Residential Environments and Life Perspectives (B-REL): a multidisciplinary inquiry into housing aspirations and perceptions of living conditions in the Brussels Capital Region (2017-2020)

P.PUL (KU Leuven), Cosmopolis (Centre for Urban Research), CEMESO (Culture, Emancipation, Media & Society), VUB 

This research project starts from the observation that people from middle and higher income groups leave the Brussel Capital Region and that this erodes the fiscal base of the region. The overall aim of this project is to motivate these groups to stay in Brussels as well as to attract interesting newcomers. In this project we examine the actual dwelling environments in Brussels, but also the perception by people of Brussels as a living environment. These material and mental conditions are linked together by means of an analysis of socio-economic and cultural conditions that affect people’s decisions to move or stay.

Research questions

  1. What are the characteristics of actual and potentially available dwelling environments?
  2. What are the socio–economic and cultural profiles of entrants, stayers and leavers?
  3. What are the perceptions of the Brussels Capital Region as a residential area?


  1. Gain insight in (1) people’s aspirations and motives to move/stay in/leave Brussels and (2) the dwelling environments in those areas.
  2. Develop a socio-demographic, mental and material topology of inward, local and outbound residential mobility in the Brussels Capital Region.
  3. Formulate recommendations and propose actions to city marketeers that take account of both actual living conditions in Brussels and the perceptions on this conditions by specific target groups.
  4. Give advise to policy makers based on successful local and foreign housing developments for the target groups identified (incl. their socio-economic characteristics and perceptions).


Innoviris (Anticipate Programme)


Brussels Capital Region, residential environments, residential mobility, perceptions, socioeconomic determinants, place marketing.