- A Response to Brussels’ Unexpected Population Growth in a Context of Existing Urban Fabric, or How to Densify while Keeping a High Quality of Life    click here to open paper content1114 kb
by    Paryski, Mati | mp@cooparch.be   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
After a sudden population growth expected to continue long term, the Region of Brussels-Capital needs to manage the mutation of its existing urban fabric while preserving its high quality of life. This study gives operational guidelines for the entire regional area, based on a thorough analysis of population, urban morphology and public facilities.
After years of population drop, when demographists expected it least, the Brussels-Capital region started rapidly gaining inhabitants. 200.000 more residents are planned to arrive by 2020, on a population of little above one million. While middle class Belgians continue to flee the European capital, new inhabitants keep flowing in, and at the same time higher birth rates are observed.
This has compelled the Region of Brussels-Capital to commission a study on the densification of its territory to COOPARCH, a private Belgian urban planning cooperative.
The questions were not well defined but the stakes clear: how to deal with all these new incomers, while preserving Brussels’ high quality of life? Also, since the issue is about number of inhabitants, the response must emphasize on housing but also on other types of square meters: schools, parks, productive activities…
The approach was threefold:
- An thorough analysis of the population dynamics during the last 30 years;
- A survey of the physical characteristics of the city: in some extent about topography and hydrography, much more so about urban fabric with heritage value, and even more about building morphology;
- The degree of facility equipment in the city: green places, public transportation, concentration of services… The place and relationship with urban parks was particularly emphasized, as a main feature of quality of live.
The study also brought up many aspects that were not initially expected, as for example the total area occupied by aerial parking plots at the center of city blocks, or the dynamics impulsed by major regional project developments.
The result was a systematic proposal of minimal built density for each block, on the whole region, accompanied by recommendations. Today, only weeks after the end of the study, the Brussels Region is starting to test the results on new development projects.
click here to open paper content  Click to open the full paper as pdf document
click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper  Click to send an email to the author(s) of this paper