Diagnosis - Research by Design

The current urban challenges in Brussels do not only relate to the pentagon, the first belt, or the dense and highly urbanised districts. The urban issues are also present in the outskirts of and around Brussels, including the second belt and beyond. The area between 2.5 km inward and 5 km outward from the regional border could be called “the 20th century outskirts of and around Brussels “. Not strictly a suburb, not strictly the periphery, not just a peri-urban environment or just the second belt, but a bit of everything in one.

This atypical part of the territory has many urban and social challenges, including mobility, the environment and health, and the quality and affordability of housing. We see the two regions of Brussels and Flanders that are intertwined with each other but deal with an issue such as the pressure of urbanisation in a completely different way.

We are looking for possible development scenarios for the transformation of this area into more sustainable and high-quality neighbourhoods. How does this area function today and how can we deal with the challenges we face in a robust way in the future?


Labo Ruimte (Department Omgeving and Team Vlaams Bouwmeester), in collaboration with the Brussels Region (perspective.brussels and the Brussels bouwmeester maître architecte), is launching an analytical and prospective research project about the qualitative transformation of the built-up urban fabric in the 20th-century outskirts of and around Brussels. We are looking for an exploration team that will take on a large part of this research task. The exploration team plays a different role in the three phases of the mission:
•  Phase 1 DIAGNOSIS (9 months): creation of a GIS database, creation of an atlas and formulation of a long list of research questions in the form of motivated key issues and cases.
•  Phase 2 COORDINATION (6 months): supervision and coordination of various research by design studies that explore in depth the selected key issues and cases and investigate their transformation and transition potential in a research by design process. These studies will be the subject of separate tenders.
• Phase 3 SYNTHESIS (4 months): synthesis of the insights and preview at operational transformation strategies.

The minimum skills to be demonstrated for this assignment are as follows:

•  Experience in processing key figures and GIS data into a database
•  Experience in the development of clear cartography on a regional scale
•  Experience with Flemish and Brussels spatial planning tools
•  Experience with design research on a regional scale
•  Bilingualism French-Dutch


•  Week of October 14: 3 to 5 teams will be invited to submit a tender;
•  28 November 2019: submission of the tenders (team note, intention note, methodology, price);
•  6 December: oral presentation of the tenders to the Advisory Committee;
•  January 2020: assignment and start of the mission.

The contracting authority’s language for this assignment is Dutch. The tender documents must therefore be written in Dutch.


•  Quality of the intention note (20%)
•  Quality of the methodology (30%)
•  Team note (10%)
•  Price (40%)

The estimated value of the assignment is a maximum of €140,000 excluding VAT.

This call is made via the Team Vlaams Bouwmeester. Interested parties can register via the website of the Team Vlaams Bouwmeester until 10 October 2019, 12 noon.