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Architecture Workroom
Brussels

Eurometropolitan Blue Space

In its project ‘Eurometropolitan Blue Space’, Architecture Workroom examined the possibility of a cross-border project along the waterway network in the French-Belgian Eurometropolis. The idea was developed between April and December 2014. It builds on the recommendations, insights and ideas developed during the International Atelier Eurometropolis (spring 2013) and in the ‘Park of the Eurometropolis’ memorandum written by Pierre Got, Karel Debaere and Oriol Clos (February 2014).

In April and May 2014 the present knowledge, current projects and priorities were mapped out and possible directions for development were outlined in two coproduction workshops involving urban planners and other experts from the region (partners). This was followed by a series of smaller workshops and bilateral discussions with partners and actors (June to September 2014). In autumn 2014 the project was brought into focus and refined by means of a series of presentations and discussions with the Blue-Green Commission, the Forum of the Eurometropolis. Throughout the whole process the development of the project was supervised and fostered by Atelier 2030. There were also regular consultations with the authors of the ‘Park of the Eurometropolis’ memorandum.

The area that encompasses the anchor-points of Lille, Kortrijk and Doornik currently contains parts of two countries and three regions. For centuries this area developed as a cohesive network of landscapes, urban centres and economic activity, with the rivers and canals providing its backbone. The cross-border cooperation within the Eurometropolis picks up the thread of this shared history. By joining forces the necessary ‘mass’ is assembled that is necessary to position the region nationally and internationally.

The Eurometropolis is faced with a number of challenges and is undergoing several transformations that are specific to this cross-border region. For instance, the strong industrial tradition (manufacturing industry) is coming under increasing pressure as a result of production emigration. At the same time, applied research and innovation are not strong enough in the various sections of the Eurometropolis. This endangers the attraction of the region for new companies and inhabitants (brain drain). In this regard, the fact that this region has very widely scattered building, with lots of hamlets, villages and town centres, becomes a weakness compared to the attractive towns and cities in the wider region. An ambitious project for the future that is able to use and organise the available space in new ways by means of abundant concrete initiatives and transformations can help to provide an answer to specific challenges and urgent problems, and can literally make room for burgeoning dynamics and desirable developments.

Tags

Flanders, atelier, completed, think tank

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Eurometropolitan Blue Space
With structural support from the Flemish government and regular support from the Brussels capital region and other regional and local governments.