Atelier In Between is a policy preparation process commissioned by the Government of Flanders' Agency for Nature and Forests (ANB). It initiates a dialogue between the diverse actors that have an impact on the open space in the metropolitan area in and around the Brussels-Capital Region. Architecture Workroom Brussels facilitated a process of knowledge sharing and development about the future of the open space between the parties, experts and designers concerned, through cartographic research and a series of workshops.


While Flanders is becoming increasingly urbanised, the realisation of the importance of green, open space is gradually dawning. Although many still consider green open space as a weak sector that does not yield anything in economic terms, documentation of its value and functions contradicts this. The landscape provides a number of vital services: space for recreation, social contact, peace and quiet, food production, and energy generation or storage. What's more, it increases the resilience of the urbanised landscape with regard to the effects of climate change.

However, translating these insights into the policy of the different actors remains a major challenge. The choices made in each sector (housing, economy, mobility etc.) and at each competence level (regional, provincial, municipal), all have a specific impact on the same open space. A common vision enables more powerful, more transparent and more effective steering in the direction of the future to which we aspire for the open space in the urbanised metropolitan area around Brussels.

Atelier In Between includes a process involving workshops that bring together the parties concerned from different sectors, and took place in the autumn of 2013. The participants were experts from the academic world, and civil society (Bond Beter Leefmilieu, Natuurpunt, Boerenbond), designers, representatives from the Flemish and Brussels administrations and agencies (Spatial Planning and Housing Policy, Brussels Environment, the Agency for Nature and Forests, the Flemish Land Company) and local organisations. Following the launch of a green safari, an actual site exploration of the green, open space in Brussels and the Brussels Periphery (Vlaamse Rand), three thematic workshops were organised in relation to the perspectives of the housing landscape, productive landscape and resilient landscape. The challenges and problem areas were highlighted, knowledge was exchanged, and the opportunities for a different approach to the open space were gradually uncovered.

Eight concepts emerged during the workshops. Architecture Workroom Brussels bundled the findings in a series comprising eight large-scale design challenges for Brussels and its Periphery (Vlaamse Rand). The urban development agency LIST produced visual designs of the concepts and in April 2014 they were the subject of a synthesis-work session that focused specifically on inter-administrative dialogue.

Type: Atelier

Year: 2013-2014

Commissioning party: The Agency for Nature and Forests