Beyond the dots in TODs. Analysing Transit Oriented Development in networked rural-urban places. 01/10/2018 - 30/09/2022


Transit-oriented development (TOD) has come to great prominence within contemporary planning policies in Europe and North-America. As a model, it calls for an integration of transport and urban planning, forwarding public transport as the backbone for urban development in order to curtail sprawl while still facilitating today's mobile society. Yet, TOD research and practice are based on a normative approach dividing urban from rural qualities and preferring static radial-concentric models to dynamic network-urbanisation relations. Consequently, current TOD analysis and planning are limited to a radius around the station to be filled in with compact urban typologies and homogeneous densities. This normative frame leads to problematic, a-contextual analyses of, and interventions in, relations between rural-urban places and mobility. Beyond the dots in TODs will contribute to a sustainable planning approach in networked rural-urban places by developing an analytical frame focusing on dynamic relations instead of static modeling as well as producing knowledge on rural-urban places apt to work with hybridity instead of omitting it. More specifically, the research will analyse interactions between rail network development, commuting, and processes of rural-urban urbanisation in a long term perspective. The research project will develop a historical analysis of site-specific socio-spatial development in one of the most sprawled territories in Europe – Flanders – in order to further knowledge on heterogeneous and dynamic network-urbanisation relations, unravelling a reality that is far more complex than homogeneous density dots and circular growth models. By reconstructing relations between rail, commuting, and urbanisation, combining quantitative and qualitative methods from transport geography, urban planning and urban history, the project opens up ways for dynamic and place-specific planning strategies beyond current dots in TODs.


Research team(s)

Project type(s)

  • Research Project