WeLoveBrussels recommends the lecture series by Brussels Academy, titled ‘The Brussels Canal Zone: Negotiating visions for Urban Planning’. Lectures (in English) will be given by Dr Sofie Vermuelen, every Friday between 10:00 and 12:00, at Maison des Cultures et de la Cohésion sociale de Molenbeek (rue Mommaertsstraat, 4 1080 BXL). More info below or visit Brussels Academy website.

EN/ The Brussels Canal Zone, one of the most dynamic areas of the city, is an example of post-industrial reconverion, where private and public actors and civil society negotiate visions on future renewal. Further to the publication of the book of Sofie Vermeulen entiled “The Brussels Canal Zone”, the Brussels Academy offers 5 lectures given by the author herself.

FR/ La Zone du Canal de Bruxelles, un des espaces les plus dynamiques de la ville, est un exemple de reconversion post-industrielle, où les acteurs publics et privés et la société civile négocient leurs visions pour des renouvellements futurs. Suite à la sortie du livre de Sofie Vermeulen intitulé “The Brussels Canal Zone”, la Brussels Academy propose 5 sessions de cours données par l’auteure en personne .

NL/ De Brusselse kanaalzone, een van de meest dynamische plekken in de stad, is een voorbeeld van postindustriële reconversie, waar publieke actoren, private actoren en de civiele samenleving negociëren over visies voor stedelijke vernieuwing. Naar aanleiding van het verschijnen van het boek van Sofie Vermeulen “The Brussels Canal Zone”, organiseert Brussels Academy deze lessenreeks met de auteur.


  • 26/02/2016, 10:00 > 12:00, MCCS
    HOW DO 240.000 PEOPLE BUILD A COMMON FUTURE? – Discover the present to imagine the future
    Until recently, many people in Brussels were not aware of the Brussels Canals (yes, the 2 of them!). The small gully crossing the city ties together 25 neighbourhoods. This area is confronted with high levels of new inhabitants (+50.000 in ten years!), an old housing stock, an extremely diverse population, and a revival of the real estate market. The stakes in the Brussels Canal Zone are manifold. A lot of people work hard together to build a common future within and for the 25 neighbourhoods of the Canal Zone: children, young adults, inhabitants, local governments, designers, planners, urban professionals, platforms and networks. Over 200 projects have been initiated over the last 5 years. The most important question is: in what ways can the Brussels Canal Zone contribute to the future of Brussels?


  • 04/03/2016, 10:00 > 12:00, MCCS
    TRAPPED IN THE PAST? ‘LITTLE MANCHESTER’ AND BEYOND – Explore the past to shape the future
    Once the neighbourhoods of the Canal Zone and particularly Historic Molenbeek were the most important industrial areas of the European continent. This session will look at a range of historical maps in order to discover how the landscape, the canals and inner port, various industries and migrants shaped the character of the Canal Zone of today. We will discuss about how the canal has been a vector of urbanization and migration, when entering the post-Fordism age. Finally, this session will elaborate on the question of delimiting territories and how people give meaning to the places surrounding them.


  • 11/03/2016, 10:00 > 12:00, MCCS
    INVESTING IN THE BRUSSELS CANAL ZONE – Complex urban projects, spatial plans and a tool for action
    The Canal Zone became an area of investment in recent years. Over 200 urban development projects have been set up. They invest in housing, public space, mobility, economy, and social cohesion. But when is a project a qualitative project? And how do they relate to the many policies and planning documents set by different local authorities such as the region, the municipalities and the federal state? During this session we will explore how different actors become a ‘development coalition’. We will also consider the hands-on tool developed in the research to understand and act upon such complex urban projects.


  • 18/03/2016, 10:00 > 12:00, MCCS
    SPATIAL PLANNING IN THE CANAL ZONE – Many plans, various planning cultures
    Only since 1989, the Brussels Capital Region has adopted its own legislation on spatial planning. Some plans guide, some plans decide. At least, they should. Recent analysis shows that after 1992, the Canal Zone has not been seen as a priority in formal urban planning documents. Nevertheless, the majority of public investments took place in the central part of this important area. This raises the question of the impact of the various planning cultures that have been adopted in Brussels, stemming from Anglo-Saxon, Dutch and French planning traditions. This session will approach various policies and planning documents created by several public actors as well as the visions they entail. Which ambitions have been set out for the Canal Zone between 1989 and today? How do these ambitions differ from the ones shaped today? Finally, in which ways could these plans bring people together?
  • 25/03/2016, 10:00 > 12:00, MCCS
    A VISION FOR YOUR URBAN FUTURE – The power of stories, images and design plans
    Residents, planners and policymakers shape their desired futures in different ways. These visions are documented in many ways: stories, drawings, maps, masterplans, renderings, urban policies,… The creation of visions refers to different strategies ranging between participation and city-marketing. But all of these strategies and the resulting visions can have an influence on how we perceive a specific place; revealing the opportunities to shape the future. This session will focus on the relevance of visions upon your urban future. We will consider the power of visions for political-agenda setting, the impact of stories in the media, and how city marketing has become an instrument of generic imaging.

All lectures are given in English. The exercises and discussions are trilingual (EN-FR-NL). The slides are in French.
Les cours sont en anglais. Les exercices et les discussions sont trilingues (ENG–FR–NL). Les diapositives sont en français.
De lessen aan door in het Engels. De oefeningen en discussies in drie talen (EN–FR–NL). De powerpoint is in het Frans.