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14 Mar 22

Brussels-Capital Region presents its method for ‘smart densification’ at MIPIM

Like all large European cities, Brussels is experiencing significant shifts in the property sector and considering how urban development should be approached in light of global climate issues and the recent Covid pandemic. The Brussels-Capital Region will present its responses to the new challenges facing the city at MIPIM on 17 March, when the traditional ‘Breakfast in Brussels’ will bring together Minister-President Rudi Vervoort, Secretary of State for Urban Development and Heritage Pascal Smet, and Secretary of State for Housing Nawal Ben Hamou to discuss ‘smart densification’.
Fundamental policies confirmed by current developments
Minister-President Rudi Vervoort explains: ‘Brussels is undergoing some major changes. These are connected with changes in urban lifestyles and the property sector, but also to the Brussels-Capital Region’s proactive efforts to improve the quality of life of its population while organising a controlled process of densification in its territory in order to meet the various demands to which it is subject. Global environmental issues and the two years of the pandemic have led the Region to think about the lasting consequences these developments will have for regional development. It is too early to draw definite conclusions, but certain issues are clearly emerging that confirm the approach already being taken by the Region: the need to promote access to green spaces, to improve public spaces, to preserve green and blue networks, and to strengthen the provision of sustainable mobility; imperatives in terms of building renovation, rationalisation of office needs and energy-saving; the confirmation of the relevance of the “city within 10 minutes” principle (proximity to facilities, etc.) which is currently being implemented; the production of affordable housing, and so on.’
The Secretary of State for Urban Development and Heritage, Pascal Smet, indicates: ‘The Brussels-Capital Region is updating its regulatory tools in order to adapt even more closely to the new needs: the reform of the Regional Urban Planning Regulations and the revision of the Regional Specific Land Use Plan are in progress. The revised versions of these two major tools should make it possible to recalibrate land use in construction programmes, to control and authorise de-densification and densification, but also to set up a framework for new land uses such as urban agriculture.’
Partnerships with the private sector
The Secretary of State for Housing, Nawal Ben Hamou, adds: ‘In addition to our current social housing construction programmes, in order to expand the public housing stock for vulnerable groups as quickly as possible, the Region has launched a new acquisition strategy, developed in close collaboration with the private sector. The Region is thus acting as a proactive and reliable partner to interested professionals in the sector for the development of new residential projects throughout its territory.’
Minister-President Rudi Vervoort concludes: ‘Thanks to a range of policies that have demonstrated their value over many years and to new initiatives, the Brussels Region is working concretely on the overall improvement of the living environment’.
The three ministers will address these questions during the event on 17 March, which will end with an interactive round table session. Questions from the audience will be taken by the management of a series of regional public bodies in Brussels: (public housing and economic infrastructure), (strategic planning), (major urban projects and regional facilities), (social housing), (urban planning and heritage regulations). Registration: