The complexity and multifunctional aspect of an estate does not coincide with the mono functional approach of zoning plans and the sectoral organization of government institutions and their respective policy instruments. One estate can be subjected to policies concerning agriculture, heritage, nature, forest, spatial planning, environment, building regulations and so on. Discrepancies between two or more of these policy instruments are not the exception and block the development possibilities of the estates.

What could be described as a general issue in Western society today, manifests itself very clearly in estates across Europe. Without a holistic approach it will be impossible to create the right environment for the development and survival of these estates. Specific adaptions of policy instruments and the creation of alignments between two instruments are valuable but a thorough cross sectoral organization and assessment-strategy is needed to activate their full potential.   



One of the projects our research unit is involved in addresses 4 specific policy instruments connected to rural estates in 4 regions across Europe.  ‘Innocastle’ aims to improve the implementation of the instruments by addressing the instrument, its cross-sectoral context and the level of collaboration between the different stakeholders.

The addressed regions and policies are:

  • Romania: Regional Operational Program 2014-2020 - Investment Priority 5.1.
  • Flanders: Decree of immovable Heritage.
  • Extremadure: Operational program for Extremadura objective 6.3.1.
  • Gelderland: Policy program culture and heritage.

Within the team of five international partners, our research unit is developing the general research methodology for this project and together with the immovable heritage agency and the province of West-Flanders we are responsible for the implementation of the project within the Bulskamp region as well. 


More information: Bert De Roo / Sylvie Van Damme