What impact do land use changes have in an urbanized Flanders? How can this impact be calculated? And what advantages does green space have for people and society?

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The Nature Value Explorer answers these questions. The free online tool quickly calculates the social benefits of green-blue measures. Local and regional authorities - from urban planners and conservation managers to schools - can use the tool.

The tool, developed by VITO and UAntwerpen, provides insight into the benefits that vegetation and water can offer. Think of cooling, infiltration, air and water purification and recreation, all of which benefit human wellbeing.

The Nature Value Explorer calculates these benefits in urban as well as rural areas. The results show the impact of land use changes, the added value of nature-based solutions, the benefits of management measures or the benefits of green development projects. The calculation uses pragmatic methods developed in various scientific projects and is based on existing spatial data - for example, geographical data for Flanders. The Nature Value Explorer is compatible with various existing planning methods.

The Nature Value Explorer has been updated several times over the past ten years. Urban planners and landscape architects often use sophisticated software for their plans. They can now upload their plans very easily via binary files (shapefiles). Making the tool even more user-friendly.

There are also new adjustments in the pipeline. For example, VITO is testing a module for measuring ecological value. We will also provide a separate results page with health effects.

The tool also has potential on the climate front. Many local authorities have committed themselves to fight climate change by setting concrete goals. With the Nature Value Explorer they are able to calculate the effect of local green-blue measures, especially in the field of climate adaptation: cooling and water retention.


Find out more about the Nature Value Explorer