Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) The Brussels government has agreed on a global vision on strengthening open space in and around Brussels. That vision becomes a tool to help you decide where you can and cannot build in the future. In consultation with Flanders, the Region wants to create a sustainable, interregional open space network. Attention must be paid to ‘biodiversity, water, coolness, silence, education, local food, recreation, and active mobility’.
The ‘Open Brussels’ study, which forms the basis of the joint vision, was an initiative of Perspective. Brussels and Brussels Environment, together with Flemish partners Flanders Environment Department, Agency for Nature and Forests, and Ovam. It is part of an interregional collaboration on the spatial development of the Noordrand, Top Noordrand.
According to the Brussels government, the agreed vision is based on “the shared belief that open space is an essential part of the city”. But also: “An ecological optimisation of the Brussels open space network is the appropriate way, in particular, to allow a further densification of the city in a qualitative way.”
In addition, according to the authorities, open space contributes to social cohesion, the quality of life and health of the inhabitants of Brussels as well as to the resilience, attractiveness and global value of the territory.
12 ‘open space corridors’
The study focused on the 20th-century northern fringe and, in addition to the well-known concentric structures – such as the Green Belt, the large, middle, and small ring – also defines radial open space structures.
The latter are 12 ‘open space corridors’ that connect the centre with the larger open spaces in the outskirts: Dilbeek – Ninoofsepoort, E40-Elisabeth Park, Valley of the Molenbeek, Royal Domain – Meise, Van Praet Bridge – Tangebeek, Maalbeek – Canal, Zenne Valley, Schaerbeek -Machelen, Josaphat-Zaventem, E40-Vuilbeek, Woluwedal and Trawool.
The general vision is intended as a tool for future spatial policy. For example, the government wants to prioritise investments in open space in the defined zones. The existing open space must above all provide more ‘ecosystem services’: the extent to which an area provides cooling collects water, accommodates biodiversity, captures air pollution or buffers noise nuisance, etc.
Wet parks, soften streets
But it doesn’t stop with a study. Over the next four years, the study consortium will carry out various follow-up assignments on behalf of regional authorities or municipalities, aimed, for example, at softening streets, ‘wetting out’ parks, greening city entrances or reopening waterways. A command centre has been launched for this purpose.