Everyone spontaneously thinks of “the market” when they think of the center of a municipality. Anyone who has ever visited an American city knows that this is usually not so obvious over there: where’s is “the center” of Los Angeles, San-Francisco, New York … ?
It becomes something completely different if you define the center as “the heart” of the city. Then you suddenly have a value judgment: the place that best represents the identity of a city. Then you can also have different “centers”: the center of power, the economic center, the entertainment center, …
You can also try to objectify the center. Then you usually end up at the geographical center of a municipality, a province, a country, a continent, etc. Here a search is documented for the geographical center of the 64 municipalities of the province of West Flanders.
Is the “heart” of these municipalities, of this province, now documented? Does this indicate the identity? In any case, it gives a nuanced picture of a rural province where there is still a lot of open space, but where people live or work almost everywhere: every geographical
center is “in use”, there is no center in a nature reserve, a forest area. Everything is accessible: there are almost always buildings in the immediate vicinity, you can usually get very close to them from the public space.
This search is presented as a bicycle tour through all the municipalities of West Flanders: the images in the book are arranged according to a spiral cycle tour along the geographical centers of all municipalities in West Flanders, starting at Bruges station and ending in Kortemark, where the geographical center of the province of West Flanders is located. This cycling tour is 884.7 km. The signage of this cycle tour along the recreational cycle junction network is provided as a baseline for the photos.
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