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Built-up area

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Almost 29% of the total area is built-up

At the start of 2022, 3,936 km² of the Flemish Region was built-up, which corresponds to 28.9% of the total surface area (13,626 km2). This mainly concerns plots occupied by dwellings and roads, including adjacent spaces used for human activities.

The built-up area increases every year. In 2000, 24.4% of the total surface area was built-up, in 2022 that proportion was more than 4 percentage points higher.

Nearly half of built-up area used for housing

The residential function occupies the largest share of the built-up area: in 2022, 44% of the built-up area was used for housing. Land for transport and telecommunications also accounted for a significant proportion of the built-up area. In 2022, it amounted to 29.8%.

In 2022, 39 Flemish municipalities had a building rate of 50% or more. The building rate is the proportion of the total surface area that is built on. A proportion of 50% or more was the case in the major cities of Antwerp and Ghent, in some of their peripheral municipalities and in some municipalities in the north eastern periphery around Brussels. In the central cities of Ostend, Leuven, Genk, Bruges and Roeselare, the building rate was also higher than 50%. The region Roeselare - Kortrijk - Waregem was also remarkably more densely built-up than average. The building rate was lowest in the Westhoek, Meetjesland and south Limburg.

Brussels Region has highest building rate

The building rate is highest in the Brussels-Capital Region. In 2022, 80.4% of the surface area of this region was built-up. With 15.6%, the Walloon Region had the lowest building rate.

In all regions, the share of built-up area increased between 1990 and 2022. This increase was most pronounced in the Flemish Region.

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