ESPON Peer Learning Workshop: How to reach no net land take by 2050?



9 February 2022

Controlling the rate of urbanisation, its trajectories, and its consequences have a central role in achieving sustainability for the future of the planet. Rapid urbanisation generally outruns the provision of services and a decline of environmental quality ensues. One of the main objectives to reach long-term sustainability is to densify within already-built urban structures without hampering the environmental value and quality of its surroundings, and ultimately halting the further urbanisation of green areas (ESPON, 2020a).

This ESPON event will focus on how Luxembourg, as part of the Greater Region, can reach the objective of “No net land take” by 2050 (EC, 2016). The ongoing revision of their Master Programme for Spatial Planning will provide a strategic section with a horizon of 2035 and a long-term vision for 2050 (Eco-century project, 2021). At the moment, it is debated whether such a long-term objective on land take could be included and, if so, whether it could be broken down to the municipal level. Related to this, the Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research is currently preparing a report on land take in Luxembourg. It will provide an analysis of the drivers of land take in Luxembourg and offer data on past and current patterns. In addition, the Department of Spatial Planning of the Ministry of Energy and Spatial Planning has launched an urban-architectural and landscape consultation called Luxembourg in Transition. It aims at gathering strategic scenarios and developing pilot projects for the transition to a zero-carbon economy and society, in which the question of land take plays an important role. The results of both processes will inform the revision of the Master Programme.  

The event will address the following policy questions:  

  • What are the experiences of other countries or regions with quantitative targets for land take? 
  • How does the situation in Luxembourg compare with that of other European countries?  
  • Which (spatial) strategies, instruments, and mechanisms (financial, fiscal and economic) could be used, at national and local level, to limit and contain land-take? 
  • How can a no net land take target be combined with the urgent need to build more housing (considering the demand for housing in Luxembourg and rising prices)? 


EC (2016). Future Brief: No net land take by 2050? Science for Environmental Policy. European Commission. April 16 Issue 14. ISBN 978-92-79-45739-5
ESPON (2020a). Topic paper – Sustainable development and climate change resilience: ESPON evidences. Published in March 2020. Available online:
Eco-century project (2021). Luxembourg in Transition – Spatial Visions for the zero-carbon and resilient future of the Luxembourg functional region. Le gouvernement du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, Ministère de l’Énergie et de l’Aménagement du territoire. Webpage:


French versions 


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