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The ring should become a vital residential area.  |  Ghent

The ring should become a vital residential area. | Ghent

There is finally life again in The Loop. The district – which originally had a football field, an outlet center and several offices – would have a very different future, with living space and greenery. Offices and shops will, of course, still be present as well, but in a less prominent form.

At one time, the entire site was simply called Flanders Expo, then the Handelsbeurs Site, and later still The Loop. In the early 2000s, an agency in Amsterdam laid out a plan for the future. Offices will be built on an area of ​​285,000 square meters along the western side of Pégoudlaan, and on an area of ​​90,000 square meters along the eastern side, leisure facilities and large retail outlets will be established. In the original plans, even the KAA Gent football stadium would have a place there.

20 years later, Ikea is on site next to the exhibition halls of the Flanders Expo, and quite a few offices already. Most of the area is still rested. Between Flanders Expo and Ikea a deep concrete pit, where the parking garage for the huge outlet center will come. But this outlet center was already quite old before the stone was ever moved, and since then it has been completely removed. So a new future had to be sought, and above all an agreement had to be reached with the various landowners. It finally worked last year. Now there is a vision for the future.

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This was the plan once: a large outlet center in The Loop, between Ikea and Flanders Expo (design (c) Arch & Teco and OYO) © Wannes Nimmegeers

This is where life comes in noticeably. Mayor Mathias De Clercq says: “In the previous plans, ‘residential’ was always provided, but then on the edge of the site. Now it will be more centrally located. Of course there will also be space for offices, shops and entertainment. But by planning everything in a more way Concentration, there will also be space for greenery and water, and there will also be gardens.”


Today, The Loop is essentially a highway between the E40 and the R4. In order to develop a new vision for the future, the City of Ghent, developers, landowners and other stakeholders had to agree in collaboration with the study team ORG Urbanism, LiPS and Rasschaert Advocaten.

The site itself focuses on different forms of mobility, with points where users move from one mode of transport to another, better developed public and/or group transport and a network of motorways, cycling and walking paths. Pégoudlaan will continue to be a link between the E40 and the R4. What the neighborhood will really look like and what it will be where, has not yet been determined. Building on the ideas, the city must now develop a new Spatial Implementation Plan (RUP). In the meantime, the temporary fillings will be used as a test for the final fillings.