian paths, as well as signage at the entrance to the city, the planting of trees and the narrowing of roads in order to reduce car speeds.

Figure 10. Sketches for Place du Grand Sablon from the Schéma directeur des Chemins de la Ville by JNC international and A.2R.C (1990)

Figure 10. Sketches for Place du Grand Sablon from the Schéma directeur des Chemins de la Ville by JNC international and A.2R.C (1990)

Credit: Jean-Paul Emonds Alt for JNC international

Figure 11. Brussels Parkway E40 urban project

Figure 11. Brussels Parkway E40 urban project

Credits: TVK and Karbon’ in association with OLM, EGIS, IDEA Consult and ELIOTH

24The imaginary of connection attributes capacities of connection and coherence to the landscape, as well as a capacity to reach a consensus and to pacify relations. It is therefore a capacity to create links at both the physical and the symbolic level. Landscape projects are supposed to reconnect green spaces and the Brussels ecological network, as well as fragmented urban fabric, neighbourhoods and areas which are isolated from one another. They would thus be able to provide clarity and coherence to small public spaces as well as to much larger areas such as the canal or the Region. In the PRDD in particular, the imaginary of connection is also clearly present: as landscapes do not stop at administrative borders, they could prompt dialogue and be a source of consensus between the Flemish and Brussels Regions on land use planning issues. In this sense, landscape is also a mediation tool [Davodeau and Toublanc, 2010; Paradis and Lelli, 2010], which is consensual and does not lead to conflict.

Conclusion

25Landscape is perceived as a positive and consensual object, whose appropriation is probably facilitated by the ambiguous character of the term. Its semantic diversity is well represented in public action in Brussels, where it refers to the attractive image of the city, its living environment, its physical characteristics and the area it covers, or even to the sensory experience of walking through it. With time, some of these acceptances prevail over others and contribute to a shift in the meaning of landscape. Thus, apart from the fact that landscape is considered as a factor of urban attractiveness in a relatively stable way over time, the analysis of the PRDs has shown that this notion is associated increasingly with nature, as the interest in sustainability replaces the interest in heritage and changes scale alongside the development of a metropolitan vision.

26The analysis of the references to landscape in the PRDs thus allows a general understanding of the evolution of public action in Brussels. It also allows us to sketch out the dynamics at play behind this evolution, arising from the complex interaction of local and global contexts [Sassen, 2009; Ghorra-Gobin, 2015]. Thus, the content given to landscape reflects local concerns, such as the fight against the destruction of the urban fabric, the enhancement of Brussels as a new and young Region, the constraints related to the institutional limits weighing on the development of the Region as a metropolis, or the context of demographic evolution specific to it. They also reflect the construction of more global public policy frameworks [Muller, 2015] such as the frameworks of attractiveness, sustainable development and metropolisation, which cities are integrating into their policies in a context of exchange and increasing competition between them [Brenner, 2004; Emelianoff, 2007; Lieberherr-Gardiol, 2007; Genard and Neuwels, 2016]. These frameworks – and environmental concerns in particular – are also part of recommendations, international agreements and European directives which apply to cities and regions on issues such as heritage, climate, water management and the protection of biodiversity. In this respect, it should be noted that the European Landscape Convention [Florence, 2000], adopted by Belgium and its regions in 2004, is not (yet) a common reference framework for public action regarding landscape in Brussels.

27The reinforcement or appearance of stakeholders in public action generally accompanies the evolution of frameworks or their replacement [Muller and Surel, 1998; Muller, 2005; Bilande et al., 2016], which has probably been the case with regard to landscape evolution in Brussels. Thus, in the PRDs, heritage associations and administrations and, to a lesser extent, the public works administration initially played the main role in landscape definition, management and planning, through actions such as the protection of heritage or the planting of trees along roads. This main role was then entrusted to Bruxelles Environnement – which is in charge of the Maillage vert et bleu – whose competences and role have become more important over time. More recently, the Bureau bruxellois de la planification (perspective.brussels), which is responsible for the strategic regional development of Brussels, has also become an important stakeholder with regard to metropolitan aspects. In particular, it is responsible for the Beeldkwaliteitsplan and, together with Bruxelles Environnement and the Flemish nature and environment administrations, is overseeing the current Open Brussels study [BUUR et al., 2020], which is intended to develop a landscape and ecological vision shared by both Regions regarding structuring open spaces. An analysis of the power relationships and adjustments made by these administrations in order to adapt would be worthwhile.

28In addition to questioning the concrete effects of changes in landscape discourse, it would therefore be interesting to examine the dynamics behind the scenes. How do the changes observed by the analysis of the PRDs emerge? Who contributes to this categorisation? In this respect, the elaboration of the first draft of the Plan Régional de Développement Durable [2013] appears to be a key stage which is particularly interesting in terms of exploring the construction of public action in Brussels and of landscape. The most important changes discussed in this article appear in this plan, both in terms of the content of landscape and in terms of the new framework for public action in Brussels.

I would like to thank Christine Schaut for her advice and careful proofreading.

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Annexe

Annexe: Benchmarks for PRD development contexts

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Notes

1 The analysis covers the contents of the first two PDRs published in 1995 and 2002, the two drafts of the Plan Régional de Développement Durable [2013; 2016] and its final version [2018], in French.

2 In the second part of the research, this leads to questioning how the landscape category is coordinated with the field, i.e. through concrete projects and operational instruments, in order to verify its actual effects.

3 More precisely, it is a lexicometric analysis of co-occurrences, which consists in identifying the terms which have a high probability of appearing in proximity to another. The postulate of such an analysis is that a term has meaning with respect to other words within the same context unit [Née, 2017; Bardin, 2013]. In concrete terms, the analysis was carried out using the Antconc analysis software [Anthony, 2014], for terms with the root paysag* (i.e. 6 variants: paysage, paysages, paysager, paysagers, paysagère, paysagères). The context unit used was made up of 10 words before and 10 words after the term.

4 Income tax is a source of regional income, which therefore depends on the fluctuations in the number of inhabitants and their financial means.

5 According to IBSA figures, the actual number of additional inhabitants between 2009 and 2020 is 150 000.

6 Depending on the source, this metropolitan region refers to the area served by the RER, a geographical area corresponding to the catchment basin of the three valleys of the Dyle, the Senne and the Dendre [Dejemeppe and Périlleux, 2012], or, according to the definition used in the PRDD, the region of the “Metropolitan Community of Brussels” as defined during the 6th state reform, which includes Brussels and the two Brabants.

7 The discourse analysis does not take into account the English term metropolitan landscapes which appears in the last two versions of the PRDD, but it should be noted that the term confirms the analysis according to which the metropolitan scale is becoming more significant over time.

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Table des illustrations

Titre Figure 1. Population curve in the Brussels-Capital Region between 1970 and 2018 and key publication dates of the PRDs.
Crédits Sources: Population movements, 1970-89: Statbel; 1989-2018: IBSA
URL http://journals.openedition.org/brussels/docannexe/image/5463/img-1.png
Fichier image/png, 54k
Titre Figure 2. Word clouds of the components of landscape and their characteristics
Légende These terms, translated from French, are derived from the lexicometric analysis of the French version of the documents. They are represented in proportion to their probability of co-occurrence.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/brussels/docannexe/image/5463/img-2.png
Fichier image/png, 145k
Titre Figure 3. Main landscape components in 1995
Crédits Source: Excerpts from the “Cadre de vie” map of the first PRD
URL http://journals.openedition.org/brussels/docannexe/image/5463/img-3.png
Fichier image/png, 163k
Titre Figure 4. “Natural” components of landscape highlighted in the second PRD and the PRDD.
Crédits Source: Excerpts from the PRD(D) maps
URL http://journals.openedition.org/brussels/docannexe/image/5463/img-4.png
Fichier image/png, 180k
Titre Figure 5. Frequency of co-occurrences related to landscape scales with respect to the number of occurrences of paysag* in each plan7
URL http://journals.openedition.org/brussels/docannexe/image/5463/img-5.png
Fichier image/png, 63k
Titre Figure 6. Cover of summaries intended for the general public for the 1st PRD (1996)
Crédits Credit: Brussels-Capital Region
URL http://journals.openedition.org/brussels/docannexe/image/5463/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 252k
Titre Figure 7. Cover of the summary of the second draft PRDD intended for the general public (2016)
Crédits Credit: Brussels-Capital Region – perspective.brussels
URL http://journals.openedition.org/brussels/docannexe/image/5463/img-7.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 227k
Titre Figure 8. “Structuring” spaces in 1995, 2002 and 2013, according to the PRD(D) maps
URL http://journals.openedition.org/brussels/docannexe/image/5463/img-8.png
Fichier image/png, 145k
Titre Figure 9. Canal surroundings to be reclassified according to PRD(D) maps
URL http://journals.openedition.org/brussels/docannexe/image/5463/img-9.png
Fichier image/png, 89k
Titre Figure 10. Sketches for Place du Grand Sablon from the Schéma directeur des Chemins de la Ville by JNC international and A.2R.C (1990)
Crédits Credit: Jean-Paul Emonds Alt for JNC international
URL http://journals.openedition.org/brussels/docannexe/image/5463/img-10.png
Fichier image/png, 1,3M
Titre Figure 11. Brussels Parkway E40 urban project
Crédits Credits: TVK and Karbon’ in association with OLM, EGIS, IDEA Consult and ELIOTH
URL http://journals.openedition.org/brussels/docannexe/image/5463/img-11.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 328k
URL http://journals.openedition.org/brussels/docannexe/image/5463/img-12.png
Fichier image/png, 35k
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Référence électronique

Sophie Hubaut, « Landscape: an evolving category of public action in Brussels »Brussels Studies [En ligne], Collection générale, n° 155, mis en ligne le 18 avril 2021, consulté le 09 mai 2021. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/brussels/5463 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/brussels.5463

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Auteur

Sophie Hubaut

Sophie Hubaut is an architect and urban planner who studied at ULB, and is currently an FRS-FNRS candidate and member of the Sasha laboratory of the Faculty of Architecture at ULB, where she is pursuing a doctorate on the emergence and evolution of landscape in Brussels public action, which this article is derived from.
sophie.hubaut[at]ulb.be

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