Profile of Mr Nicolas Dewulf Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Nicolas Dewulf

Msc. Human Geography, Msc. International Politics. PhD Researcher in Mobility and Spatial Planning (case Brussels). Great aficionado of specific subgenres of rock and metal. Guitarist in a band called Chiaroscuro. Frequent visitor of concerts. Proud Ghentian. Traveller. Wanderer.

General research interests

Sustainable mobility, transport poverty, spatial mismatch hypothesis, regular/reverse commuting, jobs-housing balance, density-diversity-design, urban livability, world cities, transition, geopolitics, critical urban studies etc.

PhD/Postdoctoral Research Title


PhD Abstract

This research examines the hypothesis of a twofold socio-spatial mismatch between working and living in the Brussels metropolitan area (BMA). This mismatch is expressed both between the Brussels Capital Region (BCR) and its hinterland and within the BCR itself. In this observation, the rising demand of high-skilled workforce in Brussels’ city centre is associated with the increasing removal of lowskilled jobs from the urban core, which often relocate towards its hinterland.
The BCR contains a high share of low-skilled inhabitants for whom access to the labour market becomes restricted and adequate job offer is insufficient, especially within the neighbourhoods where these groups live. Moreover, the Brussels metropolitan area is facing a double challenge in the predicted demographic boom and diversification and in the increasingly burdening issues of congestion, pollution and overall liveability. Ever since, Brussels has known an important incoming commuter flow from the adjacent regions Flanders and Wallonia, although apparently the so-called ‘reverse commute’ is less well-developed. Besides, current car commuting patterns towards Brussels have a great impact on urban residents’ environment, while central neighbourhood gentrification seems to contribute continuously to shrinkage of the already small low-skilled inner-urban job market. To conclude, socially and spatially, this mismatch translates to urban liveability problems.
From the perspective of this double mismatch and by assorting implications for transport and urban development, strategies of city densification, mixed land use, and a more efficient mobility system based on transit-oriented development (TOD), will be assessed. These strategies, coined as key drivers of increased liveability of city and residents, require cross-regional policy collaboration in an overarching metropolitan vision.