Exploring the ambiguous socio-spatial potential of collective heating in Flanders. Planning and design as lever for a sustainable energy transition

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Energy networks have supported and reproduced Flanders’
dispersed urbanization, but today this energy-intensive landscape
is running into its ecological and societal limits. As a part of the
energy transition, a pluralization of heating solutions is emerging
in the region. Collective heating systems introduce logics of
proximity, spatial selectivity and collectivity into this landscape
characterized by dispersion, ubiquity of services and individualism.
This paper explores what spatial and socio-political questions are
at stake in the transition to a fossil-free heating system: can it
support proximity-based spatial development and energy
democracy or will it contribute to socio-spatial fragmentation and
exclusion? These potentials and risks are revealed through an indepth
case study of the city-region of Roeselare, based on
scenario and design workshops with stakeholders. The research
indicates that spatial planning and design have a key role in
visualizing the spatial and socio-political potentials of the heat
transition, by identifying opportunities for collective solutions at
multiple scales, connecting energy strategies with other spatial
questions and imagining more inclusive governance models.
Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)1901-1921
Aantal pagina's21
TijdschriftEuropean Planning Studies
Nummer van het tijdschrift10
StatusPublished - 2 okt 2020

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