Flemish Government Architect’s scan: Lede

Flanders faces the challenge of transforming its cities and villages into sustainable living envi-ronments. The Flemish Government Architect’s design and policy 'scans' will serve to kick-start the transition. We examined six municipalities in a multidisciplinary team (among them 2DVW Architecten). One of these is Lede.

Lede's core strength

Lede is a municipality with almost 19,000 inhabitants in East Flanders, situated in the Ghent - Dendermonde - Denderleeuw triangle. Lede, like many other Belgian municipalities, is characterized by ribbon development, but differs from other rural centres in its large number of inhabitants. The municipality is expected to continue to grow in the coming years due to its favourable location in the Flemish Diamond, the urbanised area between Brussels, Ghent, Antwerp and Leuven. Lede itself also has a lot to offer — despite its central location, Lede has a rural character, with many agricultural plots and greenery.


Lede is well connected to the metropolitan areas of Aalst and Ghent due to its proximity to the E40-highway and its rail connection. This makes Lede popular as a residential municipality. Its residents have ample access to greenery, and various river valleys and forest complexes that are valueable landscape-wise are spread out across the municipality. Lede has the opportunity to make this greenery more experienceable by creating a continuous recreational-ecological network, allowing its residents to actively enjoy the rural character.


Lede’s special, central location within the Flemish Diamond offers not only opportunities, but also challenges. The urbanisation pressure from Ghent, Aalst and the more distant Brussels causes ribbon development, which leads to a highly fragmented open space. Open space is of strategic importance for the municipality, and it is therefore up to Lede to transform this fact into an opportunity: instead of further wastage, Lede can use growth to strengthen centres and thus work towards a more sustainable form of urbanisation. Furthermore, the car has a dominant position in the municipality, which comes at the expense of quality of life, attractiveness and sustainability. It is important to integrate the station into Lede’s urban network in order to expand the position of public transport.


In order to optimally both preserve and strengthen Lede’s core strength, a rural character in the middle of the Flemish Diamond, we have defined the following three ambitions for Lede:

  • Healthy and efficient mobility between and in the centres. Ambitious policy should ensure that active modalities, meaning cyclists and pedestrians, are promoted, while car traffic is discouraged. In the centre of Lede, the focus is on the node value of Lede station and an extensive slow network to connect the most important destinations. At regional level, the aim is a functional bicycle route network and a wide-raging recreational network for a better experience of the green public space.
  • From further ribbon development to a sustainable form of urbanisation. For the built environment, core reinforcement is the most important task, through both a reduction of ribbon development and a densification strategy for the cores. In order to work towards a more sustainable form of urbanisation, the focus will be on the locations with the highest node value and the highest level of facilities — the core of Lede, and in particular the area around the station.
  • Farmers and farm owners as active administrators of the open space. By opting for an integral link between agriculture, nature and recreation, the functions of the open space are linked, so that multiple and intensive use of space is possible in combination with sufficient space for nature. The deployment of administrators means that space is no longer tacitly lost due to fragmentation.