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Big street party to inaugurate Tivoli: Brussels' newest neighbourhood

20:08 17/02/2019

Belgium's King Philippe will inaugurate a new Brussels neighbourhood on Wednesday with a big street party.

Tivoli (named after a local street) is just north of Tour & Taxis in Laeken - a 12-acre project that has replaced an aging neighborhood of defunct industries.

Developed by Citydev which, for more than 40 years has been the Brussels region's corporation for attracting and retaining all manner of industries and also creating new housing, it was conceived with social diversity and sustainable development as paramount guidelines and exemplifies the city's plan to build neighbourhoods with "everything you need within ten minutes of the house".

Of the 400 housing units, 271 are middle income and 126 are social housing so this is not, as some locals feared, gentrification. There will be two daycare centres.

In terms of sustainable development, all the units are zero-energy or passive. Through a system of ditches, cisterns and permeable pavements, rain water is collected and used for the toilet system and watering. Every household will be 50 metres or less from buried rubbish containers.

The project is visually open so the various green spaces create long perspectives. The central open space is designed around three remarkable decades-old trees: two plane trees and a maple.
In addition to the green open spaces there will be collective gardens as well as rooftop vegetable gardens and a rooftop greenhouse staffed by professionals and open to the general neighbourhood. Car parking is limited to 350 spaces as opposed to 678 bicycle spaces which come with a bike repair facility.

The first residents will move in this spring and the green spaces including many trees will be completed in the autumn. The street party (Wednesday 15.00-21.00) includes children’s workshops, a choir recital, children’s marching band and a fire show.

Written by Richard Harris