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Citizen projects encouraged to bring more greenery and water to city centre

Illustration picture shows inner city co-op community garden 'Le Potager Fontainas' in Brussels. (BELGA PHOTO SISKA GREMMELPREZ)
05:46 07/06/2022

The Flemish Community Commission (VGC) wants to bring more nature and water into Brussels with the local urban renewal project Groenblauw bxl, Bruzz reports. Brussels organisations and citizens can start projects such as insect hotels, herb boxes and rainwater tanks in their neighbourhood themselves.

On the playground of De Kleurdoos primary school in the Rue de la Braie there is a futuristic-looking storage tank that collects rainwater via a pipe construction. Water that is not used is gently released into the soil.

The rainwater harvesting system in the primary school is one of the participation projects of Groenblauw bxl, which aims to promote biodiversity and the short food chain in the city centre. Organisations and citizens can equip buildings, fences and public spaces with, for example, nest boxes, insect hotels, herbs or fruit trees. The VGC received an investment grant of €250,000 from the Flemish Government to coordinate the project.

"With this participatory urban renewal project, we are focusing on more neighbourhood greenery and strengthening social cohesion in the Brussels neighbourhoods," says Elke Van den Brandt (Green), minister in charge of mobility, public works and road safety for the Brussels-Capital Region.

"All these small interventions make for a more pleasant city. In this way, we also motivate more people to work on biodiversity in their own neighbourhood. Together with the people of Brussels, we are working on a sustainable and liveable city."

Atelier Groot Eiland, the social support association based on the Quai du Hainaut, realises, supervises and coordinates the projects. In the vegetable garden of the association, Brussels residents can already follow workshops on sustainability, but the organisation will also set up a network to motivate other organisations and Brussels residents to plant fruit and vegetables.

Organisations and citizens who want to start a project in the neighbourhood themselves can find information and application forms on the website of Groenblauw bxl to get started and find examples of current projects.

Written by Nick Amies