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November 24, 2014

Brussels | Launching event SEISMIC

Brussels, here we are! The final destination of my Sketch Seismic tour. I collected many sketches in my Sketch installation during an adventurous three days on the Madeleine square in the heart of Brussels.

In the Sketch installation we exhibited all the sketches we collected on our Seismic journey and we asked the public about their wishes for Brussels in the future. They came up with all sorts of ideas ranging from more nature to better transport and felt the need for more social interaction to a sense of community. Large groups of Brusselaars or Bruxellois visited my Sketch and troops of tourists came to take a look at the exhibition. We welcomed around 2000 people in 3 days. In total, 9 local young artists assisted people in visualizing their ideas for Brussels in the future. The main issues echoed those that were raised in other European cities. In general the Belgians were strikingly precise and detailed in designing specific concepts.

* Social interaction in green natural places;

Jan, a man from Brussels, plead for opening the Royal Gardens. Currently this green lung is a museum, not free accessible to public. It should take example from Denmark and be an open place for people to enjoy. A park where people can meet, eat, talk, play and swim. A place in the heart of the city that belongs to everyone and everyone feels a shared responsibility for.

  • Different ideas for transport to increase the accessibility of the city.

Peter suggested the Skycycle. After years and years of cycling through the city Peter is now tired of conquering the steep hills of Brussels over and over with his bike. In a bike unfriendly city with little or no bike lanes it’s extra difficult to navigate from one place to another. Peter came up with a plan in which all the hills in Brussels are connected by bicycle bridges so you can easily cycle from bridge to bridge. Using an elevator you can also dive from the middle of the bridge into the center of the city. The sketch shows that bridges should not only be built from a cars perspective but should also be designed specifically for biker or pedestrian needs.

  • Integrate nature in the concrete mass that is the city

Kit created green platforms that can float on the water and are filled with plants. Kit’s floating islands bring nature in the city though the water. A surreal sketch with eye for detail and design.

Alice and Maya's vegetable store is built on the roof of a deserted building. It houses its own garden and has its own store. People can hang out in the garden and also buy their fruit and vegetables there

Armel's collective beer garden also brings people and nature together in the city. It creates a sense of community and atmosphere, of liveliness, amusement and fun in a pleasant environment. The sense of community is emphasized because the beer garden is placed in between the buildings and the garden is communal.

It is interesting and assuring to find that Brussels, city shared by all Europeans, experiences very similar needs for the future as the other cities I visited in the Seismic tour. It means that even away from their own countries and cities our commissioners and policy makers are never out of touch with urban issues that trouble all European cities. In a nutshell European citizens are all looking for more green, better transport and stronger communities in their urban habitats. On the last day of Sketch in Brussels I presented this conclusion and my appeal for how to achieve this to the Seismic NaNet representatives and some representatives of the EC.

We’re interested in hearing your analysis of the collected sketches. Which ideas stand out? What plans should definitely be executed? Which cities should explore exchange of knowledge and experiences? And what type of European urban policy can support cities as they prepare for Europe of the future?

I hope you enjoyed reading our journey, sketches and blogs! Remember to look for social potential in your city: search, act, innovate!

Till next time,

Ciao,

Arthur

PS: All the sketches from Brussels were pasted directly into the Sketch installation. Below you’ll find a selection of photos from hopeful and inspiring sketches. I would like to thank the 9 wonderful and talented young artists who helped us this weekend: Alexandre van Leemput, Olivier Vanden Bussche, Jana Dovbreva, Aagje Van Damme, Floriaan den Hoed, Eliena Lebeau, Koen De Gussem, Cederic Neven and Mark Venter.

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comment from: Astrid | 12/16/14


Hi, I would like to speak with you in order to organize an interview. Indeed I'm a belgian journalist and I work on a paper about "Brussels in 2050" . Can you send me an email with your contact ? Thanks a lot, best regards, Astrid

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