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The renewed public space scenario ensures high quality public space.

The renewed public space scenario ensures high quality public space.

On Tuesday 9 July, the Secretary of State for Urban Planning in Brussels, Ans Persons, presented the new Public Space Plan at the Marie-Jansonplein in Sint-Gillis. This comprehensive 657-page guide will serve as an important tool and guideline for the design and redesign of public spaces in the Brussels-Capital Region. The text was developed by the regional administration Urban.brussels, in collaboration with the temporary association ORG Urbanism & Architecture – Bureau Bas Smets (ORG-BBS). At the Marie-Jansonplein, the press immediately got an insight into the best practices of the guide.

“With this script, we want to offer designers inspiration and guidance in designing future public spaces in Brussels. This way we can ensure that permit applications run more smoothly, and share as much knowledge and good practices as possible. The people of Brussels need more squares that meet each other, safer school environments, wider sidewalks, trees everywhere, better rainwater management, including street furniture and smart solutions for traffic and parking. All projects, large and small, are making progress. “The script sets a necessary high bar, because the public space we design today must be able to meet the challenges of the future.” PeopleSecretary of State for Urban Planning in Brussels.

In many ways, Marie Jeanson Square is an example of how public space can be transformed into an inclusive space that meets the needs of all users. The square demonstrates the intelligent reuse of materials, the important role of trees, limited traffic, and the creation of off-road parking spaces. The design was created through a participatory process with local residents, resulting in innovative solutions for the multi-functional use of the square.

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Image: © Cabinet Anas Persons

“The renovated Marie Jeanson Square is an important project for Sint-Gillis and a model for future projects in our municipality. Today it is an attractive meeting place thanks to the softening of the soil with more trees and nature, thanks to the reduced pressure of the car and more comfort for cycling and walking with a large pedestrian area and thanks to the combination of different urban functions, all of which has been achieved thanks to the input and participation of residents and traders throughout the entire construction process.” William StevensUrban Renewal Advisor in Sint-Gillis, from.

Shared vision

The reality today is that designers and municipalities of new projects in public spaces have to reconcile various existing recommendations and documents that have been developed independently of each other by different administrations. The new Public Space Guide of the Brussels Region brings clarity to this tangle.

The purpose of the comprehensive guidance is to go beyond the current limitations of this set of standards, guides and tools. To achieve this, the guide attempts to summarize and simplify them into a clear and coherent vision of public space in the Brussels-Capital Region. The main challenge of the guide was to bring all stakeholders together around a vision of a desirable future for public space and to formulate this into a set of clear ambitions, recommendations and planning strategies.

The new text was designed by the regional administration Urban.brussels in collaboration with the temporary association ORG Urbanism & Architecture – Bureau Bas Smets (ORG-BBS) and also involved the municipalities of Brussels and many other partners such as Brussels Master Builder (BMA), Brussels Movement, Brussels Environment, Brussels Fire Brigade, STIB, Brulocalis, Net Brussels, the Royal Commission for Monuments and Landscapes, Equal.brussels, parking.brussels, angle.brussels, L’architecture qui dégenre vzw, the Gracq Cycling Association and vzw Kawab.

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The renewed public space scenario ensures high quality public space.

Image: © Cabinet Anas Persons

Six chapters

The result is a 657-page public space scenario consisting of an introduction and six chapters: “Aspirations,” “Candidates,” “Regional Vision,” “Design Strategies,” “Toolbox,” and “Current Models.” Each chapter has a specific objective, adapted to contemporary expectations of the city at the human level. Each chapter explains and illustrates in detail how this can be achieved.

  1. the chapter ambitious Existing standards, regulations and strategic frameworks translate into a series of ambitions, within five themes: environment, materiality, mobility, identity and use.
  2. the chapter Filters It provides an overview of the diversity and richness of urban settings in Brussels. The different filters reflect the specific challenges faced by certain public spaces.
  3. the chapter Regional vision It defines and clarifies the regional vision for public spaces. This vision proposes an initial approach to the redesign project. It is divided into six separate and exclusive programmes: structuring the heritage axis, green communication, school environment, central, water city and local.
  4. the chapter Design Strategies Dedicated to concrete design proposals and script recommendations. Design strategies are divided into different types based on street width and intersection types.
  5. the chapter “toolbox” It is linked to the Design Strategies chapter and provides comprehensive and objective tools organized according to the five themes of the Aspirations chapter. The cross-sectional tool describes an ideal or ideal project process. The thematic tools include a roadmap on the one hand and concrete drawings based on general situations and thus illustrate how to implement certain solutions.
  6. the chapter Existing species It divides public spaces according to different criteria, allowing them to be grouped into classifications. Thanks to these classifications, it is possible to highlight the specific features of the current design of public space.

The Public Space Text does not impose any obligations, but can be used as a guideline for the most appropriate design strategy for redesigning public space. Design strategies can thus be adapted and modified based on the local situation and needs. Ultimately, each project should be designed according to the specific characteristics and needs of the place and its users.

The renewed public space scenario ensures high quality public space.

Image: © Cabinet Anas Persons

“Urban areas proactively contribute to improving the quality of life in Brussels. That is why we strive to achieve interdisciplinary synergies with key players in urban planning, urban renewal and the environment. In this context, the Public Space Guide has been designed and developed in collaboration with the temporary association ORG Urbanism & Architecture, Bureau Bas Smets and all the players involved. This evolutionary document contains various guidelines, standards, plans and tools that define the regional objectives for the development of public space that are proudly alive. With the ambition that this practical tool can provide concrete and clear guidelines for the design of public spaces in the Brussels Region.” Sarah LagreliereDeputy General Manager of Urban.brussels.

“One of the project’s achievements that we are particularly proud of is the development of an easy-to-use educational text that offers concrete solutions and tools for achieving high-quality public spaces for the entire Brussels region. Although planning public spaces is complex, in the process the playbook responds to contemporary challenges related to the design of public spaces and shows what is needed to create spaces that make our city more pleasant to live in,” he says. Alexander Dehoog and Yannick Vanhaelen From ORG-BBS.

The public space scenario in the Brussels-Capital Region can now be consulted on Urban.brussels website and on BruGIS Platform.