The Brussels Urban Living Lab in Schaerbeek’s Helmet district was launched on February 8th, marking the first step of the LOOPER project in Brussels!
The aim of the Urban Living Lab is to bring together citizens, policy-makers and other stakeholders and learn how they can address urban challenges in a participatory co-creation platform.
Mareile Wiegmann (MOBI – VUB) and Florence Lepoudre (BRAL Brussels) kicked off this first Brussels Urban Living Lab with a presentation introducing the LOOPER project. Participating citizens were able to express their concerns and brainstorm about mobility problems as welll as possible solutions.
By way of introduction, participants were asked to share a story about an object on their key chain. Some mentioned a memory of a holiday when they bought their key chain. Others talked about their use of different Brussels transport modes, often sharing a story of how they saw mobility in the city. Others again spoke about the doors their keys opened, which allowed them to expand on where in Brussels they (had) lived, for how long, and where they were from.
The participants then split up in smaller groups and further discussed local mobility issues. A common concern, shared by all attendees, is the discrepancy in use of public space between different transport modes, such as the space reserved for parking versus the space allocated to pedestrians and cyclists. By reducing the number of cars, as well as the speeding limit, the streets of the Helmet district could become much safer, more vibrant and healthier.
Possible solutions were suggested: an awareness campaign on speeding, reducing the maximum speed near sensitive areas such as schools, and promoting park-&-ride facilities at the edge of the city.
In order to make the Brussels Urban Living Lab a success, solutions need to be discussed by larger and more diverse groups of people. As a final challenge, participants brainstormed which groups or institutions should become involved in this project. Their ‘homework assignment’ was to spread the word and get more people involved in the Brussels Urban Living Lab!