1 Environment and Planning A 2011, volume 43, pages 1634 ^ 1654 doi: /a43242 Understanding housing sprawl: the case of Flanders, Belgium Pascal De Decker Sint-Lucas School of Architecture Ghent/Brussels, University College Ghent, Sint-Denijslaan 293, 9000 Gent, Belgium; Received 11 June 2010; in revised form 17 January 2011 Abstract. Between 1995 and 1999 the Flemish government succeeded in approving pieces of legislation intended to counter the spatial developments that had characterised the preceding periods, namely suburbanisation and urban decay. It passed a law to combat vacancy and slum housing (1995), a law to invest in social urban renewal (1996), a housing law (1997), a new law on spatial planning (1999), and the first comprehensive spatial plan (1997). Unfortunately, recent information and an evaluation of the spatial planning effort reveal that these initiatives have not been successful. The suburbanisation of native Belgians did not stop: on the contrary, it is accelerating again. And the population growth in the cities is due to people coming from abroad (through family reunification or formation or as asylum seekers). In this contribution I investigate suburbanisation and deurbanisation, asking why housing sprawl in Flanders is so persistent. I examine the structures behind sprawl, viewing them as the consequence of a longstanding dialectical process whereby physical artefacts interact with political choices and actions, cultural convictions, and economic possibilities that have reinforced each other in daily practice over and over again in one predominant direction. The basic argument is that Flanders' spatial planning and urban policies are locked into historical choices, making it difficult to implement new options successfully. 1 Introduction ``Something happens, and then it goes on happening forever. It can never be changed, can never be otherwise.'' P Auster (2004) Since the early 2000s the tidings had been promising: flight from the major cities in Flanders, a Belgian region, seemed to have stopped. Their numbers of inhabitants had grown and the satisfaction of city dwellers had risen. For the first time in history, comprehensive spatial development plans at different governmental levels (municipalities, provinces and regions) were made and new developments, both public and private initiatives, were under construction or in the pipeline. Not only had the developers rediscovered the cities, but private households were putting their shoulders to the wheel: they started to purchase and renovate old dwellings. This `can-do' feeling was best expressed in a White Book commissioned by the Flemish government when the authors declared the 21st century to be an urban one (Boudry et al, 2003). This renewed optimism contrasts sharply with the picture sketched by Flanders' first minister for the city some ten years earlier. According to Peeters (1995), in his policy memorandum, the cities had lost their glory. Both images are biased. Where Peeters sees only doom and gloom, the glossy magazines hail the cities as bright and shining places, attracting tourists and recreational visitors. But the big cities in particular still have large poor neighbourhoods (Vandermotten et al, 2006), and outward migration is as selective as ever. Affluent households with children are channelled to the suburban and exurban areas; the younger, alien, and poorer elements to the city centres. It is the scattered nature of housing location in Flanders, or rather the continuous housing sprawl, that this paper is about. If there is one concept that can capture the
2 Understanding housing sprawl: the case of Flanders 1635 spatial dimension of housing in Flanders it is indeed `sprawl'. Years ago, the architecture critic Nairn (1967, cited by De Decker et al, 1987) wrote that Belgium had managed to create an architecture of such splendid and full-blooded chaos that the visitor suspends all normal judgment. And Braem (1968), a modernist architect and pupil of Le Corbusier, stated that, seen from an aeroplane, Belgium must look like a patchwork quilt sewn together by a lunatic out of God-knows-what garbage, and then spurned with disdain by an invisible giant who strews about the contents of boxes of bricks, creating the ugliest country in the world. Or as Verhoeven (2006) more recently put it: ``The Fleming wants to dwell wild and free, his ideal became a small villa in the countryside, where he hides behind his hedges ignoring the others'' (page 18, own translation). With his reference to `wild housing', Verhoeven echoes the Dutch architect Carl Weeber (1998), who expressed a preference for the `Belgian model' over the Dutch (see figure 1). He approved of what seemed to be an unruly urge to build whatever, wherever. Undoubtedly, the sprawl of well-equipped, often large, detached dwellings on the fringes of the cities and further out in the countryside, juxtaposed with clusters of poor housing in old inner-city neighbourhoods, is an essential feature of Flemish housing patterns, one that will come to the fore in any investigation. A second important feature is the lack of sustainable alternatives on the housing market. Belgium is, to paraphrase Saunders (1990), a long-standing nation of homeowners. Yet, whereas many countries have only recently become nations of homeowners (Doling and Ford, 2007), Belgium has been one for quite a while. By 1960 half of all Belgian households owned their homes (Goossens et al, 1991). In addition, Flemish levels of owneroccupation are unlike those in most of the new-homeownership nations. Rather than the outcome of a steep rise, Flemish owner-occupation is the result of a slow growth that is still on-going. Basically, homeownershipöfrom the perspective of the occupantsö is the sole sustainable housing alternative. Legislation on private renting lacks everything that would make it a reliable alternative: rent levels for new leases are unrestricted; codes for dwelling quality are not only basic, but the tenants have difficulty getting them enforced. And since there are no rent allowances, getting value for money is often doubtful; tenants often end up poor after paying their housing costs (a) (b) Figure 1. Built-up areas in (a) in Randstad, The Netherlands and (b) the Flemish Diamond, Flanders, Belgium. Both areas have approximately the same numbers of people and have the same hierarchical position as core regions in their country. The black areas are the built-up areas, which show a far greater concentration in the Netherlands than in Flanders, Belgium (source: De Geyter Architecten, 2002).
3 1636 PDeDecker (De Decker et al, 2008). (1) Moreover, leases are insecure. As a consequence, the inhabitants of private rental units areöexcept for a minor group of households who prefer to rentöno-choice households and starters. Nor is social renting an alternative: with shares between only 6% (Flanders) and 9.5% (the Brussels Capital Region) the sector hardly covers need. (2) Consequently, long waitlists and long waiting times exclude social renting as a realistic alternative. No wonder the former Flemish housing minister compared the allocation of a social rental dwelling to winning the lottery. Nevertheless, according to the minister, ``The possibility of renting a good house, a good flat for a price that is a third to half of elsewhere, makes a difference in the purse'' (Keulen, 2006, page 12, own translation). Already in 1948 a survey had revealed that 95% of the Belgian households aspire to own a house with a garden. (3) And the past is an indelible legacy. Its persistence is linked to physical reality: the houses stand where they are. There is little reason to believe they will disappear (on the contrary, there is a consistent tendency to legalize illegal structures). In Flanders, at least, huge tracts of land are legally available for further construction of suburban housing (De Decker et al, 2010; Loris, 2011). But bricks and mortar are not the only force to contend with: wild housing is highly coveted. According to a recent survey among 12-to-24-year-olds, the majority aspire to own a large house [Studio Brussel (2008); see, for analogous results, AXA (2004), De Decker (2005), Elchardus and Smits (2005), Heylen et al (2007), and Verhetsel et al (2003)]. Moreover, they want it as soon as possible, preferably before they reach the age of 25 (Elchardus and Roggemans, 2010). Both ownership and sprawl are deeply embedded in the Flemish institutions and the minds of households. This housing dream has, according to Mougenot (1988), grown into a model. It is the result of a long-standing dialectical process of political choices and actions, cultural convictions, and economic possibilities, which have reinforced each other over and over again through and in daily practice. In what follows I illustrate the development of the nonurban (Loeckx, 2004) öor, worse, the antiurban (Kesteloot, 2003) öattitude and the predomination of the (semi)detached single-family house. Together with weak institutions for spatial planning and housing and the dominance of private (land) property, they are intractable structures underpinning wild housing. The core argument is that, even though the model only became mature in the shape of mass ownership after World War 2öwhen, nourished by economic prosperity, the Belgian welfare state grew to adulthoodöits roots lie in the evolving political economy of the 19th century, particularly in the ways in which past elites had dealt with the consequences of the twin forces of industrialisation and urbanisation. It is high time to look back, since the ambitious legislation and the plans that the Flemish government set forth during the second half of the 1990s seem to be failing. Pressured by political circumstances linked to urban problems (De Decker et al, 2005) and induced by field conditions such as urban decay, congestion, and ecological destruction, the Flemish legislature passed various measures. Some of them were supposed to tackle urban decay: for example, the 1995 law to combat vacancy and (1) Illustrative is that during the 1980s, when a severe economic and housing crisis (De Decker, 2002) hit the country, the private rented legislationöbeing based on the Napoleonic Code (Lancksweerdt and Lavrysen, 1988)öbecame even more liberal (De Decker, 2001). (2) According to recent indicators, approximately 14% of the Belgian population is poor (Dierckx et al, 2010); and more concretely, in Flanders the number of social rental dwellings should be more than doubled in order to cover the need (Winters and De Decker, 2009). (3) Jacquemijns C, 1949, ``La maison heureuse. Prëfërence des Belges en matie re d'habitation et de rapports de voisinage'' [Happy housing. Preferences of the Belgians with respect to housing and neighbourhood], quoted by Van der Poel (1958).
4 Understanding housing sprawl: the case of Flanders 1637 slum housing; the 1997 housing act; and the 1997 law on social urban renewal. Others, like the 1977 comprehensive spatial plan for Flanders (RSV) and the 1999 spatial planning law, were intended to reverse the spatial development trends. The ambitions were high: among other things, to stop socially selective suburbanisation, to protect the countryside and landscapes, to decrease congestion by promoting public transport, and to enhance cities. But these plans have failed, as Voets et al (2010) conclude in a recent evaluation. Although the urban population has increased, due to a positive external migration balance (Moortgat and Vandekerkchove, 2007; Willems, 2008), the targets for new dwellings have not been reached, and the suburbanisation of the native-belgian populace remains unabated and is even accelerating. The poor, dilapidated districts are still there: except for a small number of gentrifying neighbourhoods, hardly any progress is being made. Congestion has never been worse. And new construction is to a large extent still being located on nonurban sites. One reason why the implementation of the aforementioned measures has failed is that the necessary funding was not forthcoming. Another reason is that nonurban politicians kept luring city dwellers with new developments. But it was also partly because the procedures were too bureaucratic and thus sluggish. The implementation also failed because the ambitions were too high and their execution was not really feasible. But it also failed because these new plans left history out of the picture. They ignored the fact that Belgium and its regionsöcertainly with respect to urban, housing, and spatial planning policiesöare locked in to past choices (Kleinman, 1996). The origins of the Belgian housing model go back to the reactions to the social conditions of the 19th century, thereby making its development path dependent. According to Bengtsson and Ruonavaara (2010), the concept of path dependency means that if, at a certain point in time, the historical development takes one direction instead of another, some otherwise feasible alternative paths will be closedöor at least difficult to reachöat a later point. The argument we advance here is that, following Bengtsson and Ruonavaara (2010), the material, mental, and social characteristics of housing and its spatial appearance tend to create strong elements of inertia that later policies will have to deal with. In what follows I use this path-dependency approach as a stance from which to review the evolution of relevant policies. The argumentation is structured around policies forged in three domains that are crucial to an understanding of the growth of sprawl in Flanders. In section 2 I describe the inception and promotion of social commuting and consider its persistence. The reasons to sustain and continuously renew this policyöfrom its introduction in the 19th century until todayöwere to avoid a concentration of workers in the cities. Section 3 deals with early policies that strongly promoted homeownership as a means to discipline the masses. In the words of De Caigny (2007), housing was a central theme in creating a mentality of modesty, rationality, and discipline among the workersöincluding values that were attached to the single-family home like order, neatness, cosiness, being a full-time housewife, and regular cleaning, washing, and cooking. Intertwined with the successful promotion of social commuting, these policies anchored households to nonurban locations. In section 5 I deal briefly with the consequences of the absence of a spatial planning policy. In between, section 4 offers an overview of housing and living conditions in the cities. Although, as the argument goes, the conglomerate of antiurban policies was successful, people still moved to the cities. But, due to the absence of planning or renewal policies, cities in general and their popular neighbourhoods in particular developed, as is briefly
5 1638 PDeDecker shown, into an antimodel. They became places for housing people who have no alternatives. (4) 2 The creation of social commuting ``Belgium commuted, Belgium commutes, Belgium keeps on commuting.'' G Van Istendael (1989, pages 192 ^ 193, own translation) In order to understand the development of `wild housing', we have to go back to the Industrial Revolution, which started earlier in Belgium than in most other countries on the Continent. In conjunction with urbanisation, the industrialisation of the country fostered what Kesteloot (2003) calls an `antiurban' attitude. Characteristic of the time, starting with the takeoff of industrialisation, workers started to concentrate in the coalmining regions of Wallonia (the axis Liege ^ Charleroi ^ Mons ^ North of France), in Brussels, and in a small number of towns in Flanders [such as Ghent, at one point the most important industrial town on the Continent (Deneckere, 2010)]. This concentration threatened the Catholic and Liberal elites in at least two ways. First, it affected their health. Exacerbated by the smoke from the factories, the very high density of the slumsöwith their small, often back-to-back hovels and open sewersöwas inhumane and lethal (Lis, 1969; Van Isacker, 1978). Epidemics broke out on several occasions, notably cholera in 1832, 1845, and But besides this threatöwhich would lead to the first wave of suburbanisation of the wealthyöthere was also a moral undercurrent (a rising tide of secularisation) and a fear of social unrest and rebellion. (5) The cities were not only dirty and unhealthy: they were also hotbeds of revolt, eventually culminating in riots in which people were killed in Under such circumstances, the elites were confronted with a paradox: in order to keep the populace obedient and humble, the workers should be kept in their villages; but in order to keep the economy going, they had to work in the cities (Verleyen, 2007). A two-pronged strategy was devised to prevent the migration of more and more people to the cities during the 19th century, aimed at tempering the mobility of workers. On the one hand, the work centres were made more accessible; on the other hand, transportation to and from workplaces was made affordable. Both tactics would come to form a twin policy, in force from the mid-19th century and which persists today. Starting with the 1834 law on the foundation of a national railway corporation, a very dense network of regular railway connections was constructed, using public as well as private investment. (6) The rail system allowed workersöespecially the Flemish who went to work in the Walloon industrial areasöto come home every evening. The idea was for them to return to the small villages where they were protected from bad city influences and where the clergymen could keep them under the influence (4) I have chosen to organise this paper around these major policy domains rather than around the chronological sequence of crucial policy decisions. In order to prevent the reader from getting lost, I have brought the major policy decisions together with some relevant events or a critical juncture (Bengtsson and Ruonavaara, 2010) (eg strikes, riots, wars, or political turmoil) in chronological order in appendix A. In broad terms, this timeline shows that the policies underpinning social commuting started in the 19th century; that policies to promote homeownership started at the end of the 19th century; that the first relevant spatial planning law would not see the light until 1962; and that policies to strengthen the cities would only break through during the 1990s (De Decker, 2004). (5) In Ghent there was even an economic threat: at the end of the 19th century a cooperative socialist organisation (Vooruit) would become the largest employer in the city (Deneckere, 2010). (6) In 1870 the state owned 860 km of railway, while private companies were responsible for 2300 km. These railroads were nationalised in 1870 and 1912, respectively.
6 Understanding housing sprawl: the case of Flanders 1639 of the church. Although this policy was relatively successful, it could not stop rural flight and migration. In an attempt to formulate an adequate response, the regular railway system was complemented from 1884 onwards with a fine-meshed light-rail system. Together, the two railway systems would form the densest system in any of the industrialising countries by the end of the 19th century (Rowntree, 1910; see figure 2). In order to make the journey to work not only accessible but also affordable, a social tariff was, simply and brilliantly (Verleyen, 2007), introduced in Figure 2. Length of the ordinary and light railway per surface unit in different countries around 1900 (source: Rowntree, 1910).
7 1640 PDeDecker And it met with success: by the 1890s, more than two million workers commuted to work every day. (7) The swelling antiurban attitude was fostered and reinforced over and over again. In the first place, it was given impetus by the bourgeoisie, who had started to leave the city by the end of the 19th century and move into detached houses and mansions on the fringes. In so doing, they generated a housing model that went hand in hand with the rising wealth and the development of the welfare state in the 20th century and especially after the Second World War. That model would be copied by more and ever-larger segments of the population and would come to dominate housing construction from the 1960s onwards. In addition, commuting became, as Pottë (2003) phrased it, `socialised' and was continuously sustained by the government. On the accessibility side, the modernisation of the network proceeded; the early horse-drawn trams were replaced by buses during the first half of the 20th century; and when the railway systems fell into decline after the Second World War, their routes were replaced and expanded by a dense road network. Thus, countless small towns, villages, and hamlets became well connected with the centres of work, education, and leisure. As a consequence, no urban workplace or school site was far enough away to justify a move, since moving would save neither time nor money. The social tariffs for commuting to work were also made available for commuting to school. Both tariff schemes have existed ever since. Even today, the financial incentives for social commuting seem to be extending further. For some people (eg civil servants), commuting by public transport was made free of charge. And nearly all other commuters (even car users) can deduct at least part of their transport costs from their taxable income or enjoy a company car. So commuting to work or school has remained fairly cheap. As a consequence, and according to the 2001 Census, 58.2% of the active Belgian populationönearly two million peopleöcan be classified as commuters (Verhetsel et al, 2007). 3 Promotion of homeownership ``... because for many the deepest sense of existence on Belgian earth: his own house.'' G Van Istendael (1989, page 189, own translation) Although the measures to stimulate commuting were successful, they could not stop urbanisation entirely. So a second strategy to counter the twin forces of industrialisation and urbanisation was launched: the stimulation of homeownership. As an offshoot of the deadly riots of 1886, path-breaking housing legislation was passed in 1889 as a chapter of the first labour law. This put an end to the noninterventionist approach of the Belgian government (De Meulder et al, 1999; Goossens, 1982; Mougenot, 1988; Smets, 1977; Steensels, 1977a; Witte, 2005). The Belgian government wanted to compensate for the lack of initiative by the local authorities concerning the dilapidated housing circumstances of the workers. But the main objective of the law was to promote homeownership by means of easy financing (social loans), tax exemptions, and cheap social dwellings (Goossens, 1982; Smets, 1977). As a bonus, owners and families who were saving for a house of their own were allowed an extra vote by the 1893 law on the plural voting right for men (see Terhorst and Van de Ven, 1997; Witte, 2005). It is hard to overestimate the impact of this law on private housing construction and wild building. In theory at least, the law made it possible to establish social housing companies, whose task would be to construct social rental dwellings. Yet its success lay in the generation of private house construction underpinned by fiscal (7) The number of `workman's tickets' sold grew from in 1870 to over in 1896 and then to in 1911 (Polasky, 2001).
8 Understanding housing sprawl: the case of Flanders 1641 instruments and cheap (social) financing. According to a Belgian representative at an international conference in Du«sseldorf in 1902, this was linked to the fact that ``the Belgian worker preferred to construct a new house on a parcel of his own and according to his own inspiration. In order to realise that, he opts to collect enough savings in order to bargain with a credit provider, rather than to move into an existing building'' (quoted by Smets, 1977, page 51, own translation). Fundamental to the 1889 law is that it tried to prevent the construction of large quarters for workers and fostered the dispersal of the working class (Lis, 1977; Smets, 1977). Through the individualisation of support and by linking social loans to household savings, housing became a matter of individual initiative and do-it-yourself implementation (De Decker, 1996). As a consequence, living in low densities, privatised housing, and a spatially chaotic setting gradually became the norm. Since the beginning of the 20th century, a house of one's own has been part of the grammar of living (Flint and Rowlands, 2003) of a Belgian household. The antiurban attitude that had been growing during the 19th century reached a peak around 1900 (De Caigny, 2007; Goossens, 1982; Smets, 1977). Afterwards, according to Mougenot (1988), a broad consensus on the solution to the housing problem arose: individual homeownership, preferably single-family dwellings. Different features would reinforce this, and the role of policy makers and the government cannot be overestimated. At every moment in the past, and even today, there have been instruments, subsidies, and institutions to promote homeownership. By far the biggest subsidy has been in the form of tax exemptions, and these still exist (De Decker, 2000; 2010). Besides tax exemptions, there are cheap/social loans and, in ever-changing proportions, grants, premiums, social dwellings for purchase, and cheap/ social building parcels. The purpose was generally to stimulate new construction, not renovation. After the introduction of a grant for new construction in 1922, it was the construction grant of 1948 that was to have a tremendous impact on the Belgian landscape. Between 1948 and 1961, between and grants were allocated (Buyst, 1992). Not only did the policies targeting individual households sustain the model: the initiatives taken by the main housing institutions also reinforced its foundation. The actions of the Housing Fund for Large Families (Woningfonds), which is still in operation, are classic examples. Observing that large families had to live under deplorable conditions, in 1928 this private company obtained government permission to extend cheaper loans at a regressive interest rateölinked to the number of childrenöto large families. The government hoped that this discounted rate would help solve the housing problems of large families by forcing them into homeownership. Just as influential as the other initiatives were the construction activities of another housing institution founded in 1935, the National Housing Company for Small Rural Houses (NMKL), and its recognised local housing companies. Their activities concerned the construction of dwellings for sale and the purchase of cheap building plotsölinked to a cheap/social loanöin the countryside or on the urban fringe. Here, the workers, the unemployed, and other asset-poor households would be able to supplement their income though produce from their garden (growing vegetables, fruit, and raising small animals) (Goossens, 1982). The foundation of the NMKL was linked to the crisis of the 1930s and the steep drop in employment, which left the unemployed wandering through the cities. In order to compensate for the risks posed by these vagrants, the government wanted the jobless workers to leave the cities for the countrysideöwhere they could live in their own house with a garden.
9 1642 PDeDecker The model has another important facet. The Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church, as set forth in the Papal encyclicals Rerum Novarum (1891) (8) and Quadragesimo Anno (1931) had a fundamental impact in this Catholic country. The influence of these letters was two-fold. First, the ideas strongly advocate ownership of single-family houses by workers. This was deemed to guarantee the well-being of the individual in the family setting (see Goossens, 1982; Werkgroep Alternatieve Economie, 1977). The implication that, because of its cost, ownership would discipline the workers was tacitly accepted, and it coincided with the ideology of the Liberal Party (Witte, 1990). In addition, during the construction and consolidation phase of the model (before 1940), the Catholic parties, who were the guardians of the model, were always members of the government and dominant political forces (sustained by the Christian Workers Movementöstill the largest trade union in Belgium and the main exponent of the model). Taken as a whole, since the violent 1886 strikes which were the stimulus for the first social and housing law, there were only twelve non-successive years in which the Catholic (later Christian) parties were not in government. The ultimate consequence of this power position was that changing the path was never on the agenda. The promotion of homeownership was also sustained by the Liberal Party. Indeed, ownership is a core tenet of their ideology [see, for example, former Prime Minister Verhofstadt's (2002) pleas for 100% ownership]. And even more recently, the Flemish Socialist Party made an about-turn and joined the pro-ownership club when its chairman declared that his ideal society has as many homeowners as possible and as few tenants as possible (Stevaert, 2003). (9) In its declaration of principles in 2007 the Socialist Party wrote: ``Everybody has the right to a comfortable, qualitative and affordable dwelling. We want as many people as possible to own their house. This is the best guarantee for living well and it is the best way for pension saving'' (http://www.s-p-a.be, own translation). 4 The reality of the urban field The construction of the model was, and is, also underpinned by the experience of urban housing and living conditions. For a very long timeöand to some extent even todayö the reality of the city has been that of an antimodel, a model of negative publicity. (8) Although the Pope still preferred a corporate organisation, in the open letter he formulated the acceptance of `other' formulas, such as trade unions grouping only workers, because these could fight the antisocialist struggle more efficiently. But the trade unions have to be faithful to basic capitalistic principles and advocate loyal and harmonious cooperation with the employers; thus, they avoid conflicts and strikes (Witte, 2005). (9) Deslë (1990) points to the fact that, although the Socialist Party historically fought the private ownership of production means and advocated more collective housing and urbanisation models, the party never condemned the private ownership of houses. Moreover, we cannot speak of a clear antagonism between the view of the socialists (pro-rent, pro-planning) and the others (pro-individualised initiative, pro-ownership), since the socialists scarcely developed a coherent view. Important is that in its early days (leaders and members of) the Socialist Party took an anti-urban attitude since the capitalist city, with its horrible living conditions, was seen as a place of oppression. We can also see reconciliation between worker and farmer in the work of the socialist leader E Vandervelde (1903) ``L'exode rural et le retour aux champs'' [``The rural exodus and the return to the fields'']. For him, the influx of workers into the city was evil. He advocated a policy to keep the workers in the countryside (so that they could fall back on agriculture when unemployed) and social commuting. The support of the socialists for the garden district should be interested in the same way, since it concerns a reconciliation of the rural and urban ways of life. Altogether, the socialist attitude was ambiguous since it simultaneously stressed that if any political fraction in Belgium were to plead for more planning and social rental housing, it would be the socialists (see De Caigny, 2007; Goossens, 1982; Notteboom, 2006; Smets, 1977).
10 Understanding housing sprawl: the case of Flanders 1643 Cover of an album with type plans for social housing, published by the ASLK, a savings and loans bank appointed to finance social housing, in Model for a social dwelling presented by the ASLK at the Brussels World Exhibition in Garden neighbourhood Le Logis Flore al near Brussels. The design of a rural bungalow by the NMKL, accompanied by the slogan ``A house on the country site is a happy house''. Figure 3. Housing model types developed between the wars.
11 1644 PDeDecker Lots of reports, policy memoranda, and popular media reportages have illustrated the lack of any alternative position for large-city neighbourhoods because of the densely built, poor-quality housing in areas with little greenery and open space. A statement by the journalist De Stoop made in the year 2000 is striking: ``I now live on the other side of Antwerp, in between the fields, where I raise tomatoes and cucumbers. I farm in my conservatory. I lived in the city between my 20th and 40th year of age. I'm happy about that, but now I have two children and I cannot imagine how I can raise them in the city, I grew up in the fields (in Ghijs, 2000, page 11, own translation). On the conditions in a Ghent neighbourhood in 1980, Pehlivan, a former senator and the first alderman in Ghent with Turkish roots, wrote: ``I was confronted with inhuman conditions. In the Ox street people lived in medieval conditions without the most elementary hygienic amenities: no running water, no bathroom, common toilets in the streets, walls with water running down on them. It was like living in a Turkish mountain village moved to a backward neighbourhood in the city'' (Pehlivan, 2003, page 70, own translation). And some twenty to thirty years earlier, the famous novelist L P Boon (1988) referred to the Ghent quarters where the workers lived in `corpses of streets', where the streets have names of flowers and trees, but where ``you don't see a twig, a leaf or a flower'' (page 125) and where the people living there never saw the tree that gave its name to the street. So, fostered by rising wealth and welfare-state arrangements, the model really took off in the 1960s in the form of mass housing. The cities were still dirty places then, their factories and densely packed dwellings evoking disgust. In the meantime, to compete with the cities for residents (Goossens, 1983), the adjacent local authorities offered ample building plots for new construction, and that is where the single-family houses were built. It is via social imitation (Mougenot, 1988; Smets, 1977; Steensels, 1977b) that the model has been consolidated over and over again. The ongoing absence of a real urban renewal policy to ameliorate housing conditions in the poor neighbourhoods (De Decker, 2004) was not the only factor. It should be stressed that the examples of good housing produced by housing institutions in the past also refer to nonurban, rural housing, as illustrated in figure 3. And even the few collectivised initiatives in the early days of social rental housing were inspired by an idyllic rural vision (Smets, 1977). The legacy is that even 54% of today's social rental dwellings are single-family houses (Heylen et al, 2007). 5 The absence of alternatives ``The Belgian wants to put his castle where it suits him.'' Perceval and Kruismans (2004, page 110) In order to appreciate the robustness of the housing-sprawl model, we must take more features into consideration. It is not enough to look at what was and is; we also have to look at what was and is notöat reasonable alternatives. Since the start of housing policy in Belgium, all governments have promoted one model and neglected or ignored the alternatives. In view of its low proportion of the stock, social rental housingöwith a market share of 6% and households on the waitlist for one of the dwellingsöis hardly a suitable safety net. Private renting was never properly regulated (De Decker, 2001) and periods of steep rent increases were never compensated by rent allowances. Add to this the fact that no serious housing-renewal programme was ever set up. As a consequence, in one of the
12 Understanding housing sprawl: the case of Flanders 1645 most prosperous regions of the world, about 10% of the housing stock is still of poor quality (Vanneste et al, 2007). So far, I have covered the strategies designed to keep the workers out of the cities. The main thrust of my argument is that a robust antiurban housing model, promoting ownership of single-family dwellings outside the cities was created whereby the cities came to serve as anti-models: places where people would not live if they could afford the suburban and exurban models. The absence of a reasonable alternative forced, and still forces, households into this tenure. But to understand dispersal and sprawl, we have to bring in yet another feature, since nonurban ownership does not necessarily amount to dispersal and sprawl. To put this in context, we have to take a third strategy into account: namely, the absence of spatial planning policy. In order to understand the social construction of `dwelling wild', we need to examine another piece of its foundationöspatial planning or, rather, the lack of it. Fundamentally, until 1962, Belgium had no spatial planning policy. (10) It was only with the 1962 Law on Spatial Planning (Janssens, 1985) that an arsenal of planning instrumentsöamong which building permission, allotment permission, and spatial plans at different levelsöwas introduced. Crucial is that the first district plansöin practice, the nonlocal plans with a direct impact on the use of landöwere only adopted at the end of the 1970s. This meant, de facto, that the postwar private housing construction boom km Allotment permits Built-up areas Main roads Figure 4. Sprawl of allotment schemes approved in the period 1962 ^ 66. The grey plots are the built-up areas; the black spots are the approved allotment in the period 1962 ^ 66 (source: Van Havre, 1967). (10) The 1946 law had little impact.
13 1646 PDeDecker occurred almost without any spatial planning. The local authorities, which had not excelled in spatial planning policy before, had no framework with which to evaluate the applications for permission to build or to develop land. In practice, this led to dispersed building of private dwellings and to ribbon development along access roads to villages and cities. It also led to an unplanned, dispersed realisation of allotment schemesöthese being the most common way to free up land for new housing construction. Figure 4 shows the location of allotment schemes just after passage of the 1962 law and through the period 1962 ^ 67. The grey spots are built-up areas, and the black ones are the accepted allotment schemes; their distribution perfectly illustrates Braem's patchwork image mentioned in the introduction. What this implies for the whole of Flanders today is illustrated in figure 5, which shows the spread of legally available land for housing development as planned in the wake of the 1962 law. Figure 5. Location of vacant building plots on destination plans in Flanders, potential supply at the end of 2009 (source: Loris, 2011). The location of the early allotment schemes not only fostered the development of sprawl but, in a subsequent phase, also had a strong impact on the district plans in which the housing-development areas are legally defined. The spread of the allotments was to determine the generous perimeters of these housing-development areas. (11) By the end of the 1970s in Flanders, and dependent on the prevailing hypothesis on the evolution of the size of the plots of land, between and plots for house construction had been reserved on the plans (De Decker, 1993). Under the current planning criteria of 25 dwellings per ha in urban areas and 15 in nonurban areas, the black spots on figure 5 would add up to more than units. (12) In this regard it is interesting that the minister responsible for the approval of the 1962 law underpinning the district plans insisted on reserving a large area for housing development, assuming that a land policy would/could not emerge (Saey, 1988). Befitting a Christian Democrat, he welcomed the idea of a single-family house for every household, so he had to prevent land prices from rising. In order to accomplish this, the market would have to be large enough. This, along with the location of the early allotment plans, explain why the district zoning plans reserved such a huge amount of space. (11) In addition to the political choices to provide for large housing-development areas, the fear of having to pay planning losses is in play. Allotment plans are development instruments creating huge value increases covered by the law (eg by turning agricultural land into housing land). When the government reverses its decision, there is a risk that the court will find the state liable for the (potential) financial losses. (12) For the sake of comparison, the Brussels Capital Region at the end of 2008 housed households (source: ADSEI).
14 Understanding housing sprawl: the case of Flanders 1647 In retrospect, the district plans came too late. They even fostered a further dispersal once they were operational since they left enough space within the perimeters of the housing areas for wild development. Intriguing in this respect is that the amount of land reserved for housing had grown between the planning phase and the legal adoption of the plans. This followed from the participation process: local agents (mayors, councillors, developers, owners) did not agree with the spatial restriction on land available for housing development, so grassroots pressure encouraged the government to expand the planned areas (Cabus, 1983; see also figure 5). (13) As it turned out, the aforementioned minister was right: no land policy has been developed so far, which explains the typical sustained pyramidal structure of land prices (figure 6). (14) Urban land is expensive while nonurban land is cheap, and becomes cheaper the farther away from the centres it lies. Nonurban land is the roof over the Belgian `wild dwelling house'. Given the easy and cheap accessibility of nonurban areas and the nature of the housing subsidies fostering new construction by individual families, families looked for a housing plot ever farther away from the cities. But note that not only private developers and households sought distant land: social housing companies did as well (eg see Dessouroux, 2008; Dumont, 1951) Price Aalter Nevele Gent Merelbeke Wetteren Erpe-mere Aalst Affligem Ternat BHG Zaventem Bertem Deuven Bierbeek Boutersem Figure 6. Prices per m 2 of building plots along the E40ö1985, 1997, and 2010 (at 2010 rates). BHG (Brussels Capital Region), Gent, and Leuven are the major cities (source: national statistical office ADSEI%; own calculations). 6 Conclusion and discussion In this paper I have looked into the causes of `sprawled' housing in Flandersö `sprawled' connoting `unplanned' and `chaotic'. I have argued that beneath the visibly chaotic, behind the unplanned, lie structures of reinforced concrete. Like the existing artefacts and the dense railway and motorway system, these structures not only have a physical appearance, but are also embedded in legislation and institutions. But above all, the compulsion to possess a nonurban single-family house is engraved in the minds of the people. (13) These `extensions' were accompanied by accusations of corruption and legal procedures. A collaborator of the minister ended up in jail for a while. (14) Figure 4 is illustrative. Similar illustrations can be given for nearly all other periods in time.
15 1648 PDeDecker The weight of this model is well illustrated by the failed attempts of the 1990s to alter urban housing policies and to foster more planned and compact development. I reasoned that to understand this we have to look back. The weight of the past is an impediment, since the policies mentioned here are strongly path dependent. Looking back is important because the present prefers to forget or mythologise the past, whereby it also loses insight into the complexity that is the result of a historical development (Reynebeau, 2010). One could argue that the above argument is premised on a deterministic reading of the past, as it suggests that the model that emerged in the 19th century had developed without serious competition. Of course there was, as briefly illustrated, ongoing urbanisation. And of course there were, as also briefly described, counterfactual propositions and models. For instance, the Socialist Party stood at different times for modernistic housing (Smets, 1977; Van Herck and Avermaete, 2006) and the regulation of private renting. But it is undeniable that, since the 1889 housing law, the promotion of nonurban sprawled homeownership has been overwhelmingly predominant. The alternatives either could not break through (eg private rental regulation) or remained marginal (eg social rental housing and urban renewal). This brings us back to the ideologies and the power relations of the 19th century and the way politics moved forward in the 20th century. Leaving the lethal strikes and riots of 1886 aside for a moment, the history of Belgian and Flemish housing policy did have some critical junctures, all of which were tied to major societal and/or political crises. Two critical junctures are linked to the Worlds Wars. The third occurred within the autonomous Flemish politico-institutional framework after the devolution of the state; it is related to the emergence of an extremist political party, which would become one of the largest factions in the Flemish Parliament and the largest in the Council of Antwerp (De Decker et al, 2005). These crises led to legislation that could foster the construction of social rental housing. In 1919 the umbrella organisation for social rental housing was founded; in 1949 its financing was broadened; and in the early 1990s the Flemish government decided to construct an additional social rental dwellings. These measures reflect the presence of the socialists in the government. But in hindsight these deeds were not very effective since the laws were not followed up with planned targets or substantial budgets. In particular, the 1919 and 1949 decisions were largely limited to institutional frames and did not generate much construction activity. And the extra social dwellings built during the 1990s did not increase the share of the social rental housing stock substantially. The picture that emerges when we also take the noninterventionist policies in the private rental sector into account aptly illustrates either the limited power or the limited willingness of the Socialist Party to develop alternative housing paths. The interpretation of `limited power' is based on the fact that if leftist parties like the socialists, the communists, and recently the Green Party, are in government, they are part of a coalition. The interpretation of `limited willingness' is based on the fact that housing and spatial planning had never been at the heart of the Socialist Party's ideology. I contend that the Belgian and Flemish policies on housing, as well as on urban and spatial planning, have remained on the 19th-century path, which brings us back to the importance of the 1889 law. This legislation was passed in reaction to the ongoing quarrels accompanying the twin developments of industrialisation and urbanisation. In its discourse and implementation, this law fostered the emergence of the sprawledhomeownership model and is linked with the powers that were already established as well as with the ensuing practical politics. Some explanation is useful here. In the years preceding the 1889 law, Belgian politics had already shown a strong preference for private ownership. This was grounded in, first, the Napoleonic Code (1804), which specifies civil rights, including a nearly absolute protection of private property.
16 Understanding housing sprawl: the case of Flanders 1649 Second, it is based on the Constitution, which made Belgium a liberal state. And third, it is aligned with the growing power of the (bourgeois) Liberal Party, which sees private property as an essential part of its ideology. Together these powers became the guardians of private property. The second important political faction with considerable weight, the Catholics, did not develop an alternative option: on the contrary, its views also evolved in the direction of private homeownership, which was seen as an efficient tool by which to discipline the workers. As a consequence, by 1864, 82% of the land was privately ownedö and not by large landowners, but cut up in bits and pieces (Vanhaute, 1996). A final feature of the pre-1889 period is that the forces of opposition (the Socialist Party and the trade unions) were still either very dispersed (trade unions) or inexperienced (the Socialist Party). In parliament they had no power (the socialists would only enter parliament after the 1893 law). So in 1886, when the strikes and riots forced the homogeneous Catholic government to give up its noninterventionist stanceöa stance also supported by the liberalsöthe private property ideology was already deeply embedded in Belgian society. That it was to be consolidated and even reinforced is linked to two other tendencies. The first is the thrust of the two papal encyclicals, especially Rerum Novarum (1891), which declared ownership to be a right. Since then, the whole Catholic movement, but especially the Catholic (later Christian) trade union, founded in 1912, became a pro-homeownership bloc. Since the Catholic trade union was by far the most important trade union (especially in Flanders), its vision became the norm for housing policy. The second tendency is that since the end of the First World War, governments in Belgium (at all levels) have mostly been coalitions in which the Catholic portion has been the largest. This has two consequences: one is that the Catholic vision on housing could never be set aside; the other is that alternative visions could easily be blocked. References Auster P, 2004 The New York Trilogy (Faber and Faber, New York) AXA 2004, ``Een studie naar de houding van de Belg ten aanzien van wonen'' [A study on the attitudes of Belgians towards housing], Bengtsson B, Ruonavaara H, 2010, ``Introduction to the special issue. Path dependency in housing'' Housing, Theory and Society ^ 203 Boon L P, 1988 Memoires van Boontje [Memories of Boontje] (Arbeiderspers, Amsterdam) Bourdy L, Cabus P, Corijn E, De Rynck F, Kesteloot C, Loeckx A, 2003 De eeuw van de stad. Over stadsrepublieken en rastersteden [The century of the city. On city republics and grid cities], Ministerie van de Vlaamse Gemeenschap, Brussels Braem R,1968 Het lelijkste land ter wereld [The ugliest country in the world] (Davidsfonds, Leuven) Buyst E, 1992, `Àn economic history of residential building in Belgium between 1890 and 1961, Studies in Belgian Economic History 1'', Koninklijke Academie voor Wetenschappen, Letteren en Schone Kunsten van Belgie«, Brussels Cabus P, 1983, ``Het gewestplan en de verstedelijking'' [The district plan and urbanisation] GERV Berichten number 38, 57 ^ 100 De Caigny S, 2007 Bouwen aan een nieuwe thuis. Wooncultuur in Vlaanderen tijdens het Interbellum [Building on a new home. Housing culturen in Flanders between the wars], unpublished PhD, Department of History, Catholic University of Leuven, Leuven De Decker P, 1993, ``Ruimtelijk Structuurplan Vlaanderen. Deelproject Prognoses: Huisvesting'' [Spatial Structure Plan Flanders. Subproject prognoses: housing], report for KU Leuven Research and Development, Gent De Decker P, 1996, ``Doe-het-zelf. Over marktgericht huisvesten in een verzorgingsstaat'' [Do it yourself. On market-oriented housing in a welfare state] NieuwTijdschrift voor de Volkshuisvesting 2(6) 32 ^ 35 De Decker P, 2000,``Who benefits from housing subsidies in Flanders, Belgium?'', paper presented at the ENHR Conference, Ga«lve, June; copy available from the author De Decker P, 2001, ``Jammed between housing and property rights. Belgian private renting in perspective'' European Journal of Housing Policy 1(1) 17 ^ 40 De Decker P, 2002, ``On the rise of social rental agencies in Belgium'' Urban Studies ^ 326
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18 Understanding housing sprawl: the case of Flanders 1651 Heylen K, Le Roy M,Vanden Broucke S,Vandekerckhove B,Winters S, 2007,``Wonen invlaanderen. De resultaten van de woonsurvey 2005 en de uitwendige woningschouwing 2005'' [Housing in Flanders. The results of the 2005 housing survey], Kenniscentrum voor een Duurzaam Woonbeleid in opdracht van de Vlaamse gemeenschap, Brussels Janssens P, 1985, ``De ontwikkeling van de ruimtelijke ordening in Belgie«'' [The development of spatial planning in Belgium], in Ruimtelijke Planning Afl. 14, I.B.1., Van Loghum Slaterus, Antwerp Kesteloot C, 2003, ``Verstedelijking in Vlaanderen: problemen, kansen en uitdagingen voor het beleid van de 21ste eeuw'' [Urbanisation in Flanders: problems, chances and challenges for the 21st century], in De eeuw van de stad. Over stadsrepublieken en rastersteden Eds L Boudry, P Cabus, F De Rynck, C Kesteloot, A Loeckx, Vlaamse Gemeenschap, Brussels, pp 15 ^ 40 Keulen M, 2006, ``Interventie'' [Intervention], Stuk 824 (2005 ^ 2006), No. 5, Vlaams Parlement, Brussels Kleinman M, 1996 Housing, Welfare and the State in Europe: A Comparative Analysis of Britain, France and Germany (Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, Glos) Lancksweerdt E, Lavrysen L, 1988, ``De geschiedenis van de private huurwetgeving in het licht van de woonzekerheid'' [The history of the private rental legislation], in Wonen in (on)zekerheid [Living in (in)security], Eds B Hubeau, J Vande Lanotte (Kluwer, Antwerp) pp 19 ^ 62 Lis C, 1969, ``Woontoestanden en gangensaneringen te Antwerpen in het midden der 19de eeuw'' [Housing conditions and rationalisations in the mid-19th century in Antwerp] Belgisch Tijdschrift voor Nieuwste Geschiedenis 1(3/4) 93 ^ 131 Lis C, 1977, ``Proletarisch wonen in westeuropese steden in de 19de eeuw: van wildgroei naar sociale controle'' [Proletarian living in West European cities in the 19th century: from proliferation to social control] Belgisch Tijdschrift voor Nieuwste Geschiedenis 8(3/4) 325 ^ 366 Loeckx A, 2004, ``De eeuw van de stad'' [The century of the city], interview in Lokaal (May) pp10^13 Loris I, 2011, ``Woonaanbod in Vlaanderen'' [Housing supply in Flanders] Ruimte en Maatschappij 2(4) 72 ^ 86 Moortgat W,Vandekerckhove B, 2007, ``Ruimtelijke analyse van de migratie in en naar Vlaanderen [A spatial analysis of migration in and to Flanders] Ruimte en Planning 27(4) 6 ^ 17 Mougenot C, 1988, ``Promoting the single-family house in Belgium: the social construction of model housing'' International Journal of Urban and Regional Research ^ 547 Notteboom B, 2006, ``De verborgen ideologie van Jean Massart.Vertogen over landschap en (anti-) stedelijkheid in het begin van de twintigste eeuw'' [The hidden ideology of Jean Massart. Discourses on landscape and anti-urbanity in the early 20th century] Stadsgeschiedenis (1) 51 ^ 68 Peeters L, 1995, ``Voor steden en mensen. Beleidsbrief 1995'' [For cities and people. Policy note 1995], Ministerie van de Vlaamse Gemeenschap, Brussels Pehlivan F, 2003 Enkele reis Istanboel/Brussel [Single trip Istanbul/Brussels] (Houtekiet, Antwerp) Perceval P, Kruismans B, 2004 Belgie«voor beginners [Belgium for beginners] (Van Halewyck, Leuven) Polasky J, 2001, ``Een typisch Belgisch fenomeen: de werkmanstreinen en hun social-economische impact'' [A typical Belgian phenomenon: the workman's trains and their socio-economic impact], in Sporen in Belgie«[Railway tracks in Belgium], Eds B Van Der Herten, M Van Meerten, G Verbeurgt (Leuvense Universitaire Pers, Leuven) pp 322 ^ 335 Potte R, 2003, ``De weg is nog lang'' [The road is still long], interview in Knack 23 April, pp 44 ^ 46 Reynebeau M, 2010, ``De moed van zijn overtuiging'' [The courage of his belief] De Standaard 9 August Rowntree B S, 1910 Land and Labour: Lessons from Belgium (Macmillan, London) republished 2010 (Nabu Press, Charleston, SC) Saey P, 1988 De eerste generatie projecten van ruimtelijke ordening kop macro-niveau in Vlaanderen [The first-generation project on spatial planning at macrolevel in Flanders] Publicaties van het Seminarie voor Menselijke en Ekonomische Geografie, Gent Saunders P, 1990 A Nation of Homeowners (Unwin Hyman, London) Smets M, 1977 De ontwikkeling van de tuinwijkgedachte in Belgie«. Een overzicht van de Belgische volkswoningbouw 1830 ^ 1930 [The development of the garden neighbourhood idea in Belgium. A review of public housing in Belgium 1830 ^ 1930] (Mardaga, Brussels) Steensels W, 1977a, ``De tussenkomst van de overheid in de arbeidershuisvesting: Gent 1850 ^ 1904'' [The interference of the government in the housing of workers: Ghent 1850 ^ 1904] Belgisch Tijdschrift voor Nieuwste Geschiedenis ^ 500
19 1652 PDeDecker Steensels W, 1977b, ``M. Smets. De ontwikkeling van de tuinwijkgedachte in Belgie«'' [Smets. The development of the garden neighourhood idea in Belgium] Belgisch Tijdschrift voor Nieuwste Geschiedenis ^ 586 Stevaert S, 2003, ``Steve op de rooster'' [Steve on the grid], Socialist Party (SP.a), Brussels Studio Brussel, 2008, ``Wat vindt de jeugd tegenwoordig van zichzelf?'' [What does the youth of today think of itself?], Terhorst P J F, Van de Ven J C L, 1997, ``Fragmented Brussels and consolidated Amsterdam'', No. 223, Nederlandse Geografische Studies, Amsterdam Vandermotten C, Kesteloot C, Siegers K,Vanden Broucke L, Marissal P,Van Hamme G, Ippersiel B, De Bethune S, Naiken R, 2006 Dynamische analyse van de buurten in moeilijkheden in de Belgische stadsgewesten [Dynamic analysis of the poor neighbourhoods in the Belgian urban regions] (ULB, KUL, ICEDD, Brussels/Leuven) Van der Poel D C, 1958 Mens en woning in de gemeenschap [Man and housing in community] (G Van Saane, Amsterdam) Vandervelde E, 1903 L'exode rural et le retour aux champs [Rural flight and return to the fields], Bibliothe que ge ne rale des sciences sociales 16 (Alcan, Paris) Vanhaute E, 1996, ``Chacun est proprie taire ou espe re le devenir. Het grondbezit in Vlaanderen einde 19de-begin 20ste eeuw'' [Everybody is owner or expects to become one. Land property in Flanders at the end of the 19th, beginning of the 20th century] Belgisch Tijdschrift voor Nieuwste Geschiedenis ^ 131 Van Havre D, 1967, ``Verkavelingen en bodembeleid'' [Allotments and land policy] Stero 1(1) 13 ^ 20 Van Herck K, Avermaete T, 2006 Wonen in Welvaart. Woningbouw en wooncultuur in Vlaanderen, 1948 ^ 1973 [Housing in prosperity. House construction and housing culure in Flanders, 1948 ^ 1973] (Uitgeverij 010, Rotterdam) Van Isacker K, 1978 Mijn land in de kering 1830 ^ Deel 1: 1830 ^ 1914 [My land at the crossroad 1830 ^ Part 1: 1830 ^ 1914] (De Nederlandse Boekhandel, Antwerp) Van Istendael G, 1989 Het Belgisch labyrinth [The Belgian labyrinth] (Atlas, Amsterdam) Vanneste D, Thomas I, Goossens L, De Decker P, Laureys J, Laureyssen I, Que rriau X, Vanderstraeten L, Wevers W, 2007, ``Woning en woonomgeving in Belgie«'' [House and housing environment], FOD Economie, KMO, Middenstand en Energie, Algemene Directie Statistiek en Economische Informatie, Brussels Verhetsel A, Witlox F, Tierens N, 2003 Jongeren en wonen in Vlaanderen. Woonsituatie, woonwensen en woonbehoeften [Younsters and housing in Flanders. Housing condition, housing desires and housing needs] (De Boeck, Antwerp) Verhetsel A, Thomas I, Van Hecke E, Beelen M, 2007 Pendel in Belgie«. Deel 1: de woonwerkverplaatsingen [Commuting in Belgium. Part 1: house to work travel] (FOD Economische Zaken, KMO, Middenstand and Europa, Brussels) VerhoevenK, 2006,``Hethuisonzerdromen'' [Thehouse ofourdreams] De Standaard 16 December, pp 18 ^ 20 Verhofstadt G, 2002 De vierde golf [The fourth wave] (Houtekiet, Antwerp) Verleyen M, 2007, ``Voorloper van de file'' [The precursor of the file] Knack 7 March, pp 90 ^ 91 Voets J, De Peuter B,Vandekerckhove B, Broeckaert D, Le Roy M, Maes P, De Decker P, Bervoets W, van der Heyden R, Blummel P, 2010, ``Evaluerend onderzoek naar de effectiviteit van de uitvoering van het ruimtelijk beleid in Vlaanderen'' [An evaluation of the effectiveness of the execution of spatial planning in Flanders] Vlaamse Overheid/Departement Ruimtelijke Ordening, Woonbeleid en Onroerend Erfgoed/Afdeling Ruimtelijke Planning Weeber C, 1998 Het wilde wonen [Wild housing], (Uitgeverij 010, Rotterdam) Werkgroep Alternatieve Economie, 1977 Ongezond verbeterbaar [Unhealthy amendable] (Kritak, Leuven) Willems P, 2008 Migratiebewegingen in het Vlaamse gewest in de periode 1997 ^ 2006 [Migration movements in Flanders, 1997 ^ 2006] Studiedienst van de Vlaamse regering, Brussels Winters S, De Decker P, 2009, ``Wonen in Vlaanderen: over kwaliteit, betaalbaarheid en woonzekerheid'' [Housing in Flanders: on quality, affordability and security], in De Staat van Vlaanderen 2009 [The condition of Flanders 2009], Eds L Vanderleyden, M Callens, J Noppe, Studiedienst van de Vlaamse regering, Brussels, pp 199 ^ 234 Witte E, 1990 Politiek en democratie [Politics and democracy] (VUB Press, Brussels) Witte E, 2005, ``De doorbraak van een burgerlijk parlementair-constitutionele staat (1830 ^ 1848)'' [The breakthrough of a bourgeois state], in Politieke geschiedenis van Belgie«.Van1830 totheden [The political history of Belgium. From 1830 until now] Eds E Witte, J Craeybeckx, A Meynen (Standaard Uitgeverij, Antwerp) pp 17 ^ 64
20 Appendix Table A1. Market points relevant for understanding housing sprawl in Flanders. Date Category a Description Meaning/inheritance 1804 E Code Napoleon Civil Rights Law which has influenced, until the present day, the Belgian private rental legislation. Its concerns are a strong defence of property rights, and the contractual freedom and a supposed equality among landlords and tenants E Belgium becomes an independent state 1831 E Constitution Creating a liberal state ± weight on private ownership [candidature for elections and voting rights are linked to private (land)ownership] M Foundation of the national railway company Dense regular railway network M Introduction of the social railway tariff Introduction of cheap public transport so that workers could stay in their villages; it was to be the start of a policy lasting until today (including free commuting and fiscal deduction for commuters). Leading to the densification of the public transport network (first with trams, later buses) M Foundation of the national lightrailway company 1885 E Foundation of the Socialist Party 1886 E Strikes and lethal riots Fostered the first social law and housing law H First Housing Law Promotion of homeownership (legal base for the financing of social loans and the construction of social purchase dwellingsðfiscal rebates for owners) E Papal Letter Rerum Novarum First declaration of the head of the Catholic Church on the workers' problem; frame for the foundation of Catholic organisations (eg trade unions); landownership and homeownership are also workers rightsðwould become the ideological line of the Belgian Christian Workers Movement (CWM). The CWM encompasses, under the heading of antisocialism, the largest trade union, the most important health-insurance company; numerous midfield organisations (for youngsters, women, etc); represented in parliaments through the Catholic/Christian political parties E Law on General Plural Voting rights for men Broadening of voting rights to owners of small houses and those who have savings for obtaining their own house ± 1918 E First World War Severe war damagesðno coordinated and planned reconstruction; rebuilding house by house was underpinned by an individual grants. Understanding housing sprawl: the case of Flanders 1653