Out of the ownership research, the following primarily conclusions could be made concerning how ownership forms urban development in Antwerp as well as in Rotterdam.


First, the team focused on the question: Who owns the ground and who owns the buildings? Already here the main difference between the case studies in Antwerp and Rotterdam became apparent. In Antwerp, the ownership of a property is clearly defined: in most cases a person owns (a part of) the building as well as (a part of) the ground, whereas in the Netherlands ownership is more diffuse:, land and building are not necessarily owned by the same person.



building block in Antwerp





building block in Rotterdam


Having established this first conclusion, the team looked, for both case studies, how do-it-yourself developments, concerning housing, in the areas evolved. Due to the difference in ownership, also the positions or roles of the players in housing development are very different. As in Antwerp property is seen as a long-term investment, the house slowly develops over time, related to the personal needs the owners may have. In Rotterdam ownership itself is seen as the long-term investment and the actual property is more seen as consumption good. Therefore, if the personal life of the owner changes, people tend to move to another house, which offers a solution to the new needs for space they have. The difference in costs and taxes of buying a house in Belgium (rather high) and the Netherlands (rather low) adds to the difference in developments between both countries.


Looking at developments in public of collective urban spaces, initiated by the inhabitants of the district, the team found more communal initiatives (energy cooperation, libraries, temporary gardens, etc.) in the Dutch case study. Looking from the owners’ perspective, this community building around urban developments seems logic. As nobody expects to live in their house for a longer period, the cost for larger investments, which are also beneficial for a larger group, are better shared in a community. Furthermore, by creating a community, it is easier for public services or entrepreneurs to also invest.

Of course both cities can learn from the other’s urban development strategy, but for them to be successfully implemented, not only a cultural shift, but also changes in taxes and regulations towards ownership need to take place first. 


schipperskwartier BewonersA4.ai

developments in Antwerp




developments in Rotterdam