The area around the Brussels Midi/South station will be upgraded soon, after the Brussels Regional Government on Thursday gave the final green light to start its seventh urban renewal contract called "Around the South Station" (SVC 7).
The aim is to improve the living environment around the station within a zone that extends over the territory of the municipalities of Saint-Gilles, Anderlecht and the City of Brussels by redesigning public and green spaces and creating several facilities and services.
“Neighbourhoods around stations are a major challenge for cities, this is no different for the South/Midi Station," said Brussels Minister-President Rudi Vervoort.
"With this investment of €22 million, supplemented by the major design principles previously approved by my government, but also the plans for a new metro line, the new headquarters of the SNCB and the resources of the neighbourhood contract, we want to create a new dynamic by 2030 get going in the Quartier Midi," he added.
Characterised by existing rail infrastructure
In June 2021, the authorities started the consultation phase to gauge how residents, users and other people in the neighbourhood perceived the area, using participatory walks, information meetings, workshops and finally a public inquiry (in October and November 2022).
The redevelopment of the open spaces around the station runs like a common thread through the planned projects: the aim is to provide more space for soft road users, connect the neighbourhoods from the housing block in the Rue des Deux Gares to the Small Ring Road, and to create public facilities in the revalued public space.
“The Midi quarter is of course fully characterised today by the existing rail infrastructure. The connection between the international station and the surrounding neighbourhoods has diminished over time," said the Director-General of perspective.brussels Antoine De Borman.
"Never before has such an extensive programme with government investments for the area around the South/Midi Station been set up," he added. "This urban renewal contract aims to improve the urban fabric and to put into practice the ambitions of the urban project for the Quartier Midi. With the various planned projects, we want to increase both the quality of the living environment and the environmental quality in the area."
For the Esplanade de l'Europe and the area around it (at the foot of the South Tower), the plan is to establish neighbourhood facilities in the vaulted space under the train tracks dedicated to sports in the city and care. On the Boulevard du Midi, a reception centre for unaccompanied minors will be opened.
The various projects aim to meet the identified needs in the neighbourhood (related to greening, cleanliness, sports, care, and disadvantaged people, among others) by actively filling spaces that are currently underused.
There are also plans to refurbish the public spaces in the area to improve the quality of the space by providing more greenery as well as cycling paths, in addition to calls for projects from Anderlecht, Saint-Gilles and the City of Brussels aiming to encourage and promote social cohesion and community life.
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This way, the Brussels authorities aim to respond to the health and well-being difficulties faced by many disadvantaged inhabitants of the area, but also to provide solutions to concerns about public cleanliness, the management of the waste that comes from the Marché du Midi, the urban climate challenges and the local economic dynamics.
The first phase of the project will be implemented this Saturday 1 April and last until the spring of 2028. This will be followed by the construction work phase, which is set to end in 2030.