Within the context of a country whose city centres are emptied, and whose urban periphery is rapidly urbanizing, our department conducts research on the urban and landscape design but also on the historical and cultural aspects of these developments. It is particularly interested in the horizontal urbanization of the metropolitan area.
The development of the delicately ramified urban system which has interacted over many centuries with the underlying spatial structure, demands dynamic but also complex forms of urban governance and a specific kind of tool box. Prominent topics in the contemporary debate about urbanism —such as housing policy, sustainable energy, distribution and transport networks, heritage, biodiversity and nature conservation— stand for the most vital urban and landscape design challenges. These cannot any more be translated into the specific recipes of the compact city.
Expertise and vision on the problems of the ‘horizontal metropolis’, of the representation of the city or of non-western urban planning is acquired in both study commissions and research projects, as well as through exhibitions, symposia, books and publications. Labo S is the research laboratory for design based and policy oriented research in urban design and urbanism within our department. Various department members also participate in the interdisciplinary research of the Ghent Urban Studies Team (GUST).