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Architecture Workroom
Brussels

Expert advice— 'Nieuw Gent'

For the purposes of drawing up an integrated programme for the further development of the New Ghent social housing district, Ghent city council has invited a number of experts to give advice and input. Architecture Workroom, represented by Joachim Declerck, acted as one of the 5 experts who provided advice for the further socio-demographic and spatial development of this district.

 

New Ghent is a recognisable development; we find social housing projects of this sort all over Europe. They are parts of the city that are not built as continuations of the historical pattern of streets and blocks. On the contrary, they are conceived both spatially and socially as more or less autonomous ‘ensembles’.

But as the history of this residential district makes clear, New Ghent was never entirely isolated; it is literally ‘inscribed’ in the surrounding urbanised area, since it was developed in the heart of a large street block on the outskirts of the city.

At a higher scale-level, we see that it is a part of the city that is criss-crossed and surrounded by major infrastructures (arterial roads, motorways, ring canal, etc.) and where housing development finds itself in between large-scale urban programmes contained on campuses. In other words, we can regard New Ghent as one of the island developments in this southern part of the city. 

Just as in other high-rise social housing projects in Europe, the crucial question, which arises both spatially and socially, is linked to the relationship between the district, as an island, and the rest of the city and urban society.

So any future-oriented prospect of development in New Ghent will have to adopt a position in relation to this paradox: how do we retain and enhance the collectivity and quality of coexistence in this part of the city while also enabling New Ghent to be as full as possible a part of the overall urban dynamic?

Tags

Flanders, completed, expertise

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