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The Bulletin event Brussels Moves!: Meet the panel

10:23 23/04/2018
Ahead of the Bulletin’s public debate on Thursday 26 April, read about the experts who will be sharing their vision and answering your questions

The moderator: Cathy Smith

Journalist Cathy Smith is from the UK but has lived in Brussels for nearly 20 years. She has worked as a news correspondent and presenter for BBC, Reuters TV, Channel 4 News and DeutscheWelle TV and now has her own communications company, Speak-Easy. Event moderators are supposed to take a neutral stance, but after living in Belgium for so long, she says it’s impossible to remain immune to the problems of Brussels traffic. “What worries me most is not just the frustrations of trying to get from A to B at certain times of day,” she says, “but also the quality of the air and the safety of road users – particularly cyclists.”

The minister: Pascal Smet

Pascal Smet is the mobility and public works minister for the Brussels-Capital Region, and a keen cyclist. “Some people are angry because they think we are inefficient, advancing too slowly, but it’s a slow process,” he told The Bulletin in an interview earlier this year. “We are fighting to transform Brussels from a city for cars to a city for people. That’s a big battle, but we’re winning it.” Among his plans are 8,000 park-and-ride places on the edge of the city, including at Anderlecht, Stalle and Heysel. Smet accepts that some people will always need a car but says: “Many have a viable alternative. We have to ask people to think twice before making a journey; if you have an alternative, use it. It’s a question of solidarity and quality of life.”

The academic: Dr Imre Keseru
Dr Imre Keseru is from Hungary and has been living in Brussels for four-and-a-half years. He’s a senior researcher and team leader at the MOBI Mobility, Logistics and Automotive Technology Research Centre at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). An article he co-wrote with Cathy Macharis for the Transport Reviews journal this year on rethinking mobility for a human city spelled out the ‘5Ps’ to create liveable cities: proximity, place for humans, prosperity for all, participation and passion.

The entrepreneur: Ischa Lambrechts
Ischa Lambrechts is a mobility advisor at Beci, the Brussels chamber of commerce. In March, Beci launched Mo, its urban mobility pop-up space to promote solutions in areas such as intelligent parking, shared mobility, data, cycling and electric vehicles among Brussels businesses, and to provide an incubator for promising start-ups. “Beci wishes to accelerate the transition towards sustainable mobility and wants to offer the Brussels enterprise community real mobility solutions,” he says. “This pop-up is an experimental exhibition hall to promote existing and future urban mobility solutions, where visitors can discover and test innovative mobility products and services.”

The member of parliament: Arnaud Pinxteren
Arnaud Pinxteren is co-president of the francophone green party Ecolo in the Brussels parliament, and an economist by training. He and his party support the #1Bru1Vote movement, aiming to extend voting rights for non-Belgians who live in the capital: “For the greens, there can be no sub-citizenship in Brussels,” he says. “Ecolo and Groen want to extend the right to vote in regional elections to all residents.”

The campaigner: Nora Bednarski
Nora Bednarski is a Canadian-Polish former Paralympic swimmer and represents the #1Bru1Vote movement. “Brussels has a lot to offer, but there is much we can improve,” she says. “We need to work together across communes, at city region level, to tackle issues such as mobility and air quality, to build a coherent vision for our shared urban space with more kid-friendly spaces and better accessibility for people with disabilities. By getting involved at local level, I’ve seen how small actions can lead to big change. But I can only become truly engaged when I have the right to vote.”

When: Thursday 26 April, 19.00-21.30
Where: KBC Group, Avenue du Port 2, 1080 Brussels (metro Yser)

Advance registration is essential. Book your place here now!

Written by The Bulletin