Brussels Region approves further development of canal district

Tim Harrup

Further development of the canal district around Tour & Taxis / Tivoli has been approved by the Brussels government and is ready to go to public enquiry. Drawn up by regional agency this plan will see a major urban park along with housing and services, designed to strengthen communications between different parts of the district. This area has already seen a number of initiatives to transform it into a livable urban area, including among others Tour & Taxis itself, Upsite, Greenbiz and Tivoli, for example.

The latest development is enshrined in a Guideline plan (PAD) named PAD Maximilien-Vergote (it is alongside the Vergote basin of the canal). Its principal objectives are to link existing pieces of the territory, connecting the built areas and open spaces. Existing open spaces including the Maximilien park are included in the overall perimeter, but the most obvious initiative is to create a new 2,000 m² public park on the site of the current President hotel. The new park, says the Region, will be multi-functional and encourage education, sport and exchanges along with helping bio-diversity. Where housing is concerned, the PAD specifies that for all developments of 2;000 m or more, at least 25% will be allocated to affordable social housing, much in demand in the district.

Economic activity is not forgotten, and another objective is to establish a connection between the port and the city, ensuring that port activities can continue over the long term, while better integrating them into the overall district.

Other pivotal developments highlighted by the Region are the development of the Kanal museum in the former Citroën buildings, and the redevelopment of the Engie towers. This latter is described as representing the hinge between the new district and the Manhattan district.