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Canal Plan receives international urban planning prize

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2016-09-27 - Minister-President Rudi Vervoort has today welcomed the award of the Grand Prize for Excellence to the Brussels-Capital Region by the International Society of City and Regional Planners (ISOCARP).

ISOCARP is a leading professional association for urban and regional development recognised by the United Nations, UNESCO and the Council of Europe. Every year it awards prizes for urban projects or urban planning initiatives demonstrating a high degree of excellence in innovation, sustainability, socio-economic cohesion and cross-disciplinarity.

This year’s theme, ‘City we have vs city we need’, invited candidates to demonstrate their ability to interpret the history of an area in order to come up with suitable ideas for its future. Ten entries were submitted.

Brussels’ entry was for the Canal Plan. Initiated by the Region in 2012, the plan aims to take a comprehensive approach to development for the entire Canal Area. Between 2012 and 2014, the French urban planner Alexandre Chemetoff developed the methodology and main principles of the Canal Plan (functional diversity, densification, focus on public space). In 2015, the Regional Government set itself a period of ten years to implement the plan, with the support of a cross-disciplinary team bringing together several Brussels institutions and government bodies (the Urban Development Corporation, Brussels Urban Development, (Brussels Planning Agency) and Chief Architect Kristiaan Borret).

The international jury, meeting at ISOCARP’s World Congress held in Durban, South Africa this year, awarded the 1st Grand Prize for Excellence in Urban Planning to the Brussels-Capital Region for its Canal Plan. The jury described the Canal Plan as ‘an ambitious and innovative multi-disciplinary planning tool, developed to achieve the urban (re)development of the central districts while tackling the main socio-economic and environmental challenges’.

The three other prize-winning projects came from Canada, China and Poland.

‘For us, this award is a great signal! A lot of initiatives are taking place in the Canal Area, but not all of them have been implemented yet. Receiving a signal like this while we are still on the way confirms us in our approach: we have made the right choices on the redevelopment of the Canal Area for the benefit of its residents,’ said Rudi Vervoort.