From SIF to City Fund: a new direction for urban policy in Flanders, Belgium

Maarten Loopmans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


For years, analysts have wondered about the exceptional place that Belgium, and in particular Flanders, has taken in the urban policy landscape. Contrary to neighbouring, equally strongly urbanised Western European countries, Flanders maintained a tradition of neglect towards its urban centres, linked to the hegemony of a rural-based Christian-democratic party. In the 1990's, this tradition was converted into an urban policy approach which, equally at odds with developments towards urban entrepreneurialism in other Western European countries, remained strongly oriented towards social policy. Only in 1999, when, for the first time in 50 years Christian-democrats resigned from government, the Flemish discourse took a more pro-urban and entrepreneurial approach. This paper shows how this discursive shift at the regional scale is reflected in local urban policy-making practices and warns against the detrimental social effects it might have on the field.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-225
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Housing and the Built Environment
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2007


  • City Fund
  • Entrepreneurial urban policies
  • Flanders
  • social policy
  • urban policy


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