Parckdesign biennial: Sustainable redevelopment of industrial wasteland

Parckdesign is a biennial dedicated to public space planning. As for this year’s emphasis, the participants were asked to focus on industrial wastelands, leftover spaces and interstices in Brussels.

Ten multidisciplinary design teams consisting of artists, designers, architects and landscapers gathered their efforts under  the initiative from Brussels Environment and the Brussels Ministry for Environment, Energy and Urban Renovation.

A series of very diverse urban interventions took place over the course of four months (28/06 – 14/10/12) in Cureghem and Molenbeek.

Cureghem Bara and Molenbeek, both situated around the canal, are areas  with a wide range of vacant plots and deprived of green space. Both are also lacking in social cohesion, and therefore natural choices for the biennial.

Whilst this year’s intervention has already come to and end, the projects are still online and worth a look. It could inspire future initiatives in different cities. One of the reasons to talk about it is that the organizers claimed it an ‘opportunity to test another method of citymaking’. Another reason is that it encouraged to place the logic of sustainability once again in the foreground. By sustainability they mean: its economic features (the initiative got a total budget of 10.000 euros by Feder (the European fund)) and the project’s social qualities (the  inhabitants were involved in a ‘participatory’ approach). They participated both in the design process and the construction of the installation.

(click on the images below for more info on the project)

Gardenbridges // Thilo Folkerts  Source de friche // Marjetica

Curogarden // Raumlabor  TC & Thiphaine Hameau

Where is the dog of Erasmus? // Ralf Witthaus  Borderline // Sophie Largeret Stephanie Buttier

Domus architecture magazine wrote a short introduction to each project.

The initiative succeeded in imagining a new way of city making, but it is mainly set in a temporary time frame. After the ‘creation’ phase there is still the ‘use’. Some local inhabitants were involved in the creation and have probably built a bond with the area because of this. However, they are but a small percentage of potential users. An extra effort could have been to encourage the use of these spaces after project’s completion to make sure that they will actually be used, rather than become empty space again, just prettier.

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