BELGIUM: ESPON infoday - URBAN issue, territorial scenarios and Vision, ESPON tool box: towards EU 2050

The event took place on 19 November 2014, 9h-16h, in the Ministère de la Région de Bruxelles-Capitale (MRBC), Salle IRIS , Centre de Communication Nord (CCN), first floor, rue du Progrès 80, 1030 Bruxelles

The event was organised by the Belgian ESPON Contact Point and dedicated to Belgian stakeholders has been focused on urban issues, territorial scenarios and Vision and ESPON toolbox.

The event was dedicated to:

  • The EU urban agenda: The urban issue at global, European, national and infranational levels, Metropolis, big cities, small and medium size towns
  • Scenarios and Vision for EU 2050: Which future for the European Union towards 2050, and how much weight should be given to the territorial issues? What are the baseline trends, what are the potential alternatives, with mid term (2030) and long term (2050) time horizons ? What is a ideal Territorial Vision of the future of the European Union, an aim towards which we would develop innovative and relevant pathways, at different levels of governance? Territory matters, 2050 is close, and European visions and strategies should be ambitious and not territorially blind.

The future EU presidencies 2015 (Latvia and Luxembourg) want to launch the discussion on the visioning process for Europe, and the urban thematic is a crucial one (more details here). The Dutch EU presidency (2016) will also have a focus on an urban ‘rolling on’ agenda.

Main conclusions from the event:

V. Biot, BE ECP (ULB /IGEAT), introduced the day by presenting the ESPON program in general, as many participants did not know yet a lot about ESPON (around 70 participants were presents). Then M. De Bruijn, from DG Regio, presented the EU Urban agenda, introducing the thematic of the morning: urban issue, from global to local.

First G. Van Hamme (ULB/IGEAT) was presenting results from the project ESPON TIGER, cities and regions of Europe in a global world, then L. Servillo (KUL/ASRO) presented the ESPON project TOWN, on small and medium size towns.
After the coffee break, Valérie Biot (ULB/IGEAT), partner of the project in charge of territorial vision building and pathways, presented the ESPON project ET 2050, explaining how the project was built, from scientific and value based processes, and what where the most striking results.

ET2050 was delivering an impressive amount of results from 4 scenarios, a baseline and 3 exploratory scenarios, with different time horizons (2030,2050) and several alternatives and variants, using different models, qualitative and quantitative. The project was also developing with stakeholders a territorial vision illustrating a desirable future for the European territory, and potential pathways to implement strategies towards this aim (more detailed information available here).

H. Van Delden (RIKS, METRONAMICA model) partner of the ET 2050 project in charge of land use model, was then presenting concrete results on impacts on land use according to different scenarios, and illustrated it with an example focusing on the Belgian territory.

The afternoon was dedicated on the toolbox ESPON, with the help of B Le Rubrus (UNI J Fourier, FR) and R Ysebaert (UMS RIATE, FR), who gave a general information about existing tools, and delivered a detailed presentation about ESPON database portal and Hyper Atlas.

To close the day BE ECP V. Biot reminded participants that this was an important moment in strategic term: BE and the North West area should not miss the opportunity to reflect on their future, using result from different ESPON projects and having in mind the ‘Making Europe open and polycentric’ document delivered by ET 2050 project. The involvement of the 3 next EU presidencies (2015 and 2016) in Vision making process at EU level, with a focus on the urban thematic, has been clearly expressed in several occasions.

Additional materials: ESPON, Making EuropeOpen and Polycentric, ET2050 Draft Final Report

More detailed information is published on the website of the Belgian ECP.