Unlocking the potential of collective spaces in the peri-urban condition. Defining a theoretical framework and exploring intervention strategies for the horizontal metropolis: the case of South-West Flanders.

The PhD-research project seeks to unlock the potential of collective space in a peri-urban condition. In recent discourses on transformation of contemporary cities in a European context, the dichotomy between urban and rural has been replaced by a new paradigm of peri-urbanity. Because of this paradigm shift, the meaning and role of collective spaces within the horizontal metropolis need to be reframed and tools of intervention related to collective space within this peri-urban landscape need to be redefined. This PhD-research develops a framework to define the notion of collective spaces in peri-urban conditions, focusing on the relation between public and private properties, models of accessibility and permeability, the level of programming and resulting adjacencies, the level of integration and spatial qualities of the peri-urban landscape. This framework is operationalized by the exploration of case studies using the method of “eclectic atlases”, focusing on the peri-urban fabric of South-West Flanders. The exploration should reveal the mechanisms of influence between the peri-urban condition and its collective spaces. Finally, new strategies of intervention will be explored and developed, this way new insights will be added to the discourse of the horizontal metropolis. The research will register, map, develop insights, discuss and push forward the notion of collective space in the peri-urban condition using fieldbooks, papers, workshops, design-based research studios and finally an exhibition and publication as carriers for renewed approach in both the theoretical, practice and education.

PhD project, Maarten Gheysen (prom. prof. Kris Scheerlinck, co-prom. Erik Van Daele)