Brussels puts 'people at the centre' in Good Living urban redevelopment plans

Brussels puts 'people at the centre' in Good Living urban redevelopment plans
Credit: Ugo Realfonzo / The Brussels Times

Following the formal approval of the Brussels-Capital Region's upcoming 'Good Living' urban planning project last week, State Secretary for Urban Planning Pascal Smet explained the aim of this "guide to public development."

The 'Good Living' policy aims to "rewrite, simplify and update" Brussels urban planning regulations to improve the quality of life of all Brussels residents, Smet said in an interview with BX1 on Friday evening.

"The interaction between the built-up environment and public space with water management, the climate challenge, and so much more. All this will be included in the new regulation, which is fundamental for Brussels," he said. The regulation will come into force in 2024.

"We want to take our time because this is a revolution for Brussels. We want to get to the bottom of the matter. We must learn from the past and prepare everyone well, at the municipal and regional levels, as well as the architects and promoters," Smet said. "I would rather wait two more months than be too quick about it."

'Putting people at the centre'

Similar to the 'Good Move' mobility plans, the aim of 'Good Living' is to put people at the centre of the urban environment. "The new regulations will provide for 2-metre wide pavements, 3 metres for two-way bike paths."

The paradigms of land management will be shifted, Smet stressed. "We will determine the green spaces and look at how buildings can be integrated into them. At least 30% of a plot of land must not be built on, and 75% must be permeable."

The same thing will apply to roads. "We want 10% to 15% of the road to be green and a maximum of 50% to be used by cars – this will make Brussels more liveable and pleasant," he said. "There are places where we can densify upwards in a green way with biodiversity and sustainability."

In an interview with The Brussels Times in September, Smet explained that the focus lies on three key principles covering all areas of living spaces: public space, urbanism and the habitability of the city.

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"When a building – whether it is a house, office or hotel – is renovated or built, or a square or a street is created in the region, we will always first consider the public space and then look at how we can integrate things around this through several principles that we are now concretely setting in stone," Smet said then.

The planned 'The Dome' redevelopment on the corner of the Place de la Bourse and Avenue Anspach on the pedestrian zone is an example of this policy, as it is a big step in revitalising the Brussels city centre. The 'Good Living' text will be submitted to a public enquiry in mid-December for six weeks.

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