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Transition towards sustainability: Dutch greenhouse parks as a touchstone for Flemish clustering experiments


  • Verguts, V.
  • Dessein, Joost
  • Lauwers, Ludwig H.


Greenhouse horticulture can play a major role in Flemish rural development, regional economy and employment. However, the sector deals with structural problems. Scale increase of greenhouse firms is required for economic reasons, but high investments and risks make this quasi unsupportable for individual farmers. Clustering greenhouses into greenhouse parks is a possible way out. Through collaboration and mutual material exchanges, firms enjoy scale effects and eco-efficiency is enhanced without individual enlargement. The government is planning pilot projects to investigate possibilities of greenhouse parks in Flanders. Obviously, many obstacles are faced, such as spatial planning, coordination of policy levels and institutions and interactions with different stakeholders, e.g. local people, environmentalists, the distribution sector. Moreover, the mere set-up of such a high impact process is a challenge. We look at similar projects, implemented in the Netherlands in order to obtain a better view on possibilities, critical success factors, triggers and threats for greenhouse parks in Flanders. Dutch cases of successes and failures are explored by case study research. After the first data gathering round, only preliminary results are presented. Different concepts such as transition and system innovation are used as theoretical lenses in the analysis. In a later phase of the research, information and lessons learned from Dutch projects will be combined with research data of Flanders. First results indicate the importance of “Related activities in the neighbourhood”, “Land”, “Financial conditions”, “Role of different policy levels”, “Support of stakeholders”, “Collaboration” and “Process specific parameters”.

Suggested Citation

  • Verguts, V. & Dessein, Joost & Lauwers, Ludwig H., 2008. "Transition towards sustainability: Dutch greenhouse parks as a touchstone for Flemish clustering experiments," 2008 International Congress, August 26-29, 2008, Ghent, Belgium 43602, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:eaae08:43602

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rotmans, J., 2005. "Societal Innovation: between dream and reality lies complexity," ERIM Inaugural Address Series Research in Management 7293, Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam..
    2. X. Gellynck & G. Van Huylenbroeck & G. Rogiers, 2005. "Greenhouse concentration and sustainable horticulture in densely populated areas," International Journal of Agricultural Resources, Governance and Ecology, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 4(1), pages 24-44.
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    Greenhouse parks; transition; Resource /Energy Economics and Policy;

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