Slowly shifting course in Brussels' urbanism

Foto: Stadsbiografie, Roos Vandepitte

In L’Echo and BRUZZ, we read last week that the city and the region of Brussels have abandoned the tower fetish in the European quarter. The authorities have shifted their focus to renovate, add more public green spaces and facilities limit the burden of transit traffic and increase space for active mobility instead. Congratulations to all the citizens and associations who nudged our government in the right direction! We hope that the Urban Ruling announced by minister Smet will assure the necessary legislative aspects and that it can pave the way for other areas in our region – in co-creation with citizens, preferably?!

In other potentially good news: Brussels minister-president Vervoort announced that he wants to add an automatic, systemic percentage of public housing in the regional regulation on urbanism. He toys with the idea of 25 per cent ‘public’ housing per 100.000 square meters in a development. Mind you: ‘public’ can also mean ‘middle-class’. It is not ‘social’ housing per se! So it’s not quite yet the 25% social housing per 10.000 square meters as we proposed in our regional memorandum. Some nudging is still required ;-) 

Together with the Belgian Housing Action Coalition, we asked for a systemic solution for the exuberant increases in rent in Brussels. There is an agreement that future rental contracts will need to add an indicative benchmark price. This means that, for the first time, the region recognises that it is forbidden for a landlord to charge an 'excessive' rent. However, Vervoort does not want to add more pressure to his current coalition partners on the question of rent control until the next elections come around in 2024. Quite a pity!