“Betonstop” (clampdown on construction projects) dashboard
In December last year we heard a lot about the new zoning measure nicknamed “betonstop”. The objective is to allow no additional constructions by 2040. Construction works at Flemish level currently cover about 6 hectares per day. By 2025 this should be reduced to 3 hectares per day.
The details about the plan are available in the 'Witboek Beleidsplan Ruimte Vlaanderen' (White Paper Policy Plan for Spatial Planning in Flanders). This is a PDF of 117 pages where all objectives are described. A document is useful and necessary, but following up whether ambitious objectives are attained requires other measures. And an article in the newspaper every 6 months where a report after the facts is presented won’t help either.
Something that could be useful is a dashboard, where all relevant data are displayed in one overview. The dashboard can collect data from different sources, and present a state of affairs at a single glance, relevant for all parties involved, including citizens.
A dashboard could look as follows (It's interactive so you can click on it!):
Follow up Witboek Beleidsruimte Vlaanderen (White Paper Policy Plan for Spatial Planning in Flanders)
What are the objectives we have to be able to follow up on the dashboard? The White Paper contains the following strategic objectives:
Strategic objective 1: Reduce additional constructions The additional average daily constructions will be reduced to 0 hectares by 2040. Increasing the return on space in existing constructed areas is more attractive than spatial expansion.
According to some articles there is currently still about 72,000 hectares of available building land. And only 24,000 hectares of this total shall actually be built on. The owners of the other 48,000 hectares shall be compensated in some way. This compensation is budgeted at €1.5 billion.
Another strategic objective by 2050 is a fifth less paved areas in rural areas, insofar as these still exist in Flanders. This should mainly be achieved by taking down old sheds and stables. In the cities nothing has to be demolished, but no additional buildings may be built.
Strategic objective 5: Robust open space The pavement levels in land use areas for agriculture, nature and forests shall be reduced by at least 1/5th in 2050 compared to 2015.
For the model dashboard we included the following objectives:
- The average daily additional construction (6ha in 2014, 3ha/day by 2025, 0ha/day in 2040)
- Percentage of construction levels in Flanders (27.2% in 2015)
- Additional nature and forest (30,000 ha by 2025)
- Available building land (24,000ha in 2014)
- Conversion building land to green land use (objective 48,000 ha)
- Cost for conversion of building land (estimated at 1.5 billion)
In order to guarantee adequate follow up, a target at Flemish level alone will not suffice. Every municipality or district will have to present specific objectives, adapted to their circumstances. For example, in an area where only a small amount of building land is available, the challenge will not be to restrict constructions.
Ideally, the dashboard should also contain initiatives which increase the return on space, allowing for this to be followed up visually. The initiatives which are contained in the white paper are e.g. intensification, re-use, temporary use of space and interweaving. This is how a good mixture can be made of actions to be followed up, and effects to be followed up.
Support with open data
Can we check the figures from the different articles on ‘betonstop’ with open data? And can the open data be used to follow up the evolution?
The maps of the provincial boundaries, districts and municipalities are available as GML and Shapefile at Geopunt. After some conversion we can use them in Power BI. For the model dashboard we start with the districts.
Under Directorate General Statistics we find the Ground Occupancy according to the Land Register. The data are also available per district. The data are available per year and the last data are from 2015.
So open data are not available for all objectives, and the available data do not present the most up-to-date picture. In order to be a real useful instrument, the dashboard must be fed with more recent data.
The current dashboard offers only a limited functionality and is only a simple prototype to give a more concrete idea of how dashboarding could contribute. It is a visual representation of the current open data.
Today there are many options of working with dashboards.
Interested in knowing more?
Thomas Michem & Thomas D'Hauwe