For a long time, Brussels has been recognised for its traffic congestion, high rises, and concrete. In more recent years, however, the Belgian capital has implemented new built environment guidelines to help transition into an eco-friendlier city.
Ranked sixth in the global list of cities rapidly transitioning to eco-friendliness in 2022, the Belgian capital has released a plan to become a ‘city in 10 minutes’, encompassing seven key stages to be implemented by either 2030 or 2050.
1. Preparing for climate change
The initial stage of the seven-part plan focuses on climate and environmental concerns, as authorities aim to prepare the city against the anticipated impacts of climate change. These include addressing challenges such as rising energy costs, prolonged periods of drought, the emergence of heat islands, and the threats associated with heavy rainfall and flooding.
2. Adapting to climate change
In response to climate change impacts, the city is looking at necessary adaptations for its urban infrastructure. Authorities have emphasised the need for “greater agility and adaptability to rapidly changing urban contexts”, including strategies to safeguard built heritage, conversions of existing structures, and construction techniques suitable for future developments.
3. Becoming an open and inclusive city
Brussels is planning to enhance accessibility to public services and facilities for all residents. The council says it will ensure ideal housing and living conditions for everyone, irrespective of socio-economic status, age, disability, or gender.
4. Tackling mobility issues
The city of Brussels is set to overhaul its transport system by incorporating low-carbon vehicles. The city will also repurpose public spaces for use by pedestrians.
5. Becoming a smart city
Authorities aim to introduce a use-based, circular, and low-carbon economy within the city. Brussels is set to transform into a proactive urban city centre that embraces sustainable economic activities and fosters diverse local employment opportunities. Additionally, the city plans to leverage new technologies to improve the efficiency and quality of services for its citizens.
6. Encouraging citizen participation
Authorities aim for Brussels to become a city that embraces its role as both the national and European capital, carrying a responsibility to drive transformative shifts. In addition to keeping citizens well-informed, they also plan to expand the avenues and methods of consultation, enabling citizens to actively participate in the management and advancement of their local surroundings and neighbourhoods.
7. Becoming a 10-minute city
Finally, Brussels is poised for a significant shift towards a 10-minute city model, akin to the 15-minute city concept, ensuring convenient access to local facilities and services for all residents. The goal is to achieve exemplary and well-balanced urban development while preserving and enhancing natural heritage.
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