Saint-Lazare Square in Brussels, Belgium will soon become Esplanade Saint-Lazare. In July, the Saint-Josse commune submitted a request for an urban planning permit that would allow for the redevelopment of the area.
This project has been in the works for several years under the “Meridien of Brussels” neighborhood contract. A master plan was requested to lay the groundwork for this project, which would reunify the Botanical Gardens of Brussels and rework the public space. The project would be under the same plan as the construction of the Silver Tower as well as the other expected developments in the neighborhood.
After holding a competition for the best design, the Belgian office Bas Smets was elected the project’s planners. The first designs, which called for closing Pachéco Boulevard in order to reunify the Botanical Gardens, were ultimately rejected by the magistrate of Saint-Josse, Emir Kir of the Socialist Party (PS). This was despite the agreements reached with the Brussels-Capital Region and Beliris.
It is therefore the second drafts of the plans that are currently being submitted for urban planning permits. The plans give priority to spaces for pedestrians and non-motorized, sustainable transport, all while minimizing cars’ impact on the area. It will still be possible to drive to downtown from the area, but the width of the roads will be reduced.
To further diminish cars’ speeds and to reinforce the green path from the center of town towards La Gare du Nord, the re-pavement of the roads will be done in fired brick. The route from La Place Rogier to La Rue Brabant will be repaved in blue calcite (a stone found only in Belgium). “It will no longer be necessary to sprint in order to cross Saint-Lazare Square,” says Emir Kir. “We are going to propose a new, more convivial type of urban setting via the creation of four spaces for l’Horeca. They will be situated on the ground floor of the Silver Tower, by Speedy, by Square Victoria Régina, and at the bottom of the IBM tower.”
A budget of 4.2 million euros was cleared for the project, thanks to the neighborhood’s funds and the urban planning office. The commune hopes to obtain complete authorization at the end of the year so that they can begin construction by the beginning of 2016, at the latest. The work should be completed nine months later.
How is your city re-working existing spaces to create a more convivial, sustainable urban environment?
Original article, originally published in French, here.
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