Report: the launch of LOOPER in Brussels
With the launch of the Brussels Urban Living Lab in the Helmet neighbourhood in Schaarbeek, LOOPER has officially begun in Brussels! The aim of the living lab is to bring together citizens, stakeholders and policy-makers to learn how to address urban challenges in a participatory co-creation platform. The first Brussels meeting on 8 February introduced concerned citizens to the LOOPER project and allowed them to brainstorm about mobility problems as well as their solutions.
The first Brussels Urban Living Lab gathering kicked off with a presentation by MOBI researcher Mareile Wiegmann and Florence Lepoudre from bral.brussels. As a way of introduction, participants were asked to share a story about an object on their key chain. Some mentioned a memory of a holiday, where they bought their key chain. Others talked about their use of different modes of transport in the city, often sharing a story of how they saw mobility in Brussels. Others again spoke about the doors their keys opened, which allowed them to expand on where in Brussels they (had) lived, for how long, and where they were from.
The participants then discussed their mobility problems and solutions in subgroups. A shared concern of all participants was the imbalance in use of public space between different modes of transport. By reducing the number of cars in the streets and their speed, the Helmet area could become safer, more vibrant, and healthier. An awareness campaign on speeding, reducing the maximum speed near sensitive areas such as schools, and promoting park and ride facilities at the edge of the city were suggested as possible solutions.
In order to make the Brussels Urban Living Lab a success, solutions need to be discussed by a bigger and more diverse group of people. As a last assignment, participants brainstormed on which groups of people or institutions could become involved in this project. Their homework assignment was to spread the word about the Brussels Urban Living Lab in order to get more people involved.
If you are interested in joining this initiative, join us on Sunday 25 February from 11:00 to 15:00 at Café Babelmet in Schaarbeek. During this meeting, the problems that will be tackled in the Urban Living Lab will be further developed, as well as their possible solutions. For more information, contact Florence Lepoudre at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A report and picture by Jesse Pappers of the VUB