Muide-Meulestede is a residential district on a peninsula to the north of the city of Ghent that is surrounded by docks and harbour industries. It is currently in the midst of transition. The activities of the harbour have largely moved northwards, and the harbour frontage and former industrial sites are gradually being redeveloped. The social make-up of the district has also changed considerably in recent decades. What was traditionally a working-class area has developed into a mixed neighbourhood where Turkish, Eastern European and young middle-class families live side-by-side. Architecture Workroom and Ndvr are currently carrying out a concept study of this district. It is part of Flemish cities policy, whose aim is to stimulate high-quality innovative urban development projects by means of annual grants.
Ghent city council has been investing in this area for some time by means of a variety of forms of urban development. These range from conversion projects, through temporary socio-cultural initiatives, to a pilot project for affordable housing on the principle of the Community Land Trust. In spite of this, or precisely because of it, this part of the city more than ever needs an updated, integrated vision for the future that can rely on support from the neighbourhood. The intention, to be achieved by a co-creative approach, is to bring together both local and supralocal, short and long-term interests concerning housing, transport and economic development. The exceptional element in this study is that for the first time in the history of urban renewal it is a group of residents that has taken the initiative.
The plan took shape in close consultation with the initiators, Ghent city council and various stakeholders and players in the neighbourhood. Ndvr and Architecture Workroom are organising, among other things, a series of workshops where residents, entrepreneurs, social organisations, and municipal departments and companies are challenged to collectively explore, examine, discuss and visualise possible future prospects for Muide-Meulestede. In the course of this process, extra attention is being paid to the search for the right leverage and the formation of strategic alliances in order, at a later stage, to actually implement the projects that emerge.