"By building the right living environment, we can solve a lot of problems"
Erik Wieërs - Flemish Government Architect
Problems come together spatially
Wieërs is a strong advocate of more collective living and the creation of collective spaces, where people have the opportunity to meet. Numerous contemporary challenges can be solved this way, according to the Vlaamse Bouwmeester.
"Water management and drought, softening and greening, mobility and affordable housing, loneliness and aging – all these problems come together spatially. By building the right living environment, you can solve many of these problems. There is little reflex to deal with the theme spatially. Every municipality should have a spatial strategy to deal with these challenges, but it is not often enough on the agenda.
There is a need for more spatial direction. Local governments lack the know-how and the tools to tackle the challenges of smart & sustainable living. I call for a shift from “rules” to “guidelines”. Despite all the existing regulations, we are not succeeding in reducing the economic pressure on our living environment. Rather, the municipalities should be supported by specialists, who help think about a future plan for the environment."
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