Remodelling the Central boulevards of Brussels
The Brussels_Low_Line project
The idea dates back to the nineties. The city of Brussels started a new urban development policy based on ‘good urban living’, seriously taking into account environmental and health issues. And accordingly a new traffic scheme ‘good move’ has been developed - meaning less car traffic in the city centre. To break with the past, the historical Central Boulevards were cut off from the car traffic system and dedicated to pedestrians and cyclists.
A new era began then with a temporary cut off / creation of the pedestrian zone, enabling people to feel and to get used to the new space. Citizens and stakeholders were invited to participate in the redevelopment process. They could immediately sense that these large boulevards were no longer a barrier difficult to cross, but that they became a ‘centerpiece’, an integrating and welcoming public space.
The regeneration works started with the central part of the Boulevards, in the very heart of the city. This central part (1km – 60.000m²) of the Haussmannian boulevards has now been developed as a new Linear Urban Park for the centre of Brussels. Along this green promenade the project embraces several atmospheres and functions such as ‘place De Brouckère’ becoming an ‘Agora’ for large scale gatherings, ‘place de la Bourse’ a more intimate urban scene, while ‘place Fontainas’ became an ‘open green square‘. And throughout the whole project the aim was to reconnect and strengthen the local cohesion.
Technically speaking the project lays on top of the existing metrotunnel, making this into a roofgarden with a limited height for all the layers. For the planting areas especially this required an adapted system. And as the project lays above the metrotunnel and several metrostations, the connections and entrances towards these stations have been integrated into the remodelling project. And in the metrostations new bike parkings have been organized with a total capacity of 1.500 bikes.
Finally, taking into account the urban heating issue, the project enabled us to bring a lot of green into the city centre with different types of trees and all kinds of plants as well as several water points, fountains and a water mirror. In order to be as sustainable as possible rainwater is now being collected and used to water the plants.
The ‘Brussels_Low_Line’ is born.
Client: Beliris, City of Brussels, Brussels Mobility 2014 - 2021
Engineering: B-Group Greisch