The Brussels Canal Zone

Negotiating visions for urban planning

The Brussels Canal Zone, one of the most dynamic areas of the city, is an example of post-industrial reconversion, where private and public actors and civil society negotiate visions on future renewal. This study looks at visions expressed in spatial planning documents from 1988 onwards and then focuses on four urban development projects: the reconversion of the Tour & Taxis site, the renewal of the Belle-Vue brewery in Molenbeek, the citizens’ movement Platform Kanal and the branding project of the Canal Zone by the regional government. These visions are studied in a qualitative way using urban regime theory, discourse analysis and Lefebvre’s approach on the social production of space.

This book gives a detailed insight on how spatial visions are negotiated in complex urban renewal processes. It provides a transversal, historical and contemporary socio-economic geography of the Brussels Canal Zone. This work proposes a framework that is not only an analytical and comparative tool for researchers, but also an instrument of reflection for policy makers, urban professionals and social movements.

Sofie Vermeulen holds a PhD in Urban Geography and Spatial Planning (Cosmopolis, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, 2015).

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