European district to be more public-friendly

Tim Harrup

Regional agency set out the ‘New Planning Ways’ for the European Quarter’ during its presentation at Mipim. CEO Antoine de Borman spoke of a new vision for the district, pointing out that it was responsible for around 70,000 jobs and was home to 1,000 international representations. An important factor is that the European institutions account for around half of the offices, and they have a new real estate strategy.

At the moment, Antoine de Borman started, the district is made up of around 67% offices and 26% housing. For a district to be ‘livable’, he said, the mix needs to be closer to 50/50, and this was part of the vision. He also made it clear that the new methodology needs to result in concrete action, and he outlined some of the individual action points being taken or planned. The new vision goes through all phases from conception, through public consultation, to concrete projects.

The new vision involves open spaces and mobility, making local space pedestrian friendly and creating a new framework for car parking. It also aims to de-clutter’ the core of urban blocks, to have active ground floors and to decrease density. Five sub-neighbourhoods are identified: Leopold South, Leopold North, Schuman-Ambiorix, Jean-Rey/Jourdan and Cinquantenaire. There will be a place for housing and neighbourhood services along with semi-industrial sites, parks, culture and public areas, together with offices.

Where Schuman is concerned, the objective is to redevelop the roundabout into a meeting area within an environment made more peaceful. The feasibility of a pedestrian and cycle bridge between the European Parliament and the European Commission is also being studied. It is also planned to create a ‘museum mile’ from the Mont des Arts to the Cinquantenaire park.

In general – and this as a focus of the now defunct ‘Projet Urbain Loi – an attempt will be made to break up the ‘verticality’ of the district caused by the major axes Rue de le Loi and Avenue Belliard, and to bring a more transversal feel.