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(19-20) Schaarbeek 2040


Tutor: Roeland Dudal
Academic year 2019-20, sem 1
Engagement: Urban Cultures / The Brussels Way

Schaerbeek 2040 – an exploration

Schaerbeek is a part of the Brussels-Capital Region that is in full bloom. The Josaphat park is the park to be. Several architectural projects and urban renewal projects have been completed or are in progress. A new metro line under the densely populated neighborhoods between the Brussels North Station and the Brussels’ Airport is planned. New parts of the city, such as the Josaphat district and the redevelopment of Schaerbeek Formation, are on the drawing board. No problem at all, it seems.

But is Schaerbeek really ready to accommodate the major social transitions that lie ahead? The mobility policy is not getting enough grip on the modal shift to the mobility of the future, with safe traffic in healthy air. Who will pay the bill for the transition to sustainable energy districts, for which thousands of buildings will have to be renovated? What are the models to make housing affordable and neighborhoods socially inclusive? How can green and water policy arm the city against the effects of climate change, such as heat islands and floods? Where to host the urban economy in the future?

The studio work starts from a critical exploration of the expected future of the central neighborhoods of Schaerbeek, including the campus of the Faculty. We evaluate the impact of the envisioned objectives on our society. The production of a collective atlas of the neighborhood in 2040 will look back on the expected evolution of the city in the next 20 years. Is this the future we want? We are placing major transitions for the neighborhood on the agenda of that same future, from the reuse of old industrial buildings for new functions such as housing, care, sports and education, to creating space for the urban economy, biodiversity and new forms of mobility.

In order to achieve this, we have to organize the interaction between public and private forces differently. We have to invent new typologies of buildings and reclaim public spaces. We need to rethink real estate models and ownership in the city. Step by step, we are looking for the conditions for a decisive and inclusive Schaerbeek 2040 alliance. Design research on an architectural scale will demonstrate how we can tune the future of the city by taking smart decisions today.