Brussels - Holding onto industry; 'A Good City has Industry'


The industrial activities and infrastructure, still prominent, in Brussels are a unique asset for the future. The city and its outskirts are being revived by making room for innovative manufacturing activities, low-skilled jobs and a circular economy. New homes for a growing population are linked to the preservation and enhancement of the urban economy; from the post-industrial city to the productive city.

Simon Baker joined Sheffield University Students in Brussels this weekend to explore opportunities to enhance manufacturing in the city and to define concrete proposals to highlight potential integration in a mixed and complex part of the city. The initiative being developed with the Spatial Planning, Dept. of Environment, Flanders and in collaboration with Professor Mark Brearly, London Met, seeks to integrate industry, production and work; key economic drivers for regeneration,  into the fabric of the city.

During the first visit, Simon and the students explored the wider area with the client, participating in multiple site walks to establish a general understanding of the Brussels metropolitan area and the social and economic situation; defining the context for design propositions. Three major sites were identified for detailed design proposals.

Later in the month the group will deliver a participatory design workshop with international experts including Professor Mark Brearley. The live project work will facilitate the workshop to capture a series of shared views which can then be developed into concrete proposals in specific locations, striding the border between the Brussels capital and the Flemish Region.

The live project work will contribute to a series of six workshops on the urban economy in the southern Senne Valley.  The final output will form part of an exhibition. The intention is to develop specific ideas where the knowledge is transferrable to other parts of the Brussels Metropolitan area.

Client                                    Jan Zaman, Spatial Planner, Dept. of Environment, Flanders
Collaborator                       Professor Mark Brearley London Met.
Sheffield University        Simon Baker & Live Project Group