- Schipperskwartier, another Kind of Seduction    click here to open paper content874 kb
by    Haine, Kitty | kitty.haine@stad.antwerpen.be   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
“Schipperskwartier, a seductive quarter in Antwerp” is the search for a new balance between window prostitution and the city. Based on a strong vision and an innovative set of instruments both hardware and software of the neighbourhood are addressed.
The Schipperskwartier (Sailors’ quarter) is one of the oldest parts of the city and hosts the historical red light district of Antwerp. Locked in between important areas of urban development morphological and mental walls gradually seemed to close in on the neighbourhood. Shielding it from the outside world and creating a greenhouse effect on the shady activities within.

During the 1980’s and 90’s, various factors caused the former balance between windowprostitution and ordinary life to be disturbed. The old inhabitants leave their neighbourhood while organised crime and victims of women traffic step in. Not surprisingly residents sounded the alarm bell in 1998 and presented a petition to the city council.

In 1999 the city reclaims control over the neighbourhood with an integrated approach. An extensive process, wherein the input of different stakeholders and policy fields was taken into account resulted in the vision text “Schipperskwartier, a seductive quarter in Antwerp”.

The project consists of a strong vision and a balanced set of strategic actions addressing both “hardware” (housing, infrastructure, …) and “software” (social cohesion, image,…) of the neighbourhood. Traditional sectoral policy tools and instruments were redesigned and new combinations were made to tackle the specific neighbourhood problems. The unusual, strong and innovative alliances between policy fields, converging their actions into one neighbourhood, make the approach interesting and provided several national and one international award.

Today the neighbourhood regains it’s breath. The impulses by the city have clearly triggered private initiative. New residents and entrepreneurs find their way to the neighbourhood in which a new balance between window prostitution, old and new inhabitants, local and metropolitan activities, … gradually seems to be found.
integrated approach
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