Country profile - (Belgium)

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Urbanisation in Belgium
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22 Dec 2010
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Belgium became highly urbanised and densely populated


Belgium has become highly urbanised and densely populated (2008: 349,4 inh/km2 overall, 455,7 for the Flemish Region, 205,2 for the Walloon Region, and 6496,9 for the Brussels-Capital Region), soil sealing increased and urban sprawl around major cities expanded. As a result, commuting (distance) increased. For instance, in the Brussels-Capital Region, about 53 % of the 680 000 employments are occupied by people living in the two other regions (2007).

More than 60 % of the commuters use their car to go to work.

Urbanisation results among others in increased soil sealing of the territory. This impermeability of soil has notable environmental impacts: reduced water provision for ‘phreatic water tables/surfaces’ and aquifers, restricted development of vegetation (which involves impacts on biodiversity, well-being, micro-climate) and increased flood risk.

The results of a study concerning the evolution of soil impermeability in and around the Brussels-Capital Region, based on spatial analysis and remote sensing, illustrates the magnitude of the phenomenon.

For Brussels and surroundings, the proportion of impermeable surfaces increased from 26 % in 1955 to 47 % in 2006.


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European Environment Agency (EEA)
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