The studio focuses on a Brussels’ neighborhood that is emblematic for the current urban debate. In the words of Mark Brearley (Cass Cities, London) “the city is eating itself”. New dwellings and public amenities built to accommodate the demographic growth are pushing the productive activities out of the urban environment. Nevertheless, those activities are essential to the city’s role as social and economic platform at a time when the former industrial neighborhoods along the Brussels’ canal are home to a growing number of young and deprived groups. Hence, one of the crucial challenges for architects and urban designers (amongst others) is to imagine a new role for productive activities (blue-collar jobs, craftsmanship, logistics, recycling, etcetera) in the city.
By focusing on different urban spaces, types of activities or forms of urban development, the studio turned this part of Brussels into a laboratory for the productive city – a Siedlung Productif.