The Arts Decree (see 4.2.7) is the main legislative framework in Flanders and Brussels for supporting the professional arts. This includes architects and designers in different disciplines, who can apply for funding non-commercial, artistically oriented activities. Also included are theoreticians and organisations that reflect on architecture and design. Museums and archives dealing with architectural or design heritage can receive funding through the Cultural Heritage Decree.
The Flemish government supports Flanders Architecture Institute (VAi) as the centre for information about Flemish architecture. They also hold architectural archives, publish on the subject, organise exhibitions, and do international promotion. VAi is one of the partners of TRACKS, a network for archive and collection management in the arts.
The official Flemish Government Architect and his team (part of the Flemish government Department of Public Governance and the Chancellery) is appointed for a four-year period and advises public patrons in the design and realization of built spaces in Flanders, as part of a policy to enhance their architectural quality. Among other things (see also 7.2.3), the Flemish Government Architect organises open calls for architects (from Belgium and abroad) to design projects by regional and local authorities, and stimulates reflection on architecture and urban planning (e.g. through disseminating publications on interesting visions and experiments). The Brussels-Capital Region has its own government architect (‘Bouwmeester’ or bMa). Cities such as Antwerp and Ghent also have their own ‘bouwmeesters’. Certain local and provincial authorities in Flanders fund organisations that support (local) designers through guidance, promotion and networking.
With regard to commercial activities, designers can apply for (general) support schemes in the policy fields of Foreign Affairs and Economy, Science and Innovation (see 3.5.1). Note that the latter — unlike Culture — are competences of the Regions and not the Communities. This means the Flemish Region and the Brussels-Capital Region have different policies. Each Region respectively subsidizes an organisation that supports designers of all sorts in developing their (commercial) career: Flanders DC (in which the former Design Flanders merged, see also 3.5.1 and 7.2.1) and MAD Brussels.
A number of issues have been the topic of debate in the architecture and design sector. These include the limited time and means that architects and designers can invest in researching and developing their praxis throughout their career, (the limits of) the international promotion and prominence of Flemish architecture and design, the (dis)connection between specialists’ and laymen’s views on what constitutes architectural quality, and the rethinking of the traditional role of the architect (from being a mere designer to trying to be a catalyst for social and ecological changes).
 See also Kunstenpunt, ed. 2019. Landschapstekening Kunsten: Ontwikkelingsperspectieven voor de kunsten anno 2019. Brussel: Kunstenpunt, 81-99.