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The Century of the City

City republics and grid cities

w h i t e pa p e r

editorial board

Linda Boudry Peter Cabus Eric Corijn Filip De Rynck Chris Kesteloot Andr Loeckx


A publication of the Urban Policy Project Foreign Affairs Administration Ministry of the Flemish Community rue du Marquis 1 1ooo Brussels Tel. 02 553 40 28 Editor Guido Decoster General Manager Editorial team of the White Paper Filip De Rynck (editor-in-chief) Linda Boudry, Peter Cabus, Eric Corijn, Christian Kesteloot and Andr Loeckx Final editing Liesje Schets Ministry of the Flemish Community Photography Koen Broos, Cobdenstraat 34, 2o18 Antwerp Graphic design Megaluna + Triumviraat, av. Laarbeek 70, 1000 Brussels Printing Ministry of the Flemish Community Registration number D/2005/3241/023 Edition 2005

The Century of the City

City republics and grid cities

w h i t e pa p e r


The Century of the City

City republics and grid cities

Geert Bouckaert Linda Boudry Luk Brai Peter Cabus Eric Corijn Guido De Brabander Filip De Rynck Moira Heyn Myriam Jansen-Verbeke Christian Kesteloot Andr Loeckx Willy Miermans Paul Ponsaers Ruth Soenen Ludo Struyven Marc Verlot Jan Vranken Editorial Board Filip De Rynck (editor in chief) Linda Boudry Peter Cabus Eric Corijn Christian Kesteloot Andr Loeckx Commissioned by Paul Van Grembergen, Flemish Minister of Home Affairs, Culture, Youth and Civil Service Administration, competent for urban policy

The Century of the City | W H I T E PA P E R


This White Paper is the result of an intensive process which was started by my predecessor in December 2000. The Task Force which had been set up at the time was commissioned to draw up a white paper on urban policy. We had great expectations. In fact, we wanted to gain an insight into the desirable developments for the coming years in order to evolve towards more dynamic, balanced cities that are better to live in. This was based on a perspective of twenty years. Furthermore, the Task Force was asked not to limit itself to perspectives that were outlined, but to also look at the possible implications for policy. We ourselves identied ve clusters which could be worked on: the theoretical framework to create clear concepts and denitions, also devoting attention to the economic, social and physical, as well as the administrative environment of our cities. When the Task Force was composed, we opted to bring all the academic know-how together. In fact, we found that a great deal of interesting research was available, but that it either consists of fragmentary material which approaches the urban environment from a particular discipline, or concerns global analyses which actually required a translation into or a focus on urban matters. Therefore, we opted for a multidisciplinary composition of the Task Force. This meant that every member could make his own contribution on the basis of his own specialist area of expertise, though with the aim of achieving added value by putting together all the available material. In order to avoid this becoming a purely academic exercise, it was agreed from the very beginning that the white paper would be developed with people responsible for policy, ofcials and local partners. It is worth remembering the entire process preceding the publication of the white paper.

In the rst half of 2001, the members of the Task Force wrote the working texts together with academic experts with experience in the eld and competent ofcials. In the autumn of 2001, 14 workshops were held, each organised in cooperation with one of the 14 cities in the centre. The participants were recruited through targeted mail shots and advertisements in daily and weekly newspapers. Approximately 1,000 people participated in these workshops. In view of the importance of their contribution, their names were included in this white paper. The texts of the experts were discussed, supplemented or amended during the workshops. At the end of 2001, the members of the Task Force formulated the texts in a nal form, taking contribution of the participants in the workshops into account as far as possible. Subjects which were missing or inadequately dealt with were included in additional working texts. In order to give everybody the opportunity to closely follow the entire process, all the available material was made available in digital form on the website All these basic texts were included in the book with preliminary studies. In the course of 2002, the Task Force started on the second stage which consisted of developing an integrated vision of the future of the city and the urban environment. An editorial board in the Task Force went to work on the nal form of all the texts. According to the dictionary, a white paper is a policy document published by the government in book form (originally with a white cover). This document deviates from this denition because it is not a government document. The members of the Task Force were able to work with complete academic freedom from the very start. We did not intervene in the process at any

time in terms of content as the Government of Flanders. It was important to us to encourage an open social debate. I would like to emphasise that the Task Force more than fullled its task. On the basis of a thorough and integrated analysis, it made clear choices which translated into both policy and methodological recommendations. It is now up to policy and the local partners to respond to this. I would like to warmly thank all the members of the Task Force, and in particular the editorial board for all the work they have done. I am convinced that this special working method was also very valuable for them. I would like to extend my special thanks to Linda Boudry, who successfully conducted the entire process as the project leader of the urban policy unit.

Paul Van Grembergen Flemish Minister of Home Affairs, Culture, Youth and Civil Service Administration, competent for urban policy

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Introduction 1. Impressions and expressions: six views of the city

1. The built-up city
A. The threat to the historical city 1. The urban sprawl and de-urbanisation 2. The city is superseded 3. A culture without a focusdoes not need a city B. The other perspective: the city returns 1. A new look at potential: the increased scope of the city 2. Ambiguous urban development 3. Cities make plans:do plans also make cities? 4. The city in a holographic perspective

15 25
26 27 28 31 31 31 32 35 36

2. The public city

A. The erosion of the public space 1. Creeping privatisation 2. Beyond the physical public space? B. The public space as an aid to urban development

37 38 40 41

3. The enterprising city

A. The new urban economic space 1. The expansion and impoverishment of the city 2. Post-Fordism: the network city and dualisation 3. Enlargement of scale and reduction of scale: the global-local paradox B. What is the future for the city in the network economy? 1. Urban characteristics as a threat and as an advantage 2. The urban development coalition for an economic city project

43 43 44 49 49 49 52

4. The city based on solidarity

A. The marketing of solidarity 1. Competition puts solidarityunder pressure 2. A divided city B. What kind of solidarity in the city? Two roads 1. The recognition and organisation of social-spatial groups 2. Everyday types of interrelationships

54 54 56 57 57 61

5. The multicultural city

A. The breakdown of cultural identities B. A new challenge for culture: living together on the basis of differences 1. From a uniform to a pluriform frame of reference 2. The city as the centre for cultural development

62 63 63 66

6. The participating city

A. A city without politics? B. The city: a new framework for participation

68 70



1. Social learning as a connection 2. Networks focusing on cooperation 3. Open representation of the people 4. The foundations and networks for urban policy 5. The city and Flanders in Europe

70 72 73 74 75

Conclusion The city as the harbinger of the new society

Changing the perspective: looking from six different perspectives New spaces, new public access, new democratic forms The urban character as a lever

76 76
76 78 78 80

2. The urban character as a political project

1. The city as a centre for political and social reconstruction
The process of globalisation: a precarious balance The paradox: glocalisation The city as the focus of rescaling

86 88 88

2. Urban character, the policy on cities, urban policy

Urban character and anti-urban character Urban policy in the grid city Urban policy based on a vision

90 93 97

3. Another tri-polar relationship: government civil society population 4. The city republic revisited ConclusionA revolution in the urban policy

98 100 104

3. The new urban character, a matter of policy

Line 1Glocal strategy
Field 1An open attitude on the part of the city and its citizens Field 2Strengthening the urban character in the Flemish urban network Field 3A comprehensive economic prole

108 108 110

Line 2Coordination in town and country planning

Field 4Strengthen coordination with cooperation Field 5A policy corresponding to the grid city Field 6Connections with (infra)structures

112 114 115

Line 3Qualitative density

Field 7More, high quality and safe public spaces Field 8Invest in high quality urban housing Field 9Implement an active housing policy Field 10Invest in a healthy environment 12

117 118 122 124

Line 4 Innovative and creative strength

127 127

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Field 11Cultural creativity: give innovation a chance Field 12Recreation as a lever

127 128


Line 5Identity on the basis of diversity

Field 13Strengthen the basis for art and culture Field 14Use differences and contradictions

130 132

Line 6A city polis based on solidarity

Field 15Invest in new forms of solidarity Field 16Active investments in a strong development coalition Field 17Value new forms of social integration Field 18Invest in social learning Field 19The tax system which supports the urban character and solidarity

136 138 139 141 142



4. Urban debate and urban project, determining the form of the grid city
1. Project, urban project, urban debate, a rst description 2. The urban debate:efforts, object and procedure
2.1 One debate, two registers, three tracks 1. Beyond the master planning and the lack of planning 2. A guiding framework which still has an open character 3. Different rhythms and durations 4. Communication no longer as an afterthought 5. The ambition of the urban debate 2.2 What is this urban project about and what is the point of this urban vision? 1. The example of structural planning 2. The grid city as a generic image of the built-up area 3. More than one theme 2.3 The procedure of the urban debate, a few introductions 1. The urban debate as a locus 2 The locus of the urban debate

149 151
151 151 152 153 154 154 155 155 155 157 159 159 160

3. Urban projects
3.1 A short list of criteria for the urban project 1. An example of an urban project 2. Structure, leverage, strategy 3. Connections, mediation, coordination 4. Feasibility, visibility, innovation 3.2 Urban projects: genres, bases, emphases

161 162 162 163 164 166

4. Instruments from the planning discipline

4.1 The urban debate and municipal structural planning for town and country planning 4.2 The urban design 4.3 Structural planning and urban design, beyond the schism

168 170 172



5. Towards the urban debate and the urban project: Brussels, Kortrijk and Mechelen
5.1 A neo-realistic perspective 5.2 The Brabant district, from a network for a district contract to an urban project 5.3 The Arsenaal site, the city boulevard setting the economic pace 5.4 Kortrijk, art is/as urban renovation

172 173 178 182

5. Government and citizenship in the city republic

1. Urban citizenship in the city republic
1.1 Models of urban democracy 1.2 The central position of citizenship

190 191

2. More politics in the urban republic

2.1 The city republic: working on breaking down the boundaries 2.2 The whole city is politics

195 195

3. Urban citizenship in a participatory democracy

3.1 The urban debate 3.2 Creating conditions for citizenship and participation 1. Time and work 2. Space 3. Creativity 4. Giving opportunities to capacities 5. An open and public character 3.3 Dealing with the initiatives of citizens 3.4 Participatory democracy at the district level 3.5 Participatory democracy in the budget of the city 3.6 Participation in the planning 1. The growth of new planning practices 2. Conditions for interactive planning 3.7 Peoples initiatives and referendums

196 197 197 197 197 198 198 198 200 202 202 202 204 206

4. Turning the urban administrative organisation upside-down

4.1 The past works against us 4.2 The nancial problems of the cities 4.3 The relationship between politicians and civil servants 4.4 Government by the town council 4.5 New capacities for new roles 4.6 The town council: the city parliament of the city republic 4.7 Cooperation between cities

207 208 209 210 211 214 215

5. The city republic in the urban policy

5.1 A tax system which supports the urban character and solidarity 5.2. Liberate and support the city republic 5.3 The organisation of the urban policyat the Flemish level 5.4 The grid city: central focus of the Flemish urban policy

217 217 219 219

The Century of the City | W H I T E PA P E R

Epiloque Index Bibliography

225 233 235


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Flanders has become urbanised to an important extent. In this urbanised area, Antwerp, Ghent and Brussels, Ostend and Hasselt are compact cities with their own urban evolution. Flanders is a network of small and very small towns and cities in a limited area, fanning out into many suburban zones, a short distance from each other and interacting with Brussels. These specic characteristics mean that this White Paper on cities and urban development in Flanders and Brussels cannot be merely a copy of similar 1 working documents in other countries. The historical cities of Flanders have made it great. They focused on the world with their trade, scientists and cosmopolitan composition. During the period of the creation of states and nation states, the cities tended to become part of the national development and lost their 2 glory. In this White Paper we look forward, and the basic idea once again is that Flanders is working on its future through and in the towns and cities. They can be the centres of social, economic, cultural and community innovation. They serve as the link between local and global events, and the way in which urban society develops determines the way in which a colourful Flanders tackles modern social issues. The towns and cities will give Flanders its future. Flanders is having problems with its cities. In recent decades, the general Flemish culture has not had a particularly urban character. The larger cities in particular have a poor reputation: Theyre dirty, Theyre full of foreigners, They arent safe and Theyre badly governed. However, in recent years, the image has, at the very least, become ambiguous: innovation in administration takes place more quickly in cities 3 than in other places in Flanders , some cities are 4 attracting new inhabitants , the number of commuters is increasing, and many people visit the cities for longer or shorter periods. The cities

are bursting with life. The Zinneke parade in Brussels, Bruges 2002, the summer of Antwerp, the celebrations in Ghent all this is not particularly an image of dire distress. The Flemish towns and cities have a magnicent historical heritage, and tourists think they are wonderful. In the last ten years, there have been big investments in towns and cities: many public places have been reorganised, and cars no longer dominate everywhere quite as forcefully. In all the cities there are interesting examples of initiatives taken by citizens and of projects for social and cultural innovation. Towns and cities are fascinating; they also repel. The problems are enormous and complex. Much of the housing in the cities is of poor quality and a great deal of the infrastructure is worn out. There are tensions between different population groups. Exclusion in the employment market is unremitting. The effects of the mismanagement of trafc and the lack of concern for the environment have reached critical levels. We see the tensions between the old urban arrangements and the need for new places where we can keep up with economic and cultural developments. There are tensions between the cities where poor inhabitants collect together, and the municipalities in the green periphery around the cities. There is tension between the density of housing and the space required for better living conditions. There are tensions between the individual and society, between the search for a personal identity and urban pluriculturalism. There are many conflicts in the cities, and this results in a overloaded political agenda. We can once again allow the towns and cities to play a role as vibrant social laboratories, where old structures and new processes challenge the inhabitants and the users of the cities to develop new forms of living together. What is the best way of governing cities, using and trans-



forming them to achieve all sorts of social, economic, cultural and political possibilities, so that Flanders can be in the forefront of sustainable development? That is the question which inspired the White Paper. Flanders has carefully and hesitantly developed an urban policy. In the cities themselves, many people involved in local government or social organisations are inspired by their city. There are many questions, many projects and a great deal of searching. Can we think ahead? What is our long-term vision of the cities of Flanders? What is the social and political agenda for the next few decades? This book is the work of academics who discussed matters together on the basis of their own different disciplines, and took pains to nd areas where their concerns overlap. We can see this as a rst vision of the city: a groundbreaking vision. The White Paper cuts across many boundaries: boundaries between disciplines and sectors, boundaries between governments and between institutions. However, the book is mainly concerned with mental barriers: the views and attitudes of people, both politicians and the inhabitants and users of the towns and cities. And yet the White Paper is not a neutral academic work. We not only describe and analyse, we also adopt a position, make choices and look to the future. We look at the towns and cities, we see the problems, we make our choices and show how we tackle problems. This is a political document and is therefore open to a lot of discussion. That is the aim of this book, and therefore it will also give rise to many doubts. We will not get anywhere with a false sense of assurance. This book is not nished. In places it is still a closed book, and sometimes it says too much: the book is like the city itself.

Five chapters in two parts

The book consists of two main sections, and in these each chapter has its own colour and style. Chapters 1, 2 and 3, on the one hand, and chapters 4 and 5, on the other hand, comprise the two sections. The rst three chapters are mainly about the content of urban policy; the last two describe the practice of planning and the administrative organisation which results from these choices in terms of content. Chapter 1 contains analyses and attempts to summarise problems and perspectives. We make choices from the large amount of material that was examined more thoroughly in the preliminary study book. It is searching, hesitating, and sometimes quite provocative. This chapter puts forward the basic terms on which the book is structured. The grid city, the city republic, density, sustainability These terms are used here in an intuitive way and are not described in detail. That happens in chapter 2. Chapter 2 is a manifesto, the basic plan of our book. It has a contentious and motivating style. The choices are explained and illustrated with diagrams. If you want to gain an insight into these basic elements straightaway, read this chapter rst. Chapter 3 was not written to be read through quickly. It is meant as a reference text, a framework for the evaluation of strategic discussions in every town and city, and at the central policy level. It does not have a narrative character, but adopts a broad perspective on urban policy. Chapters 4 and 5 both deal with working methods, ways of tackling issues, planning and administrative organisation. Chapter 4 particularly focuses on the questions of urban building

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City republic
Res Publica is Latin for public affairs. For us, towns and cities serve as the rst level of the political order, hence the term:city republic. After all, the city is both sufciently complex to experience the problems of globalisation, as well as sufciently comprehensive to organise these experiences and complexity in forms of democratic government. Therefore the city more than ever should become a forum for negotiations on arrangements for living together on the basis of cultural diversity, to create skills and new traditions, in order to deal with diversity and change, for a dialogue on the future of the city, and for the settlement of conflicts and conflicting interests. The density and diversity of the city should be used as a strength and an opportunity to develop public affairs (the general interest in the city) in new forms of democratic government. The place, the city, is the link between citizens, organisations and institutions. The right to the city is not based on origin or background. The city republic is based on an open-scale approach to the grid city: it unites the inhabitants of the city and the users of the city. The city republic requires policy frameworks, a vision, a recruitment strategy, an integrated approach, and an adapted organisation of the city. In order to determine the content of the city republic, we argue for a revolution of the administrative and social organisation of the city. A change to more local responsibility, more decentralisation, towards a local initiative and the stimulation of citizenship. A change to an urban democracy which focuses more on participation, the promotion of joint actions of administrative and social partners in the city. This stands for a democracy based on debate, with a central place for politics. In this social organisation, the council plays a crucial governing and responsible role. The Flemish and federal governments can facilitate the city republic in different ways.

Reading guide
The following reading guide will help readers who would like to know how the term city republic is dened, See chapter 1 for the analysis, particularly in the sections on the pluricultural and the participatory city. The term is described in a theoretical way in chapter 2 (see page xxx), while chapter 3 uses the term mainly on lines 3 and 4. The principles of the city republic inspire the design of the urban debate in chapter 4. Chapter 5 explores the concept in most detail. How can we organise the city and urban policy in such a way that it gives the greatest chances to the principles of the city republic? What is the role of the city councils and central government in this?


Grid city
We use the term grid city to indicate a flexible way of looking at cities, which is independent of any boundaries, and avoids the stereotypes which we no longer consider to be appropriate: the city versus the countryside, the city versus the peripheral area. We look at the sprawling city in the broader urban environment as the real starting point and as a framework for new cityscapes. This sprawling development is analysed from different perspectives in chapter 1. For us, it is a central factor that the urban sprawl and urban features form the characteristic appearance of the city in Flanders. The way in which we look at the city and our actions in urban policy must be adapted to this. The term contains both an analytical and an action-oriented element. Sometimes we see (possible) physical infrastructural lines between centres through the spectacles of the grid city, while at other times we see links which should be strengthened between residential areas in the city and open areas in the periphery, or between new residential areas in the urban sprawl and open areas in the city centre. We see possible ecological corridors, recreational lines, etc. With the term grid city, we are referring to compact and less compact, central and peripheral, built up and open, physical, social and economic parts of the city. The themes which characterise the grid city and the scales which are used therefore vary, depending on the nature of the places, the theme concerned or the point of view that is adopted: within city centres or between different parts of the urban sprawl. In the widest use of the term, the grid city presents a view of networks between different parts of the city, different cities and urban areas in the whole of Flanders, between cities in Europe and at the global level. Therefore the grid city is a multifaceted instrument of analysis. At the same time, it gathers together a whole series of windows which make it

and planning, while chapter 5 is based more on the politicological and administrative issues.

Content per chapter

Chapter 1 looks at the city from different points of view. We unravel complex contemporary urban problems. The phenomena which characterise the city are examined and enlarged from six different perspectives (the built-up city, the public city, the city of enterprise, the city of solidarity, the pluricultural city and the participatory city). The six perspectives provide a depth of insight with a sharp focus which enables us to outline the problems and potential of the city. We produce six diagnoses: what

developments can we see in the city? We outline six sources of the citys strength: in what way can the city be innovative for society in Flanders? Each section has an A-side (diagnosis) and a B-side (perspective). The chapter ends with a cross section. What can we contribute in terms of new insights in comparison with the already existing visions in terms of innovative ways of seeing the city, and in terms of new contributions to often tired and even worn out debates? From analysis to action. Within these different aspects which are explored through the spectacles of the grid city, it is possible to develop appropriate actions. In this case, a particular

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19 possible to click forward and back between different scales and perspectives: from the point of view of one scale, a particular part of the city is linked to other districts, while from another point of view, the district is an important link with areas outside the city, and from yet another window we see the links of that part of the city with the rest of the world.

Reading guide
Anyone who wishes to examine how we used the term grid city in this book can use the following reading guide for this purpose. Chapter 1 illustrates the need to use the urban sprawl and networks between cities as a focus of analysis and discussion. In the conclusions of chapter 1, the term grid city is a central element. Chapter 2 (page 93) explores the term in a theoretical sense. Chapter 3 uses the concept in connection with the strategic policy in a number of policy areas (particularly on lines 1 and 2). In chapters 4 and 5, the term grid city is linked to methods of planning and administrative organisation. The urban debate (open vision and urban projects) in chapter 4 can be organised and developed on different scales of the grid city. In chapter 5 the users of the city are considered full participants in urban democracy.We consider that stimulating programmes and actions on different scales in the grid city should be one of the core tasks of the Government of Flanders. Town and country planning is an important lever in this respect.

interpretation of the grid city serves as a social and administrative platform which brings together administrative and private partners to carry out programmes: to strengthen recreational paths, to link residential zones with the city centre, for the infrastructural reinforcement of the relationship between parts of the grid city, etc. On a wider scale, it can lead to cooperation between Flemish cities at the level of cultural infrastructure, and to economic cooperation between Flemish cities and Brussels or between Flemish cities and cities in Europe and the rest of the world. This action-oriented approach avoids sterile debates on amalgamations and forms of government based on urban districts, but places the emphasis on the dynamics, processes and networking between partners involved.

After all, it is primarily a matter of a perception, a particular way of looking at the city. Ideally, chapter 1 should expand the readers perspective. It is a different way of looking to arrive at a different way of acting. Chapter 2 presents a range of ways of seeing and choices on the role of the city in the world of today and tomorrow. It does not draw conclusions from over-elaborate studies and is not dogmatic, but provides clear arguments for points of view and the basis for our choices. We examine the crucial role of the city: in the tensions between local and global aspects, the nation state seems to cede its central position to transnational bodies and movements on the one hand, and to cities or urban networks on


the other hand. Local aspects must be seen together with the global aspects and the global aspects should be localised within a perspective of sustainable development. The city will only be able to meet this challenge if it can decipher the basic components of its own DNA, and make use of them. This is a matter of approaching the urban character on the basis of an open attitude, cohesion, density, diversity, social justice and democracy. For us, these are the elements of sustainability. The city and the urban character form the start of the social and political restructuring. This chapter is aimed at convincing the reader that the urban character and the urban policy are both necessary and a lever for social innovation in Flanders. Chapter 3 extrapolates the six perspectives of chapter 1 and interrelates them with the bases of chapter 2. We provide a programme for policy, which is based on six foundations or lines: the need for an own glocal strategy, coordination in the grid city in terms of planning, density with quality, innovation and creativity as a strength, identity as the basis of cultural diversity and an urban polis based on solidarity. For each line we outline the areas to tackle policy. This produces 19 elds which serve as the strategic beacons for our urban policy. Chapter 3 aims to outline that policy in Flanders: the social and political debate in every city and at the Flemish level should deal with these elds. For us, looking at where we come from, the debate is more important than the question whether all this has already been developed in a sufciently concrete way in this book. That is not the case, and in fact it is not possible: converting the debate into operational plans must take place for each city individually. Chapter 3 contains critical but fairly general analyses of existing policy or of its absence. It is not an in-depth evaluation of policy and certain-

ly not a thorough examination of the different sectors. In fact, we wish to avoid the sector-bysector approach. This chapter is aimed at bringing together, not dividing, people and partners concerned with common themes. Chapters 4 and 5 open up yet another perspective. The organisation, planning and administrative translation of urban policy have a central place. The choices result from the contents of the chapters. Chapter 4 places the social discussion and the planning on two levels which are jointly described as the urban debate: on the one hand, the open vision of the city; on the other, the urban projects. Both levels of approach are necessary, and interconnected. We place the social debate on the future of the city at the level of the city, with an open scale and open participation: the city in movement, the city as a platform for confrontations. This is not with an ambition to draw up a master plan, but to encourage planning and action with discussion. The difcult translation of a vision and principles into an innovative policy should also be given strong encouragement from time to time. Testing grounds are necessary to test the city. These are the urban projects. Urban projects take place in time and space: that is what we will be working on in the months and years to come. They turn the White Paper black: black with dust, the rubble of demolition and construction, tensions linked to conflicting interests and the conflicts related to cross-sectoral projects. In turn, these projects stimulate and nourish the vision of the city. The path of communication and participation lies between the vision and the projects, and there is an emphasis on the importance of good government and process management by city councils.

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U r b a n c h a r a c t e r , t h e m u n i c i p a l p o l i c y, t h e p o l i c y o n c i t i e s , and urban policy

This is how these terms are used:
Urban character is a quality. It describes the characteristics of the way people live in cities, and reinforcing these characteristics is the aim of the policy: density, diversity and democracy. This leads to sustainable development. Municipal policy is the policy at the local level, in particular, the policy which falls under the political responsibility of the municipal council, together with social partners. The policy on cities is the policy of the central governments: from the global level to the Flemish level. As instructed by the Flemish minister, we focus particularly on the Government of Flanders. Urban policy is the term which gathers together municipal policy and the policy on cities: all the efforts of governments and social partners, at the central and local level, focusing on the city and reinforcing the urban character.

We use three concrete examples of urban locations: one in Brussels, one in Mechelen and one in Courtrai. They could also have been places in any of the other towns and cities. The approach that is adopted is neo-realistic. In fact, we attribute characteristics which are not yet present to the examples described. In this way we illustrate both the content of the urban policy and the signicance of the urban debate. Chapter 5 is about the organisation of politics and administration. For us, the city is the rst level of the political order. The involvement of the inhabitants and users of the city, of social groups and partners in the city, links them in a general interest (the res publica). Citizenship is the central concept of this chapter, involving people in the city, giving them responsibility and encouraging them to take responsibility. This requires a more participatory democracy, and an administrative organisation of the city that is adapted to this. The greater involvement, increased responsibility, stronger sense of citizenship and a political and administrative participatory democracy that responds to this more effectively can be described as the city republic.

The city republic requires breaking open a closed and atrophied administrative democracy to achieve a participatory democracy. We give some pointers for this. The city republic at the level of the grid city in the urban region requires adapted forms of administration, with the involvement of everyone who lives in and uses the city. Municipal policy and the policy on cities at the local and Flemish level should be interrelated to a greater extent and have the same focus. Municipal councils play a central role in the local networks. They often do not have sufcient capacity at the moment to achieve the ambitions of this White Paper, and their organisation is not really geared to it. A revolution in the urban administrative organisation will be necessary to develop new capacity and working methods, both at the political level and at the level of management. The Government of Flanders has the keys in hand to strengthen the city republic. The most important administrative core task of the government is to stimulate actions for the various aspects and levels of the grid city. Chapters 4 and 5 permit the reader to take a critical look at the administration and manage-


ment of their own city and the organisation of urban policy in Flanders. These chapters have a mobilising effect: in this way we can improve our organisation and ways of tackling issues. They should indicate the direction for social organisations in the city, for municipal councils and for the Government of Flanders.

This book is an interim product of many fascinating discussions with many interested parties, a laborious honing of visions and texts. At the back of the book you will nd the names of everyone who participated in this process in any way. The book is presented as a synthesis of the process up to now, based on a platform for discussion supported by our arguments. We wish to provide support for the debate on the urban character, cities and urban policy, bring people together, support and encourage movements. This book should collect together people responsible for policy, academics and social organisations. This movement is more important than the book itself. It does not provide any ready-made recipes, but we hope that it can lead to a debate in all the towns and cities cities and in Flanders as a whole. Furthermore, anyone who is familiar with the complexity of towns and cities will know that for many of the issues described in this book it is not possible to simply come up with readymade solutions. We have not written an encyclopaedia about the city. Certain policy areas have been analysed or elaborated to a greater extent than others. Other people might well emphasise different aspects, for example, by focusing more on ecological aspects of sustainable urban management. In this book a great deal of attention is

devoted to strategies for town and country planning and the economy, as well as the political and administrative conditions. Aspects of city life and mobility were not examined to the same extent. However, we did not attempt to be complete, the intention was rather to outline a coherent and coordinated framework for policy which reveals the connections between all these fragmentary developments, the many projects, the different debates inspired above all by sectoral issues throughout the towns and cities in Flanders. If the framework presented here is coherent, it will have a motivating effect and will serve as the basis for evaluation and discussion. It can also be used to determine the direction of sectors and projects, including those sectors and projects which are not dealt with in this book (in detail). We would like to be assessed in terms of those questions. The central focus is on the urban character and urban policy. We opt for an open and coordinated approach, for density and diversity, for solidarity and democracy: the characteristics of the urban character. Together they form the necessary basis for sustainable development, and for us they are the basic principles for tackling the challenges of our time. The city is the best and the necessary place for this. These principles can only be achieved in Brussels and Flanders with a coherent, solid and integrated urban and municipal policy. This is not something that is just a possibility, it is not one choice of many. For us it is absolutely essential and the heart of the future project for Brussels and Flanders. The start of the century of the city.

Urban policy Task Force

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1 Example: Urban Task Force (1999), Towards an Urban Renaissance, nal report of the Urban Task Force Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, London. For a critical appraisal of this report: Amin, A., D. Massey and N. Thrift (2000), Cities for the many, not the few, the Policy Press, Bristol. The Blair government used the work of the Urban Task Force as the basis for an Urban White Paper: delivering an Urban Renaissance, (2000), see website: 2 For a historical description, see: Le Gals, (2002), European Cities. Social Conflicts and Governance, Oxford University Press, Oxford. In particular, chapter 2: The Long History of the European City (pp. 31-72). 3 Vanderhaeghe, S. (1999), De lange weg. Modernisering in de Vlaamse steden en gemeenten, SER-STV-Innovatie en Arbeid, SERV, Brussels. 4 he series of monographs on cities is a publication of the Urban policy project, Home Affairs Administration, Ministry of the Flemish Community, and of the Planning and Statistics Administration, Ministry of the Flemish Community.

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1. Impressions and expressions: six views of the city

There are six approaches, six perspectives for describing the contemporary Flemish city. They reveal that the world is changing and that the old social, economic, cultural and political order in our cities no longer works. This does not mean the end or loss of the cities. On the contrary, the greatest potential for tackling the challenges of a new society can be found in the cities. Every perspective focuses on developments which can be viewed in two ways: as problems or as possibilities, an A-side and a B-side. Obviously the six perspectives are interrelated. Problems in one perspective are also caused by evolutions which arise in another perspective. This always concerns the same inhabitants and users of the city. We describe problems and opportunities: what are the threats to the city in its development, and what could be the strength of the city for this development? We roughly outline an overall long-term view: what is the desirable direction for the basis of a new or changing policy? We briefly place the six perspectives in a context: the built-up city, the public city, the city of enterprise, the city based on solidarity, the pluricultural city and the participatory city. All urban developments are linked to a common basis, the basis of the way in which our society acquired its design in the past: the built- up city. It is exactly because the built-up environment is changing slowly, dragging so much of the past in its wake, that it determines the limitations and possibilities of urban evolution to a very large extent. If we make choices for the city of tomorrow, we are not only making choices about changes to this built-up environment, but also about the way in which we deal with what has been passed down from the past. Therefore it is logical to start with this perspective.

Towns and cities are places where many people live close together. They are the places where the collective use of the urban infrastructure and of the built-up environment create a public city. This collective and public nature of the city is problematical. It creates the wealth of the city, but at the same time it makes the city and the people in the city vulnerable to individuals who seek to gain an advantage from not respecting the rules for the use of those areas. The public nature and collectivity are diametrically opposed to individualism. Towns and cities are also places where many people work. These are by no means only the people who live there. On the contrary, some of the inhabitants are unemployed, while commuters ll up the available jobs. In contrast with what is usually thought, employment, investments and enterprise are still concentrated in the city. Therefore we examine the evolution of the city of enterprise. The exposure of cities to the global economy has led to a complete revolution in the relationship between working and living and between working and social integration. This requires an appropriate strategy. Living together in a dense residential and working environment leads to tensions which can be a threat to society itself. In the history of the modern city, the greatest source of tension has for a long time been the distribution of wealth across the social classes. The cities were the places where the workers struggle took place, where there were demonstrations and strikes, but also where public order was maintained and protests were suppressed. These tensions have led to greater democracy and more social justice. Therefore up to now we have seen the phenomenon of the city based on solidarity; the solidarity was largely imposed by the government, which translated it into political, social and taxrelated rights and obligations.


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Today we see new forms of tensions created by new social groups with conflicting interests, which require new though not always obvious forms of solidarity. The inhabitants and users of the city are forced to get on together in a densely populated city. The cities are the places where there are contacts with other people, with new and foreign aspects. They are the places where learning to live together is, in a way, imposed by circumstances. Nowadays this aspect of urban living is reflected in the pluricultural city. The city attracts people with so many different backgrounds that relationships and a common history no longer connect its citizens. These are no longer the factors which produce a common sense of identity. Therefore learning to relate to an increasing diversity of people and situations in the city will have to become the source of a new sense of identity, an identity based on the urban character and on relating to diversity. Towns and cities are the places where living together leads to democratic institutions which weigh up our collective interests and attempt to implement the decisions which are taken. Flanders has a rich democratic urban tradition. It is no coincidence that the word politics comes from Polis, the democratically governed city of Greek antiquity. The quality of urban democracy is threatened by populism and by an excessively closed administrative democracy, which does not sufciently correspond to society and is not adequately built on the sense of a common responsibility for the city. Big social changes have cast doubt on the effectiveness of our representative democracy. It is necessary to nd new forms of collective discussion and decision making. Nowhere is more suitable for this than the city. This is why the participatory city is so important.

1. The built-up city

The cities of Flanders are proud of their past, but the built-up infrastructure of the cities is thoroughly worn out. The city has rarely found the right answer to the social problems of achieving a good quality of life in a densely populated area, mobility, and its different functions. Cities have spread, thinned out, and seem to dissolve in the urban sprawl. The city has lost its signicance, and the citizens seem to feel less and less attachment to urban territories. However, this defensive image can be reversed when the expanding and thinned-out city is used as a reference. The new built-up and non-built-up urban environment can become the basis for 1 strengthening urban characteristics .

A. The threat to the historical city

There are no suitable terms or conclusive arguments, and yet it could be said that the historical city in its physical form and the actual way in which it is used, the inhabited stone city, is a masterwork of European culture. Flanders has undeniably made a contribution to this. Here too, this collective oeuvre has been built up and demolished for centuries. What developed was an astonishing and effective heritage, full of vibrant monuments, in which the best of the past served as the basis for the future. Again and again urban culture succeeded in transcending social contrasts between the rich and the poor, the governing and governed classes, the individual and the community, tradition and progress, everyday life and exceptional events and to combine them in a complex residential urban area which serves as a dialectical model. You can see how the concentric development of walls and city defences in the traditional city development represented a sense of security, exclusion and defending interests, while the radial connecting roads from every city resulted in the networking with all the surrounding

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Urban sprawl

On this map of land use in Flanders and Brussels (2000), the shaded areas show the built-up areas (not to be confused with the shaded areas for heathland in Limburg). The residential and industrial sprawl around the large cities of Ghent, Antwerp and Brussels is clearly visible. The southwest of Flanders also reveals a strongly diffuse pattern. The urban sprawl can also be identied around the regional towns on a smaller scale.

cities. Or how the built-up fabric of squares, streets, alleys and houses served as a form of negotiation for space between public and private interests. There was plenty of misery in the historical city. Nevertheless, it succeeded remarkably well in rising above disasters and conflicts of all sorts and sizes, despite all the prophesies of doom. Even the industrial revolution led to a larger, better equipped and culturally enriched built-up city. However, what has happened since approximately 1960 makes the destiny of this historical city very uncertain. It is not so much a tremor, but more a slow mutation which turns the basic principles of an urban culture and area upside down, slowly but surely. This silent revolution does not make the news, although it is carefully concealed in countless related items: the riots in Mollenbeek, trafc congestion, grumbling about expensive building plots, the cordon sanitaire,

the police on the streets, the refusal to use the vote, flooded plots of land. The factor which links this variety of news items is the tensions and interconnections which have developed between social evolution and the framework for it in city planning, the built-up environment. There are blemishes on the masterwork of European culture. The city no longer sufces, and nor does the countryside. The traditional urban framework cannot provide the answers, but there is no new framework available yet. A short diagnosis will sufce to assess the scope of the problem. 1. The urban sprawl and de-urbanisation The most striking transformation of the historical city is generally described in fairly negative terms: de-urbanisation, the dispersal of municipal functions, the unravelling of the urban fabric. The historical city refers here not only to the

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pre-industrial heart of the city, dating from the late Middle Ages, but also to the impressive nineteenth-century expansion which took place during industrialisation. It also includes some of the expansion of the city which is characteristic of the post-war growth period. The compact historical city becomes fragmented, the fabric unravels, the complex body of the city is dissolved in a sort of dispersed urban area. Supported by technology, which allows for general mobility and communication, the obvious link between people, organisations, jobs and services and the urban (or village) space is lost, and they start looking for the location which is most suitable at that moment in a much larger area. The built-up area becomes diffuse: in principle, everyone and everything can come from anywhere and go anywhere. Looking for immediately suitable niches, urban installations, activities and investments spread out across a boundless hinterland. This is less and less often on the periphery of a particular urban centre, but spreads to create a sort of third space, which develops between the cities and the receding countryside, where identical evolutions are taking place at the same time. In all this, the historical city loses its urban character density, complexity, diversity while the areas outside it lose their rural character: the landscape, open space, nature, rural cohesion. Whether the untidy sprawl of urban characteristics across the areas outside is a new sort of city that is emerging, or whether it means the end of the city, is not yet clear. Why is it that the historical city is losing its attraction and the ability to form connections in space? Why is it that this time, the city does not appear to be able to keep up with social changes, let alone take the lead? As regards the built-up area, it is not really possible to distinguish cause and effect. The transformation towards an economic pattern based on globali-

sation and flexibility (so-called post-Fordism, see below) has placed the city in a nebulous area. The capacity of cities to take the lead has therefore been literally reduced. The contemporary urban situation is also related, both as cause and effect, to previous and contemporary social ideas and culture. Perhaps it goes too far to say this, but we consider that there is an anti-urban policy, an anti-urban culture, an economy which turns its back on the city, and possibly even an anti-urban pattern of settlement. Weak and often fragmentary attempts to reverse this culture, for example, in the Structural Plan for town and country planning in Flanders have not yet been able to break through this dominant pattern. The result of all this is the spread of urban development, leading to an imbalance and expensive infrastructure in the different parts of the city (as regards accessibility, provisions and security), a problematical level of sustainability (wasteful use of land, underused heritage, violated nature), inadequate mobility (trafc jams, congestion, poor public transport), an unattractive residential framework (uninspired architecture, chaotic planning, empty housing), zoning, and a divisive development of the urban environment (the periphery of the city versus the city centre, rundown districts versus the commercial centre). 2. The city is superseded The above reads like a lament about a lost paradise, a genre that repeatedly emerges in the literature on cities and urban characteristics. However, the rhetoric of loss is not appropriate. There are good reasons why the historical city no longer works as the obvious location: its physical and functional framework really has been neglected, become outdated and superseded.

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Modernisation has given rise to several issues which the city has never resolved. For example, trafc access has continued to be the Achilles heel of urban development. A feasible balance between acceptable trafc levels and accessibility is still rarely achieved in a satisfactory way in urban planning. The mixture of functions is another stumbling block. There is not much left of the traditional mix of functions, not so much because of the obsession with zoning, but more because of the increasing environmental and safety regulations. Reconciling urban density with an affordable contemporary quality of housing is a third task, which has not really been achieved. The usual creation of housing rarely goes beyond terraced housing and promotional apartments. The suburbs provide an attractive alternative to all these problematical matters. There are sites enough along the motorways and exit roads for all sorts of development. The difcult mixture of functions is avoided with distance and coordination. For most people in the middle group, a detached house on the edge of the city has (until recently) continued to be a housing ideal that could be achieved. Almost half of the historical city dates from the industrial revolution. This includes magnicent residential districts with parks and impressive public buildings, but also untidily sprawling housing estates built with the minimum of investment and for maximum prot. Large parts of this nineteenth-century fabric are completely worn out. The same applies for an extensive industrial heritage, spread along railways and waterways or incorporated in the urban fabric. Despite often attractive locations, empty housing can be found everywhere, because of inappropriate construction methods, a rundown appearance and industrial pollution. The underground infrastructure (pipes and sewerage) is little better. Like the treacherous decors which

General Potemkin had drawn up to conceal the decay of the city from the Tsar as he rode by, every historical city has this Potemkin quality to some extent. Behind many of the fences, facades, and wallpaper, under much of the linoleum and tiling, the city is rotten. However, sections of the outdated fabric are still polished and cosmeticised with unabated energy. Furthermore, the Potemkin layers conceal an unparalleled and undervalued heritage. Unfortunately, valuable sections of the nineteenth-century city are not old enough and too worn out to be considered as historical monuments. Furthermore, the historical buildings department prefers to concern itself with the unique but isolated buildings which are, in turn, overprotected. There is little response to the idea of considering the scale and interrelationship of buildings and city districts as valuable monuments in themselves. It is probably because of the more limited demand and capacity for building, but all in all, the historical city managed to assign a limited but important place to the natural environment within the built-up fabric up to the twentieth century. City gardens, parks, green walls, boulevards, the trees on city squares: these all bear witness to a successful alliance between nature and urban culture. However, this is forgetting the canalised rivers and industrial workplaces in the middle of residential building blocks. During the course of the twentieth century, the natural landscape of the city was gradually sacriced to an additional volume of buildings and cars. Wherever necessary, fast growing vegetation was used as screens or in flowerbeds. This is not, in the rst place, a question of aesthetics; much more serious is, on the one hand, the ecological damage, and on the other hand, the failure to recognize the contribution of nature and landscape to the quality


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Depending on ones perspective, the process of urbanisation is intriguing or repugnant. In about 1900, 10% of the world population lived in cities. A hundred years later this has increased to 50% (3 billion people). By 2025, the number of people living in cities may increase to 5 billion. The number of inhabitants of large cities has increased dramatically in the last century. In 1950, only New York and London had more than 8 million inhabitants. There are now 22 of these megalopolises, the majority of which are in the poorest countries. 1 In Flanders and Brussels, the number of people living in cities has also increased. Depending on the denition that is used2, the proportion of the urban population as part of the total population varies from 32% (looking only at the large cities) to 87% (if we look at the all the categories of urban living).

Urban living
Large Cities Regional Cities Small cities supporting urban structure Small provincial cities Additional conglomeration/suburban Additional commuter residential area Flanders and Brussels Flanders Brussels

Inhabitants Cumulative inhab. %

2 223 234 3 366 839 3 973 415 4 517 237 5 234 535 6 048 570 6 916 957 5 952 552 964 405 32 49 57 65 76 87

Built-up plots Cumul. hectares %

34 938 71 771 95 167 118 049 150 449 185 915 231 553 224 382 7 171 15 31 41 51 65 80

Density inhab/km2 Category Cumulative

6 363 3 105 2 593 2 377 2 214 2 295 2 987 2 653 13 449 6 363 4 691 4 175 3 827 3 479 3 253 2 987 2 653 13 449

Source: NIS population statistics 01/01/2001, own processing

Limiting ourselves to the towns and cities which can be considered at least as small towns, approximately 65% of the population can still be considered urban. This urban population occupies 51% of the built-up space3; the other 35% non-urban population in Flanders therefore takes up 49% of the built-up space. Therefore urban inhabitants use space much more efciently.
1 Asbeek Brusse, W., H. Van Dalen en B. Wissink (2002), Stad en land in een nieuwe geograe. Maatschappelijke veranderingen en ruimtelijke dynamiek, WRR, SDU Uitgevers: Den Haag. 2 De vormen van stedelijkheid werden hier enerzijds gebaseerd op de in het Ruimtelijk Structuurplan Vlaanderen gehanteerde categorien en selecties; anderzijds werd voor de ruime denitie van het stedelijk leefcomplex de stadsgewestelijke benadering gehanteerd, zie: Van Der Haeghen, H., E. Van Hecke en G. Juchtmans, 1996, De Belgische stadsgewesten 1991, NIS, Statistische Studin, nr. 104.

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of the city and their ability to serve as a basis for the development of the city. 3. A culture without a focus does not need a city Apparently it is only normal that the city cannot continue to provide suitable locations for contemporary businesses and households immediately. With the additional congestion and lack of safety, the destructive verdict is complete. Or perhaps, not quite The description of decay and unimaginative development, possibly conceals an even greater threat to the historical city. After all, it is not only the physical condition of the urban space that is a matter of discussion; its role as the important material basis, as a signier of the cultural and social urban character, are also important. The sociological literature refers to the decline of the traditional link between space and society: the district, the city, the region. The creation of individual and collective identity is less and less related to belonging to an identiable space where you can identify with other similar people. Identity is increasingly based on the individual and alternating choices to log onto to various placeless networks. This choice could also be formed by the ideal images presented in the media. Physical appearance and consumer objects, as well as all sorts of communities of interests (which are no longer linked to a particular place), have resulted in important new signiers. The built-up space only plays a part to the extent that it provides consumer goods which t within the design of these ideal images. The city is certainly not doing badly as a supplier of short-term hype, but there is little sign of a coherent urban space with a strong basis. The distinction between private and public space is becoming blurred. The experience of public space is becoming privatised: everyone does

their own thing in the public space. Common urban behaviour and a shared public experience are becoming increasingly difcult. This creates space for creative improvisation, but also for spatial confusion: conduct which is out of place, the excessively proprietorial attitude towards particular territories and the exaggerated emphasis on spatial boundaries (see below under public city). This is particularly difcult in a compact city, which depends on a subtle interrelationship with density and diversity.


B. The other perspective: the city returns

The change in the city is ambiguous: at the same time it is cause and effect, irritating and fascinating, a problem and a solution. On the basis of a different perspective we can also identify the problems of the historical city outlined above, and the different social trends which raise questions about the city, as harbingers of a new urban condition. We can turn the perspective around and in this way evoke enticing images of the city. 1. A new look at potential: the increased scope of the city For this image, we provisionally use a number of terms side-by-side: the urban sprawl, the dispersed city, the networking city, city region, city district. Chapter 2 will focus more on the picture for the future, and describe it in terms of the grid city. The essence of this imagery and the signicance of all these terms is that they attract our attention to the increased scope of the city. Geographers made themselves very useful in this eld: they have demonstrated the increased scope of the city on the map and 2 called it the city district (see p. 34). Other terms, such as the networking city, are to some extent reflected, though still only in vague terms, in the structural plan for town and coun3 try planning in Flanders . Terms such as dispersed city and urban sprawl are common in

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the literature, but in Flanders they are still fairly separate from the discussion on policy. In order to illustrate the reality of the dispersed city, we use the geographical concept of the city district. A town of, for example, 75,000 inhabitants, with urban functions and infrastructure extends across a broad hinterland, and becomes a medium-sized city district with approximately 145,000 inhabitants and users, which in turn borders on yet another city district. Other small towns are incorporated in the suburbs or hinterland of the large city districts of Antwerp, Brussels and Ghent. The inhabitants and users together achieve a size which gradually opens up possibilities for the character of a provincial conurbation. After all, these are not large cities, but still areas which contain urban potential, provided the correct perspective of scale is used. If a maximum of 10% of Flemish people live in the city centres, almost 70% live in city district areas. It is a matter of getting used to this: from a minority of urban inhabitants to a majority of urban inhabitants and users of the city. The urban sprawl results in the de-urbanisation of the inner city, and therefore in principle creates space for a better living environment, an acute demand imposed by the city centres themselves. Added to this, there are the postindustrial vacant sites and the vacant premises above shops, so that the city is no longer full up, though this does not prevent some districts from being overcrowded. In general terms, and looking towards an extended urban scope in the region around the city, there is therefore space for re-urbanisation: for new functions, for green spaces, for more spacious housing, provided that the cleaning up of badly polluted sites does not become too much of a burden, and the speculation on empty sites can be restrained.

Politicians are keen to score points with regard to mobility and trafc safety in and around the city. This can also benet extended cities: investments in trafc structures and infrastructure are attractive items on the political agenda. Provided that they are planned wisely, they can be used as a basic principle for the urban development in the extended area: trafc corridors, loops for public transport, places to change transport, parking provisions, passageways, cycle paths and residential streets where the trafc is restricted. The same applies for public sensitivity to the ecology, nature and landscape. Introducing green spaces into the urban area can serve as an incentive for innovation in the urban framework. This can improve the quality of life and recreational possibilities, strengthen urban structures, highlight the identity of the urban landscape and safeguard the urban area. 2. Ambiguous urban development It is possible that the decay of the city is not limited to empty industrial sites and a few rundown streets. When the vital districts of the city for example, a traditional shopping street fall into a negative spiral and the focus is on a background of real or perceived lack of safety, this can lead to a politically sensitive situation. However, this could also break down the normal lack of concern and change this initially negative view into a positive interest and political will. One example which illustrates this is the powerful nancial support for excellent urban renovation projects by the Government of 4 Flanders. Since the last two or three legislative periods, municipal councils have spared no trouble or expense to improve the image and appearance of their cities. The reintroduction of public spaces in all the cities has certainly been a great

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achievement. In most cases this is combined with the cosmetic improvement of streets and squares, as well as improving the trafc. At rst, there was a great lack of inspiration and even expertise, but gradually better city planners are also being given opportunities. The importance of providing the city with the best possible position in global city marketing is certainly an important driving force. However, occasionally these efforts are also part of and an important basis for the approach to district development. Cities compete with each other more than in the past to attract investment, visitors and inhabitants. Apart from the industrial sites, the focus is particularly on the commercial centre, but many residential areas also play a part. Reconstructing streets and squares is only the beginning. When the competition increases, cities are forced to make use of all their available qualities and characteristics. This is a dangerous but fascinating trend. It is dangerous because there is a real temptation to improve the appearance for immediate effect and to suppress anything which does not t in the picture straightaway. It is fascinating because lack of mobility is punished while synergy is protable, the dialogue with partners who were not consulted before is inevitable, and quality becomes an argument for success. Recent literature on urban development occasionally refers to the Disneycation or theme park development of the historical heritage: improving the appearance of the commercial city centre, linked to a thorough clean-up or well-intentioned restoration of monuments, a preference for historical imitation in the streetscape and the correct level of street events and police control. Gradually the revival of the city centre is managing to transcend this basic level. The attractive centre becomes the background for a revival of urban culture and the

public nature of the city. The success and artistic level of city festivals cannot be denied (Antwerp 93, the Festival des Arts, Brussels 2000, Fashion landed, Klapstuk, the festivals of Ghent, Bruges 2002, etc.). Some cities invest a great deal in the cultural infrastructure of an international calibre, together with the Government of Flanders (the concert hall in Bruges, MAS in Antwerp, Smak and Musical forum in Ghent, etc.). There are countless small, high quality cultural productions and locations which attract plenty of inspiration and audiences. The movement of young intellectuals and artists to the city seems to be irreversible. In the western world the concept of the urban area is used to describe the post-war form of the city. This term emphasises the fact that the city extends beyond its morphological boundaries. These urban areas should not be confused with the administrative or political division of the city. They are purely empirical boundaries of the different sections of the city. We use the term here particularly to illustrate the reality of the dispersed city. However, as an instrument of analysis and action, it is too rigidly dened, and cannot be used in a sufciently flexible way. That is why we have used the term grid city from chapter 2. For an explanation and reading guide, see the box text on pp. 00-00. In Belgium, three areas are distinguished in the urban areas. The core of the city consists of the central, compact, built-up urban district, which comprises the real city centre (the heart of the city), the historical core and the nineteenth-century expansion of the city. This central part of the city corresponds to the modern city before the rst signs of a dispersal and the urban sprawl became apparent. The unbroken built-up area is called the conglomeration. The rest of the urban area is known as the suburbs, and comprises the areas which have a predominant-


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The dispersed city: illustrated by the term urban areas

In the western world the concept of the urban area is used to describe the post-war form of the city. This term emphasises the fact that the city extends beyond its morphological boundaries. These urban areas should not be confused with the administrative or political division of the city. They are purely empirical boundaries of the different sections of the city. We use the term here particularly to illustrate the reality of the dispersed city. However, as an instrument of analysis and action, it is too rigidly dened, and cannot be used in a sufciently flexible way. That is why we have used the term grid city from chapter 2. For an explanation and reading guide, see the box text on pp. 00-00. In Belgium, three areas are distinguished in the urban areas. The core of the city consists of the central, compact, built-up urban district, which comprises the real city centre (the heart of the city), the historical core and the nineteenth-century expansion of the city. This central part of the city corresponds to the modern city before the rst signs of a dispersal and the urban sprawl became apparent. The unbroken built-up area is called the conglomeration. The rest of the urban area is known as the suburbs, and comprises the areas which have a predominantly rural appearance, but where most of the city users live, and the influence of the creation of the urban area results in population growth. (The term suburbia sometimes evokes an image of compact industrial suburbs, but is used here as a technical term which refers particularly to migration from and commuting to the conglomeration.) Urban areas presuppose a large scale. Therefore the term urban area only really applies when the number of inhabitants in the whole region is more than 80,000. In addition to Brussels, Antwerp and Ghent are also metropolitan urban areas. Hasselt and Genk together form a regional urban area. Other regional urban areas include Ostend, Bruges, Kortrijk, Sint-Niklaas, Mechelen and Leuven. The urban areas in Belgium 1991 Finally, the socio-economic influence of the city extends beyond the urban area. The residential commuter area comprises the municipalities where at least 15% of the working population commutes to the urban conglomeration. The entire area formed by this zone and the urban area is called the urban residential complex.
brugge oostende gent kortrijk antwerpen st.-niklaas mechelen hasselt genk

leuven brussel

tournai mons

la louviere

liege namur


Zones Core Conglomeration Suburbs Residential commuter zone Not an urban area
Source: Van der Haeghen c.s., 1996.


(18) (79) (116) (162) (214)

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ly rural appearance, but where most of the city users live, and the influence of the creation of the urban area results in population growth. (The term suburbia sometimes evokes an image of compact industrial suburbs, but is used here as a technical term which refers particularly to migration from and commuting to the conglomeration.) Urban areas presuppose a large scale. Therefore the term urban area only really applies when the number of inhabitants in the whole region is more than 80,000. In addition to Brussels, Antwerp and Ghent are also metropolitan urban areas. Hasselt and Genk together form a regional urban area. Other regional urban areas include Ostend, Bruges, Kortrijk, Sint-Niklaas, Mechelen and Leuven. Finally, the socio-economic influence of the city extends beyond the urban area. The residential commuter area comprises the municipalities where at least 15% of the working population commutes to the urban conglomeration. The entire area formed by this zone and the urban area is called the urban residential complex. 3. Cities make plans: do plans also make cities? Several cities realize that the minor repairs to the urban space are no longer sufcient. They dream of strategic and structural interventions with the greatest possible visibility and the broadest possible external funding. Based on the examples of Antwerp and Leuven, pilot projects such as those for the development of the environment around the old station are flourishing. Usually, they soon run into problems. Bringing together the interests of residents, politicians, real estate developers and planners in a targeted way in an ambitious urban project that can really be achieved, requires new methods, vision and leadership. These are sometimes lacking, and frequently the required capacity is

not available. However, the tone has been set. At the same time, different cities are elaborating urban structural plans in the context of the decree on town and country planning, and the Flanders Structural Plan for Town and Country Planning, sometimes supplemented with a plan for trafc and a plan for green spaces. In some cases, this exercise has foundered in discussions on whether or not to start on the expansion of residential areas or whether or not to create industrial sites. On the other hand, some cities organise a thorough process of reflection and a serious debate on the physical structure and planning and development of the whole urban area. All this means that cities are increasingly concerned with various forms of planning and design. Traditional BPAs (special development plans), which translate the arbitrary patches of colour in the infamous regional plans into building regulations, are no longer sufcient. New types of planning, with a woolly title, hazy objectives and uncertain procedures are proliferating. The coordination between these has usually been lost. Incompatible terminologies, scales, terms to describe quality and recommendations have resulted in a linguistic confusion reminiscent of the Tower of Babel, which nobody really takes seriously because there is little interest in yet another plan or yet another study or memorandum. With a few exceptions, the necessary planning capacity is usually lacking to ensure that everything is properly directed, structurally coordinated and realised in situ. Contracting out the work to private agencies is often exposed to the same problems. Whether public or private, the discipline in planning or design in Flanders does not at the moment appear to be able to meet challenges of the changing city. This phenomenon also results in contradictions: on the one hand, an increase in mediocre and inefcient planning; on the other


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hand, a planning environment in which the vanguard is inspired by competitions, study days, the reorganisation of education and trade unions, inspired mandates, a new administrative framework and study bureaus looking for innovation. A powerful vision of the city and the urban character, and above all, the creation of a new urban policy with an adequate planning framework could turn the tide in this respect. 4 . The city in a holographic perspec tive The city as the object of all these enthusiastic planning developments is confronted with a similar problem to the planning itself. The flag city no longer has a clearly dened signicance. This apparently familiar word stands for a reality which is much more difcult to dene and which evokes many different meanings. Is the city the flourishing city centre, the pedestrianised shopping city, the background for the summer festival or the Christmas market? Does the city evoke a picture of grey nineteenth-century districts where you dont go unless you have to, or one of sterile apartment blocks? Do the cobbled roads, shopping malls and industrial sites belong to the city? Is the city empty or full? Is the city the counterpart to open nature? Where does it begin and where does it end? Who is included? Who has something to say there, and what about? While the home and being at home are becoming increasingly important and signicant, the concept of the city as a spatial reality is uncertain. The professional literature has lost its way in desperate attempts to coin terms for the new urban reality: city district, urban area, carpet city, dispersed city, and compact city. A vision of the built-up city is even more necessary than a suitable term. It is no longer a compact fabric of roads, squares and buildings, even if it likes to present itself in this way. If the city is the place which belongs to the urban scope, the place which is

under a strong urban sphere of influence, other images and concepts are necessary to evoke this city, to understand, plan and manage it. In this book, the term grid city attempts to provide a rst hesitant denition. The contemporary city is like a holographic print. One view reveals urban decay, the other the revival of the urban culture. One person sees suburbia as a malignant cancer, while another can discern a burgeoning new type of city. One perspective reveals the selling of the collective heritage while another perspective shows the new civil pact between private and public interests. The city is ambivalent by its very nature. Whether the contradictions are destructive or paralysing, or whether they have an innovative and driving effect, depends less on global forces than on local conditions. The aim of this book is to valorise these in such a way that a positive balance can be achieved.

2. The public city

The public space of the city is a forum, a meeting place. It is the political place in the most noble sense of the word. Citizens can be heard at public events. People look and listen to messages of all sorts: posters, grafti, flyers, cultural performances. The public arena is a backdrop for many types of communication, between strangers and acquaintances, between government and citizens, between the inhabitants and users of the city. It provides backgrounds which stimulate the urban character. In recent years, cities have invested a great deal in the restoration of some of these spaces. However, this does not mean that they therefore acquire a more public character or that they really meet their function as an arena for communication. We will rst examine the problem

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areas: the mediocre development of the space, the erosion of public spaces by the dispersal of functions, the privatisation of the management of the public space, and the use of the space by groups for their own use. New forms of communication also seem to relativise the signicance of physical public places for people. The use of the public space is in danger of becoming more private, less diverse, more volatile, and less committed as a result of these developments. This increases the chances of a lack of public order and feelings of insecurity. If citizens avoid pubic spaces, they are less and less able to perform their connecting function. How are the threats related to the potential? Can we transform the tension between public and private, between communication and safety, so that public spaces can support new forms of urban character? In point B we indicate how public spaces can serve as a basis for the urban character. We outline some of the directions for a policy on public spaces in the city.

criminal activities, illegal employment, etc.). Semi-public spaces are transitional areas between the public and private domain: the front garden, green spaces on housing estates and in a wider sense, the caf, the school playground and the shop. These spaces are accessible, but they are managed by the private or public owner who determines the rules. The visitor is a guest. The privatisation of public spaces occurs when an owner or manager breaks down the public character by introducing his own selective rules. Housing complexes, discotheques and a sports infrastructure are no longer accessible to everyone. Privatisation also occurs on a small scale: double parking, dog faeces, pavement cafes and closing alleys are examples of this. They signal: I am here and I will do what I like here. Individuals impose their own rules on public spaces, without asking and without coming to any arrangement. The parochialisation of the public space means that a particular group dominates it and makes this clear: skaters, immigrant youths, old-age pensioners, but also trendy shops, urban yuppies, or church communities. They turn the space into their own parish.


Between public and private: types of space in the city Public spaces are places which are accessible and can be used by the general public: streets, squares and parks. Some public spaces are for the whole city and should therefore be arranged in a multifunctional way (e.g., the Grote Markt, or the park in the city). Public spaces at district level are experienced by residents as their own space, and consequently these spaces are organised in a way that is focused more on the district. Problems in public spaces lead to interventions by the management of the polis, the police. The private space is the other side to this. In this domain, the residents themselves determine the organisation and the rules.The boundary is where there are collisions with public order or a violation of the rule of law (family violence, noise at night,

A. The erosion of the public space

Since the 1960s, though not only in that period, the view that a building was an object which had to be seen as such was predominant with policy makers, estate agents and architects. This resulted in uninspired uniformity, with very little attention to the relationship between the building and the space around it. The building and the space did not reinforce each other, and the city was impoverished by a lack of identity and character of the area as a whole. Any building could be built anywhere. Meanwhile, the concept of zoning was dominating the planning, which reinforced this impoverishment of space even further. This pattern of

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thinking turned parts of the city into monoenvironments: governed by a single function (ofces, shops, residential, etc.). People had to be able to move quickly from one function to another, which meant that public spaces mainly turned into areas for mobility. Furthermore, this mobility was seen in a one-sided way from behind the car windscreen. The public space in the city was increasingly dominated by the way in which it could serve drivers (accessibility, parking). This also increased the impoverishment of public spaces. City centres turned into car parks and introduced a pattern of behaviour in relation to trafc that is very difcult to reverse. In some Flemish cities (e.g., Bruges and Ghent), this has been turned round with an approach at the level of the city which transcends the symbolic projects. As a result of the separation of different functions, the city centre turned above all into a commercial centre. The public space in the heart of the city was organised in relation to commerce: pedestrianised shopping streets, boulevards and shopping precincts. Meanwhile, the public space seems to be controlled by powerful distribution chains. This attracts the masses during the day, but means that the centre also acquires a monotonous character. After 6 oclock, the space is empty. After that time, it rejects and seems unsafe. Attention to city marketing increased in the 1990s. Flemish cities had to compete with other cities and become more attractive to investors, visitors and prosperous residents. The pressure to succeed in this led to glamour projects: expensive and spectacular, but without a strong basis to increase the functions of the public space. The arbitrary introduction of art in the city here and there is an example of this. Selling the city and its image was the dominant thing. Responding to the demands of recreation and

tourism in a one-sided way meant that some public spaces and parts of the city turned into theme parks: the Disneycation of the city. The uninspired development of the space, the organisation of the city without a context, and reducing the city to an object for sale resulted in the opposite of what should have been achieved with urban public spaces: a mixture and transition of functions, different layers in the urban fabric depending on the scale of the space and its location in the city, the possibilities for identication and differences in types of space throughout the city. The spaces should reflect the colourful diversity of the city. This is the revolution we are aiming for. 1. Creeping privatisation However, there is more going on than just the impoverishment and unimaginative development of the city. In recent years there has been a gradual privatisation of public spaces, and this appears to be continuing. New forms of semipublic areas have developed between the large private areas (squares and parks) and the private spaces (houses). They are accessible to the public under certain conditions. Access is arranged in a contract, not determined by government, but by private market conditions. An individual entering a football stadium, a dancehall, a department store, a housing complex, or a secure carpark is subject to the rules of the private contract. The management of these zones almost always implies a restriction of the governments sphere of influence. The position of the government and its police becomes unclear. The police are increasingly leaving the management and supervision of these semi-public areas to private managers and supervisors. Using the term public-private partnership for what is tantamount to subjecting the area to market mechanisms results in a very bleak outlook. We would like to state our position quite clearly: the internal bor-

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ders in Europe have been abolished to allow for the free trafc of goods and people, and in the meantime we are creating new walls in our own cities which make free movement of trafc there more difcult. Privatisation not only concerns the management, but also sometimes the use of public spaces. One unfortunate type of behaviour is the so-called parochalisation of public spaces. When certain groups take over places for a specic purpose, those who are different are excluded. This can lead to a sense of insecurity. The parochialisation can vary, depending on the time of day. A park can be for the elderly in the daytime and for a group of young people in the evening. Legislation has attempted to respond to this with the introduction of the notion of public nuisance. However, this term tends to refer more to problems of public order, and therefore a matter for the government, while things which have a disruptive effect are actually experienced as such by citizens personally. Ultimately this concerns the level of tolerance of citizens. However, complaints do pave the way for even further privatisation and to shifting the nuisance to other places. In this way a problem in one place causes a double problem. 2. Beyond the physical public space? But how important are physical public spaces nowadays? Perhaps our references to the impoverishment and privatisation of physical space are out of date because of the arrival of new forms of communication in virtual space. The key word for the city is communication, and this is undergoing a complete revolution. In addition to physical encounters, there are all sorts of communication which are more coincidental and short term. Proximity and distance have become relative terms because of mobile phones, the internet, chat rooms and e-mail.

Private relationships are extended to strangers, invisible, anonymous and occasional contact. Are these things an opportunity or a threat for the city? There is no simple answer. In the meantime, the hype of virtual space is also being seen in relative terms: less than half of the Flemish people have access to the internet 5 at home. Furthermore, new forms of communication are not replacing physical contact. In fact, they are more likely to lead to an increase in types of communication. In short, bold statements about the consequences of new forms of communication for the city are not appropriate. We would also like to point out that in the meantime, physical space is gaining a new meaning, particularly in relation to the increase in recreational demands. The fear of losing familiar forms of communication in the city can lead to a sort of district fetishism. This can be seen in several places in the debate on the city. It means that the district stands for the warm level of communication, an antidote to alienation and a level of social cohesion that can still be achieved. The social pressure of this image is oppressive. The real picture does not tally with the everyday patterns of interaction between people moving criss-cross through the city, the grid city and the networks of cities. For certain groups, the district is more important than for others, and obviously the district can lead to interesting forms of contact and interaction. We only oppose the closed image of our district versus the cold city. For us, the district is part of an open approach to the city in which people move around the city at many levels, and where the public space allows for many different sorts of encounters and contacts at these many levels. We can identify more easily with this open approach and the related vision to the public space because there are points of contact with

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the rapid development in types of communication. The basic philosophy on public space in the city should probably relate to this: thinking in terms of networks of public spaces, with different qualities, levels of signicance and levels of scale, open to intensive contact but also with opportunities for rapid anonymous surng in the city.

B. The public space as an aid to urban development

The public space is a condition and a requirement to increase the urban character of cities for its inhabitants and users. The inhabitants of the city live there and want the added value from the quality of the public space. The public space is the garden of the urban dweller, and streets and squares are the extension of the home. This means that the inhabitants must feel at home and that there should be light, flexible and adapted transitions between the entities and functions of the city, via the public spaces. This is diametrically opposed to the annexation of the public space and its appropriation for private use. Visitors to the city must be able to experience the value of the city through its public spaces. The city should be more than a shopping centre, a place to work or a place to go to school. It should be pleasant to be assimilated in its anonymity and fun to hop through the city. Signicant public spaces provide opportunities, the pleasure of the lightness of a public place, chatting in the city, chances for coincidence and encounters. The experience which many people already have of the proliferation of possible forms of communication is therefore seen above all as an opportunity for the city. These are practices and skills in the private sphere which correspond well with the basic conditions of the urban character.

We consider the public space essential to support the diversity of and in the city. The diversity is related both to the contact between people with different backgrounds and to a diversity of types of activities in the city, combined with different sorts of public spaces in the city. Therefore the public space should be of a good quality at every level of scale, from the smallest community centre to the largest park in the city. As indicated above, urban public space should allow for a combination of functions, incorporate transitions and introduce different levels in the urban fabric. The task is to achieve the identity of public spaces in a subtle way, at and between levels of scale. In this respect, we make a connection with the section on the built-up city. There is an interaction between the public space and the spatial context: providing and organising public space valorises the spatial context and increases its signicance in the grid city. Public spaces can also generate a new context and therefore give a new meaning to places in the grid city. One of the basic requirements is that the public character and public function of public spaces must be guaranteed. Therefore we should avoid public spaces from being used in a one-sided way and being considered as monopolies. We should probably recover public spaces from privatised spaces in some places. In the semi-public spaces we will certainly have to adopt a much more creative approach to nding a suitable mixture of activities and functions, differing in terms of time and space and focusing on greater flexibility and adaptability. The public aspect will have to be given a greater emphasis in the public-private partnership for the management of these spaces. More active forms of common management are desirable. Enterprise and work, recreation and tourism, culture and events can assign a multiple signi-


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cance to public spaces and stimulate a mixture of uses. Buildings are not only there for their internal function, they also help to determine the mix of uses. The hospital shop can serve as a commercial outlet for the district, the employees restaurant can attract ordinary visitors in the evening, and the school playground can become a community playground when school is out. We expect architects and architecture to focus on inclusion, not on rejecting different urban functions. The challenge is to organise space in such a way that it allows for confrontations without lead6 ing to conflict. This is easy to say, but can only be achieved with a long process of searching and dialogue. The solution is certainly not always easy to nd in many public spaces. It requires a strategy which conrms the limits of tolerance and even increases them. This is a way of diminishing the urban character. We should organise the public space in such a way that we learn to deal with anonymous, occasional contacts in a constructive way and do not increasingly avoid them. In addition to an appropriate organisation, this also requires a new code of conduct and rules, as well as suitable forms of management, which includes the police, on the basis of a concern to ensure security for the community. The organisation of public space should contribute to the acceptance of what is strange and should even expressly recognise this as an important urban quality. This does not mean that tolerance should lead to a loss of norms, but that the democratic debate must also incorporate the norms for the use of the public space. Organising and designing public spaces is an art in itself, which requires the best planners and highest standards in terms of quality. This concern for quality reveals whether the city is really

opting for an urban character. The planning and design require a custom-made approach for each public space, depending on the current use and on the place and function of the specic spaces in the urban network. Sometimes quick interventions and short-term investments are needed to meet direct demands. A systematic approach to community parks and lost corners can have an immediate effect and can also be a sign of appreciation. Other public spaces require a slower approach and sustainable materials, in this way indicating that they will only gradually have an effect and that they require patience, sometimes over several years. Public space should have a very high value for the future. The appropriate flexibility and adaptability varies for each space. In many places, historical time must be guaranteed by conserving elements from the 7 past or by giving them a new function. In order to respond to public space with a degree of concern, it is necessary to see its importance in the context of stimulating the urban character. Public spaces provide added value for density and give opportunities for diversity. This requires a culture of public spaces in councils, but also from citizens and residents. In Flanders we have lost this culture to some extent. However, the tide is slowly turning and efforts are increasingly being made. This energy should lead to more public spaces which function better, and which themselves autonomously generate a greater urban character.

3. The enterprising city

The industrial revolution turned cities into the most important places of employment. This thoroughly changed the prospects, form, administration and life in the cities. In the last half century, this relationship between the economy and cities has led to two other fundamental

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changes. First, the compact city of the nineteenth century was transformed into extended urban areas where the majority of the urban population started to live in a broad ring around the city. Since the economic revival after the 1970s and 1980s, economic processes such as greater flexibility and globalisation have generated new types of cities in which networks, as well as social-spatial polarisations between population groups, play an important role. The city now has a central place as a source of economic growth and this central position can result both in great problems and in new opportunities. These opportunities are referred to here as the urban development coalition, which creates links with other cities in the global economy on the basis of the social-cultural capital of the city.

and entry roads, etc.). This economic expansion is particularly strong in the city districts of Brussels and Antwerp. Nevertheless, the conglomerations of the central cities continue to be the most important economic hubs and centres 8 of employment. Reference is made to pp. 0000 for the gures on this development. The consequence of this movement is certainly not always positive for the city. Although the city is still the most important centre for employment, many jobs are taken up by commuters, often from the suburban ring around the city, while a proportion of the actual inhabitants, particularly those with a lower level of education, are often left on the sidelines. It is undeniable that the fringe areas are becoming richer, while the city centre is becoming poorer. Pp. 00-00 show the differences in income structures between the city centre and fringe areas for the Antwerp and Brussels urban areas respectively. These differences in income then give rise to greater tax pressures in the cities than in the periphery. After all, the cities have less income and greater expenses. Visitors do use the city, but they do not pay for it. Therefore the costs are passed on to the centre from the periphery and the city centre ends up paying 9 the bill. The expanding city means that the city centre becomes less compact. With the disappearance of purchasing power and the enlargement of scale of the day-to-day radius of action of many people, certain functions are disappearing, such as district and community-oriented shopping facilities. Finally, a gradually insoluble mobility problem has developed as a result of an often inexpert localisation of new economic activities on the edge of the city, which leads to new pressures on other locations even further away from the city.


A. The new urban economic space

1. The expansion and impoverishment of the city Since the Second World War, economic growth and the increase in incomes have changed the larger cities into city districts by means of a process of systematic spatial expansion. The combination of property acquisition, mobility (cars) and the increased use of domestic appliances has temped more and more groups of the Flemish population into suburbia. Anyone who could afford to, left the city. Initially this suburbanisation was mainly residential, but subsequently, part of the economy followed. At rst, this mainly consisted of a number of caring services which simply followed their clients, but subsequently other economic activities also followed. The explanation for this included the lack of appropriate space, the higher prices of land and the disadvantages of conglomerations in the central cities. A stricter environmental policy is also driving some businesses out of the city. These activities are then established in the suburbs of the city districts or in easily accessible non-urban places (cross-roads, complexes of exit

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The city provides a great deal of employment . In Brussels almost 600,000 people are in employment; Antwerp and Ghent together account for more than 350,000 employees. The adjacent districts in the conglomeration of these three cities also have great economic signicance. Together the three large urban areas account for 47% of the total employment in Flanders and Brussels. Adding the regional towns, two thirds of jobs are found in the 13 largest Flemish towns and cities and Brussels, together with the municipalities in their conglomerations. Including the small towns, all the towns and cities together account for 81% of employment. The service sector is concentrated in cities to an even greater extent: 52% of jobs are in the conurbations, 71% in the large cities and regional urban areas together. In the last twenty years , employment in Flanders and Brussels increased by 491,000 jobs. This gure conceals a loss in industry (-20%), and a great increase in the much larger service sector (+47%). In the large cities and regional towns, the increase in the service sector was more limited (+36%), while the decrease in the industrial sector was greater (-29%). Therefore relative growth was greater in the rest of Flanders, and industry was able to maintain its position better. The limited scope of growth in the Brussels-Capital Region, in comparison with the geographical expansion of the city, reveals how this deconcentration in the large cities can assume dramatic proportions. The Region lost 43% of its industrial employment, and the number of jobs in the service sector increased by only 16%. The net increase in employment was limited to 5%, compared with 23% in the whole of Brussels and Flanders. It is striking that the highest relative growth gures occur in the municipalities of the conglomerations of large cities 3 (+52%), and in the suburban rings (+67%). However, recent research has indicated that we cannot conclude from this that a process of erosion is taking place in the city. On the contrary: the economic compact character is increasing at an even greater rate there (+179 employees/km2) than outside (+36 employes/km2). Nevertheless, an important restructuring is taking place: industries which require space and generate mobility, services and trade are leaving the city, while conversely, it continues to attract a whole range of activities in the service sector. An economic expansion in the city is related to this restructuring.
2 1

1 Deze cijfers houden geen rekening met de bouwsector die wegens de verspreiding van de productieplaatsen weinig ruimtelijke concentratie vertoont. Het zijn gegevens van de Rijksdienst voor Sociale Zekerheid, waardoor de zelfstandigen niet meegerekend zijn. We maken ook geen onderscheid tussen voltijdse en deeltijdse betrekkingen en wie meerdere banen heeft, wordt meermaals geteld. Niettemin geven deze cijfers een betrouwbaar beeld van de geograsche spreiding van de tewerkstelling. 2 Voor een uitgebreide analyse van de werkgelegenheid, werkloosheidskenmerken en -evolutie: zie Struyven en Vandenbrande, 2003. 3 Zie Cabus en Vanhaverbeke, 2003.

2. Post-Fordism: the network city and dualisation Just as post-war growth has transformed the city into a city district, new forms of economic growth (which are expressed in increasing flexibility and globalisation) have incorporated the

city district in a much more complex unit with relationships between cities, Europe and the world (vertically) on the one hand, and between the cities themselves (horizontally), on the other hand. The international literature often refers to the networking city and urban networks. It is

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600 000 500 000 400 000 Services 300 000 200 000 100 000 0
brussels antwerp and other ghent municipalities in conurbations* regional urban* small towns* suburban* commuter residential zonee* the rest of flanders

Employment in 2001 Salaried employment


Source: Van der Haeghen, 1991 and own processing

140 000 120 000 100 000 80 000 60 000 40 000 20 000 0 -20 000 -40 000
brussels antwerp and other ghent municipalities in conurbations* regional urban* small towns* suburban* commuter residential zonee* the rest of flanders

Employment in 1981-2001 Salaried employment

Services Industry

* = denition, Flanders Town and Country Planning Structural Plan Suburban and commuter residential zone = denition, Van der Haegen, 1991

clear that the new city, which has started to develop since the economic revival in the second half of the 1980s, can no longer be described in terms of a single line of development. The users of the city operate at different levels of scale, with both more local and more supralocal pat-

terns of relationships, which means that the urban character (also in an economic sense) no longer coincides at all with the traditional city. The origin of these changes can be traced back to the crisis in the 1970s. This saw the end of the

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Central cities and suburban municipalities: the income divide

Average income per tax return for the years 1985 and 2000 along the line from Sint-Niklaas Turnhout (tax years 1986 and 2001).

IIncome per tax return 2000

Income per tax return 1985

n n n n n

31000 29000

inkomen per aangifte in

27000 25000 23000 21000 19000 17000

n n n n n n n n n n n n n n

n n

15000 13000

sin t-n ik la as

be ve re n

zw ijn dr ec ht an tw er pe n

w ijn eg em

zo er se l

sc hi ld e

m al le

be er se

vo ss el aa r

beveren antwerpen zwijndrecht


turnhout beerse malle vosselaar zoersel


These gures clearly illustrate the difference between the large difference between incomes in the central cities and those in the surrounding suburban rings.


In the Brussels city district, incomes were already relatively low in 1985, particularly in the northern and central municipalities (Sint-Joost-Ten-Node, Sint Jans-Molenbeek and Schaarbeek). The situation was much more positive in the municipalities in the southeast of the Capital Region, particularly in the suburban rings to the west and certainly to the east and southeast. For all the municipalities taken into account, the highest income (Kraainem) was 65% higher than the lowest (Sint-Joost). The evolution of incomes during the period 1985-2000 further accentuated this situation. The highest income (Kraainem) is now almost double (+97%) the lowest (Sint-Joost). In Antwerp the situation was not yet as extreme as in Brussels in 1985. The income was signicantly lower than in the suburban municipalities (Schilde had a score almost 30% higher than Antwerp), but it was still at an equivalent

tu rn ho ut

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Average income per tax return for the years 1985 and 2000 along the line from Liedekerke Leuven (tax years 1986 and 2001).

IIncome per tax return 2000

Income per tax return 1985

n n n n n

34000 32000 30000 28000 26000 24000 22000 20000 18000 16000 14000 12000
n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n n

inkomen per aangifte in

n n

n n n n n n

level with that in the rural area further out (Malle). However, over the years, the differences also became more acute there and the gap between the centre and the suburban ring increased. The average income per return in Schilde is now almost 50% higher than in Antwerp. In the regional cities (SintNiklaas, Turnhout and Leuven) the income is now also signicantly lower than in the suburban municipalities.

lie de ke rk e te rn at st .-a di ga lb th ee ak st be .-j rc an h s-m em ol en be ek ko ek el be rg st br .-j oo us se st l -te nst no .-l de sc am ha br a r ec be ht s-w ek ol uw e k w r aa ez em in em be ek -o pp em za ve nt em te rv ur en be rt ou em dhe ve rl ee le uv en

koekelberg brussel sint-agathasint-joostberchem ten-node schaarbeek zaventem ternat bertem leuven liedekerke dilbeek oud-heverlee tervuren sint-jansmolenbeek kraainem sint-lambrechtswoluwe

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stable relationship between employers, employees and the government, which formed the basis for mass production and mass consumption (Fordism). A post-Ford flexible economic system replaced this. In this system, companies respond rapidly to changing preferences. Consequently, the government and employees must adopt an increasingly flexible approach to continue to participate in the economic system. The social conditions developed during the period of Fordism came under pressure. Furthermore, companies increasingly organise themselves in economic networks, focusing on their core activities. In order to limit costs, all the other activities were contracted out. A business that is able to produce the best quality under the best market conditions becomes a link in the network company. Both large companies and SMEs are part of these economic networks. The development is further strengthened and facilitated by ICT. The increasing flexibility in production was not only possible because less protable tasks could be moved on to subcontractors, but also because tasks were moved into the area of informal employment. Therefore the economic revival was accompanied by a polarisation in the employment market. On the one hand, there was a group of very highly educated managers who were responsible for designing and maintaining the flexibility and the new growth. Nowadays, economic development is strongly supported by the service sectors, and in particular by the intensive information technology sec10 tor. These employees no longer enjoy the stable conditions of work and income of the preceding period, but much higher salaries amply compensate for this. On the other hand, there are the employees who carry all the material burden of this flexibility. They have a lower level of education and are always available. They come and go in the employment market,

depending on the changes in demand and in the subcontracting sector. They take up the simple service jobs (such as cleaning services, tourism, catering, etc.), and may be rejected from the employment process altogether. These people nd it much more difcult to participate in the new economic sectors because the routine jobs can always be moved to countries with low salaries by network enterprise. In addition, international capital has penetrated what were until recently strongly protected home service sectors. The decline in the protability of industrial activities means that international capital is being invested in necessary, but not really qualied services. Because of the multinationalisation of these types of services, the working conditions are amongst the poorest, including a high level of occasional employment. Furthermore, this is not a marginal sector, 11 but a central proportion of the working class. The result is that the income gap between the people with well-paid, information-intensive jobs and those with poorly paid, flexible routine jobs, or those dependent on social security benets, is becoming greater. Because the different social groups are already divided in terms of location in the city districts, this polarisation also increases the internal differences in the city. These elements bring us to the paradox of the urban employment market: a large number of job vacancies accompanied by high unemployment in the city. Because of the increasing importance of education and social capital, an increasingly large proportion of jobseekers are nding it difcult to integrate in the regular 12 employment circuit. (See pp. 50-51 for gures and further explanation). The new post-industrial jobs are then taken by commuters and highly educated immigrants. The constantly increasing permanent reserve of the long-term unemployed who are concentrated in the cities is simply passed over. One of the consequences is that

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a proportion of these people are forced to survive in the informal economy. 3. Enlargement of scale and reduc tion of scale: the global-local paradox This network economy leads to an enlargement of scale because companies are looking for the lowest costs and greatest professional expertise, at least on a European scale. This means that the Flemish cities and regions are faced with worldwide competition, and that despite the global economy, local, social, and cultural characteristics play an increasingly important role: this is the global-local paradox. It causes an increasing differentiation between cities, rather than the even development which was charac13 teristic of the city under Fordism. In this context, the city is the key to the global economy. In addition to the geographical enlargement of scale, there is at the same time an economic reduction of scale, at least at the level of production, in which the city once again plays a central role. If smaller companies wish to participate in the network economy, they will concentrate on a particular market or market sector. This means that they must cooperate with other small companies, and consequently they try to establish themselves in the vicinity of these other companies. The urban area is an extremely suitable forum for developing these advantages of proximity. Furthermore, in cities there is an oversupply of central functions, which means that the economic partners in the network can be easily replaced. As a result, the scope of action of many urban economic actors remains local to a signicant extent. The city is confronted with great uncertainty as the result of economic changes. Because of the technological and organisational evolution, it is probable that groups with sufcient training and education for todays employment market

will encounter problems in the economy of the future. Therefore there is a real risk that in the future even more people will drop out of the regular economic circuit. As a result, the regular employment market loses its function with regard to social integration, which will have uncertain consequences for the cohesion of society. The internal (economic) stability of society, and of the city in particular, will therefore come under even greater pressure. If the problems of economic integration prove to be permanent, there will also be increased social and cultural uncertainty for even larger groups, particularly urban inhabitants. Another important factor is the demographic development. We do not have much control over this. The constant increase in the age of the population and continuing migration (from highly educated immigrants to asylum seekers and illegal immigrants) will undoubtedly change the social and economic basis of the city.


B. What is the future for the city in the network economy?

1.Urban charac teristics as a threat and as an advantage In order to tackle the paradox of economic success and unemployment and deal with the uncertainties, the cities will have to be in a stronger position. This means that the local character, a central factor within the global-local paradox, provides both opportunities and threats. The threat consists of the complacent dependence of the city on itself, which can only lead to its erosion under pressure from the competition. The city could also enter the competition with great enthusiasm and the aim to be successful. In this competition, the economic partners can be innovative, and the authorities can also follow new paths in the elds of economic, social and

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The paradox of the urban employment market

The paradox of the urban employment market applies specically to the city . As the gures on employment show, the city contains many jobs as well as many vacancies. At the same time, there is high unemployment, which is systematically higher than in the rest of Flanders. The paradox of the employment market reflects this contrast. This is represented in the two gures below.

Level of employment and unemployment in the Flemish municipalities and the Brussels-Capital Region (2001)
Level of unemployment Brussels-Capital Region

Level of employment opportunities

Source: VDAB, RSZ, RSVZ, RSZPPO, RIZIV (NIS) (Processed by WAV/HIVA), Struyven & Vandenbrande, 2001.

Between 1995 and 2001, unemployment in Flanders fell by 92,000 jobs. This was mainly the result of the growth in employment (see box on employment). However, the fall in unemployment is relatively greater as the urban character of the region being examined declines.
1 Voor een uitgebreide analyse van de werkgelegenheid, werkloosheidskenmerken en -evolutie: zie Struyven en Vandenbrande, 2001.

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Level of employment opportunities Index Flanders + Brussels 1995 = 100


Employment index

Unemployment index
n n n n

120 110

n n

100 90 80 70 60 50
brussels n

n n n suburban n commuter residential zone n rest of flanders

antwerp and other municghent ipalities in large cities

urban regions

small towns

Source: RSZ, RSVZ, VDAB and RVA.

This evolution can be explained by a number of interrelated factors. First, we see that most of the unemployed live in the three large cities (68,000 in Brussels and 35,000 in Antwerp and Ghent, together accounting for 47% of the unemployed in Flanders and Brussels), but that employment is particularly increasing in other places (92% of the increase between 1981 and 2001 is accounted for outside the three large cities). However, we do note that the most negative evolution took place before 1995. Between 1995 and 2001, growth in the large cities was denitely more positive. While only 8% of the growth occurred in the three large cities during the period as a whole, this gure 2 increases to 22% between 1995 and 2001. This indicates that there has been a possible improvement. One important cause of the employment paradox is the fact that the prole of jobseekers in the city often does not suit the jobs which are on offer. As a result of recent changes, the new jobs in the city are mainly high level jobs in the service sector and the public sector, while unemployment affects the most vulnerable groups in the employment market there (as in other places). These groups are concentrated in the large cities to a very large extent: 49% of young unemployed people, and even 80% of foreign unemployed people live in one of the three large urban areas. Jobseekers with a low level of education, another extremely vulnerable group, are more spread out throughout the whole of Flanders.
2 Cabus, P. and W. Vanhaverbeke (2002), Analysis of dynamics in terms of town and country planning and the economy, Strategic Plan for the Economy in terms of Town and Country Planning, September 2002

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cultural policy, which could benet everyone. But where there are winners in the competition, there are also always losers. Without solidarity and mechanisms for redistribution between regions and cities, this will encourage unacceptable inequalities in the regions and inner cities. In order to attract investors, ever-larger offers are being made, always paid for by the local communities, in the form of infrastructural works, tax reductions or exemptions and increasing investment subsidies. On the other hand, these are often outweighed by less stringent social and environmental conditions in competing areas outside Europe. From the point of view of investors who are no longer limited to particular locations, the competition between cities results in cost reductions, but the local population carries the cost. The competition also opens up new markets for infrastructure and equipment: throughout Europe, hotels are being built, airports are being modernised and expanded, teleports and industrial sites are being established, industrial and high-tech parks are being constructed, conference and exhibition areas are being created All this infrastructure creates a market mechanism with little or no interest in overcapacity or the social and ecological consequences. The competition leads to speculation and social repression in areas where inhabitants have to move out for new infrastructure and activities, or for new residents with greater purchasing power. 2. The urban development coalition for an economic city projec t The opportunities provided by the individual character of cities are based on these threats. The continued development of the network economy and the resulting increasing territorial and urban competition will lead to a need for alliances between cities. Castells, a sociologist who become world-famous for his analysis of

current social trends, came to this conclusion because the local councils as individual actors were virtually impotent in relation to the global 14 economy. The local councils will have to become stronger; it is a precondition for governing the European cities. This will have to take place at three levels. First of all, the local councils will have to create a strong basis of authority at the level of the city/region. This will require a strong internal urban organisation, which has been described 15 by the term growth coalition in the literature. In this book we refer to a development coalition, with which we would like to emphasise the concern for sustainable development. This means coalitions between the urban authorities and private partners, which result in an economic strategy for the city, focusing, amongst other things, on attracting urban investment and decision-making powers. It is essential that this economic vision is expanded to a total economic programme for the city. All the economic actors (government, employees and employers) can play a leading role in this. Not only the economic capital, but all the social and cultural capital present in the city can serve as a starting point. Secondly, as soon as an economic programme for the city has been set up, alliances between cities can also develop between city councils throughout Europe on the basis of the strong position of the city. This means that the cities operate at a level of scale which is more comparable to that of the global network economy. Consequently, they do not so easily challenge each other and will tend to opt for cooperation rather than competition. Thirdly, the development of a new vision of the city and society is necessary to tackle the internal urban contradictions which are the result of

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globalisation and increasing flexibility. Strengthening solidarity in the city could be the necessary complement to the expansion of the global economy and the creation of a uropean state. In this way, the world, Europe and the city will be interlinked (for further detail, see chapter 2). It is clear that both the networks of residential housing and those of working transcend the administrative boundaries of the city in their current form. An approach is needed at the regional level of the city. Up to now, there have not been many results at this level. The competition between the city and its periphery for example, in connection with the issue of taxation referred to above is dependent on cooperation. It is clear that there is a danger that this competition between the city and its periphery will become even greater, and that the city will certainly be the loser because of the lack of equal opportunities. Again, the alternative is a win-win situation, in which the existence of a community of interests between the city and its periphery is established and explored. There is no doubt that the periphery benets from the large number of jobs in the city. Conversely, the continuing economic development of the city could undoubtedly improve in terms of quality if the urban periphery were also involved in an expert, non-competitive way. We attempt to incorporate this win-win relationship at the level of the urban region in the term grid city. Therefore the total economic programme for the city is the starting point for forging alliances between cities and increasing the community of interests between the city and its periphery. This means that the programme for the city involves much more than devoting attention to strong economic levers. It certainly also determines the position of regular employment and of other socially useful activities as the basis for social integration in the city. This broad interpretation

of the total economic programme for the city on the basis of the local, social and cultural capital is necessary not only for the administration of the city, but also from the perspective of enterprise. On the one hand, this will undoubtedly lead to further opportunities, for example, for the leisure economy and the new economic foundations of the city which can promote integration. On the other hand, it would be a good scenario, in which the captains of industry in the city would develop their own ethical responses on the basis of their participation in the urban community and the general interests of the city, amongst other things, taking into account the existing paradox of the employment market. The government, which is an important employer in the city, could also play a leading role in this, which it has not done sufciently up to now. The failure to do this would increase the polarisation and therefore the potential for conflict in the city. This is not a very attractive starting point as a basis for an economic strategy. A pronounced economic prole for the city would certainly be an advantage for the development of a total economic programme for the city. After all, it presupposes the denition of a number of economic attractions. In addition to the traditional sectors, the caring sector and other personal and collective services are also possible attractive sectors where possible, within the market sector. A pronounced economic prole for the city could also benet the participation in an alliance between cities. After all, an alliance implies that everyone has something to offer in the network. The economic niches could ll this role. Therefore the cities of Flanders could play off their differences with other cities. In this rst place, there are important differences in terms of size (e.g., compare Antwerp and Turnhout). In addition, they usually have a different economic prole which is relat-


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ed to different factors. For example, the geographical position can determine the composition of the urban economic portfolio (e.g., ports). Furthermore, the economic portfolio sometimes reveals a focus on large companies, while in other cases the SMEs tend to have a more central position. Finally, it is possible to identify economic niches which have often developed over time. For example, there are clearly some cities with an industrial heart (Genk), cities where information is important (Leuven), cities with an important function as a gateway (Antwerp and Ghent), cities where culture is an important factor (Bruges), and cities which serve as a transitional area for the larger cities (Mechelen and Aalst). The coastal zone is a special type of grid city with its own economic prole. All these elements help to determine the content of the socio-cultural capital of the city. They form the basis for the economic programmes of the city with which Flanders and the cities of Flanders can gain a grasp of the future.


labour, and this increasingly involved the whole of society in the consumption of luxury goods. Social progress was based on an economy of consultation and general employment. Productivity constantly increased, and was divided between increasing prots and a social programme on the basis of social agreements. The state kept the cogs turning with a policy of expansion, social legislation, education, training and research. A redistribution mechanism and a social security system meant that the unemployed population also beneted from the increase in welfare. The Golden Sixties (19651974) saw unparalleled growth accompanied by an increase in the standard of living. The postwar generation moved towards the American way of life. It also generated a youth culture which emphatically placed its own lifestyle on the social map for the rst time. The generation conflict in the 1960s undermined the paternalistic, extremely materialistic and rather authoritarian character of the emerging mass consumer society. The emphasis on equality in a planned standard of living, supported by an ever-increasing pattern of consumption, was rejected by giving priority to participation and a freedom of choice. This sociological development was further increased by the economic crisis which affected the principles of the welfare state from the middle of the 1970s. Market mechanisms quickly predominated and put pressure on the mechanisms of solidarity. Solidarity was also undermined by the culture of the individual. In our view, the city could play a crucial role in the laborious search for new forms of solidarity.

4. The city based on solidarity

At various times in the transition of society the question arose that society might be under threat. This happened when the industrial revolution caused tens of thousands of people to move from the countryside to the city in the second half of the nineteenth century. It also happened after the Second World War, when mass consumerism changed the traditional lifestyle of all the people. It applies today, now that individualism and the consumer culture are causing traditional society to break down. There have been profound changes in society. After the Second world War, a welfare state was built up on the basis of a social contract. The basis for mass production was supported by new technology and a new organisation of

A. The marketing of solidarity

1. Competition puts solidarity under pressure Large-scale unemployment, deregulation, increasing flexibility and privatisation resulting

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in a new structure of the economy. The guideline was no longer a social dialogue, but the competitive position in the world market. We indicated above that the new technologies and flexible organization of labour made it possible to transform production into a just-in-time niche production, focusing on the demand of new target groups. The new professionals who were at home in this new economy had to identify strongly with their activities and adopt an ambitious approach in enterprise and competition. In exchange, they acquired a purchasing power which formed the basis for a new consumer culture. This new middle class distinguished itself nancially and culturally from the new underclasses, who were economically and/or culturally excluded. This led to divisions in society. A diversication of lifestyles resulted in the further fragmentation of society, in which the elements binding different sections became increasingly difcult to identify. Neo-liberalism and postmodernism reinforced these evolutions. After all, they both argued that it was impossible and undesirable to impose equality. The market was not only seen as the ideal model for the distribution of goods and services, it also became a metaphor for all social relations. They were all seen in terms of supply and demand and of social contracts between free individuals. In this context, the demand for the basis of social equality becomes increasingly urgent. People are seen above all as consumers, clients and an audience. The market of supply and demand is determining more and more elements in social life. The direction of society seems to be left to the effects of individual, free decisions. Apparently collective decision making or weighing up conflicting interests has become unnecessary. Politics are also increasingly based on the model of the market. Politicians are guided by marketing and mass communication with a floating electorate.

The basic common goods which used to be produced and distributed on the basis of competition, dialogue and consensus are now increasingly regulated by market mechanisms. Public services have to work like companies or they are privatised, the private sector is taking over some of pensions and healthcare, education and research have to compete in the market, the private sector has to help housing projects or community renovation, and cultural subsidies increasingly depend on the size of the audience. Marketing and the related individualisation mean that people are more vulnerable. Competition becomes more important than solidarity. Winning becomes more important than participating. The team is no longer concerned with the people who remain behind, and they are left to be dealt with by the nanny state. Furthermore, security increasingly depends on individual purchasing power. However, a growing group of people no longer has the means to survive in the market of welfare and happiness. The state appears to have reached the limit of what can be paid in terms of social services with the existing taxes. Maintaining the welfare provisions requires increasing efforts, while the pressure of competition actually forces more and more tax cuts and salary restrictions. The effects of these developments can be seen in a concentrated form in the cities. Alienation, mistrust, a sense of insecurity and entrenchment appear to be synonymous with city life. The breakdown of the solidarity organised by the welfare state needs to be compensated by new forms of urban solidarity. This does not in any way change the need to adapt this social security at the level of the state to the new social problems and the new visions of employment. Therefore what is said about the city below cannot be put forward in any way as a reason to replace the welfare state by the welfare city.


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2. A divided city The process of individualisation reveals that traditional cultural standards have lost their rigid mandatory character. This has led to a greater freedom for people to come up with their own interpretations and implement them. Both those with a higher and those with a low level of education wish to choose their own relationships; the relationships can be terminated, but do not stand in the way of commitment. This individualisation supports personal emancipation. However, like so many social developments, there is a dark side to this. The increased freedom of decision making is also linked to a creeping pressure to make decisions. Traditions do limit our range of possible activities, but at the same time they take away the burden of having to make decisions all the time. Furthermore, the loss of tradition and the increase in freedom of decision leads to a loss of or at least, looser relationships between people and between individuals and organisations. The most striking phenomena include the loss of factions, the erosion of the mideld (membership of religious, social and cultural associations) and the differentiation in patterns of personal life (the decline of the traditional family). Furthermore, the process of individualisation has different outcomes within the different classes, leading to new fracture lines between those with a high and low level of education. Individualism is also linked to consumerism. For example, this means that the experience of urban public space mainly coincides with pleasant, enriching experiences for the individual. This results in a narrow fringe of activities in the inner city and is accompanied by a specic form of gentrication (a change of the social structure of a district as a result of the introduction of a disproportionately large number of prosperous citizens), which is in turn accompanied by social repression. The main shopping street and

its direct vicinity are there for the general public. The professional middle class prefers the slightly more distant streets with a higher quality range of goods on offer. The relationship between commerce and culture consolidates the dividing lines which develop between the social groups as a result of these decisions. The relationship between people and their environment is moving in the same direction. Community life and the life of particular districts is not disappearing, but their social signicance is reduced because horizons are expanded, and community life, factions and local leisure facilities have to make way for virtual, and certainly more distant points of reference. As a result of the increasing flexibility of social networks, permanent community relationships with a territorial basis have become relatively exceptional. Therefore the loss of permanent relationships has both a social and a territorial dimension. The segregated city developed on a larger scale. A number of different factors have contributed to this: suburbanisation, an anti-urban attitude and the related emigration of the middle classes. The economic restructuring and the strong social polarisation have emphasised these social-spatial dividing lines in the large cities. They give rise to a divided city where the social groups not only lead separate lives, but no longer have any connection with the common city. It is precisely because individualisation and the marketing process are no longer restricted to the city, but have taken over the whole of Flanders, that the problem of connections is now so strongly experienced in the city itself. The task of coping with urban diversity has become more urgent and the possibilities of withdrawing to the security of tradition outside the city have disappeared.

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B. What kind of solidarity in the city? Two roads

We will discuss two roads which can lead to a more solidarity-based city. The rst possibility is the hard aspect of a different social-spatial, electoral and scal organisation of urban society: solidarity that is organised and laid down in laws and by institutions. The second is the rather softer promise of everyday relationships: a soft, more informal and latent solidarity between citizens. The broader debate on the reform of social security at the level of the state is not discussed here, but is obviously crucial: we certainly do not aim to place the need for solidarity entirely at the level of the city. 1. The recognition and organisation of social-spatial groups Up to the early 1970s the city was the stage for what we now call the old social issue. The division between rich and poor had already emerged during the course of the nineteenth century, but the positions of the two groups could be understood as a starting point from which a consciousness of the conflicting interests of the groups were built up. The groups organised themselves to defend their interests and confronted the other party: working class districts against the bourgeois centres. The city was also the place where employment was concentrated, so that conflicts related to work usually became urban conflicts straightaway. In addition, the city was the common arena, where the conflicts were expressed at the same time as the need to hold the urban community together. The old social issue concerned the distribution of income from capitalist production in terms of prots and salaries, and or in a broader sense, the distribution of wealth across the social classes. This conflict has continued in European cities for a hundred and fty years. Social, political and cultural questions

were also involved. Initially this greatly increased the internal solidarity within the opposing parties, and eventually an enforced solidarity was achieved between the parties with the mediation of the State. This led to an impressive improvement in the living conditions of the weaker group, to democracy and social justice. Therefore conflict and cohesion, struggle and solidarity, are not mutually exclusive. In fact, that is probably just as well for the continued existence of an (urban) society. However, the basic condition for a creative conflict is that the parties recognise each other, that the arena is dened, and that the struggle is carried out in accordance with clear rules. Today there is a new social issue which can lead to new solidarity in a similar way. This no longer concerns the confrontation between the working classes and the bourgeoisie. The new issue relates to social exclusion. The economic, social and cultural changes which undermine the earlier forms of solidarity mean that social integration on the basis of participation in the employment market is no longer always open to everyone. As a result, three groups emerge in Flanders when looking at this issue from an urban perspective. However, these groups are not equally strong in each city or cannot always be identied in the same concentrations. The rst group is a still relatively unrelated collection of individual groups which are in the greatest danger of social exclusion. They are concentrated in the deprived quarters of large cities: the immigrant workers of the 1960s and 1970s, the newcomers who came to join them when families were reunited or immigrated to marry, political and economic refugees and a whole range of care immigrants, who go to the city because there are greater opportunities for survival.


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The second group comprises the better-off (largely) immigrant inhabitants of the city. They live in better areas of the cities, and at rst sight they appear to determine the future of the city through their political representatives. They are not only by far the most dominant electoral group in the cities, but as long as there is no general right to vote for foreigners, they also account for the majority of politicians in the city. The third group consists of the users of the city who sometimes live far outside the city as a result of suburbanisation, and enjoy the advantages of the city without directly contributing to the expense because of the Belgian/Flemish organisation of administration and taxation. Their strength lies in two sources. On the one hand, urban policy is also determined at a regional and federal level, and this group is well represented at those levels; on the other hand, urban political employees are part of party structures which closely follow the interests of this majority of the electorate. Party ideology and programmes produce a policy in the cities which sometimes serves the users more than the residents. We are still a long way away from the mutual recognition of these groups and their internal and enforced solidarity. On the one hand, the spatial condition of the groups is increased by the middle classes moving away from the city and by the constant immigration of socially weaker groups and the impoverishment of the local population in the inner cities. Territorial homogonous social groups could end up retreating to their own areas and failing to confront each other, which would be the end of the urban character. At the same time, a certain degree of separation is necessary to maintain the (cultural) identity so that the confrontation with other (stronger) groups and with the government can take place in a productive way. On

the other hand, there are traces of increasing diversity in the inner cities. Gentrication, usually strongly encouraged by the government to ll the city coffers, brings more young immigrants into the city. The tension between these two processes a tendency towards increasing uniformity and increasing diversity should be seen as a context for opportunities rather than as a contrast. The result could be that the gentriers opt for the interests of the impoverished population in the city centres rather than for social oppression, and for adapting the city to their own needs and requirements. This means that they become allies, rather than a threat to the poor in the inner cities. In this case, gentrication and the social mix could stimulate the confrontation at a local level and determine its character. Therefore the essence is a creative, productive confrontation between these three groups: a confrontation which leads to mutual recognition and dialogue. This is the principle on which the city republic is based. A city based on solidarity is a city where there is a dialogue. This term expresses the need for the groups to be in contact and to communicate before a cohesive society can develop. Obviously this dialogue cannot take place in a void. It requires institutions which recognise every social-spatial group and the confrontation related to the future of the city. A future project for the city supported by all the social-spatial groups becomes the aim of that dialogue and the channel for achieving interrelationships and solidarity. Therefore structural modications are needed in the institutional and spatial organisation of urban politics in three interrelated elds: the territorial, electoral and scal elds. Territorial Organisation The territorial organisation of administration

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should allow the social, spatial population groups to express their needs better and to recognise each other. On the one hand, this can be achieved through the organisation of districts and decentralisation; on the other hand, by means of dialogue and institutions at the level of the grid city. This means that at the level of the district and the city a platform can be created for a dialogue between the social-spatial groups on a more equal footing. This is possible in the context of the urban debate described in chapter 4. It is crucial for the districts and communities to acquire greater autonomy so that the weaker groups are accorded greater recognition, greater visibility and more decision-making powers. The relationship with the users of the city should be determined by the dialogue at the level of the grid city. We will return to this in chapter 5. Electoral Organisation If the inner city group continues to be faced with a serious democratic decit (in some areas the majority of the population is actually not politically represented), territorial reforms will not achieve a great deal. Modifying the electoral organisation means giving all the inhabitants the right to vote. Undoubtedly the political organisation of the three social-spatial groups can itself become an efcient political decision-making instrument in many urban and supra-urban elds in a representative democracy. However, this form of democracy is less suitable for learning to live with the increasing diversity in the city. The everyday problems and challenges resulting from the double confrontation between increasingly diverse inhabitants of the city and between the inhabitants and the users of the city cannot wait for the slow process of political expression, negotiation and decision making. Therefore it is important for participatory

democracy to take place at a local level. This does not refer to the initiatives which are taken to defend a status quo against the challenges of diversity. It concerns those initiatives which are taken on the basis of local representative democracy to discuss the problems and projects with all the interested parties, and if possible, transcend the conflicting interests of the parties themselves. Better support must be provided for this (see chapter 5). Two policy aspects are suitable for this new type of administration: planning-related topics and the participation in the budget (see chapter 5). The policy on planning (town and country planning, housing, local security) covers a whole series of issues with a planning scale which coincides with the scale of city districts and areas (depending on the size of the cities), where participatory democracy can be organised. For the participation in the budget, the district level is the appropriate channel for giving small groups responsibility as well, to think and decide on all the policy areas at a supralocal level. Therefore these new forms of democracy should also be opened up to the users of the city who, as part-time citizens, are co-responsible, for all the communities in the cities and their future. This is reflected by the term city republic. Fiscal Organisation The scal organisation entails a fair division of the costs and returns of the character of the city and the accountability of those who use the funds. The subsidies for suburbanisation and to defend the character of small cities which are deeply rooted in the current federal, regional and municipal scal structures must be altered to nance programmes and projects in the city which are supported by all the partners. We describe all this as an urban pact, which means

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that the urban diversity and dynamics will benet every group in Flanders. Obviously this is related to electoral and territorial measures. The areas which contribute and those which must be nanced will have to be outlined by the Government of Flanders, and the funds must correspond to the needs and plans for which local territorial units have decision-making powers. Asking users of the city to contribute taxes to the costs they cause in the cities certainly justies their part-time citizenship so that they are involved in the decision-making processes related to the places in the city where they work, go to school or shop. Concrete proposals for redrawing the tax income are described in chapter 3, eld 19. 2. Everyday types of interrelationships The city has always been overflowing with diversity and to a greater extent than the rest of the population the inhabitants of the city have learnt to cope with this diversity. This experience has developed and been built up historically and is reflected in stories, attitudes, institutions and in the urban traditions of openness, hospitality and a dynamic character. This means that the city is not only a problem, but also a source of pleasure: as the generator of diversity, a magnet for different groups, a meeting place for different people, a place where there is a great deal to learn. At the same time, there are the threats of the exodus from the city, the sense of insecurity, the anti-urban attitude and the extreme right-wing view which wants to turn large cities into uniform villages. This is counter to the nature of the city and its urban character. It is precisely the experiences which the inhabitants of the city have of foreigners that produces the social potential of the city. A supercial contact with diversity in the community,

on a tram, in department stores is a characteristic of urban life. It is inescapable. In the city people can and must develop the ability to relate to each other at a supercial level. They talk to strangers who they would never talk to otherwise. This supercial contact means that other people are seen slightly less as they and slightly more as we. In this way the social life of the city is balanced between recognition and anonymity. The fact that traditional aspects break down does not mean that people are no longer socially active, i.e., no longer relate to each other. The more casual and changing relationships, the supercial contacts between different people in the city, should be given more attention. The commercialisation of the public areas in the city not only has a segregating effect, but also brings together a broad and varied general public. Therefore the combination of individualisation and the consumer culture also has another (rosy) side. It leads to new forms of interrelationships and cultural creativity. This is a common everyday creativity and consequently it is not always easy to identify. It is not only the people who live in the city who enjoy this and nd it attractive; the attraction of the city can be attributed to this to a signicant extent. These everyday examples of interrelationships are a positive factor for the city and can form the basis for a new solidarity between the inhabitants of the city and the users of the city, as well as within both groups. Several places in the city already serve as centres for these sorts of relationships.


5. The multicultural city

Cities are, by denition, multicultural places. They have always presented themselves (both in the feudal order and towards the national order) as places of emancipation and innovation. More than ever, this is important now. The

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cultural order supported by tradition and connections based on belonging to the same community no longer works as a framework for integration. The city has become the background for many lifestyles as a result of immigration, economic processes and the individualisation resulting from marketing. But these do not get the same opportunities to express themselves and are documented in a very unequal way in cultural productions. The city could become the basis of a new culture based on the recognition of many different frames of reference. This means that a common culture emerges on the basis of the area, the community in the same urban space: a common culture 17 of the city based on conflict and difference.

which the modern project of a feasible world, supported by a reasonable plan and a democratic decision making process has been irrevocably passed by (a post-modern world)? Or has modern society just become dislocated and a society in which economics, technology and science have become totally dominant, while other human relationships such as social, ecological, cultural and political (democratic) relationships have become subordinate? The second question concerns our intellectual capacity, technologies and visions to come to a conclusion about this. Is the modern view of science (the trust in the observed world and intellectual reasoning) the perspective from which these changes should be examined in a coherent way? Should the changes also change our ways of seeing or should we give up the attempt at objectivity, the aim to achieve a total and universal view or our views on identity? Therefore the second question concerns the intellectual point of view that we adopt and corresponds to the debate on modernism and post-modernism. Both questions have an important influence on the whole cultural eld. Therefore the widely discussed multi-culture concerns both a diversity of cultures and a diversity of cultural perspectives on this. In so far as we view culture as a reflection of the world which gives signicance to our actions, these new questions have also led to a cultural revolution. The social basis of culture has broken down. There is no longer a single common cultural pattern of reference, except for those who retreat into tradition. The relationship between the everyday experiences of people, the cultural objects and documents which are produced and the cultural institutions and policy making has become unclear. Therefore the cohesion and

A. The breakdown of cultural identities

We live in a time warp where the meaning and signicance of our lives and the ways in which our behaviour is influenced are once again changing enormously. Individual experiences, group behaviour, institutional and professional codes and the social and political order can no longer be encapsulated in a single coordinated picture, and no longer have a broad social basis. Traditions and authority are losing their power. The cultural order appears to be separating away from the structure of daily life and is no longer simply the expression of a broadly shared experience. It also appears to be losing its unity and cohesion. These are the phenomena which dene the concept of post-modernism. Therefore we are concerned both by the question to what extent our society has changed (social reality) and with the question to what extent our view of society has changed (ideology). The rst question indicates a correct assessment of social changes: are we actually living in a completely different era, another world in

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identity which is based on this also seems to be lost. For this reason, culture as a practical factor in life is at the same time uncertain and has become crucially important. When cultural expression is no longer a given fact and has to be (re)constructed, culture and the policy on culture also become a central focus of attention. The world itself has become more complex. The division of labour has become much greater, so that common experiences of work are much rarer and different experiences are actually much more common. The income and standards of living achieved in different working situations have become far more unequal. Society itself is now characterised by many cultures, by immigration of people with different ethnic backgrounds, by increasing cultural differentiation of generations, by local characteristics, by pluriform lifestyles. The lack of xed cultural references also increases the sense of insecurity, which is itself based on a decline in the social sense of security and the security of employment. All these objective and subjective changes have led to a search of common culture.

Today these conditions have disappeared. We live in a time of de-traditionalisation, de-territorialisation and a fairly thorough reconstruction of society. Life is no longer determined by morals or habits which have been passed down. It is this increased complexity which is referred to by cultural sociologists when they talk about individualisation, about the breakdown and fragmentation of cohesion. It appears that nowadays the market is the only place where all these differences are interrelated, where an enormously varied supply meets an extremely varied demand. Culture has also taken a postmodern turn in this way: a production of goods in search of a public of consumers. The consumer culture provides the eld of expression which will have to replace a collective consciousness and collective identity. By marketing culture it is not only public institutions, but increasingly private organisations that are involved. This means that the consumer culture is divided into many sectors and fragments, depending on the purchasing power and social capital. Nevertheless, the breakdown of cultural unity does not mean that everyone has become an isolated actor with an individual identity and a specic cultural expression. Culture remains a social issue and people do not exist without social interactions. The social, economic and cultural changes do mean that everyone now has many different social relationships and social practices and also often adopts many different identities (positions) in this. This has made the cultural eld much more complex, and produces a system of multiple meanings and references which we generally rather carelessly call a multicultural society. However, these different social relationships, practices and identities of different groups in society are documented in an unequal way and are not incorporated to the same extent in a col-


B. A new challenge for culture: living together on the basis of differences

1. From a uniform to a pluriform frame of reference In the last century a uniform culture and collective identity was developed within the nation state. Cultural production (ideological, scientic or artistic) and cultural reproduction (school, church, media, socio-cultural work, etc.) were conceived as an integrated institutional structure. The government, policy and politics were presented as the synthesis of society. This alleged uniformity of culture was based on a strong institutional coherence and on a view which had broad social support.

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Everyday culture, documented culture and collective identity

Describing a culture is no easy matter. Culture is primarily a practical everyday matter and is therefore about more than the public impact of cultural institutions or products. It is the reference for our everyday life. It provides a structure for our feelings, which determines our relationship with others and the world. It concerns a physical culture which determines our place in the world. It forms the basis for a way of life. That is the social place of culture. This cultural practice is an everyday matter. Everyday culture is the culture of daily life. It consists of a certain regularity, or it would not be an everyday matter. This regularity is the result of recurring interactions. People are confronted with a series of social practices on a daily basis, each with its own set of rules and rituals, its own balance of power and distribution of resources. It is these social practices which make use of specic cultures. It is these cultures which determine the direction for integration and skills in society. In a sense they test out the level of functional, moral and expressive integration. This is where cultural competence comes in; it determines the cultural experience of people. In this everyday culture people build up a high level of practical competence in dealing with diversity. The supermarket, the school, public transport, the street, etc., are all used by people from different cultural backgrounds, and in general this does not lead to signicant problems. Everyday practice leads to quite a lot of common experience, even if it is sometimes only because the differences are ignored. Everyday culture can be compared with what we call documented culture. This is the work of the producers of culture. This not only means the professionals, but all the people who leave behind permanent artefacts that can be communicated. These producers take elements from everyday experiences, work with them, and in this way provide meaning and signicance. It concerns a collective meaning of a world of experience. However, this culture is

lective and institutionalised culture. The more dominant groups and lifestyles are given greater visibility, while the groups that are socially excluded suffer a cultural decit. The system is even further distorted when we examine the cultural sector and institutions. These ultimately select the cultural elements which can lead to a common identity, but these elements are less popular with part of the population than in the past. They then look for cultural expression and identity elsewhere: some immigrants regain their cultural links with their country of origin, people who are socially excluded seek an outdated identity, a signicant proportion of youth culture focuses on more global forms of expression.

When a specic cultural expression bases itself on social and economic positions it can contribute to the polarisation of society. This is what happened in so-called immigrant communities. They came to the city as guest workers, and in the working class residential districts they saw the social mobility of workers: the growth in income leads to upward social mobility through education and by moving to a more residential environment. However, the economic crisis in the mid-1970s obstructed their opportunities with regard to this mobility. This impasse led to a culturalisation of deprivation, a sloweddown process of modernisation and the retention of traditional relationships. This identity was reinforced by the fact that many Flemish

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65 certainly not a mirror of everyday experience. It is actually a separate aspect which affects the experience and is influenced by the experience, but is not a reflection of it. This meaning is also presented by organisations and institutions which also have their own agenda and are often legitimised on the basis of a difference, an individual character. The rate and rhythm of everyday life are determined by moments of meaning, by distorting mirrors in a counter time. The vita activa and the vita contemplativa are lived in their own register, referring to each other without directly representing each other. It is precisely because they do not coincide that they have an impact. Alienation is necessary in every cultural practice. It is in this second register that the common factor acquires a form and the individual or private differences are assimilated in a common frame of reference. It is in that eld that the frames of reference are compared. A process of institutionalisation and social assimilation takes place at the level of documented culture. There are constant selections, cross-references and processes of integration at a higher (more abstract) level. Practices are institutionalised, and in this way turn into cultures. In the end this process gives rise to a selective tradition, a canon which forms the core of the operation of channels for social reproduction (education, the media, etc.). This is where the collective identity is expressed. Reference is made to this sort of perceived individual character when talking about our values. Therefore the problem of cultural identity is expressed particularly in the specic interaction between (i) the culture of everyday life, (ii) the cultural products and institutions, and (iii) the social and political structures which largely govern the selection process. Two questions arise again and again. Is every lifestyle documented and represented in an equivalent way (e.g., in the media)? When a general cultural identity is drawn up, does this take into account all the cultural products? In other words, does the dominant culture express the real diversity, or does it have an articial identity? Again, there is a difference between an urban character and a national identity.

people rejected foreigners. Subsequently, more and more newcomers found themselves in the same cultural isolation. Therefore it is a problem to nd the expressive elements in the prevailing consumer culture which reflect and express peoples own experience, the many different living conditions and lifestyles. In the most immediate everyday situation, popular culture serves as an instruction for dealing with the diversity of the environment. However, this does not provide a common frame of reference and certainly does not constitute a collective identity. This is why many people apparently nd cultural differences less of a problem in direct relationships and more of a

problem with regard to expressing their identity. It is not the immigrant neighbour who is the problem, but the imaginary immigrant community, the expression of the Other. This is a matter of relating to the Other, with differences within your own culture. After all, to say that everyday life is much more varied and less traditional nowadays, and to say that it is less based on routine, is not enough to assume that this diversity is also found in your own culture. Therefore the new challenge for culture is to nd new forms of interrelationships and arrangements which can provide a social meaning and frame of reference for extremely diverse and pluriform social practices. It is a search for

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living together on the basis of differences, rather than living together on the basis of a common character (identity). It is more a question of a relationship based on dialogue than on the creation of a community. This sort of culture must be created, it is not a given factor. The city is an appropriate framework for this search. 2. The city as the centre for cultural development The multicultural city is a good stage for building up a pluriform culture which is able to reflect the complexity of the world and create possibilities for action in this. The city is by denition a place where strangers live together. Diversity, anonymity, pluriform interactions and great complexity have always made the city an outsider in models of cultural integration. It was better to avoid the city and its dangers if you did not want to stand out or be different. However, in the current cultural revolution the city is the focus of attention. The cultural past in Flanders and its links with Flemish patterns of urbanisation do not make this easy. The spread of the population resulted in a diluted urban character. The increased use of the city as a place for work and leisure, the images presented by the mass media and advertising, and cultural globalisation have meant that many provincial towns have expanded to become small cities. They continued to grow on the basis of local and private cultures, in contact with more general, broader and more complex frames of reference. The mass media and youth cultures informed by the mass media were particularly responsible for this. The cultural landscape was incorporated in a unication supported by secularisation and the breakdown of factions, the development of a universal consumer society and the lifestyles related to this. We can certainly identify a gen-

eral modern world, which has swallowed up the boundaries between the city and the countryside. However, perhaps we should ask whether this generalised modernity has also led to a diluted, poorer modernity. This does contain all the elements of a complex pluriform society (albeit sometimes in homeopathic quantities), but also rejects this complexity and pluriformity in its own vicinity. The many opportunities of the large city (and the world) may serve as an inspiration on television or through other virtual contacts, or can provide leisure activities through institutionalised or other types of facilities, but they do not have to serve as a reason to learn to deal with the increased complexity in daily life. In everyday life, in the organisation of feelings about everyday life, preference continues to be given to a less complex, more traditional and controlled way of relating to people. The cultural policy in the window of cultural autonomy and the development of community competences has contributed to this. There was an active local policy at the level of economic expansion, employment and social policy. However, local cultural policy was often limited to a marginal portfolio in the ne arts. The general cultural policy of the Government of Flanders supervised the modernisation of society which permeated every level and corner of Flanders (mainly through institutions and sectoral developments). The (view of the) local policy did not always follow this dynamic approach. This gave rise to the specic form of the small town mentality in which real secularisation, individualisation, increased complexity and multiculturalism in short, a true increase in urban character was still reflected at the local level in a picture which ignored or reduced that complexity. In the big city, the cultural policy was also often reduced to a policy for the cultural sector, without taking account of the social dynamics. Culture and cultural experience are

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still strongly subdivided everywhere into different elds and worlds of experience. However, this does not deny that the city is the rst arena in which the possibilities of and conflicts about cultural differences emerge. The differences arise from the objective circumstances of an ethnic, social or generational nature, or they are related to subjective constructions of gender, lifestyle and world view. Achieving a certain degree of cohesion in the city requires a dose of two sometimes opposite aspects. On the one hand, different lifestyles must be able to develop their forms of expression to acquire their own identity. On the other hand, the multiple interactions between different actors in the city must also initiate an innovative cultural expression, based on ambivalence, a hybrid character, and even conflict. This will allow the multicultural city to operate, and focuses on the question of the limits to maintaining specic identities and the characteristics of universal meeting places. It is a matter of gaining an insight into the frames of reference that are used in different urban contexts in daily life. There is a difference between a small world city such as Brussels, large cities such as Ghent and Antwerp, and smaller towns such as Bruges, Leuven, Mechelen, and Kortrijk. However, this is not only a difference in scale. It is not a dilution of a sort of universal urban character; nor is it a specic denition of a Flemish character. It is rather a specic relationship to this complexity, based on a particular past and heritage, its own population composition, its own prole of visitors and users and its own political policy. This local colour, this local complex universality, will have to determine the colour of the city. After all, living together is less and less a matter based on droit du sang, a blood right (morals

and customs which are inherent in the people), but is rather the droit du sol, a fundamental right, a series of laws, rules and agreements for living together within a particular territory. The rst case requires a greater common experience between people. In the second case, cultural diversity becomes possible because of the emphasis on a series of local procedures. In the transition to a territorial approach, the city and the urban character play a pioneering role. It is a matter of assimilating them in terms of rights and obligations as a result of living together in a particular place, not in terms of shared norms and values. This is what is meant by the term city republic, which will be further examined in chapter 2. Therefore, it is the city, not the nation, which will have to provide the new anchor for culture. It is no longer a matter of passing on shared cultural elements which create an identity based on the people, in a top-down manner. We still see this idea dominating the so-called integration courses for newcomers, or in the attainment targets in education. For us, it is a matter of constantly developing skills for dealing with diversity and change in particular places, in other words, with cities and the urban character.


6. The participating city

The big social changes have not made participating in public life or organising politics and the government of the res publica (public affairs) any easier. There is a constant increase in political marketing. Representative democracy is mainly concerned with itself, and is leading to an administrative democracy which increasingly treats citizens only as clients in its administration. However, the city provides an opportunity for renewing democracy by providing adapted

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frameworks for social participation and the debate about social responsibility. This does require the adaptation of the administrative organisation and means that councils will have to develop new skills. We will present a diagnosis here and examine the subject in further detail in chapter 5.

wide pressure for the modernisation of government (the New Public Management) means that the government has acquired a central place as a service provider. This reinforces the impression that politics has become or can become a market pf supply and demand in every eld. The administrators are in danger of losing their eyes and ears as a result of these develop19 ments. The cold city is dominant at the administrative level, users and inhabitants feel that they are only treated as clients, and therefore behave as such. They complain endlessly. Representative democracy does not yet see the citizen as a co-producer. The aspect of representing the people in this system has gradually disappeared. Politicians then complain about the egotistical behaviour of citizens, who can only be mobilised when their own interests are at stake. The fact that the evolution of politics itself encourages this behaviour is not sufciently discussed. Every political party is just another party in the city. They have evolved from the street to the 20 state. They became part of the administration, rather than part of society. They are disintegrating, losing members and sometimes lose themselves in internal discussions on elections, lists, functions, images and marketing. The disintegrating basis and internal focus mean that people who are selected by the parties to lead factions feel that, once they have been elected, they are on their own. What are they saying and on whose behalf? The dominance of parties led to party politics both in the debate on the city and in urban administrations. This culture of party politics is still very strong. The citizens are no longer interested, and they do not want to have much to do with that system. They want to talk about what is needed in the city, i.e., about 21 politics, but preferably without politicians.

A. A city without politics?

Politics in general appear to be becoming increasingly incapable of keeping society together. The effect of marketing in different social elds (see above) places people against each other as individuals and in a client relationship with the government. This marketing phenomenon is also increasing in politics. Populism in politics, exaggerated by the media, reinforces this trend: it gives people the impression that all their desires can be met, and if this does not work, that it is the fault of the politicians. In our view, the demand for the primacy of politics is in the rst place a discussion about the role of politics in the organisation of society, and therefore also in the city: for example, what role do politics play in the urban housing market or in relation to businesses and their social responsibility? In the past, politics in Flanders actually stood back from many aspects of urban development. Some of the current problems in the cities are a result of this. The trend seems to be for less politics. The tenor of this book argues for more politics. The representative democracy in the cities is alienated from urban society. It has, above all, become an administrative democracy. The rapid growth of urban administrations takes up more and more of the attention of the 18 administrators. Consultants and reforms (or vice versa) follow each other to make the administration ever more efcient. The world-

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Could the bankruptcy of a system of representation dominated by party political agendas be more clearly formulated? In the face of the impoverishment of administrative democracy and the related party politics, the city contains a mosaic of social forums: the delicate informal wiring between inhabitants at the district level, pressure groups for particular issues (the environment, living conditions, etc.), community development in population groups (young people, immigrants, leisure groups, etc.), networks in institutions (community centres, cultural centres, sports centres, parents in schools, etc.), patterns of debate and communication in social sectors, public debates on matters relating to the city and formal circuits for participation (advisory boards, participation procedures). These patterns reveal many conflicts and opposing interests; there are differences in the balance of power and different degrees of participation and exclusion. But these are the real communities to which politics will have to relate. This feeling has become weaker. In a broad sense, concrete forms of participation in the city are always political. This applies for the different degree to which groups have (or dont have) opportunities to participate, and for the unequal division of goods and services in the city. It also applies for the way in which the participation takes place. Someone who always uses a car to move about in the city participates in a different way from someone who always cycles. The different effect on the participation of other users can be deduced from the statistics on accidents and environmental effects. All these forms of using the city in a concrete way bring us to the loaded term responsibility: weighing up the effects of ones participation in relation to that of other users and the effects on the city as a whole and in the longer term.

Politicians must provide the contexts for this responsibility. With these contexts, politics constantly comes up against the limits imposed by the market economy or imposed by politics itself, which will become the focus of political debate in the next few years. Pushing back the boundaries requires a social basis. The city is the appropriate place for creating that basis.

B. The city: a new framework for participation

According to the most negative prognoses, people increasingly shut themselves away within the four walls of their own home. This is the end of the city and the end of society. This view then develops into a negative interpretation of individualisation, lamenting the loss of public morality, appealing to the sense of duty of citizens and resulting in authoritarian politics. Individualisation means that people are more independent from factions, churches or pressure groups, but does not automatically mean that people no longer want to participate in the public debate. It does result in insecurity: it is no longer clear how this participation can work, now that the governing frameworks (including the political parties) which used to exist for this purpose no longer operate in this way. As a result, some people grasp at false assurances based on false ideas of society. New frameworks will have to be developed for these reflections about participation to give people a feeling of responsibility with regard to their choices and actions. This is essential to involve politics (the management of the polis) more strongly in society. The city provides this framework. 1. Social learning as a connec tion The traditional debate on participation is appropriate here. This focuses on the problem of how citizens can be involved in government. The rhythm and agenda of government are domi-

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nant and the citizen follows. The question is how government and politics can be built up in an interactive process together with the citizens, in such a way that those citizens and social organisations become co-responsible. The attention devoted in recent years to the social capital, to civilian society forms the basis for a more interactive denition of the participation of citizens. The literature on social learning provides fascinating examples of links between individuals, social processes, policy plans and the organisation of society in cities. In this civil society, individual citizens (both inhabitants and users) constantly nd themselves in 22 situations of informal social learning. The aim of the next few years is to look at these contexts much more carefully at the level of the city, and to use them in a much more active way, so that people themselves recognise the need to see their own behaviour and the way in which they use the city in terms of other interests and to look for other options and solutions together and at the level of the city. These may be options and solutions for which the political system is not yet ready, and for which there are not yet any instruments. Politicians usually believe that the citizens are not yet ready for their solutions. Social learning means that people learn to function as individuals and as members of groups in uncertain and new circumstances in order to resolve collective problems, or at least tackle them in an active way. The extent to which a solution is found at the level of the city obviously depends on the sort of problem. The social learning is characterised by a skills-related approach, using the potential for problem solving which is present in people and groups. Currently, the decit approach is often dominant: what are people not able to do, and what should others (the government, politics) do for

them? Social learning depends on questioning the backgrounds and starting point of familiar problems. This often means seeing them from the point of view of the rationale of organisations or bureaucracies. Social learning is interactive because it is supported by communication between those involved, and it is action-orient23 ed. In these processes of dialogue in social learning (on projects related to mobility, public spaces, town and country planning, cultural projects, community management, etc.), experts and administrators also have a place: they can increase the perspectives and enhance the processes but they may also be asked about their own vision and familiar solutions. All the themes described in this chapter (dealing with the built up area, the public area in the city, economic divisions and innovations, solidarity and multiculturalism) are the object of social learning. The cities are by denition the forums for these sorts of learning communities: all the issues in current society come together there (flexibility in the employment market, environmental problems, safety and security, immigration, energy supplies, problems related to mobility, etc.). Cities provide the necessary density and diversity of groups, cultures, interests and visions to create a visible content for social learning in a practical sense. After all, the practices based on experience are essential. Cities have the organisational capacities or can build them up, to support and add weight to these processes, for example, for an active and stimulating policy on education, culture and social affairs. There are many key gures in cities who are able to implement these processes: police ofcers on the beat, compost managers, home carers, sports trainers, teachers, people working in the preventive sector, etc. In this way, learning cities form centres for the development of social innovation and provide a


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framework for the search into new types of administration at the level of the city, but sometimes expanding to the state and the world as a whole, depending on the subjects concerned. The creation of groups in civilian society is essential for social learning. Views on the participation in civil society can no longer be based on out-of-date patterns of participation in a traditional society. This is particularly clear from the approach to the district in the urban debate. In the past, individual districts tended to be closed communities of fairly uniform groups; now they are colourful mixtures of people who develop networks across cities and countries. The district is a useful and practical level of working with different interests for social learning in a functional way. Social learning does not focus on restoring the district community. Chapter 5 examines participatory democracy at the level of the district. Social learning in the city requires the organisation of urban institutions and areas of life in civil society in such a way that they support social learning. This applies for companies, educational establishments, welfare services, community work, youth associations and cultural institutions, in housing companies, etc. If people do not have a say in things which concern them, or are not given the opportunity to state their views, there is no encouragement for social learning, and they will lose all condence in their fellow men and politics. These ideas are explored in the proposals in chapter 5. In recent years, certain sections of civilian society in the city appear to have become more difcult to control. In some sectors (the housing market, recreation, culture, etc.), the market mechanism of supply and demand has a very strong effect as a steering principle. In some cases, the centralisation of policy is dominant

(education, social work, etc.) In other cases bureaucratisation has a paralysing effect on local initiatives (economic initiatives, the employment market, etc.). When politics seem so absent (replaced by the market), take place elsewhere (in Brussels), or is repressed by uniform regulations, negotiations between citizens, i.e., social learning, do not appear to be necessary. They will not achieve anything anyway. In this situation the institutional conditions for social learning are lacking. People do have the practical experiences, but do not feel that it is worth comparing these with those of other people. A great deal of potential is lost. Therefore a general movement of strong decentralisation is essential: creating room for useful social learning, giving a voice to people who wish to take an initiative themselves with regard to arranging certain aspects of living in the city. This decentralisation applies in general: from central governments to cities, in cities by town councils and in centralised umbrella organisations and their links with local actors. Decentralisation is not a technical or administrative term, but refers to a movement in which people have as much space as possible to arrange their interrelationships on the basis of negotiations at city level. Chapters 4 and 5 examine this concept in greater detail: adapting the administration and planning in such a way that the city can become a city republic. 2. Networks focusing on cooperation For many political actors, the decit mentality (what citizens are not able to do, what they do not want to do) and a government-oriented mentality are still very dominant. The latter refers to a closed vision of government, in which the top admittedly provides information, allows some participation and deals with complaints, but still steers processes on the basis of strongly rational and technical arguments. This vision can be recognised in many institutions: from

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education to government departments, to social institutions and even in some community work. To some extent this attitude is a closed attitude towards other institutions. People prefer to look after their own affairs: educational establishments which consider that nobody should interfere with drugs at their school, the police who think they are the only ones who know how to ensure safety and security, social housing companies which are only concerned with their own housing, social services which deal with their clients comprehensively all on their own This means they remain outside the city: they place themselves on the sidelines and look on from outside, often even with a sense of grievance. This tradition must be broken down. It is essential to tackle complex problems by networking with other actors. In the next few years, participating in policy networks focusing on cooperation in the approach to common problems will become the core of the strategic activities of urban institutions. Interesting evolutions are already taking place in this respect: in education, in social work, in the employment market, in housing policy, etc. Instruments for networking are gradually being incorporated in regulations and programmes. However, investments in the professionalism and continuity of these policy networks are only poorly developed in Flanders at the moment. This will become crucial in the next few years: supporting systems of networking which involve several different partners. Urban policy must give priority to breaking open these circuits and to creating and supporting the networks. Processes of social learning and networking require municipal authorities who govern intelligently: who stimulate and hold back, who act when interests are suppressed, and who can deal with uncertain

processes, providing room for civilians to organise themselves. 3. Open representation of the people Participation also means taking part in politics as a system to weigh up different interests. We look at involvement in a broad sense: not from the idea of consensus which conceals and covers up conflicts, but as providing contributions to a lively and intense political debate on power in the city, in the state and in the world, about the developments taking place in the city. Representative democracy remains a necessary instrument to make this collective debate as well as the collective evaluations and accountability possible. Elections and the elected parties continue to be essential for public accountability, the regulation of the market and the protection of the weakest and the weakest interests. However, from a closed representation with a narrow basis in society, which is still often based on a hierarchy, we should move towards the open representation of the people, with more participation by citizens and a more interactive policy. Open representation of the people is aimed at participating in civil society politically, nding links with social movements, stimulating conditions for social learning, and supporting actions on the basis of that social learning. Action aimed at support, stimulation and experimentation should make politics less technocratic and more democratic. Council members in cities are often frustrated nowadays: once they have been elected, their role is limited to a slavish support for or predictable attacks on the governing parties. Turning town councils into an open representation of the people means that the council members must take on, chair and direct the dialogue with citizens and civilian society, and must introduce processes and communicate them. These activities are also dominated now by


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managers and authorised executives. It also means that the town council should not evade any subject that is relevant for the city polis (exclusion in education, the privatisation of the housing market, evasive environmental behaviour by industry, the employment of illegal immigrants, etc.). This deviates signicantly from the traditional and administrative agendas of town councils at the moment. It is self- evident that this means that council members and town councils must be supported much more strongly than is the case at the moment. A good representative democracy costs money. Interactive forms of democracy and direct forms of democracy are appropriate in an open representation of the people. For us, direct democracy does not mean populism, it is not the appeal to have the voice of the people heard (we will do what you say) but forms of politics which groups of people wish to take on themselves: for the management of a community centre, a playground or an apartment building, of budgets at community level, of care institutions, housing companies and schools, a nature reserve or windmills, historical monuments or sports infrastructure, etc. Interactive forms of democracy comprise open and professionally supported processes of planning, networking with institutes involved in the execution. They are processes in which the solution is not immediately obvious from the beginning; even politicians often dont know the solution. It is arrived at by processes of social learning. We apply this interaction at the level of the city, in the form of a debate on the development of the city, at the level of districts and projects (for a description in greater detail, see chapters 4 and 5). In this change in representation towards an open representation of the people, there is also

a shift in the administrative organisation of town councils. Signs of this can already be seen in the emergence of new, more publicly-oriented and more interactive civil servants. This will entail rethinking the traditional concept of the bureaucratic civil servant. Some of the civil servants will have to work for the town council to increase its role in representing the people. This can mean that they also work for civilian society: they can draw up plans and make alternative calculations for groups of citizens and in relation to considerations of the town council. They may even be commissioned by the town council to act as the managers of local initiatives by citizens. We believe that town councils have an important responsibility, but this requires capacities in the eld of policy, management and communication which most town councils do not adequately have at the moment. 4 . The foundations and networks for urban policy One important aspect of the participatory city is the degree and nature of participation of the broad Flemish community in urban policy: the general political and cultural basis for urban policy. Is there such a basis, and is it growing? As urban aspects and the urban character become more integrated in the frames of reference of the users and inhabitants of the city, the political culture in Flanders may change. This means that there is also a pressure on policy traditions and ways of thinking which are currently still too often based on an articial distinction between the city and the countryside, or the city and the periphery. The administrative relationships in the dispersed city, between the city and its periphery, are part of a specic institutional framework which has solidied in the denition of administrative boundaries, in predictable political discussions (the city as the enemy of the periph-

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ery), and in the channelling of cash flows (taxes). Although the users of the city participate on a large scale in what there is to do in the city, the old institutions appear to maintain the illusion of separate worlds and different communities. Obstinate images, stereotypes and political power have developed in these institutions and this explains the reluctance to change. Throughout this chapter we have referred to the need to look at the city in a broad sense: the existing boundaries articially shut off the city. New institutions should have the effect of removing boundaries. We see that here and there some interesting or potentially interesting projects are being developed between the city and municipalities on the periphery (dening urban areas, cooperation on the dissemination of culture, arrangements related to social work, etc.). In most cases, civilian society is involved in this or even acts as the leader in new frameworks for negotiation. This is the direction we wish to move in. The social dynamics should lead to greater pressure to transcend the local political agendas. There is also a need to alter the old institutions on the basis of actions and programmes supported by common interests. These changes must focus on showing the citizens of Flanders that as users of the city, they also become citizens of the city and cannot evade their responsibility. 5 . The city and Flanders in Europe The basis for an urban policy is not only necessary at the Flemish level. Flanders is not separate from the rest of the world. In this chapter, we have referred several times to Brussels as the city in which Flanders can develop the most important relationship with the rest of the world. Brussels is also the capital of Europe. In Europe, many other regions and cities are confronted with the same problems. Politics and

civilian society are attempting to recover control 24 of social reality everywhere. It is certainly worth looking for solutions together and learning from each other. Some of the challenges, particularly those on the socio-economic level, even require projects which can only be meaningful on a European scale, with cooperation between cities. Examples include the management and regulation of intercity competition, or the search for solutions for new social issues, and the increasing insecurity resulting from changing patterns of employment. In fact, Europe increasingly presents itself as an important political entity in the world economy, but above all, with too great an interest in the market, and not enough interest in regulating measures. Nation states have seen a reduction in their scope of action and in their effectiveness in these developments. It is possible that the networks of cities and regions will become the strongest institutions to provide a counterweight against the marketing of the world and to demand the necessary regulatory measures at the European level. This creation of networks, the lobbying and exchanges between cities and regions are already well developed, particularly at the scientic, social and cultural level, but are not yet sufciently visible or open to a broader base. Flanders and the Flemish cities could play a leading role in this respect. This follows automatically from our view of cities and the urban character and is diametrically opposed to all the movements and pressure for cities to fall back on themselves to a greater extent. From the city district to the world, open city and open the city: that is the basis for every aspect of this chapter.


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Conclusion The city as the harbinger of the new society

The six perspectives reveal the social changes to the economy, consumerism, lifestyles, social relationships, politics and culture. To different extents, these changes are related to the changed economic model (post-Fordism), which emerged after the crisis of the 1970s. Flexibility characterises production in a globalised economy. Social polarisation increases the contrasts between a small group which is growing richer, a dwindling middle group and a group of people who never become permanently integrated in the employment market. Geographical competition results from the large mobility of capital. Throughout all these changes, there has been an increase in the effects of the market in every sector of society; to an important extent this explains the individualisation of society. The old foundations of social cohesion disappear as a result of this individualisation and flexibility. Society is characterised by many lifestyles which no longer coincide with ethnic and religious communities. There is an ever-greater variation in real life, often related to consumer cultures. We described how these changes have farreaching consequences for the different aspects of urban development from six different perspectives. The relationship to time and space in the city changes through all these aspects. In the rst place, there is a change in the urban regime of time: inhabitants and users relate to the city on the basis of a very different arrangement of time. Different sorts of time coalesce and shift in accordance with many different rhythms. The same places in the city have different functions and a different atmosphere, depending on the time shown by the clock. The city no longer breathes at the rate of the xed division of time for work and free time: the city

has become multi-temporal. The relationship with space is also changing. The city, the urban dweller and the user of the city operate in a network with different scales. Physical and geographical mobility, as well as virtual mobility and communication, have increased enormously. As result of the flexibility of social networks, permanent community ties with a territorial basis are becoming relatively rare and are certainly no longer the only relationships. In the past, the city was always able to protect society, sometimes even during turbulent economic and cultural developments. Nowadays it appears that it must take care. The spatial design of the city is no longer adapted to largescale social changes. It is as though the city has been bypassed, all the more because it has been watered down and dispersed across the whole of Flanders. This means that it has lost the focus to create an identity, introduce cohesion in society, or achieve sustainability, but is also less able to provide attractive living conditions. In short, this is the negative interpretation of these perspectives. This is the A side.

Changing the perspective: looking from six different perspectives

However, a good look shows that in these problems there are also signs of new opportunities and the strengthening of the urban character. This is the interpretation of this chapter in which the voluntary character plays a role: the B side. The dispersal and expansion of the city makes it interesting: the enlargement of scale creates room for good housing, for green spaces and for better mobility in the heart of the city. The competition between cities to do well in the global market can lead to unimaginative development, wastage and the oppression of weak groups of inhabitants in the city. However, it also invites

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the cities to develop their quality and sustainability as positive elements in the competition, and to create a comfortable social climate with a fair policy. In the complex tensions between social developments and the design of the built-up space, there are plenty of opportunities to think about and debate the future of Flanders. This dispersal of the city, the distribution of functions, the unimaginative development and the increasingly loose relationships between people and the places where they spend time can become a threat to society itself. The city is the place where people are confronted with each other, and where information and communication come together. It is precisely this exchange that creates integration. If the city becomes impoverished, society is also watered down. However, if public spaces can be improved and acquire a multifaceted character to oppose segmentation and monopolisation, if a new consensus can be built up with regard to behaviour and interaction in the public space, the diversity present in the city can become useful in choices, interactions, encounters and communication. The city has also expanded economically. Economic activities turned their back on the city, as did parts of the population. This has resulted in increasing inequality between the city and the periphery. Both, the city and its periphery are cast into a worldwide competition to attract investment, employment and consumers. This also provides new opportunities for closing the gap which existed in the past. Cities are now the keys to the global economy. In order to present themselves in this competition, they must make full use of their local advantages, participate in all sorts of networks as a multifaceted partner, build up urban development coalitions and cooperate together, at least on a European

scale. This will lead to a new community of interests at the level of the dispersed city. The expanding process of marketing places people against each other as competitors and leads to social exclusion. Sustainable community ties also disappear because of the proliferation of networks to which people belong and the flexibility of the use of time and space. Society is in danger of falling apart like so many grains of sand in the cities, but in fact across the whole of Flanders as a result of the generalised character of urban life. Traditions no longer provide security anywhere. Cities have the potential to overturn these trends: they can propel Flanders towards a higher and better society, where people live together, side by side. In cities, people develop the competence to do things together, beyond their differences, and to develop new albeit only weak forms of solidarity. This requires suitable structural reforms in urban politics at the territorial, electoral and scal level. It can lead to a growth in the dialogue between the weakest groups, exposed to social exclusion, the other inhabitants of the city and the users of the city, and means that there are opportunities for new strong forms of urban alliances and solidarity. The great social changes which have taken place since the end of the Golden Sixties have made our world even more complex. As the element which provides signicance for this world, culture does not seem able to follow these changes. Increasingly it corresponds to the consumer culture, and this is also broken down into many sub-cultures adapted to purchasing power and lifestyles. It also ignores many of the weaker groups who are left behind with outdated, traditional interpretations of reality. The multicultural city contains a new identity with a new signicance: the search to live together on the basis of differences. However, this


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means that every group must have the opportunity to express its own cultural identity. Identity can no longer result from common traditional characteristics, but from the capacity to deal with ambivalence, hybrid characters and even conflict. Politics do not appear to be able to follow this either. Party politics and the administrative democracy turn people away from political representation and participation. The frameworks in which participation was organised no longer work. The connecting roles of factions, the church and pressure groups, have become weaker. Populism and the emphasis on management are pushing politics towards individual relationships between supply and demand: the politics of marketing. The frameworks for collective debate and collective responsibility are in danger of breaking down. Some citizens turn to movements which provide an illusion of protection by looking back to collective patterns which have been surpassed by the development of the city. The city provides the right framework which is feasible for supporting the new debates on participation in society and responsibility. These frameworks will have to develop from the bottom up, by learning to wrestle with the problems and look for social innovation: the learning cities. The cities collect together all the subjects which demand collective learning and debate, they provide the required density and diversity of groups and interests to furnish a debate. This requires the decentralisation of government to the level where it is accessible for and can be negotiated by the citizens themselves. The correct forms of direct and interactive democracy and the correct incorporation of local processes in regional, national and European networks can also help to create the basis which will allow people to take up the responsibility for their collective future and that of their cities.

New spaces, new public access, new democratic forms

In all six perspectives there are three central elements which form the core of our strategic vision: new spaces, new public access and new democratic forms. The city should not be seen separately from the rest of the Flemish Region. Flanders is a single urbanised area with a network of urban centres. The term network city is widely used internationally. This refers to the city which is located in a larger network, mainly as a result of the development of ICT and globalisation. We have opted for the term grid city because it accurately covers the reality of a network, but also because it neatly describes the very specic spatial design of Flanders as an urbanised area. Chapter 2 gives more detailed reasons for our choice of the concept grid city. Globalisation and the fragmentation of social reality have multiplied the scales and aspects of the city. The grid city provides a series of windows which make it possible to click between different scales and perspectives. On the basis of this grid concept it is possible to zoom in and out, depending on the scale at which we wish to examine the city and the urban character or the process we wish to study (in principle, from an individual plot up to the global stage of action). Therefore viewing the city as a grid is a way of including the whole of Flanders in the urban problem. It focuses on the fact that every inhabitant of Flanders is an urban dweller in different ways and must take responsibility for this. It reveals that this urban character is an integral part of the complex global-local relationships. The city can be seen as the focus of public access and public affairs. The city is by denition the place where the individual is confronted with society and must make a choice between

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protecting his own interests and gaining added value from shared negotiation and joint action. This is expressed in the concentration of public and collective goods and services in the cities. It is also revealed in the production of common signiers of reality in the form of culture and in the design and use of the built-up space. Finally, it is expressed in the concentration of social diversity in the city. The city must provide quality to ensure that the choices are made along the right lines. This not only means quality at the level of services, but also at the level of public spaces and types of interaction. The role of the city as the harbinger of a new society depends entirely on the capacity of people to confront each other. That is why it is so important to give Flanders an urban identity based on the capacity to deal creatively with diversity, change and ambivalence. It is also why it is necessary to develop new types of urban interaction which provide support for that confrontation, and a new, more flexible, collective organisation of time is needed to increase the chances of creative encounters. The city should be seen as a laboratory for new social and political contexts for integration. Flanders can be divided into city dwellers (including an uninterrupted stream of newcomers) and city users. Flanders can also be divided into groups with relatively high job security and people who can no longer nd permanent access to the employment market. Flanders can be divided into a myriad individual consumers who sometimes desperately try to distinguish themselves from others in terms of purchasing power and lifestyle. Something will have to change if a democratic society is to be maintained. This can be achieved by moving the democratic institutions to the distinct levels of the district, city and grid city, where confrontations and negotiations between people are possible. This must be done in the places where the

differences and dividing lines between the groups coincide in time and space and where the best chances exist to achieve a creative integration, i.e., in the cities. In fact, urban policy provides the greatest support for these matters. After all, institutions and funds must be allocated to this flexible democracy. This brings us to a new administrative architecture for Flanders.

The urban character as a lever

The basic line in all these six perspectives is as follows: the world has changed, and the urban character can help us to adapt to this and regain a grasp of reality. Again and again, the focus for all these processes of change, globalisation, increased flexibility, marketing, individualisation and fragmentation is the city. It is a paradox. After all, the above shows how these changes break down the city and the urban character. However, if we want to gain a hold of the future, gain control over these processes, the city is the starting point for the actions and the projects which must be undertaken. This means that the city becomes the harbinger of a new society. In Flanders, which has an anti-urban tradition, this will not be possible without a radical revolution. Attitudes do not change automatically and white papers alone are not sufcient to achieve this. The social changes themselves to some extent serve as a shock which causes people to look at reality differently. However, this can also lead to defensive reactions, such as the increase in intolerance and the withdrawal into a false identity. To avoid this, it is necessary to act on a voluntary basis, and therefore a powerful urban policy is appropriate. This policy can no longer be supported by old views on the city and urban problems. A new interpretation is needed, a new way of thinking about the city which encompasses all these social changes. That is the object of this book.

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1 For a more detailed status quaestionis, we refer to Loeckx, A., and B de Meulder, Wonen op zoek naar stedelijkheid, dichtheid en duurzaamheid. Debatten, realiteiten, tradities en perspectieven, Working text for the project, Thuis in de Stad (At home in the city). A version is included in the preliminary study to this book. This contribution contains a detailed bibliography. For this part of chapter 1, and in particular for a description of the term grid city (also see chapter 2), we refer, inter alia, to: Maboungi, A. and F. de Gravelaine (ea.) (2002), Projets Urbains en France French Urban Strategies, Editions du Moniteur: Paris; Miles, M. and T. Hall (eds.) (2003), Urban Futures. Critical commentaries on shaping the city, Routledge: London and New York; De Meulder, B., and M. Dehaene (2002), Atlas Fascikel 1 Zuidelijk West-Vlaanderen, Anno 02: Kortrijk; De Meulder, B., J. Schreurs, A. Cock and B. Notteboom (1999), Sleutelen aan het Belgisch stadslandschap, in Oase, no. 52; themanummer Consumptie en Territorium, SUN: Nijmegen, pp. 78-113; Oase (2000), nr. 53, themanummer Netwerkstedenbouw, SUN: Nijmegen, 127 pp. 2 Van Der Haeghen, H., E. Van Hecke and G. Juchtmans (1996), De Belgische Stadsgewesten 1991, NIS, Statistische Studin, no. 104. 3 Flanders Structural Plan for Town and Country Planning, denitive approval by the Government of Flanders, 23 September 1997, binding provisions ratied by the Decree of 17 December 1997; Flanders Structural Plan for Town and Country Planning, Brussels: Ministry of the Flemish Community, 535 pp. 4 Decree on the support for urban innovation projects, Flemish parliament, 13 March 2002. 5 VRIND, 2002, The Flemish regional indicators: 36 % of Flemish people have an internet connection. In 2001, this was only 29 %. 6 Ministry of the Flemish Community (2001), Public space, Brussels, p. 148. 7 bidem, pp. 166 and 176. 8 Struyven, L. and T. Vandenbrande (2001), Creatie van werkgelegenheid in de stad. HIVA, Steunpunt WAV, Working text for the project, Thuis in de Stad, included in the preliminary study for this book. 9 Cabus, P. and W. Knaepen (1996), Centrumfunctie: duur betaald? in Ruimtelijke Planning, Kluwer, Katern, pp. 1-38. 10 Struyven en Vandenbrande, ibidem. 11 Allen, J., (1988), The geographies of service, in Massey, D. and J. Allen (eds.), Uneven redevelopment. Cities and regions in transition, London: Hodder and Stoughton, pp. 124-141. 12 SERV, CESRW and ESRBGH, (2000), Brussel als centrum van een sociaal-economische belangengemeenschap, Brussels. 13 Paddison, R., (ed.) (2001), Handbook of Urban Studies, Sage Publications: London. 14 Castells, M., (1993), European Cities, the informational society and the global economy, in TESG, 84, no. 4, pp. 247-257. 15 Buursink, J., (1992), Stedelijke groeicoalities en stedelijke groeicompetitie, in Van der Haeghen, H., E. Van Hecke, Liber amicorum Prof. dr. M. Goossens, Acta Geographica Lovaniensa, Vol. 33, pp. 589-598. 16 De Brabander, G., (2001), Het stedelijke economische draagvlak. Research paper in the context of the project, Thuis in de Stad, included in the preliminary study for this book. 17 Inspired by: Bianchini, F. & M. Parkinson (eds.) (1993), Cultural policy and urban regeneration. The West European Experience, Manchester University Press: Manchester; Corijn, E. (1999), Kan de stad de wereld redden, in Nauwelaerts, M. (ed.), De toekomst van het verleden. Reecties over geschiedenis, stedelijkheid en musea, Antwerp, Musea Antwerpen, pp. 85-103; Landry, C. (2000), The creative city. A toolkit for urban renovation, Earthscan: London; Zukin, S. (1995), The Cultures of Cities, Blackwell Publishers: Oxford. 18 Kalk, E. and F. De Rynck (2002), Bewonersbetrokkenheid en burgerparticipatie in de steden, discussion text for the project, Thuis in de Stad, included in the preliminary study for this White Paper.

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19 Hendriks, F. and P. Tops (2001), Between democracy and efciency: trends in local government reform in the Netherlands and Germany, in Public Administration, vol. 79, no. 1, pp. 105-123. 20 Deschouwer, K., (1996), De wortels van de democratie, Hadewijch: Antwerp. 21 Based on views of members of groups of residents in the seminar on the involvement of residents and participation of citizens, in response to the discussion text of Kalk and De Rynck (see footnote 18), commissioned for the project, Thuis in de Stad, July 2002 (text included in the preliminary study for this book). 22 The whole section on social learning in this chapter is based on: Wildemeersch, D., (2002), Sociaal leren voor duurzaamheid in de risicomaatschappij, in Baert, H., L. Dekeyser and G. Sterck (eds.), Levenlang leren en de actieve welvaartsstaat, Leuven: Acco, pp. 67-75. 23 Wildemeersch, ibidem (see previous footnote). 24 For a more detailed description of the networking between cities at the European level: Le Gals, P., (2002), European Cities. Social conicts and governance, Oxford: University Press (in particular, see chapter 5: pp. 147-179).

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2. The urban character as a political project


The grow th and specific character of Flemish urban problems

A number of Flemish cities, such as Bruges and Antwerp, form part of the great urban history of the world. In their time they were true world cities, with contacts on every continent, and with an extremely diverse cosmopolitan population. Following a period of decline, only Antwerp and Ghent were involved in the new wave of urbanisation introduced by the industrial revolution from the mid-nineteenth century. Brussels developed as the capital city of the country. Apart from that, Flanders remained a predominantly rural area, with numerous centres with good amenities, small towns where commerce and trade were accompanied by urban industry on a small scale. In addition, a more diffuse form of industrialisation developed in specic mining areas (clay, coal) and along infrastructural lines of communication (canals, rivers, railway and tramlines). Furthermore, a far-reaching policy on housing and mobility successfully prevented the strong concentration of the industrial proletariat in the large cities. Workers commuted to the factories and often combined working in industry with small-scale agriculture and horticulture. Both phenomena industrialisation in the large cities and the growth of the nineteenth-century ring, on the one hand; diffuse industrial development and commuting to work, on the other hand formed the basis for the current ambivalent structure of settlement in Flanders. The impact of major industrial cities in Flanders was tempered, while a diluted form of industrial urbanisation spread across the small towns and rural areas. This also characterised the political and cultural situation between the wars. During the reconstruction following the Second World War, and above all, during the 1960s, Flanders also continued to be industrialised, often with a great deal of foreign investment. However, with the exception of a few establishments in the ports and subsequently the airport, this new wave of industrialisation still did not lead to a new development of large cities. On the contrary, the diffuse industrialisation that was already present was given a new impetus with the development of the road network and absorbed a signicant proportion of the new industrial development in scattered industrial sites along the infrastructural lines of communication and around small towns. The economic basis for a single large suburban area was expanded. This was no anomaly, but was wonderfully suited to the important social developments taking place and the political choices being made. The development of the welfare state is based on a social contract which had already been negotiated during the Second World War. The aim of this was the constant growth of productivity from labour, and both entrepreneurs and trade unions agreed that the proceeds of this growth should be divided on the basis of a social dialogue, between prots, on the one hand, and increasing purchasing power and shorter working hours, on the other hand. Fordism, as this economic system was called, was based on a constant expansion of mass production and mass consumption. A new organisation of labour became dominant. It was based on machines, the conveyor belt and a strict division of labour. It stood for high productivity and the mass production of consumer goods. The prospects of a higher income and increased leisure time compensated for more intensive and less satisfactory working conditions, for example, following the introduction of paid holidays. The redistribution introduced by the welfare state also ensures a broad participation in this rising standard of living. For an evergrowing middle group, the American way of life was no longer the stuff of TV soaps, but an ideal that could

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be achieved. Living outside the city, and consequently suburbanisation, were important elements in achieving this dream. In Flanders this trend was even further strengthened for political and cultural reasons: the government, the unions and management implemented an active policy to keep people in more rural areas. The De Taeye Act (1948) provided cheap loans for building housing. With very few and flexible regulations in town and country planning, or even no regulations at all, there was no opposition to the residential spread. Subsequently the regional planners generously designated extensive areas as residential areas or areas for expansion. The Brunfaut Act (1949) provided districts of social housing, which could be seen as the urban counterpart to the widespread private home ownership. However, this was soon fragmented across countless local building companies and small projects. The continued development of transport between home and work, gradually but increasingly by car, supported commuting to work. In this way the moderate concentration of the nineteenth-century city, the diffuse industrial developments in small cities in the early twentieth century, the development of commuter trafc, residential suburbanisation and the spread of villages and hamlets gradually merged together in a more or less general, though diluted form of urbanisation in urban regions. In the extended city and in the countryside which was opened up, work and housing can develop in different ways. A signicant proportion of the affluent population and of the middle group with a relatively high purchasing power is leaving the large compact city or choosing alternatives. The big city is seen, above all, as a centre for work and services. Furthermore, an increasing proportion of employment is moving to the edge of the city. Living in the city is only for those who cannot leave, and for the newcomers who ll up the gaps in the employment market and in the housing market. In this way, the attractions of the large city are overshadowed by a negative picture: the city is dirty, strange, dangerous For the majority of the Flemish population, the large cities do not evoke an image of pleasant, useful, habitable spaces. Only the small regional towns still evoke this picture to some extent. In the large cities, only the tourist and commercial districts still have a certain degree of attraction.

Chapter 1 analysed urban problems from six different perspectives. In the historical description to this chapter we outlined the main developments in the growth of urban problems, and above all, the specic character of these problems in Flanders and Brussels. In this chapter we examine our starting points, which form the basis of this book. The preceding paragraphs make it possible to formulate a clear social diagnosis: a. Living in the city is a problem. The brick in the Flemish stomach is a historical product and explains the desire for an own home: this can be found much more easily outside the

compact city. There is not a wide range of affordable housing in the city. This also reinforces the suburban mentality. b. The city creates divisions. The city concentrates administrative and economic activities which particularly benet the periphery, if only because a signicant proportion of city dwellers do not enter the regular circuit in society. An economically interesting proportion of the historical heritage is becoming richer, while large parts of the old city centre (the historic fabric and nineteenth-century ring) are becoming impoverished and dilapidated.

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85 Therefore the large majority of Flemish people do not cultivate an attitude that is positive to large cities, but tend to have a frame of reference relating to small towns, or more accurately, to suburbia: neither urban nor rural. The good life in the Flemish suburbs became part of the ideal of upward social mobility in the 1960s and 1970s. In contrast with the expanding town and country planning, deep mental and social divides have emerged within the increasingly urban region: between the increasingly exclusive commercial centre and the marginalized outer districts, between native Belgian and immigrant urban dwellers, and above all, between the compact, large and medium-sized city as a whole and the expanding suburbs. The small towns have retained an uncertain intermediary position in all this. In this chapter the term city refers primarily to large and medium-sized cities, where both the compact urban character and the divisions and new trends are clearly visible. The possible interesting intermediary position of small towns is left out of consideration for the time being. Depending on their specic situation, they will reveal more or less pronounced characteristics of the urban problems that are discussed here. Their own specic role will be discussed at a later stage. The economic crisis of the mid-1970s and the subsequent era of post-Fordism with its deregulation, increased 1 flexibility, liberalisation and privatisation have increased the different divides in the city region even further. The divisions in society and long-term policy of spending cuts have also led to increased poverty and deprivation everywhere, but have had an even greater effect in the old city centres and the nineteenth-century ring. At the same time, feelings of solidarity and tolerance have not improved at all. The exodus from the city, an all too exclusive urban character focusing on a layer at the top, and the decision not to opt for the city, mean that suburbanisation has accelerated and the urban fabric becomes even more diluted. Cities are increasingly seen as centres for work, consumerism, entertainment, culture, visits and tackling problems. The city serves primarily for its better users. The problems of living together on a day-to-day basis and of housing are suppressed. Urban housing has become a residual function. However, at the same time, poverty is increasing, not least because of the crisis in industrial employment. This means that the future prospects of those with a low level of education who are concentrated in the compact city are diminishing all the time. The city has become the focus of all social conflicts.

c. The gap between rich and poor is growing. Despite the economic success of some historical parts of the city, there is a growing inequality in incomes between the compact city and the peripheral areas extending far beyond the administrative boundaries. This results in scal inequality: the municipalities with the poorest population have the impossible task of managing the greatest social problems. d. The growth of populism and the extreme right. This development of the compact city as a problem area, and the identication of these problems with an immigrant population in the cities, is politically translated into

the growth of the extreme right and in the political response to an almost obsessive sense of insecurity. In this trend a curious political coalition is taking place between the native population of the city, threatened by increasing impoverishment and marginalisation, and a suburban middle class which is afraid that it will have to surrender its recently acquired prosperity. Both groups see foreign newcomers as hijacking the city. This is an ideal climate for populist political activity. e. The pressures on the environment and mobility are becoming untenable. The divided and expanding city places enormous pres-

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sure on the environment and on open spaces, and also creates serious pressure on mobility. The need for coherent and sustainable development clashes with the divided perspectives or suburban mentality of a signicant proportion of the population and its political representatives. On the basis of these diagnoses we come to the following conclusion: Flanders is in need of a detailed social debate on a new urban policy. This policy should be supported not only by the specic historical development and character of cities in Flanders, but must also take into account the irreversible urban developments related to farreaching changes at a global level. The need for this policy is based on the following statement: the city and urban character are not outdated phenomena; on the contrary, they can serve as the basis of a dynamic, future-oriented and sustainable development. In this sense, the urban policy becomes the test and conclusion of every good social project. This point of view is based on an interpretation of a number of important contemporary developments and requires a new perspective of urban space and urban culture. A change of attitude is needed. It is this change that we want to discuss below. We will examine the statement with the help of three triangular relationships: world state city (1) urban character urban policy policy on cities (2) government civil society population (3) The changes and the relationships between the corners of every triangle form the basis for the ideology of this book. In the last section (4), we combine the three gures in a single comprehensive model, which focuses on the city at the level of political organisation. We conclude the chapter with the

four Ds: durable sustainability, density, diversity and democracy, the leading principles for drawing up urban programmes which give the urban character a central place. The possible contents of programmes are dealt with in chapter 3.

1. The city as a centre for political and social reconstruction

The process of globalisation: a precarious balance
We are living in a period of far-reaching social 2 changes. The umbrella metaphor for these changes is the process of globalisation. Both the term and the scale of globalisation are a matter for discussion. However, it sufces to say that one important dimension of the process is the precarious nature of the balance between the world system, on the one hand, and the system of nation states, on the other hand. The world system, based on the market economy, has had a tendency to expand ever since its early emergence during the Renaissance. It constantly transcends its borders. This process takes place with a fluctuating intensity and appears to be accelerating again today. Furthermore, in the course of the eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth century, politics and social and cultural developments took place within a system of nation states. Representative democracy, the social regulation of the market economy, the development of a cultural (national) identity, etc. were conceived, above all, within the borders of the nation state. In addition, the world was expanded internationally by governments through diplomacy and foreign policy. The world system and the system of the nation states were in a precarious (im)balance, as revealed by the history of the twentieth century, accompanied by constant international conflicts, two world wars and a cold war, violent colonisation and decolonisation.

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The limits of the possibilities of regulation were achieved and transcended in most states, in the response both to the economic crisis in the mid1970s and to the implosion of regimes in the East. The relationship between the market and the state changed signicantly, as did the relationship between the world market and the system of nation states. On the one hand, the international and transnational levels increased in importance (e.g., the European Union), while on the other hand, the state became the ally of the (local) market economy in the competition at the global level. Deregulation, privatisation and increased flexibility undermined the Fordist regulatory mechanisms. Protectionism and the philosophy of the inclusive welfare state were dwindled. In the past the state guaranteed a social regulation of the market, but now it is under pressure to operate more in accordance with the market, focusing on the capacity for competition.

city. The development of Antwerp is related to its role as a world port. In this way, large cities and small towns are trying to achieve a more international image. The nature of every city today is determined both by its place and history in the nation state and by its links with and specic incorporation in the processes of globalisation.

The city as the focus of rescaling

The paradox of glocalisation leads to the division of the nation state into new levels of social regulation (a new scale). On the one hand, there is a clear move towards supranational, international, transnational, continental and global levels. European unication is both part of globalisation and a reaction to it. All these transfers of sovereignty still suffer from a serious democratic and social decit. On the other hand, local and regional aspects are increasing in importance. In other words, the simultaneous processes of delocalisation and relocalisation appear to be seeking different scales from that of the nation state, in which conflicting or paradoxical forces can maintain a (precarious) balance and result in some sort of synthesis. The transnational scale is one of these, but at that level it is very difcult to discover a workable relationship with global regulation. The city operates on another scale. Cities, led by the large cities, are confronted with a local concentration of problems to such an extent that they are forced to develop their own solutions, and their own policy. Cities become both a vortex of social decline, as well as possible contact points for social and political regeneration. This was clearly shown in the A and B interpretations of chapter 1. On the one hand, cities are large enough to reflect the complexities of the world, while on the other hand, they are small enough to develop new and adapted forms of democratic control and discover new local forms of the glob-

The paradox: glocalisation

Globalisation is not a process that takes place up in the air or outside society and has only a marginal effect, dripping down in different places. Globalisation is actually taking place everywhere at a local level, though always in a very specic way. This is the primary paradox: globalisation is accompanied by the increase in its importance at the local level, localisation. To 3 some extent globalisation is glocalisation. The process of local globalisation is particularly evident in large cities. In fact, some world cities such as New York, London, Tokyo and Frankfurt are precisely the places which provide global 4 interactions. However, in every city of a certain size there is actually an increasing connection with the world through the intensication of economic, social and cultural interactions. For example, Brussels has become a minor world

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al aspect. For this reason, cities can no longer be content with simply managing sectors of activity (housing, mobility, the economy, town and country planning, culture, etc.); they are obliged to develop an integrated urban vision and a related urban concept. As we will see below, cities have powerful advantages at their disposal for tackling these challenges. The most important of these is their urban character or one of its essential components: the everyday 6 experience of diversity. In this perspective, cities and places in general are no longer the lowest level, dependent and inarticulate aspects of the (nation) state. Within the system of nation states, cities t into a hierarchical order as the only political point of reference: capital city, regional city, smaller town, etc.

mnage a trois with two against three. Furthermore, they also occur together in the city. Therefore the image of the city has to work both within its own urban reality and within the national context and international force eld. Particular emphases and choices are possible. Some cities are particularly focused on themselves, while others prefer to opt for a role in the national environment, and others still tend to present a prole at the international level. In short, the city has links on the one hand with the state, the country, and on the other hand with what we call the world, for the sake of convenience. Every graphic representation of these relationships plays a part in this respect. The structure is rather like an open tripolar force eld rather than a static, closed triangle. Various relationships develop around the three poles: transnational relationships, urban networks, world cities, city states, urban regions, etc. Even within the city there are parts which tend to connect more with one aspect than another: museums and cultural centres may be active in worldwide networks, other parts of the city focus on Flemish users, while others have a district-oriented function. Whatever the case may be, the city can no longer be identied with the lowest level of a hierarchical order. It will have an important role, though this still has to be largely dened, in the exciting process of globalisation/localisation. In this eld there is a great deal of room for creativity, initiative and policy.





Globalisation is suppressing their natural or organic place. In the future, cities will play a double game: they are part of a nation, and in a much broader context they are part of a continent, of a world. These relationships are not all necessarily on the same level. The cities end up in a triangular relationship with the world on the one hand, and the state on the other hand. The global, national and local levels are three distinct areas, three aspects which interact in different combinations, sometimes as in every

2. Urban character, the policy on cities, urban policy

Another triangular relationship is that between the concepts of urban character, the policy on cities and urban policy.

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urban character

event (a festival site) or non-localised immediacy (the internet) can contribute to urban character, but lack the interaction of time and space to act as powerful generators of urban character. Historically, urban character has been related to the growth and compact character of urban activity in an originally rural environment. This made the city a favourable site for modernisation in a predominantly traditional context. Between these polarities, the urban versus the rural, and modern versus traditional, there is a certain afnity, but not an exclusive relationship: the traditional city exists, the modern countryside also exists. Nevertheless, the compact nature of urban development can be seen as an efcient catalyst of modernisation. The far-reaching phenomenon of job-sharing and the production of goods generate a diversication which goes right across the traditional social cohesion. In a purely traditional culture, this cohesion is based on the equality of activities and the cyclical and concrete awareness of time. Day and night determine the rhythms of social life. The seasons and activities are more or less determined by that rhythm of time. Traditions and religion lead to the ritualisation of this behaviour and to a solidarity supported by a sense of belonging and similar lifestyles. This means there is a community. In urban culture the cohesion focuses rather on exchange and contracts between strangers, on very different activities which must be related to each other. The ubiquity of clocks and timetables introduces a more abstract time structure which is separate from the large variety of concrete activities. This time passes, goes on, and is seen in linear terms: Time flies, use it well! The development of other, more abstract measures such as money, nancial transactions, and time by the clock result in a social cohesion which allows for a large degree of concrete diversity. It

policy on cities

urban policy

Urban character and anti-urban character

Urban character is a qualitative concept. It is related to the characteristics of a place and the mentality of the people. This does not concern merely a connection between a physical space and a cultural reality, but rather the interrelationship of material and immaterial culture and the interaction between space and changing attitudes, which both act as cause and effect. This means that urban character is a complex concept with several dimensions. Amongst other things, urban character reveals the extent of diversity in space and time. This diversity can have all sorts of different characters: diverse population groups, diverse types of housing, diverse activities, diverse experiences, different functions, a variety of cultural expressions, etc. Obviously proximity is largely a matter of accessibility, with distances and waiting times which can easily be bridged, depending on means of transport and communication. Both diversity and proximity are determined in relation to the social groups involved. But in any case, the urban character develops because of the highly compact spatial and temporal nature of different human activities, objects and experiences. This is not an excusive denition, it is more a matter of gradation: a greater or lesser urban character. Nevertheless, the interaction between time and space as the best promoter of urban character is important. A compact temporal

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is not so much equality, but complementarity which provides the basis for solidarity. This concerns society, the community. Modernisation has reinforced and accelerated these processes. Marketing, industrialisation and the division of labour now affect the whole of society. The great increase in mobility has led to a larger range in terms of space. There has been a compression of time and space, and consequently the most important characteristics of the modern urban character have penetrated the whole of the countryside. The countryside in Flanders (the more rural areas) is now also thoroughly changing because of its own forms of modernisation. The unbroken built-up areas, uninterrupted housing and human activity creates a continuous network which has made it permanently impossible to clearly divide urban activities from those in the countryside in Flanders in terms of space. In addition to the modernisation of rural production and the spread of urban development, education, the mass media and travel also promote the general process of modernisation. The urban character and modern development are no longer characteristics only of the compact city, but now extend to a much larger area. However, this does not undermine the role of the compact city as an important promoter of the urban character and modernity. It is just that their scope has become much larger. This requires an adjustment of the focus on urban policy. The urban character also affects attitudes. Life in a compact city means living with the unknown, whether you like it or not, and this requires an open mind and flexible behaviour. At this level the gradations in the urban character also lead to considerable differences in the experience of the public domain between the larger city and the suburbs or the countryside. In the last two cases a familiarity with the inhabi-

tants and the users is much greater and is moreover arranged on the basis of customs. In the larger city, the lack of specicity and the ambivalence are greater. This requires an appropriate attitude. The American sociologist 7 Lofland refers to ve principles of good behaviour in the city: 1. cooperative mobility: so that everyone can move about; 2. a civilised discretion: a certain level of discreet polite behaviour; 3. wanting to be an active observer and listener: showing an interest, being alert and attentive; 4. restrained helpfulness: looking after other people; 5. tolerance of diversity: being free of prejudice. It is a matter of learning to live with difference, without aiming to achieve a common experience on the basis of identity. These rules for acceptable behaviour in the city would be a good starting point for discussions on civilised citizenship. They are now also better adapted to the inevitable exposure to globalisation than the localised customs of more closed communities. Therefore it would be wrong to think that the urban character will now emerge in the same way everywhere. It will certainly continue to be strongly related to particular places, as a result of at least three factors: local history, local density and local diversity. Cities, particularly the larger historical cities, reflect the levels and depth of modernity. The compact historical fabric remains as the location of a high concentration of people and human activity. The larger cities continue to be the essential if no longer exclusive places for great cultural and social diversity. This resistance to the historical, compact, urban character evokes an equally obstinate antiurban character which does not cease to point


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out the negative aspects of the city: foreigners, pollution, crime, nuisance. Greater mobility increasingly allows the use of the facilities of the city by people who do not live there, and therefore supports the exodus from the city and the rejection of the city as an environment for living in. This rejection of the urban character in daily life encourages suburbanisation, an attempt to design an urban character at some distance. The complexity of the immediate living environment is reduced by referring to an (imaginary) rural relationship, and this is combined with the predominately utilitarian use of the city as a facility. In itself, there is nothing wrong with this old dream of uniting the opportunities of the city with the peace and quiet of the countryside, except that by no means everyone can realise that dream, and that in order to feed the dream there will always have to be people living in the city. The privileged people who are able to realise the dream withdraw from its two-pronged, social cost price: the price of using the city, on the one hand (they pay too little towards the city), and the price of a nonsustainable use of space, on the other hand (they are subsidised for the added cost of living outside the city). As indicated above, this distant relationship with the urban character predominates in Flanders. This means that there is a brake on the dynamic innovation of the current urban character and on the development of an urban attitude. The user of the city who does not live there only wants the city to provide the services he requires without any nuisance or unforeseen circumstances, and wants the suburbs to be limited to providing a quiet residential environment. This narrow view is not really a very good basis for relating appropriately to urban reality. It is only the people who are regularly and necessarily confronted with the real urban environment in their daily lives, who are obliged to

develop flexible ways of dealing with the city. Without an experience of real urban diversity and the different aspects of the population and human activities, the urban character becomes a mythical imported product, and its necessity and creative stimuli are removed. It is precisely because of the wide-ranging interrelationships with different aspects that the different ways of relating can be tested out and adjusted. The absence of these relationships maintains the very different attitudes between the actual urban character of the city and the reduced urban character of the suburbs. In the city, the everyday practice of living together and dealing with differences requires an appropriate attitude; outside the city, the ltered urban character or abstract cosmopolitanism are barely tested and are in danger of being overturned at the rst confrontation. The question arises whether the contrast between the big city and the suburbs in Flanders is corrected to some extent by a pattern of urbanisation in which numerous medium-sized and small towns also play a role. Many more diffuse processes of industrial development and compact infrastructural networks stimulate the diluted, generalised urban character. Perhaps the hypothetical area of the urban region which lies between cities of different sizes with a range of infrastructure has its own characteristic model of development. This could link real urban dynamics to a recognisable provincial character, could assimilate the advantages of an enlargement of scale and avoid the disadvantages of increased complexity, without having to exchange the requirements of a competitive environment for greater residential comfort. Perhaps it is in this sort of mediumsized urban area that it is possible to introduce a different relationship to the urban character. The dynamics of the large city would not have to serve as a model for all forms of urban char-

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acter. It would be possible. The reality in Flanders could generate specic opportunities, but that means that the advantages of intensive urban cosmopolitan production would have to be linked to the advantages of residential spread. The urban policy (of town councils and of central governments) must focus on creating the conditions for the sustainable development of cities on the one hand, and a sustainable relationship with the urban character in general, on the other hand. We argue for seeing the urban character as a necessary positive element for a suitable localisation of globalisation, and as a stepping stone for the continued incorporation of Flanders into Europe. After all, it is the perfect place to learn to relate to the stranger and new things. Without a close experience of that relationship, the idea of a society which focuses on the world remains an abstract, meaningless idea. For example, this experience has a positive effect on seeing prejudices in relative terms: All Moroccans are thieves except for my Moroccan neighbour, or All boys are dangerous except for my nephew. This place to learn about the urban character does not have to be difcult or complicated on the contrary. One important element of the urban policy is to support the urban mentality with a pleasant relationship to the city as a place of diversity. The use of the city must be seen in much broader terms than the current utilitarian, ofcial or duty-based exploitation, and the city must be developed as a pleasant place to spend time in. Therefore it is positive to incorporate the facilities for accommodation and leisure which provide more than consumption and an ofcial culture in the fabric of the city itself. Therefore the attractive use of the city for leisure purposes must not be equated with a harmonious theme park and should be linked as far as possible to the real living city.

This sort of policy against the mono-functional view of the city complements the sustainable development of the city for various categories of inhabitants and users. Apart from the investments by buyers of real estate, who have a lot of purchasing power, and consumers who like to go shopping, the everyday level of amenities in many cities leaves a lot to be desired, both in terms of quantity and in terms of quality. Great efforts are expected from urban policy to improve the physical and infrastructural environment of the city and make it more inhabitant and user- friendly.


Urban policy in the grid city

The urban policy in Flanders (including Brussels) could extend from Flanders as a double space: on the one hand, the rural landscape with villages and hamlets, agricultural, natural and recreational areas, and on the other hand, the network city, a collection of large and regional cities and small towns combined with suburbs, ribbon development and lines connecting them, as well as some open areas here and there. As a network city, Flanders needs better town and country planning and a cultural transformation which will work on a new urban framework and urban culture. The urban policy must focus on cooperation at the level of town and country planning and culture, on diversity, density, and synergy, all characteristics of the urban character. However, in order to generate an adequate urban character it is also necessary to maintain the real concentrated cities, to ensure that people can live in them and develop them in sustainable way. Without the network, the compact city becomes an anachronistic enclave, and without the compact city, the network city lacks the generator which creates the urban character. However, in order to provide better support for the coordination of the diluted and compact urban character and to develop suitable forms of urban character and density, both

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in the compact city centre and in the larger urban region, a more subtle policy is required than that of compact hubs incorporated in the Flemish network city as a whole. For this reason we will refer to this below as the grid city. This describes the grid-like coordination between compact and less compact, central and peripheral, built-up and open, physical, social and economic aspects of the city at several different levels of scale (sometimes at the same time): within the city centres, between parts of the city and the periphery, within a broader urban region and for a region which comprises several cities. This requires a different view of the organisation of the urban character, in each case in rela8 tion to other parts of the grid. We must continue to cherish the historical heart of the city. However, as we indicated above, the city has now changed completely: the evolution of planning in the city no longer takes places in concentric movements. Furthermore, the way in which citizens and social partners operate in open networks creates a different notion of planning. The enlargement of scale of areas for action has turned the city inside out so that we are ready for the reformulation of the traditional frameworks for thinking about the city and 9 urban character. The physical boundaries of the city have been broken down. Functions at the level of culture, the economy, housing, etc. are moving from old to new, urbanised and nonurbanised areas. The continued development of ICT adds yet other dimension to this new geography of the city and countryside. Modern communication and open patterns of relationships mean that you no longer have to live in the city or establish activities there in order to benet from the citys central position. In short, the boundaries between the city and the countryside no longer exist.

The current policy frameworks are often too defensive, too strongly focused on strictly conserving the compact city. This means that the policy tends to consolidate the existing conflicts rather than providing a solution for them. This certainly applies for the relationship between the city and the periphery, or in an even broader sense, the city and the countryside. It has become a conflict at the level of town and country planning, and even a conflict between images of society. This is certainly not a positive framework for giving priority to the city and the urban character. We wish to break down this confrontation between the two camps. A renewal of the policy frameworks could be based on this changing city as a starting point, and could provide the basis for a proactive policy. We repeat that we also consider that the expansion of the urban fabric and the use of the space is taking place in a way that is not sufciently controlled, that the inner cities are disintegrating, that divisions are becoming greater, and that the problems of mobility are in danger of becoming uncontrollable. But we do not believe that the clock can simply be turned back the strategy for tomorrow is not based on the ideas of the past. Nor has suburbanisation responded to a number of requirements related to quality of life which the compact city could not meet. Therefore compact urbanisation is not the only answer to the demand for the most sustainable form of urban development. The discussions on 10 this can be found everywhere in the literature. However, we cannot saddle the urban inhabitants with all the negative aspects of an open and urban policy on town and country planning which protects green and suburban areas from additional urbanisation. If we interpret sustainable development in this way, the inhabitants of the city bear the entire burden, and there is a

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danger that the quality of life there will deteriorate even further. With the current composition of the urban population this would not be socially just, and therefore would not be sustainable. The existing borders of the urban region in the planning are in danger of becoming bogged down in the philosophy behind the compact city. This will also consolidate the mental boundary between the city and the non-city. This strengthens the already disastrous gap between suburban rings (a good place to live) and the compact city with its concentration of different problems. Finally, the government does not have adequate resources or instruments or the will to use them to make sure that town and country planning is really led along the right lines. This means that the situation between the ideal and the limited resources becomes very unsatisfactory. There is a danger that in the short term this will lead to suppressing discussions on quality for the sake of programmes focusing on speed and quantity. We will therefore take the reality of the dispersed city and open networks as a starting point. There is no longer a sharply dened city. Within the dispersed area, the cityscape will have to be redened. New policy frameworks will provide a framework in which the principles of cohesion, density, diversity and participation in sustainable policy programmes can be achieved. There are now a lot of descriptive concepts to give a name to the new cityscape: the nebulous city, the network city, the dispersed city, the urban sprawl, citt fractale, edge city, ville-territoire This colourful terminology is yet another sign of a hazy understanding of the space. We use the term grid city both as a descriptive term and to create some order.

The image of the grid city reveals lines, crossover points and a mesh of different natures and sizes. These lines can be infrastructural lines, but can also be green or blue lines. They cross each other at points of urbanisation or of open space. The mesh or the windows in the grid can be described as elds or rooms, depending on what they represent: open spaces or built-up areas. The term describes the spatial character of the relationships and the changes of scale in a networked space. It indicates that places are interconnected by social, cultural, economic or other relationships in constantly changing networks of different intensities. From that perspective we can also describe the blurred or absent functional and physical boundaries between the city and the countryside. The term grid city leads to discussions about the arrangement and development in and of this apparent lack of spatial structure. We can zoom in and out, depending on the level of scale at which we wish to examine the city and the urban character, or the process we wish to direct: from the level of the individual or the individual plot to links in the grid with global processes. In the grid city, we can assign a place to different sorts of boundaries and indicate their relative signicance. The boundary of the burgomaster only shows the administrative boundaries. The geographical boundary shows the boundary of the actual urban region. Institutional boundaries are particularly relevant for the Brussels grid city: they indicate how the institutional boundaries cut off the economic heart of the Brussels urban region from the rest of the urban region, which is mainly situated in Flanders. The existing boundaries always aim to dene an urban space which is distinguished from a non-urban space. The two areas are seen separately, and consequently coordination is

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often lacking in the policy. Therefore coordination is seen as an important aspect in this book. The grid city is the policy framework for achieving the leading principles which we will develop below. It is the basis for an inclusive urban policy.

Urban policy based on a vision

The principles outlined above must be central, both in the urban policy and in the policy on cities. For us the policy on cities concerns all the actions of central governments (from the global to the Flemish level), while the urban policy comprises all the actions of local parties. The urban policy denes and supports the role of the changing city in an enlarged urban area, as part of the Flemish grid city. It requires its own policy level (the town council in the broadest sense of the term: municipal government, city government, forms of consultation in urban regions, etc.) in consultation with the inhabitants of the city, the users of the city, the local social and management organisations and the private sectors. The urban policy focuses on the development and implementation of an urban programme. At this level it is also important to achieve greater coordination to strengthen both the specic and the sustainable character. Therefore the urban programme is, in the rst place, an inspirational vision for the future, in which cohesion on the basis of (local) diversity is projected and the city is situated in the world and in the country. Like the urban character, the urban programme is based on an interaction between a spatial and a socio-cultural dimension. It is built up on the basis of different elements: (a) its own collection (history, heritage, sources, national identity, etc.); (b) the existing and desired social practices (social, economic, cultural and political); (c) the creative processes; (d) an expression, an image, a position; and (e) the main strategic lines for policy programmes. The programme is based on clear principles: social jus-

tice, sustainable development, participatory democracy, a comprehensive approach and transparent government. Planning and design lead to the concrete implementation of the programme (see chapter 3 for the content of the urban programmes and chapter 4 for planning, projects and design). There is a constant interaction in the triangle formed by the urban character, urban policy and the policy on cities. This requires appropriate institutional and policy levels which naturally interact. The urban programme is supported by the local government and its partners, the urban policy by the national government and its partners (including possibly a network of cities). Urban programmes inspire urban policy, the urban policy stimulates and supports the urban programmes. However, the urban character often lacks someone to promote its interests. It is on the same level as human rights, pluralism, democracy, etc., and should therefore form part of a general social culture based on the general cultural policy and by the social partners. Every pole in this tripolar constellation also has its own counterpole. In this way the urban character requires a denition of the rural character (in Flanders this rural character also comprises a multi-layered, 11 complex and contemporary reality). The urban policy contrasts with a general policy, which does not necessarily use spatial criteria such as scale, distance, locality and density. Urban policy is different again from the policy of the state in the city. The structure of the state leads to a sectoral, fragmented policy at different levels, while an urban policy should actually combine the different levels and lines of policy. This demand for the integration of policy and a clear link with the everyday life of the population leads to the question of the relationship


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between politics and the citizen. This relationship has also changed thoroughly under the influence of the social developments that were outlined.

3 . Another tri-polar relationship: government civil society population

To identify the social developments at the start of the twenty-rst century, we discuss another triangular relationship: the relationship between the government, the population and civil society (the social partners). This concerns the essential links which form the democratic content of our social system, and which are also involved in a process of change.

These relationships have also changed signicantly. The literature refers to the breakdown of factions, about the gap between politics and citizens, about cocooning and individualisation, about populism, mediatisation, and a crisis of values. References are made to the fragmentation of the market, niche marketing, lifestyle consumption, etc.. All these analyses refer to the breakdown of a particular model of social integration and the search for new interrelationships. We are cautious about describing these developments too predictably in terms of a different image or clich, but it is possible to draw a number of conclusions. Research has shown that participation in social life has not declined signicantly, and that this participation is an important element in learning about democracy. However, the nature of membership has changed. The ideological connection has become less important, while mem12 bership has become more client-oriented. In other words, the life of associations focuses more strongly on their own objectives than on a broad social project. Large-scale social organisations also focus more on their own specic services than on their social position. Civil society, the social partners, have become more independent of politics, of the parties and of government. It no longer has the most important ideological connection with the population. This mediating role has now been taken over by the mass media. However, television, radio and the press are very different instruments from associations and organisations, particularly when they are commercial projects. Their increased importance in fact, their totally dominant position strongly determines the changed face of politics: the effect of the media and commercialisation, populism, the personality cult, the importance of scoring, responding quickly to the current events, the rhetoric of

civil society



The development of the welfare state based on Fordism was supported by mass consumerism to stimulate growth. It presupposed and required a socio-cultural integration in this consumer society based on a social programme, a fairly uniform lifestyle and organised leisure time. In Flanders this integration took place in a system based on factions. The factions of the social mideld stood between politics (the government) and the population, as a mediating organiser of a range of interrelated associations. These were all interrelated by a strongly dominant concept of the good life, i.e., an ideology.

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innovation, etc. Politics today are above all carried out in the media and are determined by its 13 rules. On the one hand, these rules certainly strengthen the public nature and publicity which is needed in public debate, but on the other hand, they also determine the format of politics in a strongly commercial context (cf. the importance of private companies, soundbites, short statements and sensational news, rather than thorough discussion, analytical insights and broad social issues). All this increases the crisis in levels of representation. Representation presupposes a certain degree of cohesion and a certain duration: it is assumed that the elected representatives are able to consider every case thoroughly between two elections, on the basis of a shared ideology with the electorate. However, the population today is no longer organised and represented on the basis of social projects. It is no longer addressed as a citizen or as a militant, but rather as a client. It is as though there are no longer any alternative visions of society. Political parties are increasingly becoming pure electoral associations. Public matters are raised in terms of individual supply and demand: What do the people want? What is good for the people? The crisis is based on profound social changes. Segmentation, fragmentation, individualisation all make society more complex, less transparent and less easy to interpret. This makes representation much more difcult because the population is also constantly moving. Neither the cohesion different relationships are developing between social positions, lifestyles and ideologies nor the duration this cohesion is maintained for four or ve years is a permanent factor. Identities change, there is more ambiguity, more doubt. The correspondence between the views of the masses and the institutions has become an extremely difcult

matter. That is why democracy is asking for more research, more participation and consultation. Today, this is done with opinion polls and market research, which places the population in a rather passive position. It explains why politicians are keen on referenda. It also explains why the concept of a participatory democracy is becoming stronger to supplement representative democracy. There are enough good reasons for at least some of the political decisions, particularly those concerning matters close at hand, the direct environment that people live in, to be taken in a participatory process with citizens. This sort of direct political involvement could increase the interest in more general social matters. The population is also increasingly turning away from politics as the joint steering of society, as a result of social changes. The people have also become absorbed in the consumer culture, in which consumer power has priority and individual taste is the norm. In the organised structure of society, politics (the government), associations, (civil society) and the population are not all extensions of each other. The age of the division of society 14 into factions is over. Again we see a triangular relationship. Both politics and the social partners constantly have to reassess their relationship to (parts of) the population. Power and activity are not always guarantees of a true representative legitimacy. Furthermore, this representative element is no guarantee of a sense of citizenship. Populism and clientism are not directed at citizens, but at supporters or clients. Individuals are all too often treated as interested clients, while it is actually the population which must learn to become disinterested citizens from time to time, with a greater concern for common interests than for individual or private interests.


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If politics and political parties are to improve their place in society, and if political power is to achieve a new legitimacy, a different relationship with the will have to be developed between the social partners and the population. In the rst place, this change requires a redenition of the mandate of parties: a change of emphasis from the management of the state to politicising society. It is against this background that we argue in this book for more politics in the city.

dynamic force, which can be expressed in a vision for the city through civil society. It is this dynamic aspect which should be supported by policy at different levels (the state, the urban policy). In this book, we support this evolution in the political world. The diagram on the following page represents this. Traditionally, the policy is conceived in accordance with the line from the state-urban policyurban administration-population. This is the line of government in which the institutions and their administration are in a central position and the population is served at the end. It is a strongly hierarchical line, based on identity and administration. We have indicated another line in bold: this is more a line of activity which starts from the urban character as a global change of attitude and passes to the population via the world and civil society. This line more clearly reflects practical globalisation, the networking, the levels of social practices, pluralism, and ambivalence. The rst line represents a national policy for cities; the second could be referred to as an alternative global approach. The line from the state-policy on cities-urban administration is one which must be divided in the analysis into a political and an administrative aspect, so that the different parts can be interrelated. The absence of flexibility in this line to respond to new problems is usually attributed to the political element. However, the inevitable slowness of the administration in responding to the changes of context should not be underestimated. Politics are not always able to gain a grasp of the customs of administrations which were not elected, and which are often organised in accordance with their own arguments, and focus too strongly on management. This management is then directed more at the elements and the structures which (will) determine the environment that people live in.

4 . The city republic revisited

The changes in social relationships and the profound changes in attitudes which are necessary to deal with these changes, place the city and the urban character at the centre. We see the city as a grid which can reflect global complexity at a local level and which is open and yet controllable: a grid which cultivates the urban character, has a relationship with the Other, with what is strange, what is non-urban, with other places, on the basis of difference and equality. The vision of the city which supports urban policy and the policy on cities and the urban programmes based on these must examine the different tripolar aspects of their relationships and interaction together. We have referred to the relationships between the world, the state and the city, we looked at the triangle, urban character-urban policy-policy on cities, in which we introduced the concept of the grid city and we discussed the new political culture in the relationship between politics, civil society and the population. We will now attempt to combine these different interactions and tensions. We are convinced that the increased urban character, supported by the local interpretation of globalisation, can exert an important social

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Urban character




Civil Society

Urban policy

Urban programme
(urban debate)

Cosmopolis-Corijn - 2002

Not enough attention is paid to the people themselves. Furthermore, there is also the vertical hierarchy of the administration. Both in the administration and in politics, the division of competences leads to parties defending their own territory. Not only is there not enough politics, there is not enough horizontal integration, and there is far too little project management. We consider that the governing role of the urban administration is very important in this respect: the strength and power to work on an integrating policy through all these aspects, to involve many organisations and institutions in the urban programmes and to control complex processes for the programmes. This requires the

urban administrations to apply this philosophy to their own services and organisation, and that is not an obvious process either. We will return to this in chapter 5. The interpretation of policy along this rst line also means that politics must focus more on activating the people (the social partners, the population) to manage the environment they live in together. The modernist, planned, scientic, bureaucratic, cold forms of administration, focusing on the management of dossiers, must change into a warm relationship with the population, based more on dialogue, research and design. The administration can then make use

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of this in a network that is also connected to the world on the basis of an urban debate and an urban programme. Civil society, the social partners, should not be seen as a single sector. It comprises all the nongovernmental associations of people. Some of these are purely private organisations with private interests (companies, trade associations); others represent a general or higher interest. In this last group it is also possible to distinguish the more traditional pressure groups, which on the one hand, try to defend their interests by exerting an influence and lobbying, and on the other hand, the (new) social movements, which tend to operate more by expressing the interests of (parts of) the population. Therefore not all the movements involving the social partners are obvious partners in a participatory democracy. The practice of an extended democracy will clarify the position of every party. The category of the population is also problematical in relation to the urban programme. In the rst place, it is the most passive partner. Participation is not an easy process, because most people of working age are overworked and focus on consumerism and on their private life. Moreover, it is not only the inhabitants, but also the users of the city who have their own interests. Therefore it is not easy to describe the population concerned very accurately. Finally, the population is mainly approached as a client (as a private interested party), and not as a citizen (as a partner in determining the general interest). Most citizens do not have extensive experience of active citizenship. In most cases, the contribution of the population was and is mediated through different social partners. It is a matter of developing new mechanisms to involve the population in drawing up an urban programme in their capacity as citizens, and making them coresponsible. Chapters 4 and 5 are based on this.

There are two important elements. In the rst place, the change in the starting point from a private interest to a general interest requires a certain degree of involvement. It is much more difcult to arouse interest and a sense of solidarity for distant problems. Therefore the easiest transition from private interests to the general interest lies in areas close to everyday life. In general, this is the city, which is why decentralisation is so important: valorising the city as a political arena. However, sometimes the city is still too large for intensive involvement. People do not have enough grasp of their immediate environment. In this sense, the development of an urban programme will have to take into account the sustainable development of districts. The district also appears to be an appropriate level for introducing participatory democracy. Obviously this emphasis should not be exclusive because people can be mobilised in countless ways, particularly in the city. Secondly, social integration takes place through processes of identication. Therefore an urban programme also comprises an important imaginary and cultural aspect. It focuses on a future identication in which intercultural and hybrid aspects emerge as creative incentives, in which the urban character is expressed. After all, interculturalism should not be aimed at turning different cultural traditions into a uniform picture. Living together on the basis of differences should focus on a common future which can develop on the basis of different backgrounds, but which is directed at the same shared public space. It is in this sense that we can refer to a city republic where the term republic refers to those supra-individual and supra-community values that allow a society to exist on the basis of differences (Res Publica: a matter for the whole of society).

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The concept of sustainable development is central in these values. The changes should be such that they do not put pressure either on the environment or on society or future generations. The term sustainable development indicates the support for processes of change. It also refers to intergenerational solidarity, to social solidarity and to the support of the environment. After all, the costs of certain developments have for too long been passed onto others (economists refer to this as externalising costs). However, in addition to these objective aspects of sustainability, there is also the subjective social basis, without which sustainable development would remain no more than a technical parameter. Therefore we believe that a participatory democracy is an important element in a sustainable urban programme.

another policy framework for the city, given concrete form in the grid city. It gathers together the strength of politics and of a society of citizens. It must focus on an integrated and transparent policy. Integration, combining forces and involving the population are key concepts in both the urban programmes and in the projects. They are not aimed at the harmonious integration of all the possible aspects of the (grid) city. Within a complex reality such as the urban reality, every image of a comprehensive system is based on an illusion or worse still on the rejection of anything that does not t. Freedom, unpredictability and individuality are basic conditions for urban creativity, another key concept in the urban programme. The urban character and a system are only possible together to a certain degree. Therefore the urban programme argues for coordination and open structures. Coordination gives access to the potential synergy that is latently present in previously separate areas, functions, groups, events, ideas and capacities, but avoids any inhibitory coalition. Open structures remove the totalitarian tendencies in structured thinking. They introduce the minimum necessary coherence, and serve to support greater coordination. In every case, the touchstone is sustainable development. This means encouraging the urban dynamics which are not at the expense of other subsystems. Developments in town and country planning and economic developments particularly, as well as social and political developments, must not be allowed to constitute a risk for society or the environment without any repercussions. They must be accountable for the effects on other systems, and the quality of our institutions must also be improved in this sense. In short, the dynamics of every subsystem must be conceived (and

Conclusion A revolution in the urban policy

In this chapter we advocate a new vision for the city. We look at apparently divergent developments and placed them in a new context, based on the urban character. The evolution of the city should be encompassed in an urban programme, a general vision, a big story, which could be the start of a social and political debate. Therefore the development of a vision requires an urban debate: this is the way in which the discussions take place (see chapter 4). This sort of programme will have to be achieved. It does not happen in the traditional planned way, in which a sort of master plan is systematically carried out in a bureaucratic way. It is achieved with concrete, living projects, related to the immediate environment and objectives, and with the more general urban dynamics in a dynamic, planned process. This sort of vision of project-based development is also supported by

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dened) in relation to the other subsystems and the whole. In this respect, three principles can serve as a guideline: a. Density: the city should prot as far as possible from the concept of density so that a large range of services and activities have a sufciently large basis. b. Diversity: the large range of cultures, lifestyles, activities and services provide the city with the complexity it needs for dynamic survival. c. Democracy: the development of greater democracy based on more participation by the population not only leads to greater social involvement and conciliation, but also to better and more transparent government. We have given a greater insight into the way we propose to transform the diagnosis in the rst chapter into policy choices, which will be dealt with in the next chapter. Our starting points for the other chapters have also been claried. In conclusion, we will summarise these below. Society is going through a stage of thorough change, as part of a process of globalisation. This is leading to the accelerated urbanisation of the world, but also to a more urban mentality. In this way, the city and the urban character are becoming the centres for social and political reconstruction, and should be conceived as such. This requires a new political culture, in which the urban level becomes at least as important as the other levels. In order to understand this specic urban level, we have used the term grid city. This allows us to involve both the compact and the more diffuse aspects of urban character, both large and medium-sized and small towns, and both built-up areas and open spaces in the analysis, and to look across existing boundaries, plans and structures. An adapt-

ed policy must be based on an explicit vision which provides cohesion and choice within an extremely complex reality. This sort of vision makes it possible to draw up a general programme for the city which can be achieved in different projects. This requires quite a few administrative changes. In the rst place, the urban programme must be broadly supported by a coalition of the administration, civil society and citizens. Therefore the urban debate is a central component in our vision of urban dynamics. This change in the vision requires a repoliticisation of society. Secondly, this sort of urban programme must focus on sustainable development. The search for an urban programme which complies with the four Ds (durable sustainable development, density, diversity and democracy) is an ambitious challenge at the beginning of this new century.


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1 Harvey, D. (1989), The Condition of Postmodernity, Oxford & Cambridge: Blackwell, 378 pp. 2 Castells, M. (1998), The Information Age: Economy, Society and Culture (3 volumes), Oxford: Blackwell. 3 Swyngedouw, E. (1992), The Mammon Quest. Glocalisation, interspatial competition and the monetary order: the construction of new scales, in: Dunford, M. and G. Kafkalas (ed.), Cities and regions in the New Europe. 4 Sassen, S. (2000), The Global City: New York, London, Tokyo, New York: Princeton University Press. 5 Corijn, E. ( 1999), Kan de stad de wereld redden?, in: Nauwelaerts, M. (ed.): De toekomst van het verleden. Reecties over geschiedenis, stedelijkheid en musea, Antwerp, Musea Antwerpen: pp. 85-103. 6 Corijn, E. and W. De Lannoy (ed.) (2000), De kwaliteit van het verschil La qualit de la diffrence, Brussels: VUBPress. 7 Loand, L. (1998), The public realm. Exploring the citys quintessential social territory, New York: Aldine De Gruyter. 8 Oase (2000), Themanummer Netwerkstedenbouw, no. 53, SUN: Nijmegen, 127 pp. 9 Borret, K. (2002), Nevelstad-spotting: analyses vanuit concreet-ruimtelijke invalshoek, in: Ruimte en Planning, 22, no. 3, p. 244; Asbeek Brusse, W., H. van Dalen and B. Wissink (2002), Stad en land in een nieuwe geograe. Maatschappelijke veranderingen en ruimtelijke dynamiek, WRR, Sdu uitgevers: The Hague. 10 See, for example: Van der Knaap, G.A. (2002), Stedelijke bewegingsruimte. Over veranderingen in stad en land, WRR, Sdu uitgevers: The Hague. De Decker, P. (2001), Moet de Vlaamse Gaai het RSV lezen? Over duurzaamheid, sociale bijziendheid en eenheidsdenken in de ruimtelijke planning, in: Ruimte en Planning, 21, no. 1, pp. 73-105. Denaeyer, W. (2001), Mogelijkheden voor de bestrijding van mobiliteitsproblemen. Een analyse van de voorstellen tot verdichting van functies, rekeningrijden, het internaliseren van externe effecten en telewerken, in: Ruimte en Planning, 21, no. 1, pp. 9-22. Reijndorp, A., V. Kompier, S. Metaal, I. Nio. and B.Truijens (1998), Buitenwijk. Stedelijkheid op afstand, Nederlands Architectuurinstituut: Rotterdam. De Geyter Xavier Architecten (2002), After-Sprawl, onderzoek naar de hedendaagse stad, NAI Uitgevers: Rotterdam. 11 De Roo, N., F. De Rynck en S. Vandelannoote (1999), De stille metamorfose van het Vlaamse platteland, Die Keure: Bruges; Gullinck, H. (2002), Neo-rurality, lecture for the VRP, Brussels. 12 Elchardus, M., L. Huyse and M. Hooghe (2000), Het maatschappelijk middenveld in Vlaanderen. Een onderzoek naar de sociale constructie van democratisch burgerschap, Brussel: VUB-Press. On the new client network and cultural elds in Flanders: Elchardus, M. and I. Glorieux (2002), De symbolische samenleving. Een exploratie van de nieuwe sociale en culturele ruimtes, Tielt: Lannoo. 13 See Blommaert, J., E. Corijn, M. Holthof and D. Lesage (2003): De kwaliteit van de cultuur. Omtrent consumentisme en verrechtsing, in Momenten, vol. 2003, no. 7, Kunst en Democratie, Brussels: pp. 3-12. 14 Huyse, L. (1987), De verzuiling voorbij, Kritak: Leuven.

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3 . T h e n e w u r b a n c h a ra c t e r , a m a t t e r o f p o l i c y

Chapter 2 introduced the urban programme: the way in which every city determines the content of the policy on the basis of its own interpretation of the principles of sustainable development, density, diversity and democracy. In this chapter we outline the main lines of the urban programmes which are desirable. These are the directions in which we would like to see urban policy evolve in Flanders. We link the analysis of chapter 1 to the principles of chapter 2 and in this way come up with 6 policy lines, which form the basis for urban policy and for the urban programmes. For every line we develop a number of elds to arrive at a more action-oriented level, and that is as far as we go. The transformation into concrete operational proposals must be drawn up for each city. These lines and elds provide a framework and a menu of choices which can serve as suggestions for the urban debate in every city. The priorities and the rate of the approach depend on the diagnosis and on the vision for every city. It is impossible to tackle everything at the same time. Sometimes the legislation is the norm, sometimes a shorter or longer period is needed to develop the actions. Our society and its problems are complex and take less and less account of the distribution of administrative competences. Many problems in the city involve several policy elds and many different parties and sectors. Complex problems and complex interrelationships in society require an approach which transcends the traditional policy areas and their set rules and procedures. Breaking through these rules and procedures is necessary to achieve cohesion. We oppose a divided sectoral approach to the city. With an increasing level of complexity and an increasing need for cohesion, this approach achieves fewer and fewer results. This should be the innovative aspect of this chapter: thinking

on the basis of cohesion, and designing urban programmes on the basis of the strength of the urban character.


6 lines: Line 1 Line 2 Line 3 Line 4 Line 5 Line 6 Glocal strategy Coordination in town and country planning Qualitative density Innovative and creative strength Identity based on diversity The city polis based on solidarity

Line 1 Glocal strategy

Cities are not islands. Even in the past they were not islands, and in a networked society this applies to an even lesser extent. We will examine the coordination in the network society at different geographical levels of scale. Therefore in this chapter we will look at the district and area level, the level of the city and the urban region, the Flemish, European and global level, and the interrelationships between these levels. The global economy and the development of territorial competition on a European and global scale require the coordination of urban strategies, which should result in greater cooperation between cities. This can and must confront this competition. The alternative is an escalating competition between cities which will result in non-sustainable development. Developing this strategy in every city requires an open attitude on the part of the city and its inhabitants (eld 1). The specic characteristics of the city and of the urban character in Flanders (a close

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network of cities) constitute a strategic advantage of Flemish cities (eld 2). Building up a strong economic strategy is supported by the identity of the city and a strong coalition which involves all the population groups (eld 3).

Field 1 An open attitude on the part of the city and its citizens
This eld concerns the mentality and attitudes, moving away from closed citizens and the closed city which fall back upon themselves. It is essential but not easy to translate this into hard action, because it is mainly a mental process. The other lines and elds support this cultural change. Individual local administrations are fairly impo1 tent in the global economy . They are forced to compete. The balance of power is distorted: the political and socio-cultural networks no longer have the same signicance now as the economic networks. The global economy plays cities and regions off against each other; there are always winners and losers, in Flanders, in Europe and globally. Progress and sustainable development in one city are at the expense of other cities. 2 Therefore it is not very sustainable . We argue for a strategy of alliances between cities in Flanders, up to a world level. This is necessary to enter into and cope with a dialogue with the economic actors. One of the conditions for this is to strengthen the cities at the level of their administration and their strategies: strong alliances can only work if the partners are strong. In chapter 1 we indicated that the global-local paradox means that for the urban strategy, globalisation is accompanied by an increasing importance of local socio-cultural networks. This means that an important element of the strength is the openness of the urban administration, the openness of the important actors

and the openness of the inhabitants and users of the city. The strategy and the attitude must be open, focused on networking at every level. This is not an obvious approach in a society which is sometimes characterised as one in which citizens close their windows. Therefore encouraging this attitude as the basis for a strong strategic position must be carried down to the level of districts and areas and on the basis of the social partners in their many different guises. This openness and mentality form the socio-cultural capital of the city, essential as the basis for a glocal strategy in the city. It is just as important, possibly even more important than the nancial capital.

Field 2 Strengthening the urban character in the Flemish urban network

Flanders is a network of medium-sized cites and small towns. Apart from Brussels (and even then only just), there are no cities in Flanders with an international image. In the European context, even Antwerp and Ghent are medium to small. However, size does not say everything about the qualities of the city. With regard to some aspects, Flemish cities have a metropolitan image. In Antwerp this applies for the port and for diamonds as historical anchors, while fashion and culture are possible new beacons. Less traditional examples include the Jewish Museum van Deportatie en Verzet (Museum of Deportation and Resistance) in Mechelen, the presence of large companies, such as Ford, in Genk, strong football teams, and major sporting events and festivals such as Rock Werchter (this is a good example of the way in which urban qualities operate in a grid city). The city and the urban character never had a central place in Flemish policy. This is explained

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by history (see chapter 1 and the box text in chapter 2). Occasionally the city has been the object of an explicit policy, as in the case of the Municipal Fund and the Urban Fund. However, these are relatively neutral funding instruments which do not necessarily lead to strengthening the urban character. Town and country planning provides a second focus. The Structural Plan for Town and Country Planning in Flanders incorporates a differentiated policy for cities, focusing in particular on strengthening the functions related to housing and work. However, converting these into programmes and budgets is still foundering in (many) plans, and there is a danger of aiming for quantity in haste at the expense of quality. There are also a number of specic policy programmes: the Mercurius programme to strengthen the commercial inner city, Local Job Centres for supervising the progress of people into work, attention to the cities of art in tourist marketing, urban programmes for problem areas in cities in the context of the European Structural Fund and investments in public transport and infrastructure in the context of covenants on mobility. All this is very interesting, but is still rather hesitant, not very consistent, rather fragmented, dispersed and above all, with little explicit support for investments in urban character. Nevertheless, this is necessary to serve and pass on the new impulses from global networking. This global interconnection must be reflected at a sufciently high level of urban development. In other words, this means that if a city has to achieve a particular urban character, it provides added value for the global urban network. Cities which have focused on a specic niche (port, tourism, European capital, nancial centre, etc.) can create this metropolitan image and join the forum of international cities. Flemish cities and

Brussels will probably never climb the highest rungs on the ladder of cities. These are taken up by the really big players such as London, Paris, New York and Tokyo. The basis for the strategy in Flanders should be to create a metropolitan image on the basis of its very characteristic network of large cities and small towns. This network is a specic characteristic of Flanders which is not sufciently exploited as a strength: there is a lot of city in little space, many different types of city close together, with good connections. Strengthening the strong points in an urban network or grid can become an important advantage and an element of the strategy. We have summarised a number of examples of some of the cities in Flanders which could already achieve a metropolitan image for particular niches, but it is improbable, and we do not consider it necessary that every city in Flanders could or should do so for every aspect. The urban policy and the supporting policy on cities could focus on strengthening aspects for specic cities. The aspirations can be higher for Brussels, Antwerp and Ghent. For example, for certain aspects such as culture, large cities and small towns can achieve a more ambitious urban character as part of a network. Therefore it is a matter for each city to nd niches and work together to achieve a critical density and appropriate scale for its urban character. Cooperation with Brussels is absolutely essential. In Flanders it is the closest thing to a big city, and there is already important interaction at the social, economic and cultural level. Therefore there are communities of interest in this large city which can only be strengthened by actively responding to them. This can be achieved in the context of urban regions, or at the level of cooperation between Flemish cities and Brussels. This cooperation will therefore also be discussed in chapter 5.


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Field 3 A comprehensive economic prole

In this eld we focus on the economic development of our cities, at the heart of their strategic position. In our view, it is essential for every city to develop its own strategy on the basis of its own economic urban prole, not in the traditional sense, a constant increase in infrastructure, but on the basis of the strengths of the cities: the diversity, the density, the cohesion in the city, the creativity in the city and on the basis of the potential of citizens and organisations. We describe this as a comprehensive prole, because it is based on a broad coalition, must be part of the socio-cultural capital of the city and make use of every type of meaningful labour. The prole and the coalition can only be credible in a strategy if they are supported by a broad interpretation of solidarity. We return to this part of the comprehensive urban economic policy in eld 17. The city has an important economic function. Depending on the denition, the city accounts for 47-81% of the economy in Flanders and Brussels (see box text, pp. 44-45). In the future, the central city will undoubtedly continue to play an important role. However, the question is what relation it will have with other paces in the grid city. After all, important restructuring is taking place involving industry that requires space and generates mobility, services and trade, which are moving away from the city, while the city continues to attract a whole range of services. This restructuring is actually accompanied by economic expansion, although at the same time the central city is being erod3 ed. The dynamics in economic development increasingly take place in the service sector with the development of an information and service

society. Therefore the fact that urban strategies focus on information-intensive activities corresponds with the current economic evolution, but entails a risk of an ever-increasing mismatch between supply and demand on the employment market. Urban dynamics are strongly related to the capacity to continue to attract and generate this economic development. This is, in turn, dependent on the cultural prole the city can build up. The dominant consumer culture means that just-in-time niche production is an important economic motor. It is stimulated by very diverse and dynamic developments in lifestyles and in the expressive value of consumerism. The urban character serves as the frame of reference for this sort of expression. Bearing these dangers and possibilities in mind, we refer to a comprehensive economic urban policy. We will look at some of the different elements of this description below. It is an urban policy because the city itself supports and develops it. Many aspects of the urban economy are too different to be contained in a generic policy: the specic characteristics of the economic portfolio, the local networks and the local connections with the global economy, the divisions in the employment market, the planning of the urban fabric, the denition of urban enterprise. Therefore all these must be combined in a specic local coalition. This means that the emphases on the participation of the inhabitants and users of the city and of the economic role of the different parts of the grid city are very important. A central aspect of this strategy concerns dening and developing both traditional economic attractions and urban economic niches, such as the caring sector and other personal and collective services.

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It is a comprehensive policy because it is not only the economic parties and a high earning glocal elite that take up the challenge. The whole socio-cultural capital available in the city is also used as economic capital. Involving every layer of the divided employment market and all the districts in the divided city in this process is an important challenge. It results in a vision of the city related to ethical and ethnic enterprise, the position of regular employment and the place of other socially useful activities as the engine of integration in the city and in society. It is an exceptional and by no means self-evident challenge for the market economy in the city to demonstrate at the urban level that it can provide a cohesive social fabric and feels co-responsible for this. This is not a matter of philanthropy or good works: the success of the economic strategy depends on it. Finally, it is a strong policy because the involvement of all the parties in the city can bring about an economic model of the city based on participatory democracy: a necessary component of the new city republic. The development of a strong economic urban policy is a gradual process which takes place in stages, in which all the building bricks can be achieved by means of economic urban projects (see chapter 4). With a strong urban policy, the town council can operate in urban alliances with other town councils in Flanders and Europe. In this way, the urban alliances will gradually develop towards the same level of scale as the global network economy. They will no longer be set against each other so easily (also see eld 1). Finally, it is important to be receptive to new developments in the current global network economy. Urban antennae are needed to receive these signals. This does not mean that every city will now have to organise economic missions to distant cities, but it does mean the development

of forums at the Flemish and European level, where a learning community of cities can be set up on the basis of an exchange of ideas.


1. Focus the urban policy on the creation of conditions to ensure that the inhabitants and users of the city become citizens with an open attitude, from the level of the district to the world. 2. Being strong as a city means strengthening the city as an organisation and administration, and preventing this reinforcement from allowing the city to withdraw into itself. 3. Focus the strategy on alliances with (Flemish and European) cities, including Brussels, to achieve a stronger position in the worldwide competition. 4. Incorporate the strategy of the city in the characteristic network of (large) cities in Flanders and Brussels, respond to aspects of the metropolitan image, and nd the correct scale to achieve a metropolitan image in cooperation with other cities. 5. Present the economic niches of the city, concentrate on information- intensive activities, and make the city a breeding place for local economic initiatives. Anchor the economic strategy in the socio-cultural capital of the city, work on a broad coalition and view solidarity as the core of the economic strategy (see line 6).

Line 2 Coordination in town and country planning

We will look in more detail at strengthening the coordination of town and country planning in

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the grid cities. The explanation of this term can be found in chapter 1, and particularly in chapter 2. We propose developing the strategy in the following elds: concrete projects focusing on cooperation (eld 4), the modication of the regional images and of the steering instruments in the policy for town and country planning (eld 5), and the active use of the connecting function which transport structures and ecological infrastructures can full between parts of the grid city (eld six).

the edge of the city increases problems of mobility, which has the perverse effect that even more distant locations are chosen. The development and discussion of costs and returns is complex and endless. To us it is a basic fact that the city and its periphery cannot do without each other. The periphery needs the city every day, but the city also needs the periphery to be able to function as a city. Commuters and other users provide an economic basis. The contrast between the actual interactions and the objective alliance on the one hand, and the mental patterns and subjective resistances on the other hand, is much too great. The existing policy frameworks now tend to strengthen this mental schism by placing a great deal of emphasis on the administrative and political boundaries between the city and the peripheral municipalities. Attempts to break this down are still weak. The term grid city is essential to us because we would like to use it to break down the ideology of divided worlds. The image of the grid city automatically gives rise to projects between the city and the periphery. After all, it is an image which makes it possible to understand the interaction between the city and the periphery and to involve the users of the city in the city itself. We argue for concrete initiatives in the grid city, supported by the active involvement of and dialogue between the inhabitants and users of the city. These win-win initiatives must make groups with common interests in the grid city a tangible factor. In line 1, we advocated the development of urban alliances on Flemish, European and global scales. It makes sense to begin with these alliances on our own doorstep. This should happen in the context of the grid, between the city

Field 4 Strengthen coordination with cooperation

We described the causes and effects of the dispersed city (suburbanisation) in chapters 1 and 2: the demographic development, the increase in incomes, increased mobility, the search for suitable housing and the real or perceived lack of good housing alternatives in the city. Many people who live around the central city turn away from the city, even though they are strongly dependent on it for their economic situation. For many people the city is an object to use (for education, shopping, culture, etc.). These interactions form part of daily life and are visible in terms of planning in the structure of the city. The consequences are not always favourable for the central city: jobs are taken up by commuters, and it is particularly the inhabitants of the city with a low level of education who remain on the sidelines. The periphery becomes richer, the city becomes poorer, and the inhabitants of the city foot the bill. Suburbanisation also creates pressure on the city as an economic centre. Some of the purchasing power disappears with the inhabitants and moves to the shopping infrastructure in other districts and areas (which has a social function as well as an economic function). The city and its periphery compete to attract new economic activities. Unwise developments on

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and the periphery and between (not necessarily adjacent) municipalities. This should lead to networks related to particular areas which focus on concluding agreements, on common objectives or the joint management of certain parts of the grid. Examples which spring to mind include: projects related to regional urban mobility; cooperation in the eld of culture; programmes on housing and the balanced distribution of social housing; networking between services in the welfare sector; a joint approach to tourism and the recreational infrastructure; drawing up coherent plans in the eld of town and country planning and projects related to housing and working; agreements on the development of planning and the economy; the joint organisation of events related to sport, culture, art, music, etc. This will not happen automatically. We argue for new forms of cooperation and frameworks for negotiation. In chapter 5, we indicate that the Government of Flanders has an important responsibility in this respect in the context of its urban policy.

exclusive territories which exist on their own and are meaningful only in their own terms, are quite exceptional. We want to avoid the overlaps and interactions from undermining the individual character of these physical spaces. Therefore their identity must be strengthened. This identity can be of a social, economic or cultural nature, or can be related to town and country planning. Strengthening the components of the grid city provides points of contact for new functional interactions. For us, the strengthened components and strengthened interactions serve as a starting point for a coherent urban and rural policy in the grid city. We do not see the city and the countryside as separate entities, but the countryside in the city and the city in the countryside. The current policy on town and country planning is based on a division between windows of open spaces and urban areas. This division is externalised in a boundary around the morphological urban area. It corresponds more with the idea of exclusive territories and divided worlds, and would lead to a policy for urban regions and a policy for regions outside. In the current policy situation this approach would increase the chances that the existing physical interaction is ignored, even if this probably is not the intention of the designers of this policy. It could also increase the mechanism of passing the buck (the city must be even fuller, the countryside even emptier). We consider that this ignores the dispersed city and the physical interactions in the grid city. Denying reality is never a good starting point for future policy. The concept of the grid city is incorporated in this reality and is developed on the basis of the existing interactions, not to create a single, identical, grey, blurred Flanders, but to increase the social, cultural and economic character of built-up and open spaces.

Field 5 A policy corresponding to the grid city

The grid city makes it possible to represent the contemporary dispersed city and plan the physical and functional space. To achieve this the different elements of the grid city must serve as a starting point (centres, meshes, lines, windows, green elds and urban rooms). However, the characteristics of these elements overlap, merge together and interact. In fact, we see that the Flemish physical space contains both open spaces in the city, as well as urbanised areas in the countryside. In many cases characteristics develop from this interaction. In the grid city,

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The image of an area which dominates town and country planning should therefore be more open than the boundary dividing the city and the outside area. However, the instruments for controlling town and country planning in this grid are still largely lacking. At the end of this chapter (see eld 19) we look at a reallocation of the money from taxes which are important for this. For several decades, policy texts have had great expectations with regard to the policy on land and premises as a powerful steering instrument. The Structural Plan for Town and Country Planning in Flanders also deals with this, and there is a decree which forms the basis for this. However, in order to have an effect on the real estate market, the government has to have access to signicant funds and a large stock of land and premises. No work has been done on this for decades. It is not possible simply to remove this historical debt now, just like that. In fact, things are actually evolving the other way: the private real estate sector (private developers and real estate companies) is probably the driving force behind the movements in the market for land and premises in the grid city, even more than in the past. Furthermore, it is still mainly the federal government which can control matters to some extent with contributions from taxation. The rhetoric of a strong government with a policy on land and premises should be removed from the debate. The policy on land is necessary, above all, with regard to town and country planning, based on the management of the land available. For the policy on premises, we need different formulae and different emphases. As the rental market is particularly an urban phenomenon, this search for other paths will have to devote much more attention to controlling the rental market, both for public and for private rental housing (see line 3).

In the management of the availability of land and in the policy on premises, there is a role both for government and for the private sector. This role can vary from area to area. As regards the government, the roles particularly concern regulating the market (price/quality control), forms of public-private partnership, and acting as a director between the actors in the housing market in a particular area (at district level or in a regional urban context). The role of the private sector lies in this context. In this way, the sector can help to achieve the policy objectives.


The grid city and public-private partnership must result in the joint management of space by councils, inhabitants and users. The concept of the grid city guards against one-way trafc: after all, the users of the city participate in the city, and the inhabitants of the city participate in the periphery and the countryside. Therefore real estate actions and new functions should take place on the basis of dialogue at the level of the grid city. This will not happen without a few setbacks; it is a politically delicate matter and therefore signicant conflicts are to be expected. For example, there is no point in the city developing programmes to attract families with children, if new land becomes available for housing in other parts of the grid city in an unrestrained way. In chapter 5, we defend the idea that providing these sorts of steering frameworks at the level of the grid city is one of the key tasks of the Government of Flanders.

Field 6 Connections with (infra)structures

A good physical infrastructure strengthens the development of multiple urban structures. However, current policy devotes attention mainly to centre to centre connections between the central hubs of large urban entities. This atten-

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tion should move to connections between cores in the grid city. After all, these types of connections (technically: tangential connections) provide physical and spatial support for the rela4 tionships between parts of the grid city. In the current policy on mobility, the grid city is insufciently used as a starting point. Using it in this way to a greater extent would, on the one hand, mean implementing a policy which strengthened the hub with an emphasis on the organisation of mobility based on public transport, while on the other hand, it would mean including important housing and work locations outside those hubs in the system of public transport. One example of a missed opportunity is the Regional Express Network (GEN), which should make Brussels more accessible. In our view, the GEN is too narrowly focused on commuter trafc to the centre of Brussels, while there is a need and demand for many cross-con5 nections between urban centres in the grid city. Transport infrastructures and the best possible use of the different modes of transport on these infrastructures form the background of the policy on mobility. In the current situation regarding mobility, individual transport still pays a major role. This also applies for the user of the city, who is therefore part of the cause of the insoluble mobility problems. The fact that the inhabitants of the city also make use of a car all too often, even for short distances (partly because of the absence safe alternatives), completes this vicious circle. We do see a limited reversal as a result of the active promotion of collective transport. Undoubtedly we will have to invest in mobility which benets both the inhabitants and the users of the city to develop the grid city, and in infrastructural networks which will improve the lines of communication between the different parts of the city.

The so-called blue (water) and green (nature) networks are also supporting structures connecting different parts of the grid city. They have great potential because these structures are also gradually becoming a matter of public concern and are on the political agenda. Therefore they are extremely suitable for determining the content of the grid city in the short term. The connecting function of green and blue networks has acquired an important place in the policy on town and country planning since the introduction of the Structural Plan for Town and Country Planning in Flanders. The physical system for the structure of town and country planning (blue and green structures, etc.) therefore acquires an important place in the plans of the different administrative levels. The area-oriented approach means that integration is possible at controllable levels of scale, and it is important to respond to this in a powerful way. The regularly recurring problems of flooding and excess water have taught us that natural structures and the landscape naturally demand their own place in the grid.

6. Avoid strengthening the disastrous ideology of separate worlds between the city and the periphery. Look at the city and the periphery together and manage them together; see all the parts of the city as coordinating elements in the grid city. Always focus on this coordination. 7. Actively work to establish platforms where the inhabitants and users of the city can participate in the city together, and use these platforms to create instruments which focus on cooperation. 8. Give priority to projects in a regional urban context, invest in them and focus on actions,

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dynamic social movement and not on administrative boundaries. 9. Stop using the words city and countryside. Proceed on the basis of the combination and overlapping of these terms, not on the basis of exclusive territories. It is only in this way that it will be possible to develop a coherent urban and rural policy in the Flemish context. 10. Increase the individual character of built-up and open spaces, and on the basis of this character develop platforms for cooperation and frameworks for negotiation for the joint management of the space and for the policy on land. 11. An effective policy on land and premises can no longer be implemented in Flanders without the strong involvement of the private sector. For the policy on premises, concentrate on professional public-private partnership at the level of the grid city. 12. Make use of the political revolution in ideas on mobility and ecology to highlight the reality of the grid city, and to turn transport infrastructures and blue and green (infra)structures into supports for a coherent policy on town and country planning in the grid city. 13. Work on priority actions for investments in mobility, both between city districts and between other parts of the grid city which benet the inhabitants and users of the city.

Public spaces make the city recognisable for inhabitants and users. Density is only sustainable if there are sufcient public spaces and if we take their quality and safety into account (eld 7). Sustainable density requires a strategy of development which takes into account the support provided by spaces and inhabitants. We opt for a differentiated management of density, because the housing density differs from city to city and from district to district (eld 8). The housing policy is a crucial lever. In the cities this means that the rental sector must be a high quality housing sector (eld 9). Finally, density requires a viable and green environment. This supports the actions in the other elds. It is an essential part of the housing policy, of a sensible development of density and of good quality public spaces (eld 10).


Field 7 More, high quality and safe public spaces

The city is the background of public life. In chapter 1, we described the different forms of public and semi-public spaces. The public city is both a background and the forum for contacts, and there are many transitions between public and private spaces. We have seen that there is an increase in privatisation, that public spaces are being eroded and have lost a great deal of their signicance. We are still failing to return the space sufciently to the public in the city. There are various reasons for this, including the dominant position of space for trafc, the actual and subjectively perceived lack of safety, and a general lack of quality. However, we did note that all the cities are making efforts to make public spaces physically more attractive and more accessible.

Line 3 Qualitative density

Density and proximity distinguish the city from non-urban areas. A strategy of urban policy will have to choose very strongly for the quality of density and proximity. In the most general sense, this concerns the quality of the urban space, devoting attention to the public space, housing and ecological management.

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Nevertheless, this is often limited to the central parts of the grid city and the commercial areas (pedestrianised shopping streets). We propose an action programme for every city to take back the public spaces, and in this way encourage the use of public spaces. The trend towards increasing privatisation must be stopped. This is not an appeal to get everybody standing by his or her own front door on the pavement, as in the past. However, we are convinced that public spaces serve as a catalyst for new urban relationships. When they no longer full this role, we can no longer really talk of a city. We will deal only supercially with the concrete organisation and management. A great deal has already been written about this in other publi6 cations. A creative approach to public and semipublic spaces with town and country planning or the urban design. For larger projects in particular, the quality of the planning and processes are essential. The governing role of the town council must become much more powerful (see chapter 5). The use of high quality, sustainable materials is important for the construction of public spaces. This increases the slow character of the space and means that spaces acquire a character for a longer period. We also argue for more space for temporary projects. Examples include artistic projects and events in public spaces. We advocate that safety should become an integral element in the management of public spaces. The sensible construction of public spaces certainly plays a role in this. However, regaining control of public space cannot be achieved at the design stage alone, and is not an action on the part of the government on its own. It must take place with cooperation and networking, obviously also involving the police. In our vision, a community- based police,

together with citizens and the social partners are jointly responsible for the management of public and semi-public spaces. This entails the accountability of citizens, which can start with small things (dog owners who walk their dogs and who leave the public space clean, groups of young people who open up their part of the public space to others, home owners who sweep the pavement in front of their houses, etc.). In fact, this accountability is also an important aspect of solidarity in the city. A large proportion of public space is commercial space (pavement cafs, caf terraces, markets, etc.). These centres have a dominant position, particularly in the centres of the grid city. We believe that this commercialisation can serve as a source of new social contacts and new urban connections, and can certainly also help to improve the quality of town and country planning, which is lacking to an important extent nowadays. Examples include, in particular, small-scale projects such as a caf that provides room for community artists (e.g., the Wentelsteen in Leuven) or a company which opens up its car parks to residents of the area and children during the weekend (such as AgfaGevaert in Mortsel).

Field 8 Invest in high quality urban housing

The process of urbanisation is a worldwide phenomenon and urban housing is also very important in Flanders and Brussels. Depending on the 7 denition used, the urban population varies from 32% of the total population (only the big city) to 87% (every category of urban housing). Even when it is limited to small towns, 65% of the Flemish population is still urban (for all the gures, see box text page 30). Obviously these gures conceal a number of transformations. On the one hand, there is the

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Re d u c t i o n i n fa m i l y s i z e
The reduction in family size is an important element in demographic development. It is well known that on average families are becoming smaller and smaller. However, there appear to be big differences between towns and cities and the rest of Flanders, and also between towns and cities themselves. In comparison with the rest of Flanders, families with children are hugely underrepresented in the city. Conversely, single people and couples without children are strongly over-represented in the city. The graph below conrms this situation.

100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0

Types of family 2001

The process of the reduction in family size continued signicantly during the period 1981-2001. For example, the group of single people increased in Flanders during that period by an average of 48%. The leading towns are Hasselt (69%), Turnhout (+64%) and Kortrijk (+61%). In Brussels, where the reduction in family size was already strongest, the growth in the group of single people was slightly smaller (+20%).1 Experts expect that in future this process of reducing family sizes will continue. The graph for 2001 shows 34% of single people in Mechelen, 33% of couples without children and 33% of couples with children. By 2007 it is expected that there will be 40% of single people, 32% of couples without children and 28% of couples with children in that town. An important element in this is that there will be a strong increase in the number of older people at the same time as the continuing reduction in family sizes. 2
1 In other words, the process of the reduction in family size has the strongest effects where it had progressed least. Arohm-ARP. 2 SEnvironment Study Group, 2002,. Preliminary draft of zoning plan for the regional urban area of Mechelen, commissioned by

br us se an ls tw er p le uv en os te nd gh en m t ec he l en tu rn ho u ko t rt ri j w al k lo n br ia ug ge s be lg iu m ha ss el t aa si nt ls t -n ik la as fl an de re roe rs st s of ela re fl an de rs ge nk
Couple with children Couple without children Single person Bron: NIS 2001

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demographic transformation (ever smaller families and the ageing population, see box text on the next page), which is taking place at an even faster rate in the cities. This transformation leads to a different demand for housing in the city and in the periphery. On the other hand, there are also selective migrations between the 8 city and the periphery, with a negative balance for Belgian residents and a positive balance for residents of foreign origin. This leads to a creeping change in the composition of the urban population. In Antwerp more than one in ve inhabitants is already of immigrant origin. In itself this is not a problem, but it does become a problem when it is accompanied by increased divisions as a result of economic shifts, and by an increased concentration of housing, often in the nineteenth-century ring. Suburbanisation and the increased divisions in the city therefore go hand-in-hand. The lack of quality housing in the city partly explains these developments. Furthermore, the evolutions that were outlined aggravate the problem. The quality of urban housing cannot be sufciently exploited when choosing a place to live. In fact, the opposite applies, and living in the city is too often seen as a transitional situation (as a student, young family, single person, etc.). Once the family situation and/or income allow it, people look for quality somewhere else in the grid city. This factor also often has a negative influence on the quality of the housing stock in the central city, giving rise to a vicious circle. The city itself depends too much on the nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century housing. We cannot really see the fermettes (small farmhouses) as a new urban quality. Social housing has also fallen behind. It has been the case for quite a while that living in the city will have to provide more quality to become attractive. At the moment, there is no

real housing policy in the sense of a large-scale collective policy on housing and the environment, focusing on high quality urban housing. Occasionally there are some interesting projects, particularly on a small scale, and strategies have been announced to increase density by dening urban plans in the context of town and country planning. However, we very much doubt whether sufcient account has been taken of the problems of the quality of the current housing stock or the potential of the current urban spaces and inhabitants. It should not be the case that the already threatened viability of the city comes under even greater pressure as a result of an increased concentration of housing and infrastructure in the city, accompanied by a reduction of public and green areas. Furthermore, there are some specic policy initiatives, such as the successive urban renovation initiatives and the tax measures for new buildings. However, the city is only one of the target groups in the plans. Inhabitants or entities which comply with the criteria which are imposed are eligible, irrespective of whether or not they are in an urban environment. Furthermore, the policy still does not provide a solution for the demographic changes in the city. In our opinion, quality, affordability and a more comprehensive social justice should have a central place in the management of density. Furthermore, the environment clearly plays a part in the housing policy because (the lack of) quality of the environment explains why families with children, and in general, the more affluent inhabitants, are leaving the city. Not yet enough experiments have been carried out, there is not enough research, there are not enough data, and not enough money is invested in contemporary housing.

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With 72% of housing in private ownership, it might be thought that in principle there are few or no problems with regard to renting in Flanders. After all, the sense of security this provides means that home ownership has an important place on the agenda in Flanders. In Owner Social tenant Private tenant Free housing Total

Belgium Flanders The Netherlands France Great Britain 66 72 48 56 68 8 6 43 16 24 22 19 8 23 7 4 3 1 5 2 100 100 100 100 100

Source: Dewilde and De Keulenaer, 2002: 103

comparison with the surrounding countries, Flanders also scores highly in this respect. The very low score for social renting, at least in comparison with private renting, is also characteristic. With 43% of social renting, the Netherlands has the highest score. The United Kingdom also has a high percentage, with 24%. However, moving the focus to The ratio of owned/rented housing in 1991 urban housing, this reveals very 100 different ratios. The share of the 60 53 51 50 44 40 39 38 37 34 33 32 32 29 25 30 80 rental market in towns and cities is much higher than in other places 60 in Flanders. Brussels comes top of 40 38 46 47 48 54 59 60 60 63 64 65 66 67 69 74 68 the list, with a proportion of 60% 20 of rental housing, followed by 0 Antwerp (53%) and Ghent (51%). The high proportion of rental housing is related, amongst other things, to the reduction in family Rented Owned Unknown size, which is much stronger in Source: NIS census 1991, authors presentation.1 towns and cities than in the rest of Flanders. This means that there is The ratio of apartments/family houses in 2001 a larger proportion of buildings 100 with multiple occupancy (apart72 61 56 40 36 32 30 30 27 26 21 19 19 16 20 ments). In Brussels, no less than 80 72% of the housing consists of apartments. In Antwerp and Ghent the proportion of apartments is also above 50%. In the other towns and cities the proportion of housing for family homes is signicantly above 50%. In Flanders as a whole, 80% of houses are family homes.
1 No figures for the 2001 census are available yet.

br us s an els tw er os p te n le d uv en g tu hen rn t h m ou ec t he le ha n ss el t si nt gen -n k ik la a br s ug ge aa ko lst r ro trij es k el fl are an de rs

Apartment Family house Source: NIS census 1991, authors presentation.

br us an sel tw s er gh p en os t te n le d u m ve ec n h tu ele rn n ho ut b si nt rug -n es ik la as ge n ko k r ro tri es jk el a ot ha re he ss r el m un a t ic als ipa t l fl itie an s de rs

60 40 20 0
28 39 44 60 64 68 70 70 73 74 79 81 81 84


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As for large projects in public spaces, we advocate concentrating on a quality in the planning and processes involved in large housing projects in order to achieve a high quality. Although the need for this is recognised more generally, it is still a basic problem. In our view, the town council should take the lead in this and strengthen its capacity with regard to directing the process as a whole. In some parts of the city, a selective demolition strategy will be needed, involving the demolition of poor housing and houses which are too small. The construction of new (larger) houses, as well as the organisation of new multifunctional spaces (playgrounds, meeting areas, etc.) will also be necessary. Therefore open spaces and strategies for green spaces are an integral part of density management. Common provisions form part of the policy on the environment in residential areas. They can increase social cohesion and provide a solution for lack of space and the limited resources of some inhabitants: a common transport plan for a street or district, common garages, childcare centres and support for the organisation of childcare for the street or district, etc. Many types of initiatives by citizens contribute to an environment that is attractive to live in (also see chapter 5). Therefore it is not merely a matter of bricks and mortar and green spaces.

However, we will discuss the position of the rental sector, because this specically urban aspect has been neglected for a long time. For the gures given in this eld, reference is made to the gures on the housing situation in cities on page 121. With 72% of houses privately owned, it would seem that in Flanders there can be little or no problem with regard to renting. After all, the Flemish people see their home as their castle, which means that the acquisition of property has a high priority in Flanders. In comparison with surrounding countries, Flanders also scores high in this eld. Another characteristic aspect is the extremely low score for social housing, particularly in relation to private rents. The Netherlands has the highest score in this respect with 43%. In the United Kingdom the score is also high, at 24%. However, moving the focus to urban housing reveals very different relationships. The share of the rental market in the city is signicantly higher than elsewhere in Flanders. Brussels comes at the top with a share of 60% of rental housing, followed by Antwerp (53%) and Ghent (51%). This high proportion of rental housing is related, amongst other things, to the declining size of families, which is much more signicant in the city than in the rest of Flanders. This explains a larger proportion of multiple family occupancy (apartments). The Flemish housing policy was traditionally strongly focused on home acquisition, and because of suburbanisation is actually a nonurban policy. The rental policy comes off very badly. The social rental sector in particular has been at a consistently low level for the last twenty years, despite a number of policy efforts (such as Vlabinvest and Domus Flandria). Furthermore, the promised efforts to improve

Field 9 Implement an active housing policy

In the last eld, the aspects relating to the quality of urban housing were central. However, a housing policy is about more than quality alone. Ultimately it concerns the right to affordable and good quality housing, and this combination is a problem in our cities. To outline the whole housing problem and all the aspects of a housing policy here is beyond the aim of this chapter.

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this matter with 15,000 extra social housing units during the 2000-2004 period of legislation will not change this situation to a great extent. The measures planned for 2003 (easier acquisition of social housing by sitting tenants) mean that the situation is in danger of becoming even more desperate than it is already and 9 therefore extending the waiting times. There are also questions with regard to the position and quality of private rental housing and the policy on it. In the various polls, Flanders has consistently revealed that there are 300,000 poor, mainly private, rental 10 homes. Therefore the situation is not improving. These houses are rented out at prices that are too high, mainly to poor, weak and vulnerable inhabitants. This rental income is not then reinvested, and is inadequate anyway to raise the standard of the private rental housing stock. One of the important problems in this respect is that the most effective instruments are at the federal level (legislation on rental properties, and the policy on rental prices). But it does not stop there: the instruments which could be used at the Flemish level on the basis of the Flemish Housing Code are not used (for example, relating to basic health, safety and housing quality requirements for every house, i.e., including private rental houses). There are good Flemish policy frameworks, but they are not actually enforced, and therefore there is no will to implement policy. The cities are the victims of this. In order to implement a coherent urban policy, it is necessary that the Flemish Region and the Brussels Region have access to all the instruments, including a say in the legislation on private rental housing. This has nothing to do with blind regionalisation, but is entirely concerned with the need to employ a sound range of instruments for the urban policy at the same

time, and in the context of an integrated housing policy. We are convinced that a housing policy which is mainly focused on the acquisition of property has missed its goal to a large extent, because we believe that a large proportion of the acquisition of property concerned would also take place without this intervention. After deducting the housing cost, the owner can maintain his income at a (xed) level, but this is not the case 11 for the tenant. Therefore, purely for reasons of fairness, and above all, for a strong urban policy, it is necessary for the housing policy to deal with the rental sector as a sector that is important in its own right, and for the cash flows to be directed more towards the rental sector. Otherwise, the right to good quality (urban) housing will remain a distant dream for many families. The quality of a great deal of private rental housing is appalling. Therefore the government must use instruments which ensure that renting is dependent on minimum housing qualities. It should be possible for the landlord to keep the quality of his house(s) at a good standard with the rent he receives. Therefore, it is desirable to involve landlords in the housing policy. The small number of social housing units in Flanders and the long waiting lists clearly indicate that there is a demand for greater efforts in this eld. These efforts have a place in the town and country planning in the grid city: social housing can be incorporated in the grid in several places. In the cities itself, projects for social housing should replace the poorest houses in the areas with the greatest demand for housing rst. New experiments are needed in social housing, as well as investments in new forms of housing


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and good architecture. Social housing should once again take up this historical tradition (see the example of urban garden districts), also for the social housing which is created by private investors or forms of public/private partnership. We also consider that an efcient approach to social housing is only possible with a single powerful housing company per city and for the city. This is also possible at the level of the whole urban region, in a cooperative venture between municipalities (also see eld 4). In our opinion, the current institutions are vestiges from a bygone age which have lost their feel for the current needs of society. Furthermore, fragmentation is another cause of the poor nancial situation of housing companies which are too small. This weakens the already weak government role in our country even further.

example, London is the greenest global city in the world. There are 128 parks, 200 green squares, and above all, the Thames, which have just as much influence on the success of London as a global city as the historical buildings and 13 the cityscape. The current policy on green space often reduces the green spaces in the city to cosmetic green. If it is applied at all, the conservation of nature in cities is often limited to protecting the remaining fragments of natural habitats, while every part of the city has the potential to contribute to the total urban biodiversity. Health aspects are restricted to the annually recurring smog warnings in the summer. Building with sustainable materials focuses on insulation, and more recently also on renewable energy sources. Attention for the environment is reflected in the environmental regulations, and extremely expensive investments in infrastructure (sewerage, water purication plants). Cities and all their functions are more protable if the quality of the density is taken seriously. At the same time, nature and open spaces in the city are also more protable: they are seen too much as a residual category, and usually not as an element of urban policy that is important in its own right. Although it is probably not intentional, this last aspect is even further reinforced by the policy on town and country planning, which gives a central role to the concentration of urban functions. The experience gained up to now of the process of delineation has shown that a non-compact urban space within the urban perimeter gives rise to problems most quickly. This is the danger of blind, purely quantitative density. Nevertheless, it is clear that a healthy environment, nature and open spaces obviously within an urban context are an integral part of a high quality urban density.

Field 10 12 Invest in a healthy environment

Finally, a good quality density requires a viable and green environment, which supports actions in other elds. The environment is an essential element of the housing policy, of judicious density, and good quality public spaces: the same space and the same green areas are not necessary everywhere. Cities are places for concentrated housing, working culture, trafc, commerce, etc. in short, all the characteristic urban functions. Until recently, little attention was devoted to aspects of health, the urban environment, nature and open spaces in the city. Nevertheless, a good quality urban density cannot be achieved without devoting adequate attention to these (generally described as) green aspects of the urban environment. These green aspects are characteristics which are naturally attributed to areas outside the city, while they are just as important in an urban environment. For

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Because of the comprehensive character of this book, we would like to present a number of ideas precisely on this policy line, in which attention is focused on these green aspects. We are aware that this policy area is not entirely consistent with the formulated actions in this book and is treated in a rather supercial way. For a more thorough explanation of the subject of nature in the city, reference is made to the preliminary study book. Urban biotopes have an important social signicance for urban dwellers. This social signicance is just as important, or even more important than their strictly biological role. We argue for removing nature from its pedestal, where it has been placed because of a narrow interpretation of sustainability. We believe that nature should be given a place in the grid city in the middle of social developments and just next to them, and there really should also be some green spaces. This means that we should also approach nature from the different perceptions and experiences of the population in the grid city. For example, in this context it is also important to devote more attention to the perception of families with children. After all, one important reason for leaving the city is the lack of (child-friendly) urban green spaces. Approaching nature in the grid city in this way also reveals a whole range of different forms of urban green spaces, from cultural green spaces (strongly dependent on intensive care) to more spontaneous nature. The enormous range of functions which this can provide for mankind and society is the ultimate reason for providing urban green spaces. Urban green spaces literally provide a more healthy environment, promote our psychological well-being, provide us with numerous recreational possibilities and ideal meeting places, bring us into daily contact with nature, make the city more vibrant and more

attractive, can sometimes act as a living witness to our cultural heritage, help to look after public spaces and tell us something about the condition of our environment. Therefore it is logical to invest in all these forms of urban green spaces. Urban green spaces also have an important function with regard to the conservation of nature, despite the fact that the pressure on nature is greatest in the built-up environment. Urban green spaces accommodate a great biodiversity. The urban authorities have an opportunity to deal with nature and natural areas to be developed with greater involvement of citizens. Finally, urban green areas have the unique function of also contributing to the protection of nature in the countryside. This is achieved mainly by taking up some of the pressure of recreation and by creating social support for the protection of nature and the environment. Furthermore, urban green spaces can relieve the pressure on the environment by their climateregulating and purifying functions to an extent which can be felt outside the city. In this way, the councils policy on green spaces can be an important factor affecting the situation of nature throughout Flanders. In addition to investing in nature, attention to a healthy, green and sustainable environment in the city also entails greater efforts with regard to a comprehensive management of waste for the city. For other environmental aspects, problems have to some extent been passed from the periphery to the city, but in this case, the converse often happens. The urban system now is almost unsustainable by denition because the environmental pressure is passed on to the environment (pollution, the location of waste combustion furnaces, etc.).


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The careful use of raw materials requires greater efforts to promote the use of sustainable building materials, both for the construction of public spaces and for housing and other buildings. The city uses enormous quantities of energy. It is self-evident that the care for a sustainable urban density coincides with rational energy consumption and renewable energy sources.

14. Stop the trend towards the privatisation of public spaces. Work on a global approach to accessible spaces which are intensively used and provide valuable experiences of these places. See this as the heart of the new urban character: support new urban relationships. 15. Safeguard the quality of planning and processes for all projects related to and in public spaces, provide the organisational capacity in the planning in urban organisation, in particular to manage these projects. 16. Ensure that safety is a comprehensive element in the design, organisation and management of public spaces from the very beginning. Develop a local, community-oriented police force on the basis of the public space and involve them in management. 17. Make the management of public spaces the joint responsibility of government, inhabitants, users and the social partners. 18. Invest in high quality sustainable materials and in temporary projects, and make use of the commercialisation of public spaces as a source of new relationships and as a lever for quality in town and country planning. 19. Invest in the quality of housing as a whole, which comprises both the houses themselves and the environment, and integrate strategies for green and open spaces. Have the courage to remove malignant growth in

the city effectively with a view to urban and social revitalisation. 20. Reconcile density and affordability throughout the territory of the grid city and invest in the quality of planning and processes and in the management of large housing projects. 21. Experiment with, carry out research into and invest in good quality contemporary forms of housing, and in particular, in new social housing and good quality rental housing. 22. Encourage the introduction of common amenities in districts, and support residents who make parts of their home available for community facilities. 23. Regionalise the competence for rental legislation so that urban policy and housing policy can reinforce each other. Relate the rental price of housing to its quality and use instruments to regulate the private rental market. Make the rental market a priority in the housing policy. 24. Stop the inverse solidarity in the cash flow in the housing market, which is based on the current contributions to home ownership. 25. Establish one strong housing company per city and for the city. 26. Invest in all types of urban green spaces in the grid city. Involve the inhabitants and users of the city in its development to provide support for the protection of nature and the environment. 27. Re-evaluate the importance of nature in relation to natural diversity and the various perceptions of the population in the grid city. 28. Work on a comprehensive management of waste, rational energy consumption and renewable energy sources.

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Line 4 Innovative and creative strength

The city has always played an important role in cultural, artistic, intellectual, social and political innovation. The multiplicity and diversity of human activities results in inspiration and creativity. Revolutions in the social and economic system often start in the city. The city can be a catalyst for local initiatives and for innovation. This aspect is described in two elds which in our view do not attract enough attention in urban policy: one is the function of cultural creativity as a lever (eld 11), and the other concerns the innovation resulting from investments in recreational urban infrastructure (12). These two elds attract little attention in the traditional Flemish discussions on cities.

and culture are no longer a sector in society, but penetrate every important level of society. The cultural industry is becoming an important economic activity. Design is also less and less supported by tradition. We live in an age of detraditionalisation and far-reaching innovation. Furthermore, the multicultural society presents us with different traditions and society requires different forms of combinations and innovation. In short, urban revitalisation and dynamic activity are largely supported by the 14 citys creative advantages. The cultural climate and the cultural policy in this way influence virtually every eld of activity, including economic, social and political innovation. Targeted attention in policy to the development of the creative potential at every level of the city is therefore extremely important. This concerns attracting and retaining people and activities, and using those people and activities in the continued development and image of the city. Cities should cherish their designers, artists and intellectuals. They are of essential importance in the development of the urban character. Furthermore, there appears to be a direct relationship between innovation and economic growth and the presence of creative people in the city usually people with a high level of 15 education and higher incomes. The cities are/will become laboratories where new goods and services are designed and developed with the input of a lot of culture and the help of collective new talent in small businesses. Larger businesses can go there for new ideas, which is 16 crucial for survival in a global economy. Once again, we see how glocalisation works. The city must actively invest in the development of innovative ideas and practices. Grouping together creative strengths, specic forums and the support for creative alliances can contribute to this. Creativity can also be expressed in the


Field 11 Cultural creativity: give innovation a chance

Cultural production and art nd an appropriate context in the city (in terms of the environment, support and innovation). Nowadays, cultural production and creativity are even more important. Modern cities have grown in the wake of the development of the industrial society. In fact, many cities were hit hard by the economic crisis and the economic transformation which followed. They will have to discover a new dynamic strength in a context of new patterns of consumerism (these are different and take place in the grid city), and in an economy which is moving towards service sectors. The arrival of the information economy and the information society which is developing form a new background against which the city has to nd its own way. Design is an important aspect of the activity itself. In the new consumer society, aesthetics and expression are extremely important. Art

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inventive combination of existing resources, contexts and policy. For example, relationships can develop between economic investments and employment through social return, between socially responsible enterprise and a coherent integration policy, between ecology and social investment, etc. Creativity does not always develop in the established sectors and institutions. Special attention should be devoted to informal actors who are often active on the margins, in unspecied locations in the city. Finally, we argue for an active examination of new urban functions with a creative input and for the recycling or new use of existing urban spaces which responds to new 17 social needs or possibilities. Examples which spring to mind include old business premises and warehouses which can be integrated as lofts, spaces for artists, exhibition areas, occasional performance areas for theatre, and meeting places, which also stimulates gentrication. Large vacant economic spaces (such as Acec in Ghent) require a multifunctional use. It is partly as a result of the pressure on space in the central cities that other parts of the grid city will also be able to play a creative role on the basis of their own characteristics and potential to a greater extent than they do now. We also stress that the emphasis on creativity, design and prospective ideas and activity is not a luxury. It is the only way of looking at and then tackling specic complex questions in the cities in a liberating and innovative way. It is often the best way of breaking away from routine bureaucratic and restrictive policy management.

Bruges which has provided an international image for the background of the city. For Bruges this is the perfect economic niche for achieving the image of a global city. The economic importance of leisure time not only plays a big role for Bruges. There is no doubt that the leisure sector has become an important economic sector and that its importance will only increase in the 18 future. From this point of view alone, it is important to make maximum use of the leisure potential of the grid city. The enormous importance of public spaces is also revealed here: in our internet age, they are also increasingly playing the role of supporting recreational functions. We must devote more attention to developing a future vision of the role of the city as a leisure environment. This does not happen enough yet in Flanders. Recognising the new cultural values of leisure time is one of the challenges preceding decisions to use cultural capital for recre19 ation and tourism. An insight into the patterns of experience of the visitor, but also into the involvement of the inhabitant of the city, is the key to this. After all, the visitor to the city is not the only consumer of the city as a place for recreation. In the rst place, this applies for the inhabitants of the city themselves. The city has a large social-cultural archiving function with great symbolic value, which is also expressed in the built-up fabric. It is this archiving function, amongst other things (not in a material sense, but in its symbolic value), which can be used for a strategy to intensify visits to the city. In the use of this valuable asset and new cultural values, art and culture obviously also play an important, though certainly not an exclusive role. The strength of recreational use implies investments in the physical urban framework and in the heritage, as well as developing a cultural

Field 12 Recreation as a lever

Nowadays, some cities already have an important recreational and tourist role. For example, there are the artistic cities, and the city of

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and recreational portfolio, in order to visibly revitalise the symbolic function. Both the inhabitant and the visitor to the city should be able to enjoy these investments, which must be made both in the central city and in other places in the grid city. We interpret leisure time in a broad sense, so that all the places where leisure activities can be carried out are also integrated as a catalyst of urban dynamism. The visit to the city can make an important contribution to the recognition of the city as a frame of reference and as a basis for identication. The revitalisation of the symbolic function will certainly stimulate this process. The recreational function develops from a confrontation with what is really happening in the city. The city is not a theme park which must present itself to the visitor as a Disney location without any conflicts. One example of this confrontational identication is the Summer of Antwerp, where many of the dimensions of the recreational city are combined, without descending into excessively commercial festivalitis. The initiative takes into account both the local points of contact and interest, and the necessary global image of the sorts of events in a city of this order. Every Flemish city can draw up this sort of balance for itself and achieve it by means of a targeted policy on recreation. The policy on recreation is part of the strategy of glocalisation. Finally, it is important that the recreational function is not developed over the heads of the inhabitants and visitors to the city. It is important to devote attention to the aspect of identication. In this way, recreation can be a relevant reinforcement of the socio-cultural capital of the city and contribute to a greater participation in public and political life.

29. Implement an active policy focusing on innovative ideas, designs and practices, on combining creative strengths. Support creative alliances, provide forums for meeting places and for adapted infrastructure. 30. Use existing and new urban areas (including those which become available as a result of economic restructuring) for new urban functions, and focus on them with adapted initiatives. 31. Draw up a cultural and recreational portfolio. Make use of the wealth and attractiveness of the physical framework and of the heritage of the grid city. 32. Mobilise the leisure function with a view to urban revitalisation in general, also in deprived areas. Make use of all the places where leisure activities are carried out as possible catalysts in an urban dynamic agenda.


Line 5 Identity on the basis of diversity

The economic portfolio is broader in the city than anywhere else. Nowhere else is living together with what is strange and what is different as pronounced and as diverse. Nowhere is there more culture which is available not only because of the pluricultural population, but also in the formal and informal provision of culture. An urban mentality now permeates every layer of society and the whole of Flanders. Nevertheless, it continues to be crucial to invest in the identity of the city. This was explained above with reference to the global-local paradox. The city is the focal point of globalisation. It is becoming the new frame of reference and the key

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to the global economy and culture. Therefore the city must have a clearly recognisable prole. This image is used in external communication, but must also be recognisable to the inhabitants and users of the city itself. This sort of urban identity is above all a strong image of the future which incorporates the diversity in the city and the diversity of places, people and activities in a single creative destiny. We are certainly aware that diversity is nowadays sometimes experienced as a threat, sometimes justiably so. The fascination and opportunities which result from diversity can be overshadowed by this threat, so that relating to the diversity becomes more and more difcult. However, it is important that we learn from this difcult relationship to nd a way of dealing with diversity. The only alternative is increased polarisation between the rich and poor, between those in work and the unemployed, between white and black, etc. This sort of polarisation undermines the future of the city and therefore of the whole of Flanders. The identity of the city is expressed particularly in the prole of recognisable and expressive places. This denes multiculturalism to an even greater extent than the diversity of cultural and ethnic common factors. After all, as a rule the inhabitant of the city himself has an extremely broad range of action and uses different places in the city for different sorts of action. it is this connection between places and activities, which characterises the city and at the same time permits the multi-faceted identity of the urban dweller. Those who withdraw into their own communities and particular districts are generally obliged to on social-economic grounds. It is only an expression of a sectarian traditional disassociation in exceptional cases.

Therefore a clear urban identity has several forms and is supported by a broad measure of diversity. In order to maintain this pluralism, the constant regeneration of an identity related to place must also be supported. In the rst instance we consider that urban revitalisation must be based on an active policy of investment in art and culture and in the creation of social support for this amongst the population (eld 13). Diversity and identity can be actively supported by promoting a high quality multifunctional approach and by considering the existing differences between (the opportunities of) groups and between districts more as an opportunity than as threat (eld 14). In the discussion of this line, the relationship between urban identity and economic development counts as an essential part of urban culture and of the socio-cultural capital of the city. In this respect, reference is also made to line 1, eld 3. The divisions which exist should also be tackled on the basis of this attitude. Developing an urban identity is based on integration by opposing exclusion. In addition to the participation in the employment market, other (non-economic) forms of social integration are also represented in this (see line 6, eld 17).

Field 13 Strengthen the basis for art and culture

There is a consensus in the literature both on town and country planning and the economy, and in rural and cultural literature, that identication and in particular, cultural identiation is necessary for a local strategy. A community needs this identity and sometimes even needs a mythology. However, it is clear that an identication cannot be imposed, but has to grow from the bottom up to an important extent. It is this identication which must serve as a stimulus for an economic urban policy (see line 1).

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One characteristic of the global-local paradox is that the nineteenth-century nation state is coming under great pressure as a point of reference for a process of cultural identication. It is probably too optimistic to assume that the regional framework (Flanders) will take over the role of the nation state in this respect. However, in Flanders, identication with the local level is still fairly strong from the European perspective, for historical reasons, because of the characteristics of the employment market (relatively low mobility) and because of the housing market (high level of home ownership). In chapter 1 we also emphasised that this cultural identity must come from living together in different groups in the same territory, rather than on the basis of outdated patterns of thought on different cultures in which one must adapt to another. By denition, art and culture must be of a high quality and elitist to operate as a social attraction. At the same time, we see that the urban context is of decisive importance for the role played by art and culture in the process of identication. The urban environment certainly provides an environment where there is a whole artistic culture and culture of relationships which can be further developed. Furthermore, these two cultures are both catalysts for strategies of social involvement and community building. Moreover, we assume that forms of ofcial art and culture can only be successful in the long term to the extent that they are incorporated in the specic cultural capital of the city. As regards artistic culture and the culture of relationships, there can be strong differences between cities and between particular districts in cities. It is precisely these differences which can constitute the points of contact for identication. As for many social phenomena, the level of mediatisation and success in the market are now almost the only criteria for dening suc-

cess in art and culture. Mediatisation can undoubtedly play a role in the process of identication (if only through the communication aspect), but it is certainly not on the basis of good mediatisation alone that districts, groups and the population become involved and can identify with art and culture. We can see the role for the market in the process of cultural identication. In this case the market does stand for everything that is present in the environment particularly in the non-prot sector. If we approach art and culture from the urban artistic culture and culture of relationships, we see that every city accommodates numerous other forms of art and culture (for example, in the eld of sport and leisure time) which can be involved in the process of identication and in urban revitalisation. Therefore there are different layers of cultural experience. Involving every level of the population in every level of culture is impossible, and in our view this is not necessary. However, it is essential that there is always some form of raised popular presence at every level of cultural experience, because this is the essence of culture. People who take initiatives in this eld have 20 found. that it is difcult for the ofcial cultural policy to successfully incorporate the existing bottom-up approach in cultural experiences. This results in marginalisation, which nally leads to the initiative zzling out, and the people involved becoming frustrated. This then gets in the ways of new initiatives. Furthermore, Flanders and Brussels have exceptionally few cultural projects with a metropolitan image. One of the exceptions to this is Antwerp 93. The current European policy of cultural capitals focuses rather strongly on one particular year, and not enough on continuity. This means that there may be a temporary surge, but the question is whether there is really any sustainable


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urban identication and revitalisation. Possibly certain aspects of Bruges 2002 are an exception to this: the year of culture elicited interesting discussions about the prole of the city, perhaps particularly because questions were also raised during the preparations. Professional preparation can provide support. Urban policy and cultural identication go handin-hand. The distinction between high and low culture plays absolutely no role in this. On the contrary, every level of society, every population group (of Belgian origin and immigrant origin), every language community (particularly in Brussels) and every level of cultural experience and all the districts are involved in this process of identication. This does not mean that it is either a single grey cultural product (with which no one can identify), or an approach in which every culture is only out for itself (such as an ethnic culture next to an immigrant culture next to a French culture next to a Flemish culture next to a Moroccan culture, etc.). Cultural identication is based on the existing cultural diversity (or the diversity to be created) and its own character. It requires the support so that the whole becomes more than the sum of the parts. It is undoubtedly necessary to nd new forms of individual and collective identication. Furthermore, the built-up area (monuments, specic design of districts, etc.) should also support cultural diversity and identication. Public spaces also play an important role as neutral meeting places. In our view, saleability and mediatisation are not criteria for culture, but it is important that the inhabitant of the city can identify with the cultural prole of the city, in which quality is the primary criterion. We repeat that this does not mean the involvement of all the inhabitants of the city in every form of culture. The city is too

diverse a society for this, with too many different forms of cultural experience. However, it does mean that the cultural prole should devote adequate attention to all the subcultures in the city. It also means paying attention to 21 forms of everyday culture. Documenting it is the rst step. Finally, the city is like a free port for the artist. Artists should be able to do their own thing in the city, without compromises, but always based on the criterion of quality (see eld 11 on the creative city).

Field 14 Use differences and contradictions

Density should automatically lead to urban interaction and constructive confrontation. This is the general assumption. It is correct that a higher density increases the chances of encounters and interaction, because diversity is also greater when the density is higher. However, in general, this will rarely happen spontaneously outside peoples own immediate circle. Furthermore, people generally organise their lives in such a way (both physically, socially, culturally, economically, etc.) that interaction is mainly limited to contacts with like-minded people (in the broad sense of the word). Moreover, the current means of communication are such that it is not even necessary to nd a physical space to meet. Nevertheless, physical interaction and constructive confrontation across the boundaries of districts and social groups are essential aspects of diversity and of the city. The city, particularly the large city, is essentially an historical accumulation of experience of dealing with diversity. This accumulation is embedded in stories, mentalities, attitudes and the urban traditions of openness, hospitality and a dynamic approach. But at the same time it is threatened by the urban exodus, the debate on the lack of safety, an anti-urban mentality, extreme right

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parties and attitudes, which see diversity as a threat and not as an enrichment. The current organisation of the city (in terms of town and country planning) leads to a tendency in which no room is reserved for specic functions or social groups: the space for trafc, public space, space for housing, etc. Socio-cultural and socio-economic undercurrents reinforce this tendency because they opt for more of the same, rather than for something different. The potential strength of diversity is weakened by this. We would like to reverse this trend. The fact that like seeks like is an understandable trend and not a problem in itself, if it is the result of a conscious choice. However, if this choice gives rise to town and country planning which prevents interaction and constructive confrontation with other social groups, something is obviously wrong. In Flanders we have not gone as far as in the United States, where gated communities have been created in some places where people protect themselves from the rest of society. However, some suburban areas do have some of the characteristics of this. Mental and metal gates reinforce each other. Another dimension of this problem is that there is no freedom of choice, so that people are forced to accept their situation (often linked to the problem of a divided society). The lack of freedom of choice is also reflected in the town and country planning and prevents the necessary interaction. When this goes too far, it results in segregation through negative selection mechanisms. In this respect, the situation in Flanders has not yet evolved to the extent that there are real ghettos which are inaccessible to the rest of society. In our view, both the creation of gated communities and of ghettos must be unambiguously

prevented. We do not argue for the other extreme, viz. a socio-cultural unformity which is aimed at erasing differences. It is easier said than done, but we must nd a combination with the correct dose of gentrication and social mix, which means that constructive confrontation can spontaneously take place and develop at a local level. This dose will and can differ from place to place, but an open model which guarantees the accessibility of the different territories of the grid city should be common to all places. This makes the city a laboratory for Flemish society. Supporting differences means providing opportunities to get to know each other, so that people learn to deal with differences and misunderstandings disappear. Constructive and creative confrontations and a dialogue between inhabitants, communities and districts are needed for this. In this respect, constructive and creative means the type of confrontation which leads to mutual recognition and dialogue. The organisation and quality of public spaces can support this process. Despite the trend towards mono-functionality, we nd that there is still a signicant combination of functions and diversity, for example with regard to ecology and the economy. For example, in addition to the traditional diversity (social groups, housing environments, etc.), we also nd a large biodiversity in urban environments, although many communities are vulnerable and 22 impoverished. 80% of our economy is still involved with housing and is not located in 23 specic sites. In order to promote the large degree of dependency of the economy in the urban fabric, a policy on assimilation is needed, with, amongst other things, a change in the environmental regulations which are currently directly leading to a division of functions.


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In addition, the temporal dimension also rarely forms part of a multifunctional approach. The spatial integration of activities cannot really be achieved without a logical arrangement of time (timetable). Therefore it is necessary to make space for a local temporal policy (cf. arranging aspects of the temporal policy in Italy with the Tempi Della Citta). It is a matter of giving cities and even districts the possibility of relating the local policy on time more autonomously to the local dynamics, as in the Italian example. The opening hours of services or recreational facilities are rarely geared to the working hours in production, and public transport, the opening hours of shops and events in the city are not always interrelated, while certain infrastructures (schools, businesses, commercial places) are monopolised by sectors to a much greater extent and are not sufciently open to multifunctional use. In short, unless there is a strong policy related to time, it is difcult to intervene in the rhythm of urban activities in an integrated and sustainable way. These rhythms can be very diverse: a busy and flexible 24-hour economy in the city centres compared with a strongly regulated rhythmical arrangement of time in more residential districts. This sort of localised temporal policy is part of the local urban dialogue.





quality of cultural products; culture is more than something to be sold or consumed. Organise the social space in such a way that gated communities and ghettos do not have a chance. Support differences as a basis for diversity, organise constructive and creative confrontations and combat socio-cultural uniformity by means of a differentiated mix of gentrication and social mix. Ensure that functions are interrelated and prevent the impoverishment of functions or monofunctional spaces. Make use of architecture and urban development for this. Implement a policy of interaction, adapt the environmental regulations, break down the mono-functionality of working hours, the economy and trade by means of a local temporal policy.

Line 6 A city polis based on solidarity

Participating in the city is often equated with the administrative component: how can you ensure that the citizen can really participate in governing the city republic? The government and administration of the city are the subjects of chapter 5. This (administrative) aspect is not covered in this section. Here we will discuss participation in the fundamental sense of social justice: opposing exclusion, ensuring that everyone in the city can achieve their basic rights to work, housing, health and a good standard of education. Therefore this means involvement in the sense in the city of solidarity between the inhabitants and users of the city. After all, how else could we convince people who are confronted with exclusion on a daily basis to legitimise the institutions of democracy?

33. Work on a cultural identity supported by every level of society, population group, language community and district. Look for new forms of individual and collective identity in this. 34. Invest in public spaces as a platform for meetings. Ensure that diversity and identity are recognisable in the built-up area. 35. Document all the forms of everyday culture. Safeguard the autonomy of art. Protect the

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The debate on solidarity combines two widely used terms: individualisation and egoism. Individualisation relates to the separation from authoritarian frameworks which prescribe peoples behaviour. Egoism relates to turning away from the collective, from all obligations to the community, a complete isolation from politics and the state. When people become individualised, this does not necessarily mean that they become more egotistical. This impression may be created when you are used to controlling people through the group, but this has more to do with individual frames of reference (People used to do what we said). People who turn away from society altogether are not necessarily more individualistic either: their behaviour may be strongly governed by new group norms in the media, advertising and informal groups. Sociologists claim that these frameworks have taken over the leading role of the traditional factions, so that a great deal of individualisation 24 is merely an illusion. The behaviour of most citizens in society is characterised by networking. Therefore it is increasingly difcult to classify people in a particular group or to reorganise society on the basis of these classications. It is no longer belonging to a group (in the sense of factions, churches, etc.) that determines the behaviour of people. As the networking is to some extent (but not for everyone) a virtual networking, the virtual space forms an additional dimension for the organisation of involvement. In any case, networks are not bound by the urban boundaries. Despite the fact that classifying people in to certain groups is becoming more difcult, the organisation of the planning of urban society is still reflected in recognisable individual planning components. We have already described how negative selection mechanisms resulting from unequal opportunities mean that certain

levels of the population live together in geographically dened districts of the city. This is the visible component of the divided society, which means that segregation is a reality in every Flemish city (to different extents and with different natures). All the social planning groups and networked citizens in the city are part of the city. However, there is a fundamental problem of unequal participation which means that there are individual networks and individual territories where the strongest, the elite, take up too much of the urban arena. These are the more invisible elements of the divisions on society. For us, participation means investing on new forms of solidarity (eld 15), which are aimed at creating strong urban developmental coalitions (eld 16). These coalitions must focus on a broad perspective of integration which cannot take pace only through the regular employment market (eld 17). Participation in the city and the creation of solidarity to an important extent depend on building up and comparing individual and collective knowledge and experience: the reason to invest in frameworks for a learning city on a permanent basis (eld 18). We would like to conclude this line with a menu for redirecting the income from taxation: the choices in tax policy should be the result of considerations about solidarity: taxation should support, not erode, the urban character and solidarity (eld 19) between the rich and the poor, between parts of the grid city (districts, areas, the city and the countryside, the city and the periphery), between inhabitants and users.


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Field 15 Invest in new forms of solidarity

Solidarity between the inhabitants of the city is an important component of participating in the city, and probably also an essential condition for an administration that can generate and retain trust. The traditional unions and associations, often linked to employees organisations, played an important role in the solidarity between citizens until recently. Nowadays we nd that the participation in unions and associations has not reduced, but that its character has changed signicantly. Their former educational role, in which solidarity was an important value, appears to be disappearing. More utilitarian associations with a greater similarity between 25 members are flourishing. The disappearance of the traditional sense of community is often related to the process of urbanisation. The city is seen to be anonymous, while in the countryside everyone knows one another. In the countryside, a common identity is said to dominate, while the individual is dominant in the city. It appears that the city turns people into anonymous indifferent individuals who only have contact with each other for pragmatic purposes. The district may sometimes still be seen as the village in the city, the place where the traditional community life has survived and should be fostered. However, sociological studies have disputed virtually all these stereotypes. Community life in the countryside in Flanders is not very different from urban 26 areas. Nor is the district any sort of warm nest. Individualisation and marketing are unmistakably dominant, but not only in and not only because of the city. Marketing, individualisation and the increasing influence of the government on solidarity mean

that solidarity is no longer a spontaneous phenomenon. It is sliding into a compulsory mechanical solidarity (by values, norms, processes of socialisation and sanctions imposed from above). Solidarity is being degraded to compulsory nancial contributions from the individual, which has become an important emphasis in the current discussion on solidarity. It all seems to be just about money. In our view, more funds are necessary for new forms of imposed solidarity, which can learn from the solidarity that has grown organically in cities. Therefore spontaneous initiatives on urban interrelationships deserve extra incentives to balance (and not to replace) the harder solidarity imposed in the context of the state. The social potential of the city lies in the experience of the inhabitants of the city of strangers who are different from them. A supercial relationship with diversity, for example, in the district, on the tram or in the supermarket, is an everyday reality. Therefore in our opinion, it is important to adopt an active approach to this and also study these looser forms of interaction, because they can lead to new forms of solidarity. This develops in new social networks. There are plenty of points of contact for these forms of interaction, and the city is full of them. Therefore we also argue for the application of greater subsidiarity and decentralisation (particularly in chapter 5) so that the discussion on solidarity does not only take place over the heads of the citizens and spontaneous networks can become more meaningful and have a clearer content at the level of the city. The commercialisation of public space in the city has a segregating effect (not everyone can participate in everything), but also brings together a broad and diverse public. As a result of this collective function, the space for con-

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sumerism in the city generates unintentional social effects. Therefore the fact that the arguments for individualisation and consumer coincide also has a positive side. The creativity involved has a common, everyday character, and consequently it is not easily perceived. We propose making use of the positive elements of the contemporary arguments for consumerism to detect and exploit these everyday forms of solidarity and cultural creativity (for example: cafes and shops are not only commercial areas, but are simultaneously meeting places where ideas are exchanged). This has the potential for new forms of interrelationships and creativity. Finally, we attach a great deal of importance to the need to link individual inhabitants and districts to ICT networks, because these are a source of new contact and therefore also of the (new) urban character.

Field 16 Active investments in a strong development coalition

In line 1 we advocate a strong, comprehensive, economic urban policy and strong economic urban proles. The economy can only be supported by the local community if it is part of the socio-cultural capital. Therefore culture itself also acts as a central anchor in the economic strategy of a city. At the same time, we concluded that territorial-cultural identication the creation of a form of shared destiny is essential for a successful urban policy. In that line we refereed to solidarity as an essential component of this development coalition. An economic urban policy can only succeed in the contest of a city based on solidarity. This means that the economic development must be supported by all the parties in the city. As a result the economic urban policy like the administration of the city itself (see chapter 5)

must be decentralised to the parties in the city to an important extent. This will have to take place on the basis of interaction and networking. The concept of the development of a coalition presents itself in this respect. We see this as a coalition between public parties (the city as a level of government, but also as an important economic party and employer) and private parties (traditional social partners, but also district residents, representatives of the unemployed, the representatives of parties involved in what are described elsewhere as socially useful activities, etc.). These coalitions can be organised in territories for the city as a whole, or for parts of the urban region. One example concerns the socalled ROMe project (Town and Country Planning, Environmental Management and Economic development in the Ghent canal zone). They can also be established for specic problems (e.g., for a company which has problems relating to the district, for providing economic space in the city, etc.). Ultimately this should lead to a better economic management of the city and a stronger (competitive) position of the city. It is important for all the economic partners (the government, employers and employees) to be described as key parties and that the coalition is incorporated in the urban/socio-cultural capital. We believe that this will result in winwin situations not only for the city and the urban region, but also for the economic parties themselves; perhaps not in the very short term, but certainly in the medium or long term. At the moment, many costs (of a social or environmental nature or related to mobility) are passed on to society by companies. A more sustainable economic system is based on the internalisation of these costs in the economic process. Establishing coalitions is a way of organising this internalisation in that context and transforming it into a win-win situation.

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There is no other possibility at least if we really want to achieve a sustainable urban policy, and are not just saying that we do. In the larger cities in Flanders in particular there have been several attempts to set up these sorts of coalitions. The experience in Ghent has shown that they are difcult to establish, both at the level of the involvement and commitment of the parties and at the level of describing the scope (the involvement of administra27 tive peripheral municipalities). We nd that the urban and urban regional contexts are clearly characterised by tensions (sometimes with conflicting interests). This example shows that attempts have been made to establish coalitions, but that in the rst instance, they still involve fairly traditional economic perspectives and parties. The democratic control of these development coalitions and the participation of socially weak28 er parties are often a problem. We make a link between what was written above about solidarity and what will be tackled in chapter 5 regarding the democratic organisation of the open representation of the people. However, for a clear discussion, we should avoid giving the impression that the present representative democracy operates as an ideal democracy and that new forms of dialogue and regulation are therefore a danger to democracy. The present representative democracy is often supported by very closed networks of interested groups in which a few people or a few strong groups dominate the decision making. This has traditionally always been the case for drawing up economic strategies, particularly in cities. In most cases representative democracy stood by and looked on. In the current representative democracy, the participation of socially weaker groups is generally already a signicant and therefore not a new problem that is only

emerging now. It is more a matter of the new forms of coalitions in the city conrming and taking over the existing problems of closed division making and inadequate participation. Therefore there could be new opportunities, as well as new problems. We take the above warnings very seriously. The general response is to look towards the development of a common local interest: an issue for which there can be general support, and therefore also a form of identication. In this context we argue for intensive investments in the creation of coalitions within an administrative model which responds to the ideas put forward in chapters 4 and 5: strengthening the public debate, investing in projects that serve as a lever and a change to greater accountability at the level of the city. It is for this reason that we placed so much emphasis in line 1 and in this chapter on incorporating the strategy in the socio-cultural capital of the city, right down to the level of districts and areas. Investments in public spaces, in culture, in recreation, etc. were also described from this perspective. The test for the development coalition lies in the concrete economic urban projects (see chapter 4). In addition to their purely economic importance, we can achieve a greater level of identity and attraction with this, as with other forms of urban projects (commercial, urban development or cultural projects).


Field 17 Value new forms of social integration

A strong comprehensive economic urban policy will not be able to prevent a number of fundamental inequalities from continuing to exist in our (urban) society. One of these inequalities is reflected in the growth of the divided society. Essentially, this is related to unequal opportunities and chances in the employment market,

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where service providers and information-intensive sectors increasingly determine the jobs on offer. On the other hand, there is an ever increasing under class in the employment market. Despite every effort, it is impossible for the regular employment circuit to absorb all these people on a permanent basis. In chapter 1 we saw that social integration through employment is becoming an extremely difcult matter for ever- larger groups. There is a strong paradox in the urban employment market. For the gures, reference is made to chapter 1 (see pp. 50-51). In fact, the city provides many jobs, but these jobs are to a signicant extent taken up by people who do not live in the city, so that those who do live in the city are often left out in the cold. Therefore a large number of job vacancies is accompanied by high unemployment. This paradox in the employment market is present to an extremely strong extent in the metropolitan context and is astonishingly high for unemployed immigrants: 80% of this group can be found in the large cities. We have also indicated that the decline in unemployment which has taken place in recent years, is found particularly outside the towns and cities, and in particular outside the large cities. Nowadays the policy on unemployment does not adopt a specically urban approach. A stronger policy on target groups focussing on deprived groups in the employment market is only indirectly an urban policy because of the presence of these groups in the cities. We do not simply accept the divided nature of the employment market and certainly not the increasing trend in these contradictions. We do not see this as an irreversible and inevitable phenomenon. We are also convinced that attention to integration in and through the employment market should be an integral part of coali-

tions at the urban level. It is part of the collective responsibility of industry and trade unions that they should ensure that the personnel structure should reflect the diversity of the population wherever possible. A good personnel policy does not benet either from poor correspondence between jobs and qualications. For many jobs, people with low qualications can be used perfectly, possibly with supervision and training in the business. Anyone who wishes to take part in the urban development coalition cannot refuse this social responsibility. More incentives are needed to make maximum use of the social capital available in the city in the regular economic circuit. We believe that the urban entrepreneur can take the lead in this by developing an ethical code in which he assesses the less privileged citizens of the city only on the basis of their capacities, and not on the basis of their external characteristics. It is selfevident that the government itself (as a big employer in the city at every administrative level) should adopt this ethical attitude. This vision also entails that, as a forum for consumerism, the city should play a more explicit role in the policy. Nowadays there is a tendency to move more and more consumer activities to the fringes of the city, or even outside it altogether. Apart from the direct consequences of this a lower level of consumerism and less investment in the city there is also an indirect result. Many jobs in the sector of the consumer industry require relatively little education, which means that the large group of urban dwellers with a low level of education could also nd jobs there. Moving the consumer industry to the periphery prevents this in many cases. Added to this, there is the low social and geographical mobility of people in the city with a low level of education. By the same token, more attention should be devoted to occasional

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or recurrent commercial initiatives in which inhabitants can participate actively (for example, in street markets). However, we are realistic. Even with the maximum local efforts, some of the population will not be able to integrate in society through regular employment. Therefore paths will have to be developed to ensure that social integration is separate from participation in the employment market. We will also have to introduce other socially useful activities to promote social integration. There are also possibilities in initiatives which simplify and encourage the transition from the informal to the formal economy. This is also a way of combating cases of social injustice (for example, illegal workshops in the rag trade 29 paying very low wages in the city).

Field 18 Invest in social learning

We will open some doors: information and skills are becoming increasingly important, and integration in society begins with education. Individual and collective knowledge to an important extent determine the possibilities of participating in the city. Anyone who cannot use the experience he has had, who does not learn to negotiate, who does not have anything to say or is never given anything to say, and is never stimulated to use his skills, will not develop these competences in traditional politics either. People who are given no opportunities at all (with regard to employment, housing or education), will not nd their way to situations of social learning and will not have any condence in having a voice in politics. The importance of this social learning and the strength of the city as the context for learning were dealt with in detail in chapter 1. It is curious that the city has such an enormous range of educational establishments, and that

at the same time there is signicant educational deprivation in the city. There is not only a paradox with regard to the urban employment market, but also an educational paradox. In many cases, not enough attention is devoted to other, mainly more informal ways of acquiring knowledge and skills, which provide a stronger context for social learning and a stronger basis for solidarity. By devoting attention to social learning we can continue to develop this poten30 tial. Social learning means that groups or social relationships learn to operate in uncertain and new circumstances in order to resolve or actively tackle collective problems. This social learning is characterised by a competencebased approach: making use of the potential for problem solving which is present in people and groups, but which they are often barely aware of themselves. To achieve this, the management of institutions in the city must be adapted in a decentralised way, so that social learning acquires a meaningful content. The learning should have a visible effect, it must matter, and depends on building up something together (see chapter 5). Up to now, education in the city has not sufciently succeeded in playing a role in social integration as well as it could. Nevertheless, this is an important social responsibility. This not only concerns regular education, but also the integration of forms of social learning in education and the links with all the other educational instruments for lifelong and lifewide learning. The creation of groups and the contribution of educational institutions are essential for social learning. An active civilian society supported by all sorts of organisations is the necessary basis for social learning. This should also become the operational principle of all sorts of institutions and services. Many people can play an educational role in civil society (from ofcers on the


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beat to gardeners making compost, from home carers to sports trainers, from teachers to social workers involved in prevention, community workers, etc.). Through these key gures, social learning is related to processes of the organisation and development of urban social patterns. In addition, social learning should also be able to take place separately from institutions by supporting informal learning strategies which play an important role in learning to deal with diversity and the ambivalence of the city. These informal networks stretch right across the grid city with social relationships. For this reason too, investment in public spaces, in culture, in creativity and recreation, etc., is also essential. These investments stimulate the contexts for social learning in the city. In this way the social learning process can be imposed from above (in order to explain the reasons for certain policy actions to citizens). At the same time, it must also provide support for the administration of the city and many institutions from the bottom up, so that they have a greater understanding of the learning needs of inhabitants and districts. Finally, the social learning process can also be used to adapt negative patterns of behaviour. Obviously it is an illusion that social learning can achieve this on its own, and it would be misleading to present it as though it could massage away any conflicting interests. In fact, social learning often actually leads to heated conflicts, because people become more aware of the mechanisms of which they are part. Social learning supports conflicts in the city republic and provides food for political debate. However, in this way it contributes to the creation of urban coalitions and raises the question of solidarity. Only those who are involved in conflicts count. Cities are by denition learning societies: virtually all the issues of the risk society come

together there (flexibility in the employment market, environmental problems, safety, immigration, energy supplies, problems of mobility, etc.). Cities provide the necessary diversity of interests and visions to give social learning a visible content in practice: after all, practices based on experience are essential. In this way learning cities become centres for building up social innovation and provide a framework for the search for new forms of solidarity and direction at an urban level, sometimes (depending on the issues concerned), extending to the level of the state, Europe, and the world.

Field 19 The tax system which supports the urban character and solidarity
The cash flows from taxation undermine the central city as a concentrated core of the expanding city. The inhabitants of the city only pay direct tax in their place of residence. However, the central function entails extra costs, everyone agrees about this. The new Municipal Fund and the Urban Fund compensate for this and redistribute the money; there is constant controversy about whether or not this is adequate. The central function also has benets and this is discussed to a lesser extent. Critics refer to the additional costs of bureaucracy: they are believed to be greater in larger cities (over 50,000 inhabitants) than in other municipalities. In some cases, cities too readily adopt a defensive position in this respect. The discussion on and calculation of urban and peripheral costs and benets can therefore sometimes seem to go on forever. If it goes on forever, nothing will change. We do not consider that it is important to concentrate on a detailed calculation of costs and benets. We argue for creating tax flows which support the urban character and correspond better with the real interactions in urban areas.

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We do not have any unique solutions, but the issue has been examined by experts in various policy memorandums and scientic texts, and they have put forward a series of proposals which we will adopt here to reinforce the need 31 for revising the tax system. In the rst place, there are measures which could correct the distorted distribution of costs and benets between residential and working municipalities by developing different systems of tax redistribution. In addition, the tax system on real estate often works to the disadvantage of urban living. Something should also be done about this. Removing the tax inequalities could be supplemented with tax incentives to promote living in the city. It is self-evident that the inhabitants of deprived areas are the most important targets group in this respect. As social housing has fallen signicantly behind in comparison to that in the countries surrounding us, it would also be possible to provide support in that eld with a range of tax- related instruments. We referred earlier to the decline of district-based local economy. A range of tax measures could also be introduced here. Finally, we believe that in addition to tax measures, it would also be possible to develop other nancial instruments to increase the solidarity between the city and the periphery. Examples that spring to mind include solidarity contributions by (inhabitants of) the municipalities on the periphery of the city to social housing or the use of urban facilities (museums, swimming pools, etc.). Furthermore, the citizen benets from a municipal government that works well. Instruments could also be developed to this end. It is also well known that infrastructures which are used more intensively can be more protable. Therefore we argue for a varied range in their costs depending on the rate of use.

A. Tax redistribution 1. A tax system based on place of residence and work (now only based on place of residence) 2. Allocation of additional road tax based on the intensity of the trafc, or 3. (Partial) transfer of the road tax to the municipalities B. A tax system which stimulates living in the city 4. A new adjustment of the land registry income (KI), and in anticipation of this, a blocking of the indexation of land registry income for housing in deprived areas 5. A lower rate of registration fees linked to the area of the house (which is to the advantage of housing in the city because on average they have a smaller surface area) 6. Remove the discrimination between new buildings and converted buildings with regard to the deduction of interest 7. Delay the entry into effect of the revaluation of land registry income for renovations 8. Increase the level of tax reduction for capital repayments and interest payments in deprived areas 9. Increase the threshold (land registry income) and extend the duration of the validity of the reduced rate for real estate tax 10. Reduce the VAT rate for new buildings in deprived areas C. A tax system for social housing 11. A VAT rate of 6% for building social housing 12. Exemption of registration fees and stamp duty for the purchase of housing by social housing companies 13. Tax incentives for renting housing to social housing companies or OCMWs which sublet 14. Tax incentives for social housing and public service centres as part of large building projects


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D. A tax system to strengthen local economies 15. Temporary reduction in the rate of real estate tax linked to a block of the indexation 16. Make government subsidies tax free 17. Longer exemption for tax increases as a result of the failure to pay in advance for self-employed people starting out 18. Automatic allocation of advantages which are allocated in other areas (e.g., development areas) for economic activities in deprived areas E. Other nancial instruments 19. An obligation for peripheral municipalities to create their share of social housing or pay an equivalent value to the central city 20. Discrimination in the rates (with higher contributions for non-urban dwellers), though there is a risk that this will cause conflict 21. The joint funding of joint projects (e.g., sports infrastructure) 22. Compensations, such as in the current municipal fund, but corrected in accordance with the performance of the town council 23. A variable charge for costs, depending on the place of residence (e.g., high public utility infrastructure costs in less densely populated areas).

40. Examine and encourage new forms of links between the inhabitants and users of the city, for example, by district management, cultural investments, contemporary consumer activities and leisure time activities. Use the organically growing solidarity to achieve new forms of organised solidarity. 41. Link inhabitants and districts to ICT networks which support the new urban character. Virtual and physical encounters are mutually reinforcing.

42. Work on the organisational capacity to develop coalitions between public and private actors to attract new investments and decision-making power. Involve citizens with a low level of education in this coalition. Establish economic urban projects on the basis of this coalition, with the participation of civilian society and districts. 43. Separate social integration from regular participation in employment and acknowledge the value of existing forms of socially useful activities in this respect. 44. Work on an urban ethical reflex for the government in the city and encourage this reflex in urban enterprise. 45. Develop new forms of solidarity and cultural creativity on the basis of contemporary consumer activities and leisure activities. 46. Develop activities to lower thresholds, focusing on the transition from the informal to the formal economy. 47. Turn open learning into a crucial part of social integration. 48. Support contexts for informal learning strategies and for social learning by means of adaptations to the urban institutions and the operation of civil society. Actively invest in the development of a discussion culture. 49. Reform the tax flows in the grid city so that they strengthen the urban character and lead to a tangible solidarity between different parts of the grid city, between rich and poor, between districts and between the inhabitants and users of the city.

In this chapter we explained the links between urban character and urban programmes along six lines and in nineteen elds. Throughout the chapter different threads were drawn to

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strengthen this interaction: between the world and the district, between public and private, between the collective and the individual, between the traditional sectors, between population groups, between parts of the grid city and between cities, between local and central aspects. We consider that these lines and elds deserve to be described as strategic lines. The policy discussions are all too often and all too intensively concerned with the question What? What are we going to do today and tomorrow? In this chapter we are concerned mainly with the Why? which is often ignored because of the pressure of operational considerations. They are also strategic because they concern structural lines: they go to the essence of what cities could be, they create patterns in the city which determine the future. This is not a supercial illusion, not a supercial layer of varnish or impulses based on current fads. They are strong foundations, powerful and constant driving forces, which can have a motivating effect as well as gathering energy together. All sorts of things happen in many cities: large and small initiatives by a multicoloured group of individuals, from districts to associations and social movements, to businesses and governments. With these lines and elds we try to provide strong links across this whole mix which gather together individual initiatives so that those who take the initiative are aware that they are working on common goals. However, this process (and the book) is only halfway there. After all, sustainable urban development is not only about content, but also about practice. If the city is to be the rst level of a political order, this must be apparent above all from the way in which work is carried out on urban programmes, strategies and projects.

They must develop from practices, from confrontation and discussion, from a method of planning and government based on dialogue. The quality and execution of the strategy, of the programmes and projects are mainly determined by the way in which they are developed. That is why the previous chapters and chapters 4 and 5 are inseparable. The lines and elds are not dictated from above. They can only work if they are built up with interactive forms of planning (chapter 4) and adapted forms of government in a participatory democracy (chapter 5).


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1 Castells M. (1993), European cities, the informational society and the global economy, in TESG, 84, no. 4, pp. 247-257. 2 Wall R. (2002), Creatief stedelijk netwerk. Een Rotterdams atelieronderzoek, in Stedenbouw en Ruimtelijke ordening, 02, pp. 41-43. 3 Cabus P. & W. Vanhaverbeke (2002), Analyse van de ruimtelijk-economische dynamiek, Strategisch Plan Ruimtelijke Economie, September 2002. 4 Van der Knaap G.A. (2002), Stedelijke bewegingsruimte. Over veranderingen in stad en land, WRR, SDU Uitgevers, The Hague, 186 pp. 5 Gewestelijke Ontwikkelingsmaatschappij Vlaams-Brabant (Regional Development Company of Flemish-Brabant (2000), Vlaams-Brabant op de drempel van de 21ste eeuw (Flemish-Brabant on the threshold of the 21st century). 6 See, inter alia: Ministry of the Flemish Community (2001), Publieke ruimte, een andere aanpak (Public space, a different approach), Brussels (produced by Technum nv). 7 The different types of urban character were based, on the one hand, on the categories and selections used in the Flanders Structural Plan for Town and Country Planning. On the other hand, the urban regional approach was used for the broad denition of the urban complex. See: Van Der Haeghen H., E. Van Hecke & G. Juchtmans (1996), De Belgische stadsgewesten 1991, NIS, Statistische Studin, no. 104. 8 Cabus P. (2001), Blikopener, Nood aan een nieuw stedelijk model? De compacte stad onder vuur in Tijdschrift voor Ruimte en Planning, Jg. 21, pp. 2-8. 9 Winters. S. & B. Van Damme (2003), Op zoek naar eigendom. Enkele resultaten uit twee HIVA-onderzoeken naar de overheidssteun voor eigenaars van woningen, in Gezinsbeleid in Vlaanderen (Family policy in Flanders), Brussels. 10 Goossens L. (2002), Goed om weten omtrent wonen in Ruimte & Planning, jg. 22, no. 2, pp. 96-98. 11 De Decker P. (2002), De huisvestingsval klapt dicht ! Over wat huishoudens over houden na het betalen van hun woonkosten en wat de overheid daaraan doet, in Ruimte en Planning, 22, no. 2, pp. 119-140. 12 Mainly based on: Heyn M. & M. Hermy (2001), Een groenblauw netwerk als drager van een duurzame stadsontwikkeling en een langetermijnvisie natuurbehoud (A greenblue network to support sustainable urban development and a long-term vision of nature conservation), working text for the White Paper. 13 Greenleese R. (2002), Londen, de creatieve metropool. Naar een culturele strategie voor Greater London (London, the creative metropolis. Towards a cultural strategy for greater London), in Stedenbouw en Ruimtelijke ordening, 02, pp. 3236. Amin and Thrift indicate that angling is one of the most popular leisure activities in London (200,000 licenses in 2000), though it is not something usually associated with cities, see Amin A. & N. Thrift (2002), Cities. Reimaging the Urban, Polity Press, Cambridge, p. 44. 14. See Bianchini F. & M. Parkinson (eds.) (1993), Cultural Policy and Urban Regeneration: the West European Experience, Manchester, Manchester University Press; Landry C.& F. Bianchini (1995), The Creative City, London, Demos. 15. Florida R. (2002), The rise of the creative class: And how it is transforming work, leisure, community and everyday life, Basic Books, 350 pp. 16. Hemel Z. (2002), Creatieve steden (Creative cities) in Stedenbouw en Ruimtelijke ordening, 02, pp. 6-13. 17. Greenleese R. (2002), Londen, de creatieve metropool. Naar een culturele strategie voor Greater London (London, the creative metropolis. Towards a cultural strategy for greater London), in Stedenbouw en Ruimtelijke ordening, 02, pp. 3236. 18 Wayens B. & J. Grimmeau (2003), Linuence du tourisme sur limportance et la structure du commerce de detail en Belgique, lecture for Belgian geographers day, Lige, 12 March. 19 Verbeke M. (2001), De vrijetijdsfunctie van en in de stad. Basic text for a workshop in the context of the project Thuis in de Stad (At home in the city), included in the preliminary study for this book. 20. Discussion with Guido Minne from the Beursschouwburg Brussel in the context of the preparation for this book (2002). 21. Corijn E. (2002), Alledaags is niet gewoon. Reecties over volkscultuur en samenleven. King Boudewijn Foundation. 22. Heyn M. & M. Hermy (2001), Een groen-blauw netwerk als

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drager van een duurzame stadsontwikkeling en een langetermijnvisie natuurbehoud (A green-blue network to support sustainable urban development and a long-term vision of nature conservation), working text for White Paper, pp. 8-9. 23. Cabus P. & W. Vanhaverbeke (2002), Analyse en kwanticering van de zonevreemde economie en een insteek voor oplossingen, Strategisch Plan Ruimtelijke Economie, Academia Press, Ghent. 24. Elchardus M. (2002), De drama-democratie, Lannoo, Tielt. 25. Elchardus M., L. Huyse & M. Hooghe (2001), Het maatschappelijk middenveld in Vlaanderen. Een onderzoek naar de sociale constructie van democratisch burgerschap, VUBPress-Brussel; Hooghe M. (ed.) (2000), Sociaal kapitaal en democratie. Verenigingsleven, sociaal kapitaal en politieke cultuur, Acco, Leuven. 26. In this context, see the gures of the various VRIND publications of the Government of Flanders. 27. Idea-Consult (2002), Bouwstenen voor een dynamisch en efcint subregionaal beleid in Vlaanderen. Research commissioned by the Flemish Minister of Employment and Tourism in the context of the VIONA research programme, study carried out with the sponsorship of F. De Rynck, Brussels, 2002. 28. Syngedouw E. (1996), Reconstructing citizenship, the rescaling of the State and the new authoritarianism: closing the Belgian mines, in Urban Studies, 33, no. 8, pp. 14991521. 29. Kesteloot C. & H. Meert (1993), Informele Economie: sociaal-economische functies en geograsche dimensies van een dubbelzinnig verschijnsel, in Ruimtelijke Planning, Quire 4, pp. 51-93, Kluwer. 30. De Rynck F. (2002), Deelnemende stad, working text for chapter 1, commissioned by Urban policy Task Force. 31. Moesen W. (2001), Openbare nanciering en de nieuwe steden, basic text for the workshop on the funding of cities in the context of the project Thuis in de Stad (At home in the city); also see the preliminary study for this book; Picqu Ch. (2000), Grootstedelijk beleid en scaliteit, ontwerp van beleidsnota. The proposals in eld 19 are mainly based on the policy memorandum of the former federal minister for metropolitan policy, Mr. Picqu.

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4 . Urban debate and urban project, determining the form of the grid city

The rst three chapters of this book form a coherent triptych, which provides a broad, almost panoramic picture of the contemporary condition, and the future of the city and of the urban character. First, the complex issues are outlined in terms of problems and possibilities, from six different perspectives. The second section can be seen as a paradigm, a theoretical platform of perspectives and choices, which denes a new critical role for the city and the urban character in a globalised world. The third section denes policy lines and policy elds which work on a glocal strategy, a new spatial cohesion, a high quality density, innovation, identity based on cultural diversity, urban solidarity, cutting right across the usual policy sectors. The proposed policy lines and policy elds serve as guidelines and sources of inspiration for formulating concrete urban programmes for sustainable urban development at different policy level in different cities. In chapter 4 we will examine the way in which planning in the city can be structural, and in chapter 5 we open up this perspective more broadly, looking at this planning in the context of the administrative organisation of the city. In that chapter we outline two levels, two aspects of planning and discussion in the city: that of urban projects and that of the open urban vision. The two aspects together, and the interaction between them, are referred to as the urban debate. We explore both aspects. We 1 begin by introducing the concepts. This is followed by the development of an open urban vision: the introduction of this vision in the urban debate, the object of the open urban vision 2 and the procedures. Subsequently our attention moves to the aspect of concrete projects with an emphasis on urban projects. What are the characteristics of a good urban project? What does it 3 do? Are there different scales and genres? Just as the alternating aspects of the urban debate

must ensure that the general development of the vision, and the concrete practice of projects correct and enrich each other, the more abstract elements alternate in chapter 4 with a discussion of concrete project possibilities. In the next point, we look at two planning instruments: the structural plans in town and country planning 4 and the urban design. These are related to the urban debate and to each other. Finally, we par5 ticularly focus on three concrete projects in Brussels (Brabantwijk), in Mechelen (the Arsenaal site) and in Kortrijk (Buda island). We describe these projects and give them a neorealistic injection so that they can develop as leading urban projects in leading urban debates.


1. Project, urban project, urban debate, a rst description

In this chapter it is not the structure of the content that changes, but the perspective. The panorama of the previous chapters is replaced by a new scene; new principles and programmes are turned into concrete action; the desired policy condition crystallises into a lively project. A project is then seen as a discontinuous event with a permanent effect, an event with a beginning and an end in which an urban need is met, an urban question is answered with a result that can be collectively experienced and evaluated. There are countless conceivable examples: An abandoned factory track is turned into a broad cycling and walking avenue and on school days a boulevard for pupils. New links are made, former exteriors at the backs of buildings are redesigned. A housing centre provides expert advice and expert assistance for a sustainable conversion. A number of show homes reveal how ecology and the modern urban home can be combined and be affordable.

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Subject to agreements on maintenance, alternating use and security, an abandoned monastery garden is turned into a community centre managed by an ad hoc committee. Youth work can be carried out in part of the former printers. A conference room is planned in another part and simple cooking facilities are installed. The inaugural weekend starts with an Eastern multicultural festival and ends with a dance parade. The war between nature lovers and businessmen is settled: a neglected dump is turned into an urban wood. The disputed industrial site is moved somewhere else. The business people take advantage by turning it into an enterprise park: a sustainable interaction of green spaces and adaptable industrial buildings. It wins a provincial prize The city asks artists to present projects on the district and the city. The winning project organises the longest dining table in the history of the city, together with the residents of a boring and very straight residential street: an endless table running straight down the line of the street with all the residents inviting each other to sit at the table, with TV and photographs. The street, a grey strip of tarmac which is generally used for coming and going, and where you put out the rubbish on a Tuesday, changes into a location for a unique form of urban cohabitation. The party is over a day later, but there are good memories of a very different street, the contacts, enthusiasm and skills to do something, which remain. These projects exist in many cities. By projects, we mean something different from the countless concrete actions which are undertaken day after day by the urban policy at the counter or in the street. This does not mean that the description of these projects entails a devaluation of current everyday work. The ordinary everyday work is not only exceptionally important, it

must also comply with many qualities. It is everyday work, but it is not simple. However, a city must be more than a good standard of everyday work. Projects have a quality of a performance, a happening, involving many efforts which all have the same goal within a prescribed time span. These projects make the urban reality visible, including the contradictions and restrictions. People, terms, interests, places, boundaries, customs appear in these projects in other words, they provide a multifaceted context. The project focuses on issues, paradigms and policy lines, and tests them out, and possibly adapts them. The expectation that the happening, the extraordinary and nite event created by the project, will lead to a greater driving force and force of argument, which means that xed positions can be rearranged, determines the approach to the project to a great extent. Projects work on synergy, on a confluence of energies that is generated, and in this way push back boundaries, each on their own scale and in accordance with the effort made. In this chapter the emphasis will move from projects in general, as described above, to a particular category of projects. In a city, certain projects can be seen as the crystallisation of the urban policy: their scope is greater, their structure is more complex and their impact is more structural. The title urban project is reserved for these projects. Projects can make use of unforeseen opportunities and depend on coincidence. However, they usually have to be encouraged, peripheral conditions are imposed and they arise from priority choices. In other words, most projects require a framework, a foundation and a project strategy. We describe this as the development of an open urban vision which lasts rather longer and still

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constantly remains the subject of amendments and enrichment. This open vision, this overall project framework, focuses on complex projects, but is equally modied by concrete project experiences. Projects in a strict sense, on the one hand, and the broad framework, the open urban vision, on the other hand, are the two sides of the same project approach. They are like two legs for the new project-based approach to the city, two tracks towards a new urban character. This structure is seen in this chapter as a different type of urban planning, and in the next chapter as the core of an interactive and participatory democracy. A broad project framework, an open urban vision, two tracks, two sides, two legs, a new method of planning, a different form of democracy: there does not appear to be a shortage of descriptive terminology and imagery, though the lack of precision in terminology is all the greater. This semantic gap is characteristic of the search for new forms and contents that this book opts for. The terms that are chosen are only provisional signiers; the metaphors that are used clarify and blur the picture at the same time. In this way, the interaction of the broad project framework and the concrete projects, including the urban projects are referred to below as the urban debate. The word debate should not be interpreted literally, as though the city and the urban character only attain form and content around the discussion table. The urban debate stands for the achievement of a conceptual, professional and interactive framework, which organises the interaction between the development of a vision, urban projects and the development of ideas on sustainable urban development and makes it the object of permanent democratic modications and participation.

2. The urban debate: efforts, object and procedure

2.1 One debate, two registers, three tracks
1. Beyond the master planning and the lack of planning The city is a jigsaw of big and little strategies, of formal plans, of projects and projections, of unplanned actions, of sudden pieces of luck which can lead to rapid progress, and dossiers which have been groaning for decades under the weight of countless procedures. Since the 1990s, this has been accompanied by a cacophony of planning initiatives and stacks of starting memorandums, preliminary studies, preliminary designs and agreements on town and country planning, trafc, green spaces, shops and businesses, each with their own terms of reference, perspectives and recommendations. It seems justied to argue for a single large comprehensive plan, which will neatly encompass all the individual plans and all the individual projects, memorandums and agreements, in the light of an obvious need for a comprehensive vision and efciency. This is not a new argument. This appeal to draw up the plan of plans, the master plan, has been an obstinate feature of international modern planning theory and practice for many years. However, even if some master plans have successfully pushed through important interventions with regard to zoning and infrastructure, it soon became apparent that the consecrated plan was not able to lead the actual urban development along the right lines, let alone to generate it. In Belgian, and subsequently Flemish planning history, these comprehensive plans played a rather restrictive role. Although master plans occasionally emerged as the technocratic legitimacy of important investments, the predominant situation involved planning if it cant be done in any other way, in the form of prag-


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matic ad hoc zoning and construction plans which could be interpreted and manipulated in many different ways. There is not much sign in them of a vision, a strategy, flexibility or a balance between public and private interests. Whether a meadow is turned into a construction site or whether the roofline is suitable in the cityscape are the big questions in this sort of planning. Participation is restricted to the objections that are submitted, and the information evening is just about all that is achieved with regard to communication. Neither the comprehensive type of planning, nor planning as little as possible correspond to the visions on the city and the urban character which we advocate in this book. A different method of planning is needed to work towards suitable urban development, the open grid city, a good quality density, diversity as a form of identity and participatory democracy. Master planning does not correspond with urban dynamics and diversity; a lack of planning and manipulated planning are diametrically opposed to solidarity and sustainability. We opt for a form of urban planning which can be described under the heading of the urban debate. At rst site, the term debate does not go with the notion of a plan. The word debate is used here as a metaphor for the interplay of views and skills, the discursive process of question and answer, the unprejudiced questions and the provisional synthesis. The urban debate creates a multiple framework which links a strong professional basis to an open and critical attitude and the real participation of those involved. As indicated above, it relates to two sides of the question at the same time: that of the development of an open vision and that of the evaluation in concrete projects, including a number of urban projects. These two sides enrich and correct each other, lead to new

methods of urban planning and form the motor for urban participatory democracy. The projects, and in particular the urban projects are a special form of policy elds which are opened up by the policy lines in chapter 3. The distinction is a matter of time, place and strategy. Projects are localised, discontinuous and strategic: in certain places, work is started for a particular period, and what happens has a noticeable impact on the local situation and an effect on urban development in a broader sense. These sorts of projects lead to statements and participation, render principles visible and accessible, evaluate policy lines and instances. Without these projects there is no urban debate or urban planning, and any development of visions remains sterile. Projects feed the debate; the debate formulates projects. The project studies the plan; the plan denes the project. The vision steers the project, while the project focuses on the vision. 2. A guiding framework which still has an open charac ter Within the urban debate, the development of an open vision creates a framework and a basis for the concrete projects and urban projects. This framework must at the same time have a guiding and open character. The guidelines of the framework provide support, protect the essential character of the project and draw reliable lines for development. This is based on a clear diagnosis in which opportunities and obstacles are clearly presented, it allows for a discussion of alternative scenarios, and weighs up alternatives on the grounds of issues, ways of seeing and policy choices on the city and the urban character as they were discussed in the previous chapters. Therefore this framework is not concerned with arbitrary factors or illusion. It is not a screen behind which the real decisions are hidden. It is far removed from the woolly complexi-

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ty of commonplace factors which so often serve as an introduction to planning documents. The open framework puts an end to the closed master plan, the technocratic planning of blueprints, the plan which will be inevitably taken or abandoned. It concerns a receptive and stimulating framework, which not only generates new projects for parts of the city, but also takes up existing initiatives and makes them useful by connecting them with parallel interventions and programmes, in this way adding a valuable dimension of synergy. The vision of the open plan outlines a few powerful ideas, acts as an inspiration and as a guide, but still leaves many things open and can respond to unexpected opportunities and make modications on the basis of the project experiences on the ground. 3. Different rhy thms and durations The development of a vision is never nished because project experiences, unforeseen opportunities and social developments constantly require modication. The open vision of the city is always a work in progress. The development of a vision can therefore not be based on a single impressive effort. Cities can become quite breathless as a result of these sorts of efforts, so that there is no possibility of further development in the vision in the next few years. Furthermore, it is necessary to guard against the illusion that everything will change now, an illusion which floats on empty promises, typical of election programmes. The development of a vision cannot and does not have to take place all at once, encompassing everything at the same time. It is a form of poetic realism: new concepts arise and boundaries are pushed back on the basis of a critical insight into what exists and what is feasible, and on the basis of a strategic ability to guide dispersed available energies in the same direction. However, the need for constant adjustment does not mean

that the development of a vision and the urban debate become a continuous predictable activity, like the weather forecast on the radio or TV. The urban debate and the development of the vision can themselves also be considered as a sort of meta-urban project and should retain the energy of a project-based approach, with aspects of creativity and participation, with deadlines and results. The discussion of the urban debate along two lines does not introduce a categorical distinction, but merely indicates a relative difference between the two. The development of a vision is not necessarily on a large scale, comprehensive or permanent, and nor is a project always a short intense local event. The development of a vision can go through a short powerful stage of intensive debate, with crucial changes of course. However, it is also possible that these things require time, that patient little steps are required, and that broad preparatory work must be carried out, that the larger debate consists of a slow train of ideas and decisions. The same applies for projects: some require lengthy preparation, others make use of an unexpected opportunity; some are complex and have an impact on the whole city, others are used as an example because of a simple, local action which hits the mark. The two sides of the urban debate do not result in a boring little ditty, but in an intriguing melody. The two legs do not march with uniform paces, but dance with large and small, fast and slow paces. (This is how useful metaphors sometimes are) The development of a vision draws lines sometimes broad lines, sometimes vague lines, sometimes sharp lines, sometimes just a few main lines and occasionally a few side lines which extend at most ten to twelve years into the future. For the sake of simplicity, let us say two periods of urban administration. This results in a global urban vision, an urban manifesto, an urban programme, or perhaps all of these at the


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same time. The duration of projects can vary enormously. Sometimes they are short actions which last one to three years, but real urban projects generally have a longer duration, though an appropriate division into stages can also lead to visible results after one to three years. 4 . Communication no longer as an after thought The two sides of the urban debate are not something thought up by the authors of this book. The interaction between vision and action as the motor of development is recognised in various disciplines which are concerned with planning, policy and management. For example, in French literature on urban planning, the projet de ville refers to the steering framework and the global urban vision, while the projet urbain stands for the localised and discontinuous proj1 ect. In our own literature on strategic structural 2 planning, we nd a threefold model. Between the tracks of the development of a vision and a project-related intervention, there is a third track, that of communication and participation. The three tracks must be followed simultaneously with regular changes which provide interaction, overlaps, and occasionally a collision. Every model has its own power of conviction and limitations. The three-track model emphasises the essential role of communication and participation. Returning to our twofold model, we can say that communication and participation form the nervous system which stimulates the legs, or that it serves as the wiring and signals between the track of the development of a vision and that of the approach to the project. The choice of terms indicates that communication and participation no longer represent soft, slightly redundant aspects of urban planning and urban development, but are crucial factors which arise from a primary need. After all, for some time, the government has no longer

determined the interaction of different parties, such as that presupposed by a particular type of master plan or structural planning. The government cannot be replaced and continues to play a role, as we will emphasise in the next chapter, but determining the direction of urban development also requires a basis and needs cooperation and collaboration. Communication and participation have different purposes: not only to provide information, encourage involvement, create a basis and mobilise people, but also to listen, acquire information and organise participation. This must all be safeguarded and organised, and that requires a capable and professional approach. Sometimes communication and participation are intensied at the level of (urban) projects; in this case we refer to the interactivity and public debate about projects. At times, this intensication takes place at the level of the development of a vision. This can lead, for example, to a well-organised conference which is intensively prepared at the district level, or to a one-year programme working with different partners. 5 . The ambition of the urban debate The urban debate does not lead to a brilliant new method of planning which makes everything else redundant at a stroke. These discoveries will soon have to make way for the next fashionable trend. This concerns a structure which aims to be complementary, with a reforming rather than revolutionary character. It would make good use of the existing good practices. It is not particularly relevant whether there will be anything new in this, because we certainly expect a powerful and innovative impetus from the new global structure. Amongst other things, this objective means that the urban debate is no longer seen as an alternative for the new urban policy which was pro-

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posed in chapter 3. It concerns a process that aims to complement the constant and structural effects of the proposed policy in the day-today practices of urban institutions. Direct coordination is necessary between the urban debate and urban policy. On the one hand, the exploration, organisation and support of the urban debate requires important policy decisions; on the other hand, the urban debate promotes the same objectives as the new urban policy, and in the debate important policy aspects are subjected to a democratic discussion and a process-oriented evaluation. However, the perspective of coordination, complementarity and transformation should not be misunderstood. The urban debate should not become a superfluous re-enactment of things which are arranged elsewhere, nor a sort of occupational therapy for dreamers and critics. It should gradually reveal itself as the core of the urban participatory democracy even one of the foundations of the new urban character and as a new method for urban planning.

pal structural plan for town and country planning. From time to time, all the lines of the true strategic structural planning were followed: broad consultation, a critical diagnosis, a fundamental intellectual exercise on the future of the city, a workshop on the aspects of the desired structural town and country planning, a focus on the strategic choices, the formulation of pilot projects, the search for synergy between existing initiatives, etc. In other cities, the new procedure for the municipal structural planning that was aimed for resulted in an old fashioned, closed planning method, with reports full of abstract diagrams and woolly texts, revealing anything but a structural or strategic vision, so that any urban parties that might have been interested soon lost interest. 2. The grid city as a generic image of the built-up area It is self-evident that the dimension of town and country planning which is central in the strategic structural planning in every city, is an important element in the new urban character and can help the coordination of the different lines in the development of the city. Therefore the periods for the adjustment of the structural plan provide the ideal momentum for the urban debate. In the urban debate, the structural planning turns into complete strategic structural planning, which links the development of the vision to participation and a project-oriented evaluation. Conversely, the urban debate will also essentially be a debate about urban development and town and country planning. After all, one of the most important tasks of the urban debate is to develop a vision on the form and achievement of the grid city. The generic image of the grid city plays a threefold role in this: it works as a generator of concepts and ideals, as a timetable or frame of reference for the existing urban


2.2 What is this urban project about and what is the point of this urban vision?
1. The example of struc tural planning The points of view in chapter 2 and the lines in chapter 3 constitute the various dimensions regarding content which are raised in the urban debate with its two sides, the creation of a vision and the approach to the project. This does not have to and cannot be achieved all at the same time. The dimensions do not all have to be seen equally strongly. This is what we meant above with the open urban vision as work in progress. A good start can be made on the actual content of the urban debate by looking at the effects in some cities such as Ghent, Mechelen and Leuven, following the development of the munici-

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space, and as an inspiration for the design of a concrete desirable space for the new urban character. In the rst place, the image of the grid city stimulates the creation of concepts and ideals on a new urban character, in which ideas on openness, coordination, diversity, high quality density, sustainable development and urban democracy are enriched with images of the desirable urban space and scenarios of desirable urban living. The image of the grid city represents the value given to and the use made of the compact historical city centre. However, this takes place within a mesh of very different types of fabric with very diverse levels of density. The whole fabric is subject to the management of the quality of the density, which becomes more compact wherever possible and less compact wherever necessary, safeguarding quality. The image of the grid city stands for the interaction between urban and rural areas in terms of town and country planning. The new urban character and the new rural character acquire a new look at the same time, under the responsibility of the large group of urban dwellers and urban users. The image of the grid city suggests general accessibility and mobility. These are supported by a ne coordination of public and private means of transport and the classication of the grid into main corridors, loops, entrance points, junctions and transfer points. However, this development of the concept never acquires the status of an autonomous utopia, a castle in the air. It interacts with an understanding and interpretation of the town and country planning and the operation of the existing urban area in terms of a possible grid city. This is the second role of the image of the grid. It means that in the complex patterns of roads, squares, houses, shops, businesses, amenities, gardens, elds and areas of water, and in the

constantly changing activities, interactions and movements of the urban dwellers and urban users, an attempt is made to identify the specic starting points for the emerging grid city. At the same time, numerous defects in the grid will undoubtedly emerge, while possible opportunities also come to light. In this sense, the development of the vision is never abstract and conceptual, but links abstract concepts to concrete opportunities in town and country planning. In the development of this vision, concepts are always supported by a concrete space, and the concrete space acquires a conceptual interpretation. In the interaction between concepts and ideal images, on the one hand, and the concrete interpretation of a developing grid city, on the other hand, the third role of the generic image of the grid city also starts to play a part. On the basis of the image of the grid as the conceptual generator of the new urban character, and as an interpretation of the existing city, the image of the grid city inspires the design of a desirable urban space. The role of the design is of essential importance: the conceptual development and interpretation of what exists are necessary but insufcient conditions to arrive at a vision on the new urban space. This design is at the same time both virtual and real: it projects a vision on a desired future in terms of what seems possible against the background of an interpretation of what already exists. The third role introduces a process which is different from the conceptual and analytical process: the design concerns the synthesis of the moment and poetic creation. However, an urgent warning is appropriate here. Paradoxically, poetic inspiration does not last long in an authoritarian utopia. The artist/designer places the ideal image he has designed beyond discussion. This must not be

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the case in the urban debate. There are two principles to prevent this. It is expected that the inputs from design will have a character that synthesises, attracts and convinces as much as possible, but this does not prevent every design from continuing to be an object of discussion in the never-ending process of developing a vision. Furthermore, the design works in the rst place on projects which can be achieved and evaluated, and usually alternative scenarios are required for their achievement. Designs which transcend the scale of the project or avoid a concrete character have a mainly illustrative and discursive value. In the urban debate, the development of a vision for the space in the grid city does not progress very far if the aspect of projects relating to the built-up urban area is not involved in it. The description of priority projects, the management of the project development, the supervision of the project management and the evaluation of project results contribute comprehensively to the development of a vision as described above. The generic image of the grid city plays a fourth role in this: it supports a latent programme for the transformation of the existing city into the built-up grid city. With this sort of programme as a basis, the urban debate can identify priority projects. Conversely, it is possible to gauge for every project the extent to which it contributes to the creation of the built-up grid city. These projects can concern city living or any other urban functions. They can concern relieving the pressure on densely populated urban built-up block, residential expansion to make the peripheral areas more compact, or the reallocation of an empty barracks. The projects can also relate to infrastructure and the public domain: coordinated interventions can nally ensure that areas plagued by flooding are freed from this problem, an ingenious reorganisation can recon-

cile parking problems with various functions of a square, a fatal road can become a multifunctional urban axis. Cities are not made only of bricks and mortar. Open spaces, green areas and water are important components in the grid: a neglected towpath along a canal can be turned into an effective cycle path, while a former depot can be turned into a playground in anticipation of a protable reallocation of this site. Projects which contribute to the development of the grid city, include an endless variety of locations, scales, genres, actors and budgets: largescale urban expansion, the strategic correction of a street prole, public and private aspects, the centre and the periphery. All these projects require a project framework to guide the planning. This is supported by the continuous development of a vision inspired by the generic image of the grid city as a generator of concepts, as a framework for interpretive planning, as the inspiration for the design, as a latent programme of projects. The general impressions of the grid city are gradually turned into clearly dened characteristics in the interaction between the development of a vision and the actual projects: the main morphological lines, functional supports, the recognisable mesh of the fabric, the scale and the size, a different relationship between the centre and the periphery, a different interaction between built-up and non-built-up areas, density management, flexibility and stages, design, etc. 3. More than one theme The discussion referred to above certainly does not mean that the urban debate deals exclusively with the built-up urban area. The planning aspect of the grid city is an important theme, but by no means the only one. It is equally possible that it is not the built-up area, but urban economic development that will


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become the focus of the urban debate. This concerns initiatives about the establishment of economic development coalitions with various urban partners. The central theme of the debate is to improve the economic potential of the grid city in a globalising economy. The coalition stimulates local cooperation in the eld of logistics, recruitment, transport, supply, etc. It works on a common platform which transcends the interests of individual entrepreneurs or trade unions. This platform can raise questions for the policy, draw up a programme of infrastructural improvement (mobility, equipment, industrial estate, cleaning up operations, the construction of public spaces), and make proposals with regard to employment and vocational training. The incorporation of the urban economic development in the broader urban debate makes it possible to look at the economic dimensions of themes which are not primarily economic themes. For example, the socio-cultural capital of a city the production of culture, ethnic enterprise, traditional reputation and know-how can become an important factor in the economic strategy. Obviously the physical transformation and maintenance of the built-up grid city create an important market for countless businesses of all sorts of shapes and sizes: from real estate developers to plumbers. In a more general sense, the open and many-sided character, the ability to adapt and the environmental qualities of the grid city, together with the dynamic character of urban democracy, will become important advantages in city marketing. Like the urban debate on the built-up city, the economic urban debate is not limited to a discussion forum, but is based on projects: either by describing and dening strategic economic projects in an urban context, or by focusing on the economic aspect of multiple (urban) projects.

The social aspect obviously also constitutes an essential dimension of the urban debate. The city more than ever continues to be necessary as a framework and locus of solidarity. Therefore an appropriate approach to inclusion and exclusion and social diversity is necessary. Familiar and new forms of active solidarity are on the agenda for discussion: solidarity between people of different ages, between generations, between the rich and the poor, between the users and the inhabitants of the city. Levels of latent solidarity can be explored and developed. Various social changes have provided the material for the debate: changes between public and private aspects, between safe and unsafe areas, etc. Examples of projects which could support the social debate are numerous: guaranteeing both an open approach and the social control of events in the city, communication and participation to increase the value of annual collection actions, effective forms of twinning and exchanges with a city in the south, a campaign to stop property speculation linked to the development of a network of houses that have been renovated for the neediest members of society, support for community festivals which promote diversity, a project of schools and centres for the elderly on the history of the city and information, employment, awareness raising of young people aimed at tidying up the environment and restoring small-scale environmental damage. Culture is a crucial point on the programme of the urban debate. Every city accommodates a colourful range of cultural associations: from a well-known choir to the carnival association. These form the possible components of an inclusive and contemporary cultural programme. For some time, prestigious city festivals have set the tone: the Zinneke Parade, the Arts festival Des Arts, the Summer of Antwerp, the Ghent festivals, Bruges 2000, Anno 02, etc.

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There is no question of their impact on the image of the city and on the urban economy. Incorporating these events in the urban debate would promote the synergy with planning, social and economic themes and ensure that greater attention is devoted to the broader implications and this has an effect as a lever: after-effects and preparation, training and infrastructural support, cultural enterprise, etc. However, urban culture comprises more than the calendar of cultural events. The urban debate can use multiculturalism as a guideline. How do we deal with cultural density and diversity in this city? What are the problem areas and blind spots? How can cultural diversity form the basis of urban identity, even outside festival periods, at work and at school, in councils and associations, behind the counter and in city marketing? One essential condition of sustainable multiculturalism is the development of contemporary urban relationships which reflect tolerance and stimulate a sense of security. The urban debate can take up the cause of promoting urban behaviour, a polite approach, as a medium for the public face of the city. The public domain is an important eld of action: it is no easy matter to nd the right balance between the use of the public space by all the different groups of people at the same time, on the one hand, and by subcultures appropriating the space, on the other hand skaters, young immigrants, cycling tourists, people hastily parking their cars, noisy school children or mothers with toddlers. It may help if there are appropriate examples, suitable infrastructure and control, behaviour that serves as an example, arrangements about time, participation and comanagement. Once again, experiments and projects can support the debate in this respect. Finally, the urban debate focuses on the political dimension and the organisation of the adminis-

tration of society in the city. The elements of the next chapter will form the object of the debate. Local democracy itself is obviously the object of a democratic urban debate within the two lines of the debate: both at the level of the development of a vision, and at the level of innovative democratic projects. It is clear that these themes and moments of intensive social debate should actually form the subject of elections and campaigns. Just as we hope that the different social partners will join the debate, it is also self-evident that the political parties should take up the vision of the city and the urban projects as an introduction to the debate. In other words, the discussion in a representative democracy and the democratic discussion on urban development are not two separate aspects. We have placed participatory democracy in such a central position in chapter 5 to prevent these two lines of the debate from growing apart (even further), and focus on a new type of town council for both processes.


2.3 The procedure of the urban debate, a few introductions

1. The urban debate as a locus There is no blueprint for the operation, the format or the place of the urban debate. It is important that the urban debate shows itself as the locus where the condition of the city, the vision on urban development and the experience with urban projects is formulated, weighed up, revealed, explained and disseminated. For this purpose, the debate requires a number of professional skills and resources in the eld of documentation, planning, and communication. However, the aim is not that the urban debate should take the place of professional planning and design bureaus, project managers or communications specialists. A few ideas are included here by way of inspiration.

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The urban debate collects and processes all the available knowledge and expertise on the city which could form a useful basis for the development of an urban vision and the formulation of (urban) projects. The emphasis is not on the collection of all sorts of documents, but on tracing, making available and evaluating the existing knowledge. This knowledge includes the wealth of individual urban stories, views and eyewitness accounts, including all the generally absent or drowned-out voices which also deserve a place in the databank. This operational documentation provides the basis for a critical analysis and diagnosis of the city. It is not presented as an ofcial urban doctrine, but is in principle many-sided, and is constantly supplemented and amended in the urban debate itself. The urban debate organises moments of density producing strong interim documents on current issues (starting memorandums, manifestos, reports on targeted studies, the collection of recommendations, summaries of expertises, etc.) These documents give rise to targeted communication and participation. The tradition of the report by private experts which is put away as quickly as possible has therefore come to an end. In this age of business and protability, the urban debate retains a visionary aspect. In order to locate the generic image of the grid city more effectively, the urban debate looks for powerful images, metaphors, rhetorical foundations, key terms which express the desire for a different urban character, reveal the choices for this and give form to its realisation. Original metaphors play an important role in the development of an open vision, which by denition presents what does not yet exist. These are not hollow marketing slogans, but inclusive images which reveal the heart of the debate, elicit opinions, generate actions and are themselves regularly amended.

The urban debate should become the Mecca of urban communication. The usual media as well as new forms of communication can be used for this: workshops, lunch sessions, city newspapers, the internet, regional TV, school activities, competitions, information sources, open days, advice centres, etc. Every member of the public can be targeted: people stuck in a trafc jam, passengers on the bus, people shopping, devotees of debates, conference visitors, concertgoers, people involved in social work, single people, school children, ofce workers, etc. At important moments, large-scale festivals may be necessary to consecrate elements of the urban vision with great pomp and circumstance. A large degree of openness is accompanied by some ceremony. People should feel that they are participating in a pivotal activity. The cost shouldnt matter. Being there is what counts. These key moments can be linked to the approval and ratication of an urban pact. This is a basic document which powerfully formulates the state of affairs with regard to the debate. It contains a critical balance of successes and failures, it formulates new objectives and records the principled commitment of important partners. 2 The locus of the urban debate The town council is the referee and organiser of the urban debate. However, it should involve a large number of partners. Therefore we argue for a sufcient degree of independence. It would be possible to have a mix of inside people and outside people, for example, in the form of an Urban Bureau or a Foundation for the Urban Debate with its own urban ofcials, as well as external people who are brought in temporarily and specically for their own particular expertise. Steering groups and working groups

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also support the Urban Bureau. Again all sorts of external people could be involved, as well as the urban partners concerned, for example, interested parties from other Flemish cities, city lovers from the green peripheral municipalities or Flemish ofcials who live in the city and are interested in it. The urban debate is carried on in the town council. This plays an essential role as a stimulator of the debate, as a guardian of the democratic content of the development of the vision, and of the urban projects, and as an authority who makes it possible to apply the debate in the eld. However, this requires a modication of the role of the town council, within an overall re-evaluation of the urban representative democracy. This will be dealt with in the next chapter. At this point we will merely emphasise that if it is not taken up by the town council, the urban debate is in danger of being submerged by technocratic closed attitudes or being taken over by certain dominant groups and interests. The Urban Bureau works for and reports to the town council, which is re-evaluated in the next chapter as an important urban parliament.

resolve the contextual problems, and at the same time moves in the direction of the general objectives. This project experience will make it possible to acquire knowledge on the vision and the objectives, the policy aspects that are adopted and the establishment of new projects.


3.1 A short list of criteria for the urban project

There is no book of recipes for good projects. In fact, this would undermine the unrepeatable mix of opportunities and difculties which makes every project unique. Nevertheless, in this book, the term urban project can be dened in a certain way. Not all the projects in the city acquire the status of an urban project. Projects can be tackled well and be more than welcome in their own context. Setting up a training and information centre for ethnic entrepreneurs, consultation of the residents and the reorganisation of parking in a residential area with parking problems, a new approach to the music school, opening a footpath along a formerly inaccessible stream, the demolition of a number of stubborn slums and the expert incorporation of a new type of social housing, a renovated garage used as a youth centre and rehearsal space, a centre for starters in an old barracks, etc. these projects reveal a caring and effective policy and deserve praise. Two or three of these interventions can influence the atmosphere in an entire district and contribute to sustainable urban development. However, in itself this does not make such projects urban projects. The label urban project is related to a number of criteria. However, these are based on aspects of quality and are never decisive in themselves. Therefore the distinction between ordinary projects and urban projects remains a very relative matter. Their role and value in the dynamic urban debate is in the end the decisive factor.

3. Urban projects
The urban vision and the basic objectives of the new urban character such as sustainable development, openness and coordination, a high quality density, diversity, solidarity and democracy are confronted with a specic context: an actual site, a concrete range of problems, real programmes and the people who are involved. The policy elds are stimulated, authorities responsible for policy go into action. The actors appear on the scene and make every effort to promote their interests. On the basis of the development of an open vision, a project is dened which responds to the context, helps to

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1. An example of an urban projec t An empty factory, surrounded by the silted-up, nineteenth-century fabric, is purchased by the city. A training project for the long-term unemployed acquires this robust industrial site and, assisted by an architectural bureau, starts to build houses in the concrete shell. The district needs green and open spaces, two social housing companies are struggling with lengthy waiting lists and want as many houses built as quickly as possible, if necessary, somewhere in a field at the edge of the city. A competition for a design convinces the various parties: a cleverly planned type of housing allows for compact development on the edges of the site, so that the heart becomes a large playing area. Passages facilitate the access from the surrounding buildings, which also need open space. One building company wants houses for sale, the other houses for rent; the design provides both with adapted types of buildings and locations. A private developer first joins in, but then decides to wait and see. The district might continue to be characterised by social housing so that it is not appropriate to build expensive city apartments. This means that the shops which are planned are also postponed and a youth centre becomes established in the abandoned school building. The adjacent cultivated areas of the urban gardening department acquire more surface area and in return provide a free carpet of flowers. Private sponsorship pays for the restoration of the factory as a reminder of the industrial past. The next time, the private sector wants to join in from the beginning. 2. Struc ture, leverage, strateg y Although urban projects are carried out in a particular place for a particular length of time, they transcend the local boundaries and the one-off effect. Urban projects make a difference; they move things towards a new urban character and the grid city. In other words, they have a structural impact and serve as a lever.

Structural means that the basic relationships which characterise the city are affected, and that the result does not disappear straightaway, but continues to have an effect as long as it is needed. In this way, a new bridge for cyclists and pedestrians which links the two banks of a railway cutting heals a historical break in the plan of the city. The cooperation in an annual art project creates a good relationship between students from a high school and the ethnic entrepreneurs in the district, two groups who mistrusted each other until recently. The leverage function relates to positive side effects. In the first example, the bridge protects children on their way to school from the heavy traffic of cars, and a number of local shops start to do good business again. In the second example, the good relationship between students and immigrant shopkeepers leads to the organisation of various job courses by the students in the top year, to an increase in the quality of student rooms in the area, and to the provision of a student service by some of the local restaurants. A project does not have to be large scale to serve as a lever. Smaller experimental attempts can turn the tide after a long period of stagnation, can break down stubborn prejudices and serve as a successful example. The effect of urban projects is related to both the strategic and tactical insight which supports them. Being part of a broader context, making the necessary priority choices, using the appropriate resources, recognising the available opportunities and being aware of the possible synergies. The principles of sustainability play a significant role in this, for example, the principle of the intelligent spending of scarce resources, such as land, money, opportunity and good will, or the principle of not passing on excessive project costs which could undermine the following projects. Sustainability is also the prime concern

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for structural depth. However, this does not mean that greed and greyness have the upper hand in the urban project. On the contrary, in some cases, the intended leverage function requires the allocation of resources which may seem excessive at first sight: a lengthy and detailed procedure, quality of design, special designs, expensive expertise, and valuable materials. There are issues enough for a heated urban debate. 3. Connec tions, mediation, coordination Urban projects serve as mediators, usually at several levels at the same time. Their mediating role can relate to the countless gaps and anomalies in the built-up urban fabric, to divided or absent urban functions, to policy areas which operate too independently, or to isolated parties in all of this. At the level of planning, this relates to the rich tradition of the European urban morphotypology, which has successfully interconnected large and small aspects, inside and outside, public and private, green spaces and stone, in a very selfevident way. However, this tradition is all too often obstructed by a zoning obsession which focuses on control and domination, or an obsession with divisions, when parties focus on dening their own territory. In this respect, the metaphor of the grid city is not without risk. The grid can both divide and connect, it stands for an open network of relationships, but can equally refer to a grid of strictly separate squares. This is the start of an important task for designers: to design the connecting function of the lines of the grid (a street, a transport route), the convergent capacity of focal points (a square, a multimodal trafc junction), the positive subsidiary role of the meshes in the grid (a residential area, a commercial centre, a business park) in short, the design of the grid city as a vision of an

urban character characterised by openness, coordination, density and diversity. The organisation of the spatial relationships between recognised differences means the success or failure of the grid city: built-up space green space, the city the countryside, planned space spontaneous space, historical aspects contemporary aspects, permanence change, accessible places exclusive territories, residential accommodation transit areas. This is a very ambitious plan. The grid city aims to be a complete city. This means that in some way it must achieve a coordination between the historical city, the industrial city, the post-Ford city, the urban region and the green city. There are no models of urban development to display this complete range in terms of planning. At this scale, we are entering a fascinating, but unknown territory with both aspects of the urban debate. Connections, mediation and interrelationships are also relevant on a smaller scale. In many cases, this concerns bringing together conflicting elements: cars and pedestrians, the security of the home and the busy activity of the street, the density of people and services and the need for space and distance. The fact that multifunctionality, density and spatial quality are not easily reconciled is clear from the countless conflicts in the urban fabric, such as the empty premises over shops, the dangerous road to the school, the parking gridlock on streets and squares, the difcult accessibility to places of work in the inner city, the lack of affordable larger homes in the city. After more than a hundred years of modern urbanisation, these longstanding and familiar functional and spatial urban problems are still awaiting a solution of a high standard. There is still a lot to do in this eld, for the urban policy and the urban debate in general, and for urban projects in particular. For example, looking for good quality solutions


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for housing over shops may sound easy enough as a project, but it requires original interventions and could provide good examples. The connecting character of urban projects does not imply that every project has to full several functions. A project can have a single function in itself, but nevertheless serve as the missing link which helps the whole environment to start working as a multifunctional unit. For example, the incorporation of a carefully designed square in front a prestigious museum project on the edge of a city district which is characterised by gentrication, can provide a strong link with the residential district on the other side where there are far fewer opportunities for development. Two single elements, a square and a museum, in this way become the mediating elements which both create a multifunctional character for themselves and forge relationships between what is special and what is ordinary, for the people and for the elite, the supra local and the local, the large and the small. Connections, mediation and interrelationships not only apply to functional and spatial dimensions. The urban project is not concerned with the usual production of separate urban sectors: planting in the city parks, thirty units of social housing, the autumn programme of a theatre company. The complexity of urban projects, their strategic and structural tasks, requires the combination of several dimensions (spatial, economic, social and cultural) and the bringing together of agencies and actors which generally operate separately. This is clearly shown by the example of the museum square described above. Successful mediation requires an ingenious coordination of architectural design, trafc organisation, cultural programming and community development. This is not possible without an intensive dialogue and the loyal participation of partners with very different interests and skills.

The creation of a strong democratic basis and the introduction of far reaching communication play a crucial role in this. Public-private partnership makes an important contribution to the mediation task of urban projects. The urban projects must achieve the combination of private and public interests in a concrete and flexible way, going beyond occasional sponsorship, but avoiding the overspending of public resources. The coordination of spatial, economic, social and cultural dimensions, the necessary consultation between diverse sectors and actors, and the search for cooperation between public and private interests give the urban project something of the complexity of the city itself. The urban project becomes pars pro toto, a monad for the desired new urban character. 4 . Feasibility, visibility, innovation Urban projects translate the urban vision in concrete terms in the eld. They are dened in terms of time and space. The task is to be feasible, but ambition serves as the motivation. In order not to become bogged down by numerous delaying tactics after an inspirational start, they must be propelled on by the urban debate. The feasibility of projects also depends on their operational incorporation in existing policy sectors and their specic programmes. Obviously, a professional approach must ensure that the project can be effectively achieved in terms of funding, period of execution, and technological feasibility. Urban projects benet from greater visibility, and therefore this should be achieved as quickly as possible. There are plenty of ways to achieve a far-reaching virtual visibility very quickly: an attractive website, an accessible information stand in a strategic location, simulation and preview (image, logo, model, act). However, the real

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visibility is more important. Appropriate project planning and project stages can promote the prompt realisation of the rst stage of the project. Supervised public accessibility to the project site during the stage of realisation can also contribute to the accelerated presence of the project. However, this does not mean performing a sort of one-way spectacle. Early visibility elicits opinions and stimulates communication. The channelling of these views in the direction of further project development and the urban debate is part of this meaningful visibility. Something which is clearly visible must be worth seeing. The visual appearance, the design and style of the project are aimed at much more than fancy frills. In the urban projects, the city reveals its new urban character to its citizens and visitors. Grey mediocrity (or worse) in many urban structures not only reflects the doubtful level of the contractors, decision makers and designers concerned, but also has an effect on the city as a whole. Quality has primacy over locality, even though this may leave some local designers or contractors out in the cold. This has little to do with going along with the current trends; it concerns urban civilisation, the art of living, and a vision of the world. Rather than meeting various needs, the urban project is expected to stimulate a collective sense of pride. It should support and strengthen the identity of the city and its inhabitants. Feasibility and viability are not an acceptable excuse for mediocrity. Quality is related to cost less than to effort and talent. Expectations are high for structural and strategic urban projects, even slightly higher than what may appear to be feasible at rst sight. Urban projects by denition push back the boundaries and do so in several ways: they create the grid city, come up with new spatial relationships, test out different functional interactions, encourage sectors which

were formerly divided to work together. In short, they manage to break the trend. It is selfevident that this will not always be successful. Both successes and miscalculations are critically reviewed in the urban debate. The term feasibility emerges in the criticisms addressed to modern urban policy and modern urban planning. The problematic feasibility of the urban master plan is quite justiably criticised. In a more general sense, the voluntary character of the planning and the illusion of the feasibility of the world are rejected under the influence of postmodern thinking in relative terms. The authoritarian modernistic way of thinking is replaced by a pragmatic surng on the waves of the prevailing social trends. One of the most positive consequences of this late twentieth-century way of thinking is far-reaching attention to the recognition and description of the factual context, for example, in so-called descriptive urban development. One of the negative aspects is the fact that postmodern relativism is all too often used as an alibi for planning practice that is uncritical and merely conrms trends, flatteringly described by some as post-critical planning. We would like to go one step further in our approach to the urban debate. Urban projects turn the objectives and dimensions of urban policy and the urban debate into concrete form. In the most concise formulation, they lead to the transformation of a city into a grid city, and work on a new urban democracy. This does not mean that urban projects are merely local applications of the visions of the urban debate translated into recipes. Urban projects also discover and explore new possibilities, introduce new concepts and modify visions. Urban projects demonstrate a belief in the relative feasibility of the city, but as a local strategy


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for meaning incorporated in a sort of local latent utopia, which is based on the chance of a new urban democracy and the generic image of a related space. Urban projects achieve a provisional synthesis in concrete form, a stage of coordination which interacts with a vision of the open city, in which the vision and the project constantly supplement and monitor each other. This approach could be labelled as a neo-voluntary or neo-utopian approach.

3.2 Urban projects: genres, bases, emphases

In principle, the number of possible urban projects is innite. The concrete interaction of contextual data, resources, actors and objectives means that every project is unique. Nevertheless, in many urban projects it is possible to identify the basis or main object of the programme which determines everything. One of these issues concerns the reorganisation of urban trafc. Rethinking the corridors, loops, routes, changeover points and parking provisions for both private and public transport, linked to basic infrastructural modications and a suitable timetable, changes the perception and operation of the urban morphology. It is a powerful project which is capable of directing an amorphous urban conglomeration in the direction of the grid city. This has an immediate impact on the scope and accessibility of provisions, and is therefore a sensitive factor in the urban economy. There are numerous examples of this sort of sensitivity. For example, conflicting visions of urban mobility can lead to a debate on a pedestrianised shopping street which drags on for decades, or to a spectacular referendum about an underground car park. An ambitious public transport project can contribute to the image of a city in an essential way. The reorganisation of the trafc soon implies other diverse project possibilities: the relocalisation of facilities, safety, social rates, etc.

Economic development is another possible issue which determines all sorts of individual projects, such as promoting the housing market, supporting the shopping facilities in the inner city, the equipment of industrial estates, the relationship with job centres and retraining and employment projects. Economic development projects raise questions with regard to mobility, housing quality, the social fabric and communication. Within the urban debate there is a possibility that complex urban projects based on economic factors will be managed by urban or interurban development coalitions. As indicated above, the cultural programme has not been limited to elitist leisure time activities for a long time, but can also serve as a powerful issue in the urban project. High-level investments in a variety of cultures, genres and infrastructures contribute to the urban economy and the urban image. It is possible to build bridges to artistic and logistic training, to youth culture and the cultural mideld, and to companies which support culture. One of the special objectives and possible emphases in the urban project concerns the relationship with leisure time. This can involve a specic objective based on one of the abovementioned issues, but can also concern a particular issue with applications to diverse project genres. After all, diversity and density are not only concerned with flexibility and multifunctionality in the use of the urban space, but also with flexibility and multifunctionality in the use of urban time. For example, in the development of management forms which permit urban facilities to be used by different users at different times, far beyond the usual working or school hours, is a step in this direction. Examples which spring to mind include ticket ofces which open after working hours or a school which opens its sports facilities to the district in the weekend. It

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also means that to a much greater extent than is the case now, the public space becomes available for temporary events or for different uses in the daytime and provides different equipment for this purpose. In general, the urban fabric gains in terms of sustainability when these very diverse lifespans are integrated in a flexible way: the long-term aspect of solid structures, the medium term of the functional use and the short term of momentary appropriation. Almost all urban projects are related to urban space in some way. It could hardly be otherwise. In some way, the urban character is always related to a particular place in the city. The organisation, equipment and management of the builtup city therefore constitute the main object of urban policy, the most extensive theme of the urban debate, and a basic dimension of a majority of urban projects. The themes of the built-up city comprise town and country planning, the management of density, trafc, the urban landscape, open and green spaces, the housing stock, the residential environment, various infrastructures and facilities, the historical heritage and public spaces and this list is by no means exhaustive. More important than this summary is the role which the built-up space can play as a basis or major issue in multifaceted urban projects. In the built-up space, density, sustainability and coordination become characteristics of everyday experience which can be evaluated, discussed and corrected. An intelligent arrangement means that the co-existence of elements of diversity becomes self-evident: the house next to the ofce, the shop, the school, the caf. Carefully thought-out transitional elements serve to mediate between conflicting places: the balcony between the house and the street, the square between the museum and the residential district. All these things mean that the built-up urban area is a suitable basis for other types of proj-

ects. As the next example will show, economic aspects, or cultural or social elements can be put together in various combinations and gradations without too many difculties. A new footpath or cycle path can be constructed in red asphalt straight through a dilapidated sector of the nineteenth-century ring. This red carpet connects several forgotten squares and new squares which have been built as part of the carefully planned new social housing. A theatre company is established next to the path. A tness centre opens its doors, and a school acquires new access. Owners renovate their houses, a number of cafes and shops do more business. A new branch of the annual city festival uses this red carpet, places the district on the calendar of city events, and the name of the district enters into the general consciousness of the city.


4. Instruments from the planning discipline

The intention is not that the two basic sides of the urban debate, the development of an open vision, and (urban) projects, should replace the current planning methods which are described in law and in procedures. The urban debate focuses mainly on planning that determines a direction, and adds what was usually lacking in the customary planning procedures. The legal status and enforceability of the binding planning process are not affected, though this does not mean that they may not be revised or adapted. In the last ten years, planning initiatives have mushroomed, stimulated by policy sectors which are in competition with each other, without any sense of coordination or priority. The drawers of many ofcials responsible for policy are bulging with starting memorandums and preliminary drafts. These are used all over the place to add weight to a variety of project and subsidy applications (usually in a literal sense).

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In this proliferation, a number of innovative planning methods are almost lost or lose their innovative impulse. This also applies in urban development and town and country planning. Two fairly recent plans in the eld of urban development and town and country planning are discussed below: municipal structural planning (4.1) and the urban design (4.2). Both of these can play an important role in the urban debate.

of the urban debate. However, the whole control and extensive communication of the GRS (description of tasks, choice of designers, consultations, information sessions, interim presentations, supportive workshops, discussions and amendments) are part of the development of an open vision in the urban debate and an important area of operations. These elements can be presented to the urban debate for evaluation and amendment. In this way, the structural planning acquires a sport of twofold status in the urban debate: on the one hand, that of an urban project (concrete, multifunctional, intensive and limited in time), while on the other hand, it has the character of a contribution to the development of an open vision on the new urban character (visionary, democratic and adaptable). This view brings the GRS closer to what is meant in the literature by the three-track approach of strategic structural planning. It comprises more than just producing documents; it requires a never-ending reflection on the permanently changing urban space, translating this reflection into concrete reality in achievable projects and strengthening the social and political basis. The above illustrates the fact that seeing the urban debate as a background for the GRS involves more than simply adopting an ofcial position: it raises questions related to the content of planning issues. The urban debate gives the GRS the opportunity and the task to remedy a number of the weaknesses which characterise the usual planning practice. We restrict ourselves here to three aspects. In the rst place, the quality of the current planning is very variable. Some municipal structural plans manage to incorporate a powerful vision on the situation as regards town and country planning, the coordination and the development

4.1 The urban debate and municipal structural planning for town and country planning
The urban debate is the appropriate context for structural planning of town and country planning. As indicated above, the discussion being conducted in a number of councils on their own structural plan corresponds best to the objectives of the urban debate. This does not mean that the current practice of structural planning should be wholly transferred to the urban debate without any further thought. In addition to a communication task, the municipal structural planning for town and country planning (GRS) has an extensive planning task, with its own technical demands. This uses specic methods for data processing and identification, for analysis and synthesis with regard to individual spatial structures (settlements, open space, the economy, trafc, landscape, etc.) and individual areas (city areas, individual communities, districts). The structures which are desired are proposed on the basis of a critical diagnosis of the existing spatial structures. The planning results in an information element, a directive element and a binding element. In fact, this whole planning process can be seen as a sort of urban project. Like other urban projects, it requires its own framework of execution, everyday process control, specic resources, knowledge and expertise. These are not automatically part

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opportunities for the council within the outlines of the Structural Plan for Town and Country Planning for Flanders. Many others merely whip up some out of date ideas packaged in meaningless timetables, a confused use of language and endless computer-assisted cut and paste efforts. Structural planning is due for a reorganisation of its methods, norms and quality criteria. These should be such that clients can demand the highest quality requirements (obviously in conjunction with a suitable fee), and that the contractors know what is expected of them. In this respect, the GRS still has a lot of work to do. In many cases the procedures suffer from a very abstract approach, resulting from a lack of ability to describe the actual planning context in critical terms. This descriptive impoverishment is often followed by conceptual shortcomings: the concepts and elements of the vision which outline the main lines of the desired planning structure on the basis of a diagnosis of the existing planning structure, all too often suffer from a lack of inspiration in the design. In some cases, the structural planners appear to forget that the scientic and technical scope of the structural planning is not a carte blanche for substandard design. Obviously this does not help a successful presentation or clear communication. In the second place, it is expected that in the urban debate the GRS will have an integrating effect. This applies at several levels. The GRS forms a suitable basis for other forms of planning with a spatial emphasis: the mobility plan, environmental plan, the green plan, the infrastructural plan. The current sectoral breakdown of town and country planning in different plots actually leads to inefciency and fragmentation. The structural plan for the municipal planning is the best chance of guaranteeing the coordination and hierarchy between the different planning initiatives which are concerned with urban space. If necessary, the GRS will have to provide

more support for its expertise in this respect. It is self-evident that the municipal structural plan for town and country planning must also take into account the economic, social and cultural dimensions of the urban debate and the urban policy in an expert way, without throwing itself into these elds as the comprehensive master plan. In order to play this integrating role, the GRS will also have to improve its own procedures. All too often, the identication of individual structures (settlements, trafc, open spaces, etc.) gains the upper hand, rather than a synthesising structure for planning. This means that the global structure is no more than the piling up of individual structures. Another important aspect of the integrating effect of the GRS concerns the interaction with the plans at different levels of scale: on a broader scale with the Structural Plan for Town and Country Planning in Flanders, and possibly with provincial or regional structural plans, or on a more limited scale, the urban design. The term interaction is crucial the higher scale should not lay down the law for the lower scale, but can draw the outlines which are tested, drawn up, and possibly amended at a local level. In the third place, the GRS must be a strategic method of planning. The strategic effect refers to the capacity to distinguish structural elements from occasional elements and to present priority choices on this basis. This does not mean that one solution is imposed as a top priority. On the contrary, a strategic operation provides for alternative possibilities and tactical responses to unforeseeable developments. Both the clear formulation of priorities and guaranteeing applicability and the possibility of choice contribute to honest communication. In this way, strategic structural planning departs from the authoritarian drive for control, which made the planning discipline so unpopular and


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inefcient. Only those things which are worth planning are planned, with the aim of achieving a new urban character, what can be effectively planned and what can be evaluated in a democratic debate.

4.2 The urban design

The urban design does not have a legal framework comparable to that of structural planning. As in other places in Europe, it was introduced in Flanders in the early 1990s. It was accompanied there with the introduction of experimental urban development projects (which served as examples), such as the redevelopment of the areas surrounding stations. The urban design results from the will to thoroughly rethink the urban development discipline following the crisis of modernist planning methods in the postwar welfare state and following the wide range of criticisms and soul searching in the 1970s and 1980s. To an even greater extent than the GRS, the practice of the urban design lacks graduated stages, clearly dened objectives or quality criteria that can be assessed. The term urban design actually covers a whole range of planning and 3 design practices of different qualities. Nevertheless, we nd that the redevelopment of areas surrounding stations during the past decade has started to serve as a real laboratory for urban projects and for urban designs. Traditional planning soon proves to be inadequate for these commissions. The connections and interrelationships between activities, sectors and interests are on the agenda. In fact, projects for areas surrounding stations concern the grid city: the lines of the grid are redrawn, the crossroads become denser, the mesh is re-evaluated. The whole grid attempts to give form to the new urban places where daily routes and interests of inhabitants and users of the city come together. Structural choices have to be made about the urban morphology, mobility and

budget spending. An attempt is made to gain a grasp of divergent patterns of development. This can never be successful without a political, nancial and social basis. Numerous partners emerge. Negotiations are carried out in all sorts of steering groups, commissions and discussion groups. Ten redevelopment projects for areas around stations were set up in Flanders and Brussels (in Leuven, Antwerp, Brussels, Bruges, 4 Ghent, Sint-Niklaas, Hasselt, Kortrijk and Aalst). Talented designers from Belgium and abroad started work on these plans. The effect of the high-speed train and a degree of economic optimism contributed to the initial enthusiasm and high expectations. In the meantime, this has cooled down considerably. Brussels cannot escape from the clutches of mediocrity in real estate and urban development. Antwerp is overwhelmed by the scale of the whole operation. Only Leuven has been able to meet the expectations up to now, but is also suffering from indigestion. A number of projects are foundering because they are not supported by a coherent urban vision or because of a miscalculation of the local possibilities. The negotiation platforms are grossly inadequate and there is a distressing lack of expert project management. This has been an expensive lesson. Nevertheless, crucial experience was built up with all these problems and the urban design is getting its second wind. This can be found in the urban debate. On the basis of the experience that has been gained, the objective and procedure of the urban design, in terms of the urban debate, can be described as follows. An urban design no longer aims to be a traditional plan for urban development, but more a medium for examining the possibilities of an urban site, to achieve a consensus on quality, and in this way increase the chances of a successful conclusion to safeguard essential quali-

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ties throughout the process of development and still respond to changing circumstances. An urban design can coincide with the start of an urban project. In any case, the urban debate has a say in the preparation (description of task, choice of designers, etc.). The urban design itself starts as a design examination. It begins with an analysis of the characteristics, problems and opportunities in a given urban site. With a number of as yet unarticulated questions about the programme in the background (demand for more housing, more sanitary facilities, business sites, recreation, more efcient mobility, etc.), the examination of the design explores the individual character of the area being studied and looks at the possibilities of reorganising or developing urban spaces or activities with an emphasis on quality. In this examination, several areas of expertise are explored at the same time: the history of the city, morphotypology and an analysis of the urban landscape, an insight into the social urban fabric, into the interaction of decision making powers and various market demands, and an insight into the situation in architecture and urban development. From the start, architecture has been present as a way of questioning the actual and desired interaction in the urban space and in urban activity: what type of housing can successfully reconcile higher density with greater privacy in a particular place? Is there a conceivable solution to parking which makes it possible to retain sufcient green spaces and also leave space for as yet unknown purposes? From the start, this research has also moved between analysis and synthesis, between vision and concrete realisation, between a rational approach and intuition, between the scale of structural planning and that of concrete construction, between an existing and a desirable structure. Information from surveys is compared to architectural exploration and vice versa.

This exploration results in a provisional synthesis, a proposal for a spatial development which brings together conflicting concepts and demands in a way that only a design can do. The proposal consists of images and scenarios which are sufciently concrete to be comprehensible and successful, but sufciently abstract to absorb comments and suggestions without capsizing. This proposal for development forms the starting point in the second stage of design: a process of several rounds, in which the designers engage in discussion with all the parties involved: sectoral specialists (trafc, environment, real estate, etc.), owners and possible investors, inhabitants and users, authorities and competent administrations. The urban debate presents itself more clearly at this point. It provides an opportunity for reflection and negotiation. It is the appropriate place for conrming important moments in the dialogue. The urban design should not allow itself to be overwhelmed in this dialogue, but should supervise it in a creative way by responding to comments, dealing with suggestions and thinking of alternatives to avoid conflicts. The art of the urban design consists of keeping this debate on design going, by constantly amending the development proposal without sacricing its essential qualities. Direct confrontations should be avoided, but so should complete compromise. It is an exhausting process with an uncertain result which requires expert supervision and design talent. A weak development proposal will not be successful, but nor will an inspirational masterwork presented in a take it or leave it manner. The insight into the sine qua non, the essential qualities of the global design, and the quality thresholds of individual components or possible alternatives grow throughout this process. This results in a better insight into


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priorities and possible stages. At the same time, a number of possibilities remain open and many issues are postponed. However, the result is still a plan, a complex synthesis. It is not a random collection of individual interests, but an accurate translation of a joint vision of development in main, structural and strategic lines, in interrelated scenarios and versions of different quality. The plan summaries a considered consensus, and in this way acquires a degree of legitimacy. The urban debate can lead to an appropriate ratication and publication, for example, as part of an urban pact. Important factors for reaching a broad consensus include the supporting strength of common infrastructure, the structural capacity of characteristics in the urban landscape and the mediating capacity of the public domain. It is on this basis that the plan becomes a plan of reference which can serve as a framework for evaluation for the real plans of execution and concrete interventions. The legitimacy that is acquired does not mean that the reference plan is unassailable but that it is irreversible. There are many variations and a response to unexpected opportunities often takes place within the structural and strategic character of the plan. However, revising essential choices is only possible on condition of a new design study and debate on design.

the contracts that are commissioned are very separate. Nevertheless, they supplement each other. The urban design has a lot to learn from the broader scale, the broader database, and the structural perspective of structural planning. Conversely, structural planning could benet from the skills of the urban design to examine complex urban spaces and come up with less obvious solutions. The concrete urban space also comes into its own better in the urban design. The two procedures come together in the urban debate. It is possible that the urban debate could provide an opportunity for achieving a constructive complementarity between structural planning and urban design. This would be an important step in reversing the unfortunate schism within the planning discipline between, on the one hand, town and country planning which considers that it can replace inspiration in design with procedures and static data, and on the other hand, urban development which nds it difcult to let go of its nostalgia for a master plan.

5. Towards the urban debate and the urban project: Brussels, Kortrijk and Mechelen
5.1 A neo-realistic perspective
We no longer have to discover the urban debate. Fragments of it exist in every city: work is carried out on projects, people are working on the structural plan, and various formal and informal platforms discuss urban issues. It is a matter of recognising these fragments, assessing their value and placing them in a framework which can develop into a fully-fledged urban debate. Nevertheless, introducing an urban debate is a very demanding task, and it is not enough to merely stick a new label on what already exists. After all, the urban debate presents itself as a

4.3 Structural planning and urban design, beyond the schism

In Flanders, two parallel tracks are followed in the renovation of the planning discipline, with structural planning and the urban design. Both procedures are a long way away from the monolith that was the master plan, and a long way away from static zoning plans. Curiously there has not been much interaction up to now between these two approaches, and in most cases,

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different approach to urban planning and as an essential contribution to new urban democracy. In a sense this approach is neo-realistic. It starts wholly inside the urban reality, is supported by best practices and places these in a new perspective. The following three cases are characterised by an analogous neo-realistic character. They concern three districts in Brussels, Mechelen and Kortrijk respectively, and there was a great deal to be done in each of them. In each of these cases, the interaction between existing projects, actors, planning initiatives and discussion forums makes it possible to identify the outlines of a complex urban project and the possibilities of an urban debate that serves as a basis. The extent to which the urban debate and the urban project are already present in the eld differs from case to case; what can be added to these conditionally also differs. In every case, the situation is different, the balance between what is and what could be is different. In every case, the road to the urban debate and the urban project are different and the result will always be an individual result, not the nal point of a plan in stages that is imposed.

including an exceptionally large number of men. Half of the inhabitants are not Belgian. Of these non-Belgians, three quarters are of Turkish or Moroccan origin. It is a working class area with a large group of people with a low level of education. Like many other city districts in the nineteenthcentury ring, the Brabant district has an ambiguous position in the metropolitan framework: it is at the same time central and peripheral. Important metropolitan infrastructure borders the district on every side, although there are few points of contact. To the west, the tarted-up Noord station merely turns its rather grubby back on the district. In the south, a bend in the railway viaduct virtually cuts off the Brabantstraat, the central north-south axis in the district and the obvious connection with the city centre. The prestigious Herb Garden also lies to the south, but only turns towards the boulevard and the inner city. Despite the tunnels, this ring boulevard remains a river of trafc that is difcult to cross. The Royal district to the east ignores the adjacent residential districts. Squeezed between all of these, the Brabant district is a virtual enclave with a curious mix of restricted central qualities and a moderate degree of marginalisation. The restricted central qualities provide the district with its own dynamic character: an ethnic centre of trade with an international market, an affordable place for the establishment of important institutes of higher education. The moderate degree of marginalisation generates the well-known characteristics of a neglected part of the city (facilities in the district that are below par, decaying public spaces, poor housing, deprivation), although this cannot be described as a new urban ghetto. All in all, the Brabant district is a district near to the station, resulting in signicant levels of transit: the stimulating tran-


5.2 The Brabant district, from a network for a district contract to an urban project
The Brabant district, on the border of the Brussels municipalities, Schaarbeek and Sint Joost ten Node, tells two stories at the same time: the typical story of the enormous problems and real opportunities of a district in the metropolis, and the story about the difculties and opportunities of arriving at a coherent urban project. It is a district with about 8,000 inhabitants or 3,200 households in an area of half a square kilometre. It is an extremely densely populated district with a large number of Mediterranean households, with many young inhabitants (one third), and a large number of people living alone,

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sit of crowds of city users (clients, visitors, employees, students) who cross through the district every day on their way to the ofce, college, shop or cultural stage; the problematic transit of trafc congestion, of the heavy employment circuits, of prostitution tourism and of the homeless, alongside temporary accommodation. In short, the Brabant district maintains a living alone together relationship with the metropolis, a relationship which hesitates between integration and negation. In this situation, which totters between the density and diversity of the metropolis on the one hand, and urban misery on the other hand, an urban project is developing with lots of ups and downs. It has started with a project in the most traditional sense, focusing on the monumental urban space as a symbol of the nation. The King Boudewijn Foundation is focusing on the reorganisation of the Royal district lay-out as a form of national urban restoration. The approach is supercial in a literal sense. The thoroughly dilapidated district is being given a facelift here and there, while the residential districts behind it around the Brabantstraat are ignored. It appears that Potemkin still has a say in ofcial urban development. In fact, there are critical voices inside and outside the Foundation, demanding an alternative approach based on the endogenous dynamic character of the district. Various parallel initiatives have been put forward by diverse coalitions of actors. Together with a committee of traders in the Brabantstraat, students from the Sint-Lucas high school, situated in the district, have created Het Vliegend Tapijt (the Flying Carpet), an artistic, commercial evocation of the identity of the street, with references to a celebrated local product. The King Boudewijn Foundation is launching the Brabant district discus-

sion platform, which is trying to promote the debate on the opportunities and problems of ethnic enterprise with the support of researchers in social and economic geography. Proposals are being drawn up with regard to the organisation of the Brabantstraat as an urban axis; these are aimed at developing the image of the local economy, communication and self-organisation. An agreement between the municipality of Schaarbeek and the Regional Institute for Community Development (Riso- Brussels) resulted in the establishment of the Brabant district alarm centre, a sort of ombuds department for problems related to safety and public nuisance. The problems of safety were soon extended to broader issues related to the quality of life, and attention was also devoted to complaints of dumping, slums and trafc congestion. The Riso also initiated a cooperative venture in which more and more partners are participating: students from the two institutes of higher education in the district (Sint-Lucas and Vlekho), the Riso District partnership, committees of residents and the social-artistic production centre, City-Mine(d). A network of people interested in the city, and inhabitants and users of the city was created and later accommodated in the not-for prot Limiet Limite, with the support of the Social Impulse Fund. This cooperative venture took over, for example, the vacant corner plots of the Dupontstraat, one of the roads off the Brabantstraat. These microurban cancers disgured the daily route of students and commuters and affect the look of the district. Of the various interventions, the Limiet Limite makes the biggest impact: an elegant, striking dome in transparent plastic, serving at the same time as a meeting place and a symbol, a place where views are generated, and the sanctuary of a new urban character.

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This intention reveals the impact of an inspirational design and the power of building. Nevertheless, the visible effect of these direct interventions and micro interventions is not the main result of the cooperation. More important is the development of a confused, but highly dynamic network of different relationships between very different partners. There is good reason why the term rhizome is used to describe this approach, referring to the image of roots. The main objective is to improve the living conditions of the district by promoting the dialogue and cooperation between the inhabitants and users of the district, local organisations, institutions established locally and community work. This is achieved by setting up community projects which mainly focus on socio-cultural and economic dimensions (language lessons for residents, bookkeeping courses for shopkeepers, youth work), occasionally underlined by random visual events (an illuminated newsreel on the roof of a school. The rhizome-like urban development undoubtedly enriches the signicantly extended urban renovation programme for the district and the municipality. Three district contracts awarded to the two municipalities concerned by the Brussels District cover the whole of the Brabant district. The district contract, an ofcial instrument of the Brussels Region for urban renovation comprises interventions in housing, public spaces, collective facilities and social initiatives, programmed on the basis of an urban development study. The two councils established a joint permanent centre for the district contracts in a former shop in the centre of the district. The not-for-prot company Renovas, responsible for the administrative, technical and social coordination of the district contracts, organises theme-based working groups to supplement the ofcial participation rounds arranged in the district contracts.

Key gures who are active in the network do their best through all sorts of communication channels. However, both the coordination between the three district contracts, and the interaction of the dynamics of the network with the ofcially established channels for dialogue in the district contracts, were by no means easy. Nevertheless, the informal dialogue between the different actors in the eld, increased, for example, following a discussion on the results of a scientic study which put forward a diagnosis and the main outlines for a sustainable development plan. In contrast with this operation, which is based on inspiration and enthusiasm, the ofcial urban renovation carried out by the councils and the region succeeded in tapping into important funds from European programmes. The acquisition of European funds, as well as those from district contracts, allowed for interventions with a structural impact. For example, two district parks were designed with facilities for sport, meeting places and leisure activities. One of these, the Koningin-Groenpark, took over the garden of the monumental premises of the former RTT and will provide a new link between the Royal district and the Brabant district. The building itself will be converted into a multifunctional complex, with ofces, apartments, and a business centre for businesses starting up in the ICT sector. With the larger budgets and ofcial procedures, the urban renovation process in the Brabant district seems to be moving slightly towards large-scale planning and infrastructural interventions. The above description illustrates that there is no lack of effort, ideas or initiatives in the Brabant district. Nevertheless, the process of development is ready for an improvement in quality. This will have to prevent two gaps from emerging in the background of all this. On the one hand, there is

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a need for a convergent vision on development which builds on the many different perspectives and objectives, but in the rst place succeeds in coordinating the urban development that has taken place from the bottom up, and the ofcial urban development. On the other hand, the existing interventions, projects, planning proposals and design suggestions lack a strong urban project which makes structural choices and is able to support diverse individual projects. We will not decide here who is best to take the initiative, but this seems the right time to bring all the players together to a discussion platform on the development of the Brabant district. This forum is a test bank for the operation of an urban debate and can later be assimilated in a broader context. The scale on which the urban debate should be organised in Brussels (region, municipality, district or adjacent parts of the city), and which competences and composition should be adopted, is a complicated matter which falls outside the scope of this chapter. However, it is important not to wait for this to be ofcially decided, but to continue with the present enthusiasm. The discussion forum the prospective urban debate comprises both the network of the rhizome-like urban planning and the ofcial organisations which have made a contribution up to now. The task is to coordinate the ideas and experiences of the King Boudewijn Foundation, the Brabant district discussion platform, the Riso Brussels, the Brabant district alarm centre, Limiet Limite, Renovas and the district contracts, academic research, designers, urban planners, the Brussels District and this list is undoubtedly incomplete. As indicated above, the crux of the matter is to establish an original coordination between the network of contacts, ideas and actions, on the

one hand, and the developed ofcial structure of urban planning and development, on the other hand. For the time being, this has not yet been allowed in the history of Belgian urban development. The formulation of an open but coherent vision of the district and the city, a vision which provides synergy and a strategy for the numerous initiatives without constricting or weakening them, is a precondition for this. It is best if the development of this vision takes place in interaction with the denition of a comprehensive urban project. During the rst round, a critical balance is drawn up and the rst description of the tasks of the urban project is formulated. Amongst other things, this includes a better position of the Brabant district in Brussels as a grid city, linked to making the best of the grid qualities of the district itself. The planned interventions, alternatives and suggestions are examined. These include suggestions for reducing the barrier effect, such as redesigning the back of the station, the reconstruction of the grubby tunnels under the railway viaduct, the Rogierplein as an active link, the passages to the Royal district, etc., and suggestions to add character and structure to the district, such as a different role for the long north-south and short east-west routes, an appropriate construction of residential and shopping streets, the facilities and access to the two district parks, etc. The district really needs a public domain with character, as well as public facilities with an urban atmosphere, which provide the district with a face and a heart. However, the example of the Limiet Limite tower also provides perspectives: micro-interventions throughout the district, which are practical and brilliant at the same time, form a grid of fascinating places. It is not possible to strengthen the grid of the district without at the same time improving the physical and social fabric of the district. This is


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also fertile ground for cooperation between the network and ofcial programmes: improving housing, combating the exploitation of landlords, support for an emancipatory local economy, promoting safety and social control, and targeted training activities. Innovative urban design supports the creation of a vision and serves as the foundation of the urban project. In the studies and the debate for the design, problem areas can be claried, alternatives can be tested and new routes can be opened up. The urban project for the Brabant district is developing in interaction with the creation of a vision. There are proposals for a limited number of structural interventions, supplemented with a large number of mutually reinforcing interventions. This allows for new synergies between the freedom and inventiveness of the activities of the networks (cf. Limiet Limite) and the institutional support and budgetary aid of ofcial urban renovation (cf. the RTT restructuring). The urban project forms the basis for the district contracts. It launches design competitions, stimulates arts events and supports dossiers for project subsidies. The ambitious development of a vision and a strong urban project related to the Brabant district make a strong contribution to a developing urban debate in Brussels. This may seem a Utopian perspective, but all in all more than two thirds of the project in the Brabant district has already been completed in the last ten years.

themselves after a century and a half of modernisation. Mechelen has enjoyed the delights and suffered the problems of being a historical railway junction. While gigantic railway worksites provided employment just over the city walls, the railway cuttings and embankments cut the suburbs into large peripheral enclaves. And that was not all. Mechelen, just halfway between Brussels and Antwerp, was inevitably swallowed up by the infrastructure which connects the capital city with the port (railway, waterways and motorways). In the post-war Fordist apotheosis, these hard, excessive infrastructural works overwhelmed the urban territory with motorways, a ring road, junctions, access roads and endless industrial sites. For the city, all this was imposed from above, on far too large a scale, a framework which was started too late and was never nished. In fact, a merciless process of de-industrialisation started in the 1970s. Rather than being the industrial midpoint between Brussels and Antwerp, Mechelen turned into a residential midpoint. Mushrooming suburbanisation coalesced in endless residential landscapes in former rural hamlets, reaching far outside the city. The suburbs replaced the city centre as a residential environment and gradually eroded the historical city. Trafc jams of commuters between Antwerp and Brussels start in Mechelen. The shopping infrastructure in the inner city gradually disappeared; on the other hand, the peripheral superstores proted from the multiple access and an increasingly extensive urban radius. After twenty years the city suddenly woke up from its post-industrial anaesthesia. Initially, it tried to adapt to the age of the motorway by constructing industrial sites, peripheral public programmes (Technopolis) and ofce development, fed by road trafc.

5.3 The Arsenaal site, the city boulevard setting the economic pace
Mechelen can serve as an example for the situation in which historic Flemish cities still nd

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The process of structural planning went perfectly. In that process, the city rediscovered its admittedly watered-down multifunctional character: Mechelen, historical city, railway city, city of education, industrial city, motorway city, dispersed residential city. Important operations for urban restructuring were introduced. The multifunctional redevelopment of the empty Lamot complex right in the historical centre, possibly linked with the reorganisation of the banks of the Dijle, will be an example of an urban project which focuses on density, diversity and sustainability. However, the city has a leaden post-war heritage. All the urban problems appear to come together; the political clock is ticking. The long period of lethargy prevented the city from building up sufcient planning experience and capacity. Several blunders have been made. For example, a strategic site on the city side of the railway was greedily used for an unimaginative ofce building, which appears to have ignored the most basic lessons of urban architecture. Some of the members of the council and administration were aware of this mistake and succeeded in attracting better national and international expertise. Something is happening in Mechelen. The scale of the city, the range of urban opportunities and problems, the regained dynamic character and initial successes mean that in principle, Mechelen is a suitable testing site for the urban debate. The plans for the Arsenaal site could serve as the ultimate urban project. The large-scale Arsenaal site in Mechelen is an archetypal example of nineteenth-century ring roads. The site takes up an ambiguous position in the grid city. On the one hand, it is an extensive enclave behind the station, cut off from the inner city by the canal and by the high railway embankments; on the other hand, the railway and the road connect the enclave with the broader grid city and

the regional cities in the grid. Excessive industrial development can be found next to inadequate urban fabric. The extensive sites of underused railway worksites have become available for new purposes. The emphasis in the development is on the economic aspects. Mechelen is aiming for a much larger percentage of the ofce market in the Flemish Diamond, with administrative departments and call centres of large national and international companies as the target group. The available area, the reasonable prices and the many advantages of the city (its position in the network of cities, the educational provisions, the historical framework, the green and extensive residential periphery) serve as bait. All this must be assimilated in a comprehensive project, in which the economic foundations also lead to other dimensions for the development for a broader area, with the Arsenaal site as the centre. In addition to upgrading the living conditions, it is essential to improve the ecological aspects and urban development around the canal and the tributaries of the river that border the area. Furthermore, multimodal connections must provide a solution for the excessive divisions between rail and road access. Ultimately, the anticipated economic success of the project depends on a comprehensive approach, focusing on the development of a high quality working and living environment which can rely on sustainable mobility. All this corresponds with the structure of the urban project as described in this chapter. Even the latent objective of the urban project, viz., to strengthen the characteristics of the grid city, can be identied in the Arsenaal site project. The crux of the whole project lies in achieving the qualities of the grid city, such as the individual character, diversity, capacity to adapt and multiple access. After all, the current condition of the

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site is linked to some of the problematic characteristics of Mechelen as an incomplete grid city: worn-out fabric, congestion, blocked connections, breaks and missing lines in the grid. The rst steps towards a strong urban design have also been taken. Various developmental concepts were compared in an international competition. It was won by a consortium of Flemish and international design bureaus with a design which was ambitious, though not with5 out risk. The core of the proposal goes against the usual moratorium of road building and comprises a new access road. This leaves the southern exit from the motorway, passes over the canal, along the Arsenaal site, across the entrance to the southwest (Leuvense Steenweg) runs parallel to the eastern ringroad by the commuter car park behind the station, to join the north-eastern entrance road which connects the ring road with a few peripheral amenities (events hall, leisure centre, cinema complex) and the green residential area a little further down. The proposed access road takes the pressure off the ring road, guarantees perfect access for the Arsenaal site by railway and motorway, and makes use of the existing commuter car park. Once again, the proposal can be interpreted in terms of the grid city: the new transverse access road is a structural improvement in the inadequate grid, in which the infrastructural connections between Brussels and Antwerp are much too dominant lengthways, while the cross connections in the urban area are not sufciently developed. One of the crucial aspects of the proposal consists of not seeing the new crossroads as an extension of the motorway exit, but as a new sort of city boulevard. This boulevard is aimed in the rst place as providing a prestigious urban background for a great range of economic development. As an urban hub of activity, the boule-

vard connects the locations of the industrial area in the south which are dependent on the motorway (extensive development, large surface areas) with the Arsenaal site, with its multiple access routes (intensive development, high employment), and also with the large-scale peripheral infrastructure around the events hall. Additional accents are aimed at increasing the attraction of the boulevard: an emphasis on the monumental aspects, where the entrance roads join the historical outlines of the inner city, and natural accents, where the two tributaries of the river flow into the city. Along the city boulevard, peripheral residential districts alternate with business parks and green spaces. The residential area along the canal is being judiciously developed. A bypass reduces the pressure of trafc on the entrance road to the southeast (Leuvense Steenweg), to make this historical road an important urban axis for the residential areas on either side. All these sections and elements of the city boulevard form the start of a demanding design which has yet to be completed. With the city boulevard setting the pace for the urban economic development, Mechelen has opted for a groundbreaking, but high-risk urban project. Without using the terminology of a grid, the designers are assigning a connecting, structural role to the city boulevard, which will benet Mechelen as a burgeoning grid city. In fact, the plans at the moment are no more than a strong guideline for a possible urban project. This guideline has to be elaborated in detail in one or more urban designs if it is to be turned into a complete proposal for development. It will require a great deal of design research and debate. However, what is needed most is an urban debate to serve as a framework, in which the further creation of visions and project develop-


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ment can interact. There are certainly some signs of this happening in Mechelen: the work on the structural plan, on the Keerdok, the Lamot and the banks of the Dijle, have generated useful experiences. A Discussion Forum for the Urban Development of Mechelen or such a forum with a more inspirational name could collect all these experiences together, for example, in the form of an exhibition or a publication on the work that has already been completed. This would be a good start for an urban debate. No matter how experimental, this discussion forum the start of an urban debate would serve as an important advantage for the Arsenaal site project the start of an urban project. After all, both the grand ambition and the risk of the (urban) project for the Arsenaal site requires this sort of critical forum. A dynamic city council, a talented consortium of researchers and an efcient steering group of partners and advisors are all necessary, but not sufcient to serve as the framework for an (urban) project of this scope. A stronger public basis and more structural vision are needed for the numerous negotiations to be conducted with even more numerous partners. After all, the city boulevard will have to accommodate a multifunctional urban development, and should certainly not become an extension of the mono functional motorway infrastructure, or, worse still, an unnished exit road straight through the urban landscape. Nor should it turn into a monofunctional economic space. The real estate sector constantly has to be shown the way to high quality urban architecture. The programme of the Arsenaal site also shows that the discussion forum or the prospective urban debate should not be restricted to a forum of urban planners. The reorganisation or expert development of the adjacent residential

areas will not be possible without the active contribution of the inhabitants. The economic actors should also come round the table from the very beginning. The discussion forum can serve as a catalyst of an economic development coalition. An active development coalition could well be the decisive factor for the success of the Arsenaal project: it can work on the development of a diverse range of businesses, of national and international promotion and of cooperation with the school community in Mechelen at the level of education, research and training. With the Arsenaal site as an urban project, as part of the framework of an urban debate, Flanders will see the city of Mechelen waking up.

5.4 Kortrijk, art is/as urban renovation

Kortrijk suffers from the consequences of more than a century of non-urban or even anti-urban policy in Belgium. It was a policy which not only allowed a sprawl of residential development and developments related to work and various urban functions, but also promoted it even long before the emergence of post-Fordism, globalisation, the dispersed city, etc. Kortrijk has not been the obvious urban centre of southwest Flanders for a long time, just one of the many centres which have developed, supplemented with ribbon development and the parcelling off of land, a virtually uninterrupted urbanised stretch in the broad valley of the Leie. This development, with centres which are more or less strung together, could rhetorically be called the network city of southwest Flanders. For the time being, there is no coherent planning framework to justify the name grid city. Zooming in on the city and its broader environment, we arrive at a similar diagnosis. In the aerial photograph of the Kortrijk region, the development in the valley is less prominent, but the compact historical city is not particularly

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striking either. It is a slightly larger fragment in a patchwork of hamlets, individual communities and neighbouring municipalities, alternating with elds and industrial sites, roughly threaded together by railway lines, motorways and the river. A more detailed look reveals flashes of star patterns, grids and rings. Nevertheless, Kortrijk undoubtedly remains a centre, a historical city with a strong urban tradition which is not found in most individual and neighbouring municipalities. The city has an interesting range of public facilities with a regional scope. For the city, this enforced double character serving as a knot in a piece of regional urban macram, while at the same time realising its role as a historical city is no easy matter. It is a game played with confused rules on a hazy board. Kortrijk is one of the few cities in Flanders which is still losing inhabitants. The exodus of businesses has resulted in a large number of vacant or residually recycled industrial premises and sites with out-of-date infrastructure. There are not many applicants to ll the vacancies. The service sector is cautiously growing, but businesses and cafs and restaurants in the city are confronted with the success of superstores. Government departments are only present to a limited extent, and the ofce market is not very signicant. Kortrijk is faced with a twofold development paradox. The region justiably focuses on dynamic enterprise, but the latter prefers the freedom of the broad valley of the Leie to the prestige of the historical city. Large-scale industrial vacancies in the urban fabric certainly represent a great potential for development, but up to now there has not been a dynamic interest in development to match this. Nevertheless, the availability of inner city sites is a great advantage for urban renovation in Kor-

trijk. It is important to ensure that the large supply and relatively poor demand do not result in inferior development, as is already the case in some places along the quays of the Leie. Thirdrate real estate does not contribute to the sustainable development of parts of the city which are already faced with problems. The vacant spaces in the fabric, whether public or private, are the valuable land reserves of the city. Because of the limited pressure of building, it is possible to consider alternatives: to demand high quality redevelopment, to resolutely reject inferior projects, to use the open spaces as empty spaces to compensate gardens, parks, squares in the context of a comprehensive management of density, or to choose for the provisional reallocation and minimal organisation awaiting better opportunities in the future. A reunion of urban pros and cons appears to manifest itself on Buda Island, situated in the middle of the city. The island in its present form, created by the branches of the Old and New Leie, dates from the beginning of the twentieth century. Nevertheless, it remains connected to the origins of Kortrijk itself as a bridge over the Leie. The historical north-south axis runs straight across the island. It attempted to link the parts of the city on either side of the Leie, running from west to east, but could not prevent the southern part from becoming far more developed. On the island itself, urban development was rather haphazard. On the other side of the (Old) Leie, there appeared to be little interest: a few houses, a monastery, a hospital, a few factories and a brewery, followed by a nursing home, and later a cinema complex, and nally a large car park. The Pentascoop, a ne architectural structure cleverly integrated in the urban environment, was the place to be in Kortrijk for some time, next to the small miracle street which led there.

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However, Buda is squarely confronted with the paradoxes of Kortrijk. The factories and the brewery are closing, and the future of the hospital is under threat as a result of all sorts of mergers. The Pentascoop cannot compete with a much larger complex on the periphery of the city, near the motorway. The car park is rather pathetic. Empty buildings, unused areas and fragmentation evoke an atmosphere of urban decay in Buda. It is only the care of the elderly that still seems to be successful to some extent. The nursing home and the service flats are expanding cautiously, unhampered by an exaggerated sense of architectural style or the quality of planning. But what does it matter? The historical Buda-Overleie has become peripheral right in the centre of the city, a vague territory. The old Leie now appears to form the boundary of the inner city, and integrating the northsouth axis has been forgotten. The planned hydraulic works on the New Leie recalibration, i.e., broadening and retracing the course of the river in the context of international policy on waterways threaten to marginalise Buda and Overleie even further. Fortunately, a vague territory is not a blind spot, but a place without a function which lends itself to conflicting interpretations: a place of fragmentation and decay, on the one hand, a place where it is possible to try something new without being interrupted, on the other hand. The art scene in Kortrijk always attracted by the sanctuary of a vague territory has become established in Buda. The successful conversion of the Tack brewery tower into a professional production centre for dramatic arts, which was commissioned by the city, has responded to this in a decisive way. The availability of unused buildings has given artists and art clubs all sorts of ideas. There is a great interest in the inspirational Pentascoop. Youth culture has also shown

an interest, though it is not quite sure what to aim for: a dance hall, a place to party, youth workshops, rehearsal rooms, etc. These are plans for an original synergy between youth culture and professional new art. The care sector also wants to have its say. This sector is an urban function which is part of the history of Buda/Overleie, and concerns a constantly increasing number of people. The nursing home (RVT) is planning additional service flats and a project for post-traumatic independent living with care facilities. There are plans for a childrens day centre. The whole development is gradually providing a range of provisions for sheltered housing for all ages. In the meantime, a project group and a Leiewerken steering group are working hard on the recalibration plans of the Waterways and Maritime Affairs Administration of the Flemish Region. A study of the neighbouring communities in the Leie valley has managed to transform the rough infrastructural works at least on paper into real urban development: bridges are to be turned into real works of art, the quays on the Leie will be public promenades, the raised penisulas will be turned into parks by the water, etc. Buda is really starting to work as a sort of sanctuary. The most diverse developments are taking place at the same time, but independently. It is hardly possible to imagine a greater lack of overlap than between hydraulic engineering, care homes and the avant-garde art scene. Even between the professional art scene and youth culture, the bridges are none too strong. The rudderless game with all its large and small manoeuvres brought the island to the point where it has almost gone under. Should the peripheral fragmentation be allowed to continue, and should Buda be seen as an area where everyone can do their own thing, or should an attempt be made to direct an original piece of theatre with


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extremely diverse actors and their even more diverse parts? In the one case, the nebulous city starts on the other side of the Old Leie; in the other case, the Buda Island is re-evaluated as an individual part of the city with an important role, within a broad urban framework. The city of Kortrijk has chosen for the second option. The city has collected an extensive steering group around the table. One chair more or less is not considered important. In addition to the competent elected members and ofcials (municipal departments, the Province, Flemish Community) and a number of external experts, a broad range of parties representing the youth sector, the arts sector and various social entities also participate in the discussions. The steering group, which serves as a forum for the preparation of policy, divides the work into three parallel tracks: one track related to the programme, one legal-nancial track, and one track which focuses on planning and urban development. A working group has been set up for each of these, and reports back to the steering group. A preparatory study in two parts is contracted out. The part dealing with the cultural and sociological aspects focuses on the art scene and youth culture, explores the possibilities of synergy and draws up the rst outlines for a programme for Buda, island of arts. The part related to planning attempts to draw lessons from the ups and downs in the history of the island of Buda, places the island in a broader urban perspective and makes a start on research into the design for different places and purposes. At the same time, legal and nancial ideas are explored on exploitation structures and public/private partnership. Everyone agrees on the working hypothesis. Buda Island could develop into an island of arts with a regional and even international reputation, an island for the production and experience of the arts, incorporated in the cultural life

of the city and valued at the same time in international art circles. By bringing together as many initiatives as possible to the island from the art and culture sectors, a critical mass could develop to serve as a catalyst for an urban renaissance. There are possibilities for synergy on all sides: cultural creation and employment, initiation and professional performances, the artistic environment and youth culture, concerts and festivals, a programme of culture and urban development, art and sheltered housing, pupils and the elderly. Once a year, everyone works on the Buda festival. Enthusiasm alternates with scepticism. The aim art and urban renovation requires experimentation in unexplored elds. This original task cannot work with a closed approach to research and studies or hermetic decision-making. Cultural and sociological reflection and surveys result in the rst vision. This is evaluated, discussed and amended in planning meetings, round the table with very diverse partners: cultural institutions, the youth sector, artists, producers of culture and the economic sectors. At the same time, the working hypothesis is strongly confronted with the reality in the eld. The interconnections between youth culture and professional artistic production appear to be difcult to achieve because the two groups have different socio-cultural objectives, different expectations, different networks, different quality criteria and different infrastructural needs. Urban development sideby-side with mutual exposure must be possible, but real synergy seems to be an illusion. However, the planning meetings, working groups and steering group do manage to arrive at a workable structure for a programme. This consists of a core of four or ve dynamic actors in the eld of contemporary art production, which enters into cooperative ventures for specic programmes with private organisations

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and public institutions, for example, with the Municipal Museum, which is also on the island. The emphasis is on contemporary art production in the eld of the dramatic arts and the new audio-visual media. In addition, there are ideas for further education for young artists, between school and their career. A number of peripheral conditions for planning are put forward more clearly in the strongly discursive creation of a vision. A flexible planning framework is needed to meet three needs, which has to allow for places with different gradations of extroversion (halls, stages, exhibition rooms). It must be possible to organise places which are suitable for meetings and exchanges in a high quality environment (foyer, grand caf). Finally, there is a need for private spaces which guarantee the necessary degree of intimacy for production and experimentation. The creation of a vision for planning and urban development starts with a lecture on the history of the city and a morphotypological analysis of the site, incorporated in a broader urban area. This analytical work soon merges with research into design. This time there are no planning meetings, but a workshop organised by the Municipal Technical Department, in cooperation with the linked communities of the Leie valley and a group of academics. Supported by the local technical framework, various teams of young designers and researchers start work. The workshop results in a provisional urban design which synthesises the various results of the research into design and the evaluation of the planning. Buda Island is seen as one of the meshes in a broad open urban grid; in turn, this mesh develops grid qualities at the district level in anticipation of the required flexible development. This vision corresponds with the morphological interpretation of Kortrijk which was proposed by Bernardo Secchi almost ten years ago. Secchi

liberated the image of the city from the old concentric obsession, which also continues to dominate other places in Flanders, with a planning vision of enclosure and demarcation. According to Secchi, the historical north-south axis, the west-east course of the Leie and the two motorways create a rough pattern in Kortrijk which makes it possible to identify a prospective grid city in the sprawling concentric city. Meanwhile the north-south axis in Kortrijk is once again an established concept and serves as a guideline for interventions in urban development. It runs along the Grote Markt and comprises a sophisticated shopping street. The new construction of the quays on the Leie will assign the same morphological value to the east-west direction. On the scale of the grid, the present urban design for Buda assigns a value both to the passage of the historical north-south axis across Buda and to the new east-west quays. However, the design highlights yet another axis, parallel and to the east of the historical north-south axis. The new parallel axis has a very different character and complements the rst one. It runs along public facilities and collective developments (a number of schools, two parks and a new housing project). Two new bridges for pedestrians and cyclists, planned in the Leiewerken, extend this route across the Buda Island, and the lled-in green peninsula to the sports elds of the Sint-Amands college in Overleie. The second axis and the new quays perpendicular to it form important links in the urban network for cyclists and pedestrians. As a result, Buda has a central place between a number of large schools, and becomes a possible place for pupils to collect together. Perhaps the plans related to youth culture can respond to this. The provisional urban design plans a flexible grid of districts, which corresponds with the framework of the larger grid and incorporates


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elements of the existing built- up environment (the Pentascoop, the Tack Tower, old stables, industrial premises which can be used, the RVT facilities, the museum). This grid will have to organise the coexistence of artistic production and youth culture, amongst other things (separately where necessary, together where desired). It must meet the three planning conditions required by artistic production (intimacy, exchange and extroversion). In this respect, the urban design notes that the RVT programme benets from similar peripheral conditions with regard to planning: intimacy for care and rehabilitation, meeting places for family and visitors, and easy access to extrovert places where there is something to see. On the basis of the report of the provisional urban design, it is possible to start a new round of discussions. The Buda steering group is confronted with the task of integrating all these cultural and programme-related ideas, the planning and urban development and legal and nancial ideas, in a coherent proposal for development. It will become a really strong urban project when this proposal also assimilates the Leiewerken and their implications. What is happening in Buda as an island of arts is closely related to the urban debate as presented in this book (creation of a vision, urban project). In Kortrijk, a lot of attention is focused on the urban debate, but this takes place in separate debating chambers which are all engaged in separate urban projects (Kortrijk Weide, Hoog Kortrijk, Leiewerken, etc.). A more global vision would permit projects to be coordinated, structural choices to be made and priorities to be arranged in stages. For example, the Buda urban project is not possible without the Leiewerken. The Buda investments are dependent on choices about other projects. Furthermore, the whole thing has to be based in an interaction with the

Municipal Structural Plan for Town and Country Planning which is being drawn up. Will Kortrijk take the time to engage in an urban debate?

1 See, for example: Rey, J. (1998), Une nouvelle manire de faire la ville?, in: Toussaint, J-Y. & M. Zimmerman (ed.), Projet urbain - mnager les gens, amnager la ville, Pierre Mardaga, editor, Sprimont, pp. 35-47. 2 See Van Den Broeck, J. (1987), Structuurplanning in praktijk: werken op drie sporen, in: Ruimtelijke Planning, a. 19, II.A.2.c., pp. 53-119, o.m. De driesporenplanning, ibidem pp. 93-110. In later publications a fourth track was added to the threetrack approach, i.e., that of the empowerment of citizens to build up a form of socio-cultural capital for large planning projects. See, inter alia, Albrecht, L. and J. Van den Broeck (2003), From discourse to facts/reality: the case of the ROM project in Ghent, Belgium, paper Aesop-Acsp conference, Leuven, 2003. 3 Various contributions to the urban design can be found in: Smets, M., (ed.) (2002), Tussen Stad en Spoor. Project Stationsomgeving Leuven, Ludion, Ghent, 2002, 112 pp., with the contribution by Pieter Uyttenhove, Het stadsontwerp in Vlaanderen: experiment of investering, ibidem, pp. 98-103. 4 See De Meulder, B. (1998), Herstructurering van Belgische stationsomgevingen. Een stand van zaken, in: Facetten no. 4, Stations en hun Omgeving, Antwerpen, Brugge, Brussel, Leuven, Luik, published by Centrum voor Architectuur en Design, Kortrijk, pp. 4-14. 5 See: Studio 02, Bernardo Secchi, Paola Vigano, DHV, Stramien, Meertens & Steffens, Strategisch concept Mechelen Arsenaal / Spoorstad. Het ontwikkelen van een strategie voor de Arsenaalsite in Mechelen, Mechelen, November 2002.

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5. Government and citizenship in the city republic

A city which is looking for a new character in its planning is at the same time at the centre of social and political reconstruction. The transformation in planning is related to the transformation of society. This is the basic premise of this book. In this chapter we will explore the concept city republic: the city as the rst level of the political order, the forum for the joint construction of the res publica (the general interest), and city as the platform for cooperation on the basis of diversity and for sharing responsibility. In the central gure of chapter 2 (p. 101) we proposed the traditional, political and administrative approach to the city as a descending line (top-down), with the population as the last link in the chain: state-urban policy-urban government-population. We described this as an approach which focuses strongly on institutions and in which the population is served with goods and services at the end of the production line. Working on an urban policy on the basis of this approach means energy turned inwards: discussions between administrative departments, lengthy administrative reforms, conflict between administrative levels about the redistribution of powers, attempts to allow the population to participate on the basis of the arguments of governance. It is predominantly a technocratic and bureaucratic administrative approach. The citizens are seen as spectators, electors and clients; in some cases they have a voice, but always on the conditions of this complex administrative machinery. This is the cold style of government: government which turns in on itself to a great extent. We placed the basis of this book in the same gure on a different line, which starts with practices and activities rather than dossiers and procedures. We saw the connections between globalisation and the population and civil society. We would like the attention of politics, the

assimilation of politics and the activities of administrations to be based more on the dynamic action of the inhabitants and users of the city. This focuses on a relationship with the population which is based on dialogue, interaction and creativity, on the restoration of communication, on confrontation with conflicting interests, both between the inhabitants of the city themselves and between the inhabitants and the users, and between the citizens and the administration, all focusing on sustainable development. The objective is the strengthening of the networks in the city between the economic world, the cultural world, the social partners, administrators and politics. This is a warm style of government, with energy radiating outwards, which is supported by social dynamics. It is the city republic. In the rst point we clarify how we arrive at our vision of urban democracy. Citizenship in the city has a central place. We then indicate what this means for our view of politics in the city. Both elements (citizenship and politics) come together in the concept of the city republic. In the third point, we indicate a few directions to strengthen urban citizenship. We then focus on the change in the administrative organisation of city councils which is required to support citizenship and to play a prominent role in the city republic. This corresponds to chapters 3 and 4, which dealt with many of the expectations with regard to city councils. In the fth point, urban policy has a central place: the way in which the relationships between the central governments and the cities can be developed to help to achieve the above. We focus particularly on the role of the Government of Flanders.


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1. Urban citizenship in the city republic

1.1 Models of urban democracy
Cities are perfect places for participation and democracy. They reveal the complexity of the world, so that it can be experienced, but at the same time are still sufciently comprehensible for this complexity to be understood and organised. They bring together many organisations and institutions, provide many public places for meetings and interaction, and serve as forums for the daily practices of participation, for contacts between public and private elements, and for confrontation between citizens and institutionalised authorities, of which the city council 1 is one. The potential of the infrastructure, people, interactions and institutions which are necessary for democracy is at its best in the city. However, how can we imagine urban democracy on the basis of this potential? We make a distinction between a radical and a romantic approach to urban democracy. There is also an approach which focuses on institutions and one which ignores institutions. We use both models to clarify our idea of the city republic. The romantic and radical visions of urban democracy both develop from the conclusion that representative democracy with elections on its own is not sufcient to create a dynamic urban democracy. This was already analysed in 2 chapter 1. In a romantic version of urban democracy, the city is above all a forum for the creation of consensus. There are conflicts of interest in the city, but as long as they are adequately discussed, they can be overcome and result in shared general urban interests and harmony. This image of 3 a deliberating democracy can be found in the literature on interactive planning which has

become extremely popular. This vision can also be found amongst those who want to return to the village in the city, and who see the district level as a conflict-free unit (Us in the district). The structural conflicts of interests between people and classes are misunderstood in this approach. After all, not everyone has equal access to the debate, there is no question of equal opportunities during the debate and the results often consolidate the exclusion. Furthermore, it is assumed that the rationale of communication between people always promotes the general interest, while nothing can actually guarantee that the result of a dialogue 5 will not lead to further exclusion. In a radical vision of democracy, the city is the stage of a conflict between classes and interests. It is a matter of exposing those conflicts to avoid democracy from becoming a selective democracy of the middle classes. A greater democracy must develop from these conflicts. This view recognises the large differences of interest in the world and therefore also in the city. It is not surprising that this approach has its roots mainly in America. There the government plays a less prominent role and they are extremely stark social and ethnic contrasts, often rein6 forced by spatial segregation in the city. The extremes of the soft deliberative concept and of the hard conflict do not provide a solution. However, it is relevant to ask how the deliberative potential in the city can be combined with the ght against exclusion and an insight into class-related interests which partly transcend the city. A second image which can help to describe the city republic is that of an institutional and an anti-institutional approach to urban democracy. In the institutional approach, political institu-

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tions have a central place and the discussion concentrates on ofcial reforms of democracy: a directly elected burgomaster, the position of the town council in the relationship with the executive power, the introduction of referendums, the operation of the administration, forms of decentralisation at district level. These are just a few examples. This would give rise to a more or less automatic improvement in democracy and a greater involvement of citizens. It is a strongly mechanistic approach: if we adapt the institutions here and there, the machinery of democracy will start going again. On the other hand, in an anti-institutional approach, the dominant view is that institutions are not important and that the democracy must be supported by forms of self- organisation, by spontaneous interactions between citizens who must take as much individual responsibility as possible in as many worlds as possible in their interaction with other citizens. In this sort of literature, terms such as city government and urban policy are 7 often not even used. Neither the one-sided institutional approach, nor the non-institutional concept is useful to us. However, it is relevant to ask how the potential of institutional frameworks of politics and of the city government in particular, can be combined with capacities for initiatives by citizens and self- organisation in society.

urban citizenship, and we see all the elements that were mentioned as providing a supportive framework to turn the city into a democratic forum which makes it possible to achieve urban citizenship. The renovation of certain institutions is one aspect of this. Strengthening urban citizenship must stimulate both deliberative and radical forms of democracy. We believe that both are needed, and that together they turn the city into a lively democratic scene. Strong conflicts about conflicting interests are also part of this. All this is not the result of one or two new instruments or of a single strong measure: it develops from an urban democratic culture which can be supported in many ways. Public space, investment in creativity, the strength of recreation, solidarity, etc. These elements (see chapter 3) promote local democracy just as much as, for example, strengthening district management. For us, urban citizenship means in the rst place, open access to facilities and services. Therefore it still concerns universal rights. In fact, cities have often played a prominent role in this struggle in the past. Cities are not independent city states. They are incorporated in wider forms of social regulation and political organisation. Many conflicts and opposing interests in cities (exclusion in the housing market, in the employment market, in education) are the result of more broadly organised institutions (at the regional, European, global level). Therefore political participation in the city will, in the rst instance, always be a matter of universal rights (to food, housing, work, culture, education, etc.). Therefore we also included this aspect in chapter 3 in the policy lines, amongst other things, in the proposals for the economic development coalition and for the housing policy.


1.2 The central position of citizenship

Therefore we have four corner points: deliberative forms of discussion, universal rights and conflicts of interest, institutional innovation and the self-organisation of citizens. Within this eld we develop our own vision of urban democracy. The general aim, the central point between the four corners, is to strengthen urban citizenship. Therefore it is not in the rst place, a matter of institutional innovation or the design of deliberative or radical democracy. It is a matter of

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However, the city itself is also one level of regulation, and therefore just as much a democratic forum, if only because there is a strong tradition in our country of local elections, autonomous local government and a strong local political action. Those who demand and defend autonomy as being important and valuable, must accept some responsibility. Exclusion or unequal rights are always linked to the direct responsibility of institutions in our society which interact with people in a very concrete and specic way, here and now. It is the slum landlord who exploits illegal immigrants in a particular street. It is the school which subtly turns away immigrant children in a particular district. It is the business where our neighbours work, but which dismisses women with a low level of education. Ensuring universal rights must take place here and now, also in the city. This essential aspect of our view on the basis of urban citizenship and its position in the struggle for universal rights will not be discussed further here, because this would go beyond the scope of this book. However, it is important that our view on citizenship is also supported by stimulating the skills of people, just as much as by the creation of facilities. The most efcient way of achieving basic rights is to ensure that people are strong enough to demand these rights themselves. A vibrant and critical urban scene can provide a good framework for strengthening these capacities. This approach, based on capacities and social learning, ts in the bottom-up vision of urban policy which we outlined in the introduction to this chapter and in chapter 3. Here is an example: talking about a better housing policy is certainly important, but squatting in premises which have been vacant for a long time may help local action to move along a bit faster. Secondly, urban citizenship means opportunities for reciprocity and interaction between people,

so that they can work on common interests. The city should be organised in such a way that citizenship can be exercised in a concrete way in many places and at many times, and there should be a favourable climate for this. Therefore, the organisation of institutions such as the employment market is important to provide opportunities for a different relationship with time and to make time for citizenship. The organisation of public space is essential for interaction. The way in which education operates, as well as the cultural atmosphere, the urban media, the social partners and politics itself are also relevant: they can be organised in such a way that they support responsibility, initiative and interaction. For us, these are institutions (we use the term in a broad sense), and they can be organised in such a way that they are geared more effectively to a proactive form of citizenship. Therefore we focus particularly on urban citizenship as a practice of intervention, supported by the design of the city through its institutions. The fact that urban citizenship in this interpretation comprises every aspect of life (work, church, education, culture, housing, trafc, recreation, etc.) is not only self-evident, it is also necessary to achieve that citizenship. Citizenship is traditionally linked with origin and nationality. Urban citizenship is not based on these sorts of static characteristic in our view, but is a result of practices in the city. It is self-evident that citizenship is a quality for everyone who lives or works in the city, uses the city or stays in the city for a while. Solidarity, avoiding exclusion, participating in development coalitions, the re-evaluation of public space and the cultural dialogue are all empty objectives if some of the inhabitants of the city are excluded from the most elementary basic right to political participation: the right to vote. This applies for people who do not have

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Belgian nationality, but play a full part in the city. Therefore a right to vote at the local level is essential. In a different way, this also applies for the users of the city, who should be able to have their voices heard with regard to urban matters that affect them. Therefore we proposed in chapter 3 to do more work on forms of cooperation between the city and the periphery on the basis of concrete projects and the involvement of the users of the city.

2. More politics in the urban republic

Of course, we cannot talk about citizenship without talking about politics, about the way in which society is organised, the regulation of society, and the distribution of goods, rights and obligations. Our view on politics, combined with that on citizenship, leads us to the concept of the city republic. This concept incorporates the Latin Res Publica: public matters, the general 8 interest. Elections, parties and elected councils in other words, the whole system of representation (the representative democracy) easily loses its credibility and legitimacy. Many people only vote because they have to, the social basis of the parties is narrowing, and elected councils inspire little condence nowadays. The bridges between citizens and politics, the political parties and the broader social partners appear to be losing their linking functions. Everything, even the relationship between citizens and politics, is becoming mediatised and commercialised. This results in a growing populism in politics. Populism means pretending that politics acquires an unmediated form by a direct relationship between politics and citizenships. Populism means saying that you are doing

what the people want, without all that endless discussion in elected councils, and without the difcult debates with the social partners. Populism is based on individualism and nuclear issues, and is in danger of leading to consumerism: citizens are seen above all as clients. Populism means the market approach in politics. Politics becomes a matter of supply and demand, and itself erodes citizenship. We described deliberative democracy as a soft democracy, but populism undermines even that form of democracy. After all, it is hardly necessary to discuss matters in public anymore. There is no longer any time or space for the slow process of discussion, the difcult public debate, questions and answers, the confrontation of views and the discussion about responsibility, focusing on the general interest. Common sense is decreed. This is an extremely dangerous and unsustainable development in politics. It undermines everything we aim for in this book, which is based on dialogue, discussion, conflict, consultation and the search for common signicance. Paradoxically, this evolution in politics is strengthening technocracy, with a strong focus on management in government, aimed particularly at client relationships between the electorate and government. This interpretation of management sees government in the rst place as providing a service, and it leads to a strong emphasis on the efciency of government. The government has to perform efciently, but it appears to be less important that it is still socially relevant. Strengthened by the populist movement, there is a danger that this will now continue into elds which are related to social choices and order. Inhabitants have the impression that their individual wishes can simply be achieved in the eld of town and country planning, the environment, public health care, trafc, etc. Everyone for themselves, and less

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and less politics for everyone. In this way politics digs its own grave. This road is deplorable for a democratic society. The city and urban democracy can help to turn the tide of these general trends and are essential elements for achieving this turnaround. The organisation of the city will then have to focus on the way in which the city can be steered and turned into the object of political debate with the inhabitants and users of the city, and with social groups. All the subjects for discussion in cities, whether the focus is housing, the districts or the world, are matters related to social choices, and they therefore belong on the agenda of the democratic city republic. Choices are constantly made in every social eld in the city (economics, the employment market, social services, education, the housing market, town and country planning, mobility, etc.) and these determine urban society and the urban environment. These choices must be debated and we must stimulate people to contribute to the discussions.

(we and them, immigrants and the original Belgian population, etc.), boundaries between the government and the market, between the state and civil society. They are all boundaries which divide, rather than connect. With its new administrative organisation and procedures (also see the urban debate in chapter 4), the city republic should focus on new connections for the collective and general interest of the city, not on creating divisions. Open up the boundaries to create a broader scale: this explains why we devote attention in this chapter to unclogging policy, for policy creation at the level of the grid city, for the relationship with other cities, with other governments. It explains why we do not remain stuck in the divisions between public and private, between government, the social partners and the market, but link these elements together for the sake of the Res Publica. In our view, the social debate should be strengthened in general, and should certainly also have a central position in representative democracy. However, the old forms are no longer sufcient. Representative democracy at the level of the city has become too much of an enclosed administrative democracy. This means that it is more concerned with itself (and its own reforms) and with the management and constant reform of complex ofcial systems than with the dialogue with citizens and social groups in the city. This administrative democracy has foundered in patterns of participation which have become rigid, in patterns of cold government, caught up in procedures, regulations and red tape. In the current local representative democracy, the town council plays a marginal role and hardly fulls any functions that deserve the description: representation of the people.


2.1 The city republic: working on breaking down the boundaries

Therefore politics and the administrative organisation of the city republic must work to break down boundaries, focusing on connections rather than divisions. There are no longer any boundaries between the city and the world, and even between cities the boundaries are relative (see chapter 2). The term grid city sees the administrative boundaries between the city and the peripheral municipalities in relative terms. In chapter 1 this often concerned mental boundaries, with which we make all sorts of distinctions in the city and which are often also reflected in policy boundaries. Boundaries between sectors, boundaries between people with different cultural backgrounds, boundaries drawn by so-called target groups of policy, boundaries which are the result of broad generalisations

2.2 The whole city is politics

The city republic is by denition a political project. There is a need for more politics in the city,

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the city should become the rst level of political organisation. This means that politics itself must also become an object of political discussion. Where do we want to intervene and how do we want to steer things? The whole city is politics. What does the city itself do (broadly dened here as a collection of different actors) about environmental problems, how does it govern the local housing market, what does it do about exclusion in the employment market, what does it do about looking after the infrastructure, what is its strategy with regard to the economy and in what urban networks is it active? How does the city organise its own space, what does it do about the suburban sprawl? These questions must be discussed in the city in a process of interaction, dialogue and conflicts. This is politics at the urban level. It is the necessary framework for citizenship. However, more politics does not automatically mean more government action in the traditional sense (more services provided by the government). The government can regulate markets, achieve cooperation with the social partners, the private sector and authorities, and create frameworks to support initiatives of citizens. This requires different and new capacities on the part of government, not even more bureaucracy and government which focuses on government. In our view, the role of politics in the city is irreplaceable: to draw up binding rules, to achieve democracy and social justice, to protect the interests of the weakest and the weakest interests. More rather than less politics is needed, in the sense of a more conscious way of dealing with choices, indicating more rights and imposing more duties, and more government regulations in certain elds where the market has had too great an impact. The governing parties and civil servants have their own ethical norms, which cannot be dened by market standards

or in terms of gures. In fact, they will probably increasingly have to play a deliberating, reconcil9 ing, mediating and directing role.

3. Urban citizenship in a participatory democracy

Chapter 3 dealt with crucial choices related to content which must contribute to citizenship. In this chapter we restrict ourselves to aspects which are related to administrative and organisational frameworks to dene government and organise urban society. It is the combination of the content-related aspects (chapter 3) and the institutional aspects (this chapter) which must stimulate citizenship. The change we aim for can be described as participatory democracy: what citizens can do themselves does not have to be taken over by government, the contribution of citizens must be taken seriously and decisions arise from interaction, discussion and the arguments put forward. It is a matter of involving the population in decisions (and this is required by urban complexity), both at the level of the city (see the urban debate), and in decisions which concern the immediate environment and everyday life (particularly, though not solely, at the district level).

3.1 The urban debate

Chapter 4 looked at the urban vision and urban projects, important levers for the administrative and democratic organisation of the city republic. We will look at the urban projects again below: in our view, these are the ideal moments and places where participatory democracy should take place. The best practices of participation are applied there in their most intense form. The city republic requires images and imagination. There is a need for identication, symbols, frameworks for steering the debate, construc-

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tions to empathise with other citizens in the city and professional organisations where the debate about the city can take place. Debates as dened in chapter 4 refer to a mixture of communication formulae. The urban debate should confront citizens and users with the city, give them a sense that they are part of a social movement, and give them an opportunity to participate and feel part of what is happening in different ways, through different channels and at different times. With its organisation and image, the urban debate has an open and inviting character. The contribution is not immediately linked to decisions and the administration does not have to immediately provide a readymade answer to every contribution that is made. This is not the purpose of the urban debate. It is concerned with the core of citizenship, because it gives everybody the opportunity to participate, because it takes the contribution seriously and assimilates it in a broad process of confrontation and discussion. Therefore it is above all a question of creating attitudes. This mentality should contribute to the open city and open citizens; in chapter 3 (line 1, eld 1), this cultural capital was described as being crucial for the development of a glocal strategy.

it to the weekend more or less in one piece. Inhabitants and users of the city should have sufcient time to notice it (and obviously this is possible in a thousand different ways). Forms of career breaks and time credits are useful to give people an opportunity to contribute to some aspect of the city for a particular period. This is in line with the attempts to work on some of the many forms of useful local activities (community services, the service economy in the context of local job centres). Therefore we must make more time for work on citizenship. In chapter 3 we linked the general policy on time in the city to this: coordinating time management with the many different rhythms of the city. 2. Space Space for citizenship should also be interpreted in a literal way. That is why we devote so much attention in this book to a concern for the public spaces in the city. This concerns both public buildings (for example, cultural centres), and streets and squares. This public space provides many forums for interaction, and in this way contributes to the public debate in the city on all sorts or major and minor matters. A public space of a high standard is the agora in the city republic. Reference is made in this respect to chapters 1 and 3. These spaces also require all sorts of modest forms of public infrastructure, for example, district infrastructure with a low threshold, which is open to all the inhabitants and users of a district. 3. Creativity A vibrant and creative city stimulates citizenship (see line 3 in chapter 3). Autonomous cultural initiatives, artistic interventions, experiments and projects such as the Summer of Antwerp are proof of this. Crazy events are often not as crazy as they seem, because they give people ideas, and that is always a basis for citizenship. The creative city is accompanied by all sorts of


3.2 Creating conditions for citizenship and participation

Citizenship and participation are activities, practices. They are also positions from which people take part in society with a view to achieving the general interest. We have described some of the elements which can have a stimulating effect on this: time, space, creativity, giving an opportunity for capacities, an attitude, and the public character. 1. Time and work People with busy diaries who are always catching up with themselves do not have time for citizenship. They are glad if they manage to make

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creative learning and practice-oriented training which correspond to the social learning described in chapters 1 and 3. The services of governments can also focus on citizenship in a creative way. At the moment, many of the services focus on individuals. The client is one citizen. People ask for licenses or premiums individually. Not enough services stimulate group formation, and therefore citizenship. This could be achieved, for example, by providing people with more support if they cooperate with other people in the district or on a particular subject. People who do things as a group (a district, an association) would then receive higher premiums, more support and extra services from the municipal authorities. 4 . Giving oppor tunities to capacities The prole of the obedient citizen who must behave in accordance with the wishes of the institution, department, faction or lobby organisation still often dominates in many institutions and departments in the city. The arguments of the organisation have a central place. In recent years, openings have gradually been made for a greater contribution from citizens, though this is still often on an individual basis, as a client, rather than as a co-producer of the policy of the institutions. Like the town council, most institutions in the city have become administrative institutions. These administratively-oriented arrangements make citizenship difcult. Citizens almost always nd themselves in a dependent and subordinate position. They rarely have the opportunity to develop their own skills in a freer environment: according to the institution, there is always something that does not t or is not according to the rules. But it is not the citizens, rather the rules, which should be adapted. A client-oriented approach has increasingly become part of the credo of these institutions.

This is positive and important, but focusing only on this client-oriented approach leads to the same problems in these institutions as in politics: the citizens only behave as an individual client and consider that all their wishes should be met. Too much emphasis, or an emphasis only on the individual, client-oriented approach, can even undermine citizenship in this way. Therefore the management of these institutions should focus more strongly on relying on citizens more to be prepared to cooperate or support change. Obviously this also places part of the collective responsibility on the citizens themselves, and that is what it is all about. For example, this applies to parents and pupils in education (participation at school), to users of subsidised institutions, to the elderly in residential homes, and to tenants in social housing companies. Obviously, the town council should also apply this idea itself in the management of its own services and institutions (cultural centres, sports centres, libraries, community centres). The Government of Flanders has some interesting keys available, because it can influence the relationship between the institutions and citizens in its regulations and with its subsidies (see below). 5 . An open and public charac ter A general atmosphere of discussion, with an open and public character has a positive effect on citizenship. Critical urban media and critical social partners play an important role in this respect. Information gives rise to surprise and sometimes indignation, it can stimulate discussion and may lead to initiatives.

3.3 Dealing with the initiatives of citizens

In a representative democracy and in traditional forms of participation, the emphasis is always on the fact that citizens must participate in politics. However, wouldnt it become increasingly meaningful to turn this round and propose that

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politics should participate more in society? Citizens will no longer allow political parties to dictate to them. The efforts and involvement of citizens are often expressed in ways which are not familiar to politicians, and in patterns and cultures which are difcult to integrate in a closed representative democracy. Failed experiences with immigrant projects (the term says a lot) prove this all too clearly. Traditional forms of participation (advisory council, hearings) usually have a place here. Citizens also increasingly organise themselves on an individual basis in new forms of networks, sometimes on a temporary, sometimes on a permanent basis. They develop their own agendas, which no longer connect seamlessly with those of the political parties, as they did in the past. Therefore a stronger participation of politics in society has become necessary to attain and retain legitimacy. It is no longer even a choice. The whole content of this chapter focuses on the stimulation of the city so that it permanently feeds the interaction between citizens and political parties. We realise that we have moved onto a slippery slope in this respect. After all, the term initiatives of citizens covers many sorts of initiatives. Politicians are very familiar with action groups which oppose any new developments in the district. Many initiatives by citizens certainly have limited motives. Some have a temporary interest, in which the common aspect consists only of being against something. Sometimes this is even further strengthened by aspects revealing a closed character, defending the groups own interests and exclusion, which undermine the principles of the city republic. We do not mean that politicians should simply welcome all these initiatives of citizens and convince the organisers to carry them out. This is the populism, the politics without mediation, from which we distance ourselves. They must be

able to communicate intensively and create a general climate which makes it possible to explain motives and enter into a debate. In the best cases this leads to an acceptance of decisions. The opposition to asylum centres and the extremely different ways with which local politicians have dealt with them are extremely instructive in this respect. In the absence of communication and debate, some action committees which are against something can completely dominate the relationship with the government and the way in which matters are presented in the media. Obviously this is not to the advantage of politicians either. However, it is just as unfair on initiatives from citizens to place them all in the corner of shortsighted PLIMBYs or NIMBYs (please in my backyard or not in my backyard). Initiatives of citizens are also involved in many forms of voluntary enthusiastic efforts and positive participation in the city. In the cities there are an increasing number of small and large-scale projects set up on the initiatives of citizens. The ex-journalist who starts a local paper, a district which rents an abandoned theatre, community residents who share transport, many forms of unofcial care, parents who supervise children in a square, people who participate in the management of a windmill, action groups who draw up their own cultural plan, environmental groups who manage nature parks, neighbours who organise a system of informal childcare It is all these small Res Publicas together that create a vibrant city. It is crucial to support and stimulate these. Participating in this process means listening, strengthening, supporting, respectfully taking part in political debates and budget discussions, and thinking critically before developing initiatives on these matters, as the government. The administration does not always see these initiatives, because they often do not t into


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patterns or plans drawn up by the government itself. Furthermore, they do not only concern ofcial organisations (with a chairperson and secretary). Networks develop in squares, in relation to infrastructure, in shops or cafs, and the inhabitants attach a great deal of importance to these and organise their relationships there. We referred to the soft forms of solidarity in chapters 1 and 3. Informal networks can cover many hidden initiatives by citizens. In cities, both the town councils and other public authorities often respond to problems by extending the services, with even more initiative from the government. This promotes a general sense of dependence (the government or institution will sort things out), stimulates an individual client-oriented approach (whats in it for me?) and a sense of separation from ones own responsibility or from initiatives by citizens (thats what we pay taxes for, isnt it?). The government in this way itself stimulates part of the rejection of politics which it deplores. We often see that initiatives by citizens are initially embraced by the government and are then subsidised and surrounded by rules, and nally taken over, and disappear. This is the way in which the administrative democracy responds from above to new initiatives. The arguments of government have the nal say. An intelligent government develops frameworks which enable citizens, civil companies, institutions, and players on the market to develop their own initiatives and stimulate them to take up some of the responsibility. This social selfregulation based on a respect for initiatives of citizens is the most consistent application of subsidiarity. Plan not to plan. Allow things to happen is the simple basic message simply having condence in the potential of citizens and a slightly more healthy suspicion of the potential of government.

3.4 Participatory democracy at the district level

In our view, the district level is not the only level of participatory democracy: we have referred before to the importance of the urban debate, participation in large projects and participation in choices at the urban level. We do believe that participatory democracy at the district level is a suitable additional way of organising aspects of the collective debate on an identiable scale, and particularly for citizens themselves to discuss matters with other citizens and make choices. In this way the city republic becomes a very concrete and tangible concept. It is not the self as an individual against the government, but the inhabitants and users of the district of the city acting together. Obviously there are policy-related limits on this, and the town council retains its overall responsibility for the policy framework for the city as a whole, and at times the town council must make choices between the interests of different districts. Working in a district or community-oriented way is not a new development: in recent years, Brussels and all the Flemish cities have worked in some way on a greater district-oriented approach in services and/or in the creation of policy. There is a large range: district services, district programmes and district consultations, advisory district councils, elected district councils in Antwerp, district contracts in the Brussels Region. In general, we consider this to be a fascinating evolution, and it is this changing practice that we wish to extend into more radical forms of district management. For no matter how positive the intentions may be, the district-oriented approach often appears to be yet another aspect of the bureaucratic administrative democracy. The district approach primarily serves the administration.

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Participatory democracy at district level can and will take different forms, in relation to the particular city, and even in relation to the particular district, because not every district is confronted with the same problems, and some parts of the city are probably not districts that can be organised. Therefore we do not consider that every district can be obliged to work with forms of district management; however, we do believe that the introduction of participatory democracy in districts and responding to demands from districts can serve as interesting levers, in addition to all the other ideas put forward in this chapter. Focusing on a district as one level (not the only level), of participatory democracy, is not inspired by nostalgia, and even less represents a move towards a new closed attitude (us and them). In our view, the district or community is not a warm village in the cold city, but a construction which serves as a useful step up, because it places an obvious link between private interests and the public aspect in the context of the diversity of people. It is an instrument of citizenship because it confronts people with discussions in and about their own community and via the community, with the town council, in the context of an urban project which affects the district. It is also a framework for stimulating and supporting forms of initiatives by citizens. These are not abstract discussions, but concrete practices in the district or community itself. Therefore we envisage a range of effects which are all part of the process of stimulating the city republic. In chapter 3 we called this the socio-cultural capital of the city. Not all the effects apply in the same way everywhere, as the districts themselves differ too much in terms of composition and function. Therefore it is not necessary everywhere, and the districts can take the initiative themselves. We suggest that in the context of district man-

agement it should be possible to transfer parts of the municipal budget to particular districts to become the object of consultation amongst citizens (inhabitants and users), together with the authorities. Obviously agreements must be made about this, and minimum procedures will have to provide a framework. The essence is for citizens to decide for themselves what should happen to these budgets and what is given priority. The authorities undertake to respect this, after consultation and debate. Legal frameworks must be drawn up for this in the respective municipal decrees in Flanders and the Brussels Region. The district councils in Antwerp indicate what should be avoided: that the party political administrative democracy at the level of the city is simply replicated on a smaller scale. No one benets from duplicating the problems of the representative democracy. The experiences of the Antwerp district councils are useful for talking about the aspects of the approach to the district in terms of content (what scale, what competences, what resources, what organisation?). The authorities often focus on uniformity, concentrating more on the interests of the administrative organisation than those of the district or community itself. Participatory democracy at the district level means that differentiation should be given a chance: what works here does not necessarily work somewhere else; what is needed here is not necessarily needed somewhere else. This requires the modication of regular services which often operate on the basis of a sectoral logic and predetermined planning. Breaking through this requires a strong team of a high standard which can work on changing the organisation to focus on a particular area, with a sufcient ofcial and political scope. Otherwise focusing on the area serves more to conrm an old problem than to provide


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a new opportunity, and undermines legitimacy rather than strengthening it.

3.5 Participatory democracy in the budget of the city

Drawing up the budget of the city (what should happen to the money from taxation?) is at the moment only theoretically an important point for local democracy. In many cases this debate takes place virtually unnoticed in the city. The budget is a matter of the administrative democracy, of the majority against opposition. With a sufciently professional approach, it should be possible to reflect participatory democracy in drawing up the budget of the city as well. This means that proposals by citizens are taken seriously, and that there is a response to them, stating reasons. The procedures can take place per district, but it is equally possible that the discussion on the budget for the city takes place in subject-related debates which cover the whole city, or that the urban debate provides an important contribution. By introducing a budget for several years the decrees could provide a better framework for these processes. The budget for these programmes could be determined in a procedure in which opposing views are confronted with each other. The representation of the people continues to govern matters at the level of the city. It is essential that the participation in the budget leads to an interactive process, a system of communication, discussion and accountability that is organised and transparent, and gives an insight into the difcult decisions which the town council has to make. Most citizens do actually understand that it is not possible to do everything, and that choices must be made, but retaining this understanding requires honest accountability and open communication. Moving towards this sort of system of communication and dialogue on the budget requires time. Therefore it is not

enough to try it out all at once, and then to conclude with satisfaction that (fortunately) It doesnt work. Both the people in government, administrations and citizens, must go through a learning process before this new system will work.

3.6 Participation in the planning

The administration complains about the lack of people who are prepared to participate, or about the selective participation (You always see the same faces). This is an accurate analysis: many forms of participation often strengthen citizens who could also contribute in other ways. However, this always concerns participation in procedures and processes which were drawn up by those in government, on subjects and at times chosen by them. In many cases the decision making therefore has a more or less xed basis; it may not have been put down on paper, but it is certainly there in the minds of those in government. In many cases participation can at most lead to a few changes in the details, and obviously citizens are aware of this straightaway. The participants are not given any real decision-making power. Another even more important criticism is that the citizens are also approached too much as individuals in the participation. Forms of participation do not sufciently focus on stimulating a debate amongst the citizens themselves. Hearings often become evenings for airing complaints. The last criticism is that the whole process of participation depends on a verbal process: it is as though you become a citizen by talking. This prole of one participation governed by administrators applies for most institutions in the city: education, welfare work, culture, etc. They are all based on the same interpretation of representation. 1. The grow th of new planning prac tices In the course of the last few years many new planning practices have developed, particularly

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in the cities, often as the result of encouragement by central government: safety plans, structural plans for town and country planning, mobility plans, environmental plans, youth work plans, cultural policy plans, district development 10 plans These plans are all part of an interactive rhetoric. They have certainly led to greater professionalism in policy (better support for policy which can be implemented more effectively) and more social involvement (more discussion and consultation). In many cases they resulted in cities exploring certain policy problems in a more systematic way in relation to policy and discussing them at a social level. This is a recent development and is therefore still full of unfullled hopes and desires. The different planning practices have also led to new generations of ofcials coming into the cities, which has certainly strengthened the ofcial potential in middle management. This whole development is still only in its rst generation, i.e., at the stage of puberty. Hope and frustration alternate. The practice of all these plans in the different cities is very different: from a very closed approach of drawing up plans from behind the desk, to a very open preparation, based on negotiation in forms which deserve the description, participatory planning. Therefore a great deal depends on local practices and persons. It is a matter of luck for the citizen. However, a plan that appears to be participatory still often ends up in the mill of routine bureaucracy, both at the level of the city and at the level of central government which provides subsidies or cooperation for these plans. Central government also holds back for other reasons: in some cases the city is forced to accept a planning model imposed on the basis of bureaucratic arguments. As described in chapter 4, new planning gures in themselves are not enough to create a new practice in the creation of policy or to provide

greater legitimacy amongst citizens. In some cases having a plan is too much a goal in itself, but often that plan does not have a place in the organisation, and even less in society. At a more fundamental level, the drawing up of such plans reveals control. As long as everything is anticipated in the policy plan, and if all the planning procedures have been properly followed, it seems as though government has society under control. This is a closed, one-sided, administrative way of thinking in a fashionable but bureaucratic planning jacket. Social reality immediately overtakes these plans and means that they cannot be implemented. These sorts of plans do not t in the complex urban environment where many factors are unknown and uncertainty is often a dominant feature. They suggest a certainty where it does not exist, propose quick decisions for which the instruments and resources are often lacking, and create an illusion of a comprehensive viability. This sort of planning sometimes puts an end to the dialogue and discussions and reduces the credibility of the government. In many cases this confrontation does not exist internally either: drawing up the plan is restricted to the department concerned, while the implementation of the plans can never be achieved by one department alone. An abundance of sectoral plans, particularly under the influence of central governments working in a blinkered fashion, leads to even more divisions between departments. To each district, its own plan. 2. Conditions for interac tive planning Thus a change is gradually taking place, a very laborious change towards more participatory forms of planning in which a more open dialogue with citizens has a central place, and decisions are made with less deliberation but more consultation. The style of government moves from one based on information and consultation on the initiative of the government, to

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forms of co-production in which the governing parties take the proposals of citizens seriously and respond to them, giving reasons for their decisions. Co-production requires communication and a much more two-sided process than the one-sided style based on giving information. The way in which government thinks is important: an open attitude, a readiness to listen, put forward arguments and give reasons are central in this. This interaction requires clear agreements and procedures, professionally tackled processes, ofcial support and help from experts to tackle projects. Traditionally-organised municipal councils (divided into departments, with few policy ofcials, a hierarchical approach) cannot really achieve this; therefore it is necessary to adapt the organisation (see below). The urban debates, urban projects and district-oriented approach which we advocate are seen as elements to stimulate this change. The parties which are in government and the experts often dominate processes of participation, either the ofcials from town councils or the experts supervising the processes. In these procedures, the citizens are usually the weakest party. In some cases, legal battles are the only way out, and these then obstruct the whole process. In projects in which the citizens themselves are also experts or have support, they are able to play a full role in the debate. This is what we aim for: we do not wish to turn the citizens into the only party whose will becomes law, but to achieve a better balance in the deliberations and to ensure that the parties in the debates can participate fully and are on an equal footing. This means that citizens can play an independent role and can be involved in the argument in interaction with experts, pressure groups and administrations. They examine visions and studies and force experts and administrations to justify and give reasons for particular choices (whether or not these have

already been made). This reveals that not all experts turn out to be real experts. At the moment, citizens are often dependent on councils being prepared to listen to their views and on experts to explain matters to them. If citizens are able to organise themselves in a sufciently independent way, they can become critical as well as crucial partners for councils and experts. By making life difcult for councils, they make it easier for the process of government. Special attention should be devoted to groups which are at risk of being excluded from these processes, just as they are underrepresented in the representative democracy (in political parties and town councils), in traditional forms of participation (advisory boards and hearings) and in new forms, such as e-government. The governing authorities have a special responsibility to ensure that these groups are given a voice in the debate. By now, it has become clear that it is better if town councils do not create the new initiatives for this themselves, but that they support people and their projects who are already working on it: voluntary groups in district activities, in community work, in social work, in trade unions. We also refer to what was said above about universal rights, the development of skills and the conditions for social learning in the city. Chapter 4 described urban projects. In our view, these should be the pilot projects for participatory planning, the projects which serve as an example in which open planning processes are worked out in the most intensive and professional way. Chapter 4 demonstrated how the professionalism related to the concept and content should accompany the professionalism of the process, insisting on the far-reaching and progressive professionalism of those responsible for projects and the planners. In fact, we consider that this is necessary for citizens to be pre-


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pared to commit themselves: it is impossible to attract rst-rate commitment for second-rate projects. Banality is not stimulating, but bold ambitions are challenging. Participatory planning leaves things open and does not aim to be too decisive. That is the planning philosophy of chapter 4. Information, consultation, and interim decisions alternate in this process. The primacy of politics can be seen in a dynamic way, and consists of an alternation of roles and interventions: giving the process a chance, maintaining a sufciently open attitude, indicating the limitations, choosing a direction at crucial moments, weighing up the alternatives and communicating the decisions. The planning also focuses on concluding agreements about the division of tasks between the government, social organisations, and private parties. The execution is discussed straightaway in the planning stage; after all, experience has shown that the lack of credibility of many wonderful plans starts there. An assessment of the commitment and of the feasibility of the execution will determine the planning from the start.

result in certain alternatives, which are then presented to the whole electorate (in a district, part of the city, city or urban region) as the end of an intensive and public process of discussion. In this case, it a matter of choices between scenarios which have been discussed by the public. Therefore referendums should be used selectively for the really crucial dossiers. Therefore we are for a referendum when it is the well-organised peak of discussion, and against when it is an instrument for making this discussion superfluous straightaway.

4. Turning the urban administrative organisation upside-down

Most town councils are working on reorganisations to establish a more modern system of government and administration. These changes are being achieved at different rates and to different degrees. What is this need for change all about? We do not believe that every change or modernisation is positive. All too often, it just represents a move towards the corporate culture. We emphasised above that a one-sided move towards a client-oriented approach, focusing on efciency, is not desirable. Obviously these are important objectives in themselves: services must provide a certain standard of quality, people must be helped in a correct and efcient way. Therefore we are mainly concerned that this aspect of the relationship between the citizens and the governing authorities is in danger of getting rid of all the other aspects. Management only appears to be about an individual client-oriented approach. We advocate a broader debate on the role of the town council in the city republic on performance and social relevance, on administration and politics and citizenship, on management and the regulation of society, on effectiveness and legitimacy.

3.7 Peoples initiatives and referendums

Peoples initiatives give citizens an opportunity to place their own points on the town councils agenda. This encourages discussion, organisation and citizenship in the city republic and corresponds with our approach. With regard to referendums, we adopt a balanced view: we oppose a certain trend in which referendums replace the collective debate and the mediating role of politics in society. This view of referendums corresponds with the populist idea and with marketing. It appears to be democratic, but it undermines the city republic. However, we do believe that referendums have a place in the model of the collective debate in the city. Processes of participatory planning can

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In this section we will therefore not explore the client-oriented approach of town councils and aspects of internal management relating to this any further. This book can only repeat what has been explored in greater detail elsewhere. In order to achieve a better balance in the public debate and on the basis of the objectives of this book, we focus particularly on the role of the town council in society and on the way in which a change in the organisation and the work of the council can support citizenship and politics. First, we describe how the past continues to have an effect and causes problems (4.1). We briefly look at the nancial issues (4.2), and our view of the relationship between civil servants and politicians (4.3). This is followed by the government of the town council (4.4): the key word used to describe the change in the social role. We describe the skills which are required to full this role (4.5), and what this change means for the town council (4.6). We conclude with a special capacity for the future: that of cooperation between cities (4.7).

interrelated, and government is often mainly concerned with the governing parties. This means that the towns and cities are situated on a break line between the old but very obstinate cultures with their ingrained routines, and the innovative practices. New civil servants and new generations of politicians are balanced on the cutting edge between the past and the present. This often leads to painful cuts and grazes, and sometimes to serious broken bones. There is a danger that any attempt at change will quickly be assimilated in the familiar culture again. For example, projects related to tackling districts will then slide into the party political games after all. The local administrative eld is a conglomerate of local institutions as a result of the fragmentation and mutually inconsistent regulations: the town council, OCMW, church wardens, notfor-prot companies, authorities and municipal companies, agglomerates, building companies. They all work in accordance with their own administrative systems. There are different rules for their operation and management. It is almost impossible to summarise and integrate the operation and results (consolidate them in 11 terms of policy and nancially). The links with the town council as an institution are extremely loose, even though many councillors have accumulated a whole series of management mandates in these institutions. In many cases, the individual institutions have a far- reaching degree of autonomy. This development is harmful both for efciency and for achieving a vision in society and the democratic control of the town council. The municipal authorities are present everywhere, but always in different guises. The citizens can no longer see the politics in this conglomerate. This is an unfortunate situation. We need a greater degree of uniformity in the management, independence related to programmes, periods and agreements, greater


4.1 The past works against us

On a number of points, the past is counterproductive. Participation, the mushrooming of different forms of governance and the out-of-date legislative framework form important obstacles. Belgium, Flanders and the towns and cities have a difcult history with regard to the effects of governance, due to the strong politicisation of the administration, the party political divisions of policy sectors and the operation of party political networks which have become established in and around government (in boards of governors, not-for-prot companies, commissions and collections of councils). These forces prove to be very resistant to attempts to organise government in a more professional and open way. Politicians and civil servants are closely

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direction and control by the town council and more contributions from citizens as a form of social pressure on these institutions (see above). The control and monitoring of this system certainly requires more professional skills at the level of the organisation of the city. These are often inadequate at the moment. If the policy does not change, our town councils will evolve into centrifugal organisations: many satellites, but hardly anything of a centre that can direct and control. The New(!) Municipal Act was based on an image of urban government dating from the last century. Local authorities were above all administrations, and responsible for the execution of policy. On many crucial points, this legal framework is no longer appropriate for a modern vision of politics and management. The regions are currently working on New Municipal Decrees. However, this is not the appropriate 12 place to analyse these in detail. In general, we do nd that management themes are particularly dominant and that the focus on society serves much less as a basis. There is a danger that the balance will move too far towards internal reforms and too little towards reforms of the position of government in society. And that is exactly what is important. The discussion on the municipal decree is carried out too technically: there are not enough links with broad social developments, with the changing role of political parties, etc. Party politics, the fragmentation of institutions and an excessively inward-looking legal framework are three strong forces which obstruct the evolution of town councils towards organisations which are open and focus on society.

nicipalities ask them to pay for everything. Dossiers, such as the liberalisation of the public service sectors, pension contributions, the reform of the police force, etc., are a (very) great burden on the city coffers. Successive cuts lead to the termination of projects and frustrate the civil servants and politicians. Privatisation seems to be the only possible way of managing nancially. It is difcult to assess this problem accurately and it is beyond the scope of this book to do so. How heavy is the burden of bureaucracy in cities, and how important can increasing efficiency therefore be as an element in making 13 savings? What is the burden of the costs passed on by central government, and to what extent do historical mistakes made by cities continue to have an effect? Does the new Municipal Fund compensate adequately or is it too much or too little? Is the tax burden in the cities too heavy or too little? In this book, and throughout this chapter, we indicate a number of elements which have important consequences for the nances of towns and cities: redrawing the tax system in cities (the menu of reforms was discussed in chapter 3); the decentralisation of tasks and obligations for cooperation between parties in the city; bringing together key tasks, the need for a debate on key tasks at the level of the city, and strengthening the roles of government by decree; the creative management of the basic infrastructure and more cooperation between cities; greater public-private partnership in many elds and with different private actors; the accumulation of funds in the Municipal Fund, linked to the objective and correct funding of tasks imposed by central government (see below).

4.2 The nancial problems of the cities

Cities are almost drowning. They complain that both central government and the peripheral mu-

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Subsidiarity and decentralisation should lead to a reduction in the pressure of taxation at the central level and a proportional increase of that pressure at the local level. This is the argument behind our approach, but it appears to come up against political resistance. The local choices must be based more strongly on the local level, and their consequences should be paid for as far as possible with local funds. This is simply the consequence of the argument for subsidiarity and decentralisation, and should be an important incentive for citizens to take an interest in the city republic. If the tax system is decided at the level of the city to a greater extent, we can expect more interest and involvement on the part of citizens. Citizenship and taxation go together. Which taxes are most suitable for this is another debate which we will not explore at this point. More de-bureaucratisation is needed in every city. We do not believe that the cities have arrived at the end of their internal reforms; we think they have just started. Anyone who is often in contact with cities and departments will nd obstinate cores of the traditional closed form of bureaucracy in many places, an inefcient deployment of personnel and sub-standard modernisation. The modernisation of town councils in Flanders is only in its rst stage. The New Municipal Decree should accelerate this process of modernisation, but it will have to be carried out at the level of the city in a much more radical way. The nancial situation of town councils should not be assessed in isolation either. In accordance with our philosophy on the city republic, we look at the whole sum of public and private funds which are invested in the city. This is a multiple of the urban budget. The question is particularly how all these funds together can be used for urban policy more efciently and more

effectively. This concerns both the funds invested by central government (of Europe to the Government of Flanders) and the funds which central government spends on private initiatives in the city (via subsidies or tax incentives). Obviously it also concerns the private funds which are invested in the city (by companies, the social partners and citizens). How can this entire nancial sum be used in a better way, and what is the role which the town council should play in controlling this? That is the basic question in a city republic.


4.3 The relationship between politicians and civil servants

An emphasis on the primacy of politics more and more strongly, on the one hand, and on the increasing independence of the administration on the other hand, appears to underline the division between the roles of politicians and those of civil servants. The danger lies particularly in an excessive quantication of performance, an obsession with providing measurable results, and sometimes an excessive professional weight of the unelected responsible parties in the administration. The image of divided roles is popular, but we are not convinced. We do not believe in a general evolution towards a separation between political and administrative tasks. This may work for departments which are clearly dened (and in that case, the subsidiary effects will still have to be carefully monitored), but the complex policy dossiers of the type which have a central place in this book, the governing roles of the town council requires a combination of political and administrative leadership. The basic characteristics of this leadership are communication, the development of a strategy, providing a basis to support policy and negotiation on the implementation of policy. In our opinion, the success of cities is determined above all by the quality

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of the cooperation between politicians and civil servants, and the way in which they can combine their professional qualities in this cooperation. A number of fascinating projects in cities reflect this pattern: inspirational political leadership and continuity in that leadership, space for professional civil servants to develop policy, the training of teams, an open dialogue between politicians and society, organised by civil servants in a professional way. Other examples illustrate what happens when these conditions are not met. However, one of the important characteristics of our current town councils, where a strong relationship is developing between politicians and civil servants, is that above all, sectoral dependency is particularly strengthened. Councillors continue to work in their own areas of competence and cooperate with their own civil servants. This increases the so-called blinkered sectoralisation of the town council and often stimulates the (hidden) conflicts between departments and between sectors. This sectoral approach is out of date. Obviously there is a need for specialists in certain elds, but the organisation of the city is now too much based on these specialist areas, and not enough on the universal and comprehensive elements which characterise a city. Our town councils are usually weakly or even very weakly developed at this level. At the moment, the sectors determine policy. This policy is often an accumulation of sectoral interests and of negotiations and exchanges between sectors. From the point of view of society and citizens this is increasingly articial; the divisions do not correspond with the integrated sense which people have of the problem. The reality and the practical situation in a city cannot be divided into sectors. All town councils still have along way to go in this respect. The urban projects described in chapter

4 are the ideal testing places for working with integrated teams and establishing new structures for the administration of the city, including cooperation between politicians and civil servants across the sectoral boundaries.

4.4 Government by the town council

Traditionally, town councils focus strongly on their own responsibilities. This led to a narrow way of thinking, in which certain problems were not seen as a matter for the town council, although they were things which were of concern to citizens. It is not possible to persist with this attitude and these divisions without losing every shred of legitimacy. Chapter 3 described 19 elds. The achievement of the objectives requires the cooperation between different public and social organisations. The task of the town council has a role to direct the cooperation of all these organisations towards a joint approach and to divide the tasks into programmes, projects and policy processes. The term directing has rapidly gained popularity in recent years: at the level of social housing, social services, culture and youth work, the employment market, education, etc. This trend, strengthened by the Government of Flanders, indicates that the responsibilities of the town council should be interpreted in a broad sense. This is also our view, although the urban authorities often still see things differently. Of course, the division of tasks between the social partners and the government is not new in Flanders. The subsidised freedom of the social partners has a long tradition in Flanders particularly in social work, health care, education, and as regards the employment market. In certain elds, this division of tasks between the government and the traditional social partners, in the form of established pressure groups, nds itself

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under pressure. After all, there are many new groups which are not represented in the old arrangements and which are concerned with problems which do not have a place on the traditional agendas. The traditional division of tasks, particularly with the passive role of the (paying) authority, no longer sufces. The governing role challenges the urban authorities to consider carefully which programmes and actions it will develop itself, which it could leave to the market or to social organisations, and for which others it aims to conclude agreements and achieve a division of tasks (in broadly conceived forms of public-private partnership). In any case, this means that the role of the municipal authorities is itself also part of the debate. This role can differ, depending on the issue concerned, and even from place to place. Therefore the laborious debate on key tasks between central and local 14 governments does not stop on the borders of the city. It is also taking place between public and private partners in the city itself. Furthermore, this discussion of key tasks is not static or a one-off event, but must be constantly adapted to the specic problems of the city and to new problems. Therefore the results should to some extent be different for every city. We will not get very far with general slogans about the role of government or by following general fashionable trends (privatisation). These considerations constitute the core of so-called strategic planning: what is the role of the market, of the social partners, of the individual citizen and of government? Such key questions are often ignored in current forms of strategic planning in order to arrive at extremely operational forms of strategic planning. The operational aspect avoids the big questions. We argue for raising the crucial questions in forms of urban debate, the questions which deal with responsibility in and for the city.

The functions of government require the appropriate organisation of town councils. The functions of government require continuity in policy, a stable organisational framework, strong support and intensive communication, professional management and the efcient organisation of consultation processes with the social parties involved. In our opinion, this consultation should be sufciently autonomous, so that the role of the town council can be viewed critically by the social actors. This will not work if this government takes place too close to the day-to-day political and administrative hierarchy. In that case, the critical questions about the town council itself are too easily set aside. Steering the processes at both levels of the urban debate is one of the important applications of the role of government. In chapter 4 we argued for sufcient autonomy for the organisation of the development of a vision and of projects, for example, in the form of an urban bureau with its own urban ofcials and external people who are specically recruited for a particular eld of expertise on a temporary basis. This would be a combination of inside and outside people. We indicated that the professionalism and capacity required for this process management is often lacking in cities.


4.5 New capacities for new roles

We expect a great deal from town councils, and these expectations require capacities which are currently only available to a limited extent in many cities, or are even absent all together. For a long time, town councils were executive organisations and their personnel was based on this. Since the 1980s, more highly educated civil servants have entered town councils in smaller or larger numbers. The central governments have encouraged specic appointments or even made them compulsory in certain elds. All this

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gradually leads to a different generation and a change in culture. Middle management in town councils is becoming younger and is rapidly becoming more professional. However, in many places there are still gaps in this professionalism, or it is much too limited in terms of people in relation to the complex tasks and new mandates. Where strong teams have developed, the effects become visible in the cities almost immediately. Where professionalism has to overcome a predominantly bureaucratic environment, this quickly leads to frustration and people leave or lose interest. Therefore it is also a matter of imposing this new and promising professionalism in cities. It is a general problem that the capacity for planning and control is lacking in all the Flemish cities for organisation as whole: the professionalism in sectoral departments is increasing, but at the top level of town councils responsible for integration it is not increasing or is not increasing enough. This is a serious problem with regard to achieving the objectives of this book: for the evolution towards more integrated projects, and working on targeted elds, for the organisation of the urban debate, for negotiations with the Government of Flanders and for managing an organisation which provides services with independent divisions. In our view, it is absolutely clear that by 2020, town councils will have far fewer executive personnel. The prole we outline for town councils places a much greater emphasis on planning, process management, interactive policy and participatory democracy than on the develop15 ment of detailed executive departments. The town council we anticipate is smaller than it is now, with fewer executive functions, but a large number of personnel involved in planning. This prospect to some extent means reducing the tasks and contracting them out, as well as pri-

vatisation. This means a smaller government. However, there will be other new tasks: organising the urban debate and the participatory democracy, supporting initiatives by citizens, governing tasks, the regulation of the markets and process management. A new capacity will be required precisely to support these processes of change. A stronger government. The key capacity throughout this book 16 undoubtedly concerns communication. The traditional information policy of cities still focuses too much on the organisation itself, and too little on the city republic as whole. The urban debate, community action and participatory democracy all require a strong and professional approach to communication. This communication has both an inward focus (between the departments themselves and between departments and independent institutions), and an external focus, including professional marketing. For a further description of the communication policy we refer to the preliminary study book which accompanies this White Paper. The last capacity is that of evaluation. Monitoring and amending programmes will have to be done in interaction with society. Therefore evaluation is part of participatory planning. Our cities do not have a tradition in this eld and have little expertise. It is often contracted in, but this does not result in strengthening the capacity. The ability of the organisation to learn is therefore limited. All sorts of things are tried out, but it is difcult to achieve a higher level of capacities and organisational development. Strengthening the culture of evaluation is a priority. The audit is an 17 interesting aspect of internal evaluation. The city monitor can be a useful instrument for assessment in society: an instrument for measuring and learning to monitor the state of the city with all sorts of social actors, and to identi-

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fy indicators as an opportunity for discussing amendments to programmes, the division of 18 tasks and the (re)distribution of responsibility.

4.6 The town council: the city parliament of the city republic
In the city republic the town council must provide the open representation of the people. At the moment, town councils are marginal in the political system of the cities: their functions with regard to determining policy, controlling policy and representing the people have not been sufciently developed; the emphasis is on the executive authorities and civil service departments. Consequently, this point is probably what will encounter most scepticism: the practice in Flanders is a long way away from what we are proposing here. As we stated in the introduction to this chapter, we are not opting for more populism in urban politics, but for a politicisation of the city. We are opting for more regulations at the level of the city, for arguments for and against, for debate and a confrontation of views and interests. For this reason, we consider that the direct election of the burgomaster is the wrong choice: it strengthens the trend to focus politics even more on populism and individualism. In our view, this choice is also irreconcilable with strengthening the collective debate and constructive conflicts in and around the town council, which we support. The town council serves as the emanation of the city republic, as a parliament for the city. Therefore it is logical that the town council should choose the burgomaster. In elections citizens indicate which people they expect to play a central role in the public debate and in the discussion with society. At the moment this is hardly the case for the members of the town council or for the councils themselves. This leads to frustration for councillors.

They are often caught up in a party political straightjacket which deadens the spirit. The fact that the representatives of the people feel frustrated cannot be healthy for a democracy. There are already so many frustrated citizens. It is necessary to intervene, if only to continue to attract people of the right quality into politics. We believe that the town council should have a central place in controlling and directing more independent departments in the coordination of the approach to the region and the governing role of the city, in the discussion of the content and the results of the urban debate, and as a public platform for participatory democracy. The town council should no longer present itself as a manager, and should be liberated from all the administrative dossiers which now overwhelm its operation. A dialogue with society and a well-organised public debate should become the main lines of its activities. The members of the town council are, in the rst place, representatives of the people. The organisation of the town council should focus on that. At the moment, the town council is all sorts of things, but does not have time for these key tasks. he urban debate described in chapter 4 serves as an important lever for breaking open the closed character of representative democracy. The urban debate must be organised in a sufciently autonomous way, but still be politically incorporated in the town council, in the sense that the town council plays an essential linking role, to guard and encourage lines of communication, to link the three lines of the urban debate. However, strengthening this role means a total change in the political culture and the organisation of representative urban democracy. Without this link, the urban debate is in danger of floating away, and there is a risk of a closed attitude and the dominance of certain groups or interests. The bureau for the

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urban debate works for and reports to the town council as the parliament of the city republic with a sufcient degree of independence. We believe there should be time for citizenship and therefore also time for politicians. It is essential that councillors should have a strong status in cities (while the status of politicians executing policy should also be improved). The new Flemish municipal decree should certainly differentiate sufciently between small municipalities and cities in this respect. Strengthening the town council requires support for councillors for the preparation of their dossiers and for the discussions in the council. An improved status of the council and a clearer prole of its activities should make it possible to recruit valuable people and give interested citizens an opportunity to full their political function in society in politics (representing the people), and to strengthen their decision-making and controlling functions in relation to those who implement policy.

have also been covered in this book. Building up a capacity on these points together is also essential in Flanders. Cities do not have to wait for anyone for this: they can cooperate together to achieve this. Concrete operational cooperation can be concerned both with the management of infrastructure and with policy, for example, in the eld of culture, the economy or social policy. In too many cases every city tries to resolve its own problems, often with suboptimal results, for example, to provide electronic services (the cooperation between Ghent and Antwerp on information technology is an interesting new development), for the quality control of public services or for the development of the auditing function. New elds for cooperation could include the management of public infrastructure and public space, the coordination of capacity for organising urban debates, etc.


4.7 Cooperation between cities

Cooperation between cities is a special capacity. In recent years, the dialogue between Flemish cities has grown, but it is still too often limited to an exchange of information and occasionally a limited joint protest action. In other countries, we see that cities are increasingly organising themselves, on the one hand, to strengthen their capacity, and learning abilities, and on the other hand to adopt a much more assertive attitude to other levels of government and social groups. One interesting example is the Knowledge Centre for Large Cities in the Netherlands. The box text on the next page shows the key questions with which the Knowledge Centre wishes to present itself as an organisation of cities for cities. These are all issues relating to knowledge about cities which

Cities have important assets in real estate and in immaterial assets. This is probably another important untapped potential reserve for com19 mon management. The cooperation for the cross-border leasing of sewers is perhaps rather questionable because of reasons related to content, but it does demonstrate that cooperation is certainly possible in unexpected elds and that it can be organised fairly quickly. The Government of Flanders can stimulate and sometimes reward the cooperation between cities. But it can also focus on cities and urban policy in a creative and attractive way, and in this way strengthen the cooperation between cities. Cooperation between cities is also possible on the basis of healthy competition. Competition

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Strategic creation of a knowledge base for urban policy

The Dutch Knowledge Centre for Large Cities asked an advisory commission to indicate the main themes for building up a knowledge base about cities and urban policy for the period 2003-2010. In February 2003, the commission submitted a report entitled Strategic Urban Knowledge Themes Agenda 2003-2010. (20). The Knowledge Centre aims to make available scientific research and indicate a direction for the scientific research and to strengthen the knowledge base and learning capacity of cities, inter alia, by stimulating the cooperation between cities. The twenty themes are collected together in five clusters and deal both with knowledge-related questions (What do we want to know about cities?) and action-oriented perspectives (What can we do?)

1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4

The image and identity of cities

The identity of the city The city as a public domain: significance, function and management The intangible character of the city: experiment and innovation The image of the city in an international context

2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4

Diversity and cohesion

Divisions and interaction in the city Changes in the ethnic composition and the strength of diversity The development of social capital: opportunities and restrictions The emancipatory strength of the city: the city as a social lever

3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4

Dynamics and stability

Strategy for urban economy in globalisation Understanding and planning in the polycentric or network city Links between material and social processes The vulnerability of the cities in a risk society

4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4

The individual and society

The development of urban citizenship and of political skills Urban social security: the balance between self-organisation, prevention and repression Urban living as a social construction: significance based on social interaction Urban development through co-production: critical factors for success

5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4

Networks and institutions

New institutions for cooperation in the urban region The organisational capacity and the modernisation of urban administrations Relationships between governments in a national and European context Impact and role of ICT in the city

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between cities can lead to an improvement in their individual strategies: for example, cities can capitalise on their own strong points and have little interest in competing on points where they are similar. Competition can take place particularly by making the best of quality. If cities try to outdo each other with projects of a high standard, all the cities will benet from this. The campaigns for the At home in the city prize and for the urban renovation projects in 2002 are examples of this. Cooperation between cities is not restricted to Flanders. Some cities use their twinning actions with cities in other countries as modest levers to discuss problems of globalisation by supporting concrete actions with their partner cities. This cooperation and exchange can help to focus the city republic on the world. We indicated in chapter 3 that urban alliances in the Flemish urban network and at the world level are an essential part of a glocal urban strategy and of an economic urban programme.

We will briefly look at the tax system (5.1), and then at the change in the Flemish regulations to support citizenship (5.2), followed by the organisation of urban policy at the Flemish level (5.3). We conclude with what should be the central task of the Government of Flanders in our view: to promote cooperation at the level of the grid city (5.4).


5.1 A tax system which supports the urban character and solidarity
In chapter 3 (eld 19) we proposed a menu of tax reforms to support the urban character and solidarity as a subject for discussion. Most of these points have been on the political agenda for a long time and occasionally lead to modest results (for example, the reduction of VAT for the renovation of urban housing). On this point, the Flemish and federal governments should really concentrate on negotiating an action plan.

5.2. Liberate and support the city republic

On a number of crucial points, the Government of Flanders should adapt its regulations in such a way that the city republic and urban citizenship acquire a greater content: through decentralisation, by assigning cooperation a central role and by giving the governing roles of the town council stronger legitimacy in its regulations. We indicated above the need to develop the management and policy of all sorts of urban institutions in a more participatory way. With its regulations, the Government of Flanders has a powerful instrument to open up institutions and give citizens a more active role and greater responsibility (in education, in social housing, in the cultural sector, in the employment market, etc.). A few key provisions in the framework regulations are sufcient for this. Linking these frameworks to decentralisation should stimulate

5. The city republic in the urban policy

In this section we explore the wider circles of policy creation and the organisation of the administration of the city, which is summed up by the term urban policy. We restrict ourselves to the institutional organisation, as the focus on content was covered particularly in chapter 3. We see these aspects of the urban policy as an important framework for achieving the policy directions indicated in chapter 3, the urban debate of chapter 4, and the content of this chapter 5. For this purpose, adaptations are needed in the administrative organisations at the Flemish level, which encompasses urban policy at the moment.

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the debate between citizens and institutions in the city. From this perspective of the main lines, the Government of Flanders could examine its regulations and adapt them in a general programme: Strengthen the city republic. Social housing companies, social work institutions, health services, cultural actors, etc. are subsidised to a large extent by the Government of Flanders. They must comply with the Flemish norms for recognition and are inspected by the Government of Flanders. In general, this often means that these local actors focus on Brussels rather than on the local situation. They adopt an approach which is more vertical than horizontal. This is the result of an often strong centralisation, despite the rhetoric of decentralisation and a client-oriented approach. In order to stimulate citizenship and provide a greater local content for local cooperation, these administrative arrangements should evolve in the direction of local responsibility. This could mean that local administrations gain a greater influence on the recognition and the strategic planning of these local subsidised actors. In its softest form, this means that their plans are assessed in a local forum by the town council, leading to a discussion and the possibility of evaluation. In its most far-reaching form, the recognition becomes dependent on the town council (decentralisation) or of shared recognition (Flemish-local). In any case it is necessary for the focus of local actors to be concentrated on the city resulting in more horizontal links. In several policy areas relationships have developed in the regulations between the government, subsidised free initiatives and the social partners. These regulations often focus largely on individual institutions and departments, which often leads to a very narrow view on the part of the actors, focusing on the administration. This prevents an attitude which focuses on

the urban environment. Every institution concentrates on itself. We suggest thoroughly revising the institutional systems of regulations, subsidies and recognition to encourage cooperation and joint projects. That should be the starting point. The recognition and subsidies for individual institutions would then be dependent on this. Anyone who does not subscribe to local urban cooperation would gradually lose the right to government subsidy. Plans for the Social House and the local social policy are moving in this direction. In recent years, forms of governing tasks have developed in several different elds: social housing (Flemish Housing Code), culture (the decree on local cultural policy), the employment market and job creation (the decree on job centres), youth work (the decree on local youth work), mobility (the decree on mobility), and town and country planning (the decree on town and country planning). Slowly but surely, town councils are adopting the prole of network brokers, who try to gather together public and private parties in programmes or try to optimalise the provision of services. Local enthusiasm and the quality of local government vary enormously. The best examples reveal that this governing role can lead to powerful levers and fascinating cooperation (for example, Ghent-working-city for the man21 agement of the Ghent employment market. The worst examples reveal that in some cases this governing role is no more than a new form of bureaucracy and control imposed from above. The Government of Flanders can provide the legitimacy for these governing roles in decrees. This means that town councils have the authority to carry out these governing roles. For example, the governing role with regard to residential and social housing should become compulsory, not optional, as in the present Flemish Housing Code.

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5.3 The organisation of the urban policy at the Flemish level

Up to now, the organisation of the urban policy at the Flemish level has rarely been constant, and has never really been fully developed. The planned division of the Flemish administration (as a result of the Decree on Better Administrative Policy) into 13 departments and independent entities (agencies) will make it more difcult to devote integrated attention to urban policy. We consider this to be a dangerous evolution, and ask the Government of Flanders for a clear commitment to establish a strong and sufciently independent team which will focus on urban policy on a constant basis. As the urban policy is still developing, it is probably best to give this team enough space to play a critical role with regard to innovation in policy for everything which concerns the Flemish administration, its independent Flemish institutions, cities and the social partners. In our opinion, this function to stimulate and innovate is more important at the moment than the question where this team should be incorporated in the administration in the medium term. We consider the establishment and rst actions of the Flemish City Fund to be a positive step in inter-administrative relations, because it is based on open negotiation, a process-oriented implementation of policy, space for tailor-made activities and result-oriented forms of evaluation (22). The City Fund should gradually develop into a decentralising fund which gathers together resources, so that all the important Flemish resources for cities are put together and linked to a system of professional negotiations on cost prices between the responsible people at the local and Flemish level, and with modern systems of evaluation and monitoring. All these elements are present in the City Fund in an embryonic form. The core task of the Government of Flanders is to draw up strong

lines for the most important strategic policy elds which outline a general framework for all cities. It is best if the concrete policy programmes and the implementation concentrate on the City Fund.


5.4 The grid city: central focus of the Flemish urban policy
In several places in this book we have referred to the extremely relative character of administrative boundaries. In the past, the geographical and economic term urban region was often used to indicate the existence of an economic link between the city and the peripheral municipalities. In some cases, particularly in Antwerp, this was linked to a brief debate on the usefulness of creating a permanent administration for urban regions. The discussion is about boundaries (how many municipalities?) and always founders in a war of political positions. The terms city and periphery themselves also result in a strong polarisation. With the term grid city in chapter 2 and its exploration in chapter 3, we believe we have provided an innovative framework for a new discussion and an approach which focuses more on activities. We are aware that this debate is only just starting. We believe that worn out, static discussions which focus far too much on administrative forms should explore new possibilities. It is not a matter of the city versus the periphery; this is a lost cause. With the grid city we indicate that all the parts of the entire urban area, irrespective of the municipality in which they are situated administratively, are interrelated. This is not, to use the traditional terms once more, only for the benet of the city, but also for the benet of the areas around the compact city. Many forms of communal activity arise in this grid city, which should make it possible to develop a dialogue between the policy leaders of different municipalities and social actors. It is

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not the discussion on types of administration which should have a central place, but the discussion about this common experience in relation to concrete actions and activities. The two lines from our basic diagram in chapter 2 are also appropriate here: we should not think in terms of the traditional bureaucratic lines (which administration? which bureaucracy?), but in terms of the lines of practices and activities (what is already happening? what is possible, what are we going to do and who will we involve in this?). We do not believe in either the usefulness or in the viability of a new discussion on a single permanent and all-encompassing regional urban form of administration: this sort of debate takes up too much administrative energy, takes up a lot of time, and is in danger of turning into a discussion related to form once again, politics spending a long time on itself. The term leads too much to new xed boundaries of the city and does not do enough justice to all sorts of other common experiences which run criss-cross through the administrative scales and parts of the grid city: infrastructural lines, lines connecting residential areas, projects of some municipalities (forests on the edge of the city), target groups which have already marked out their own urban area for themselves for a long time. The Government of Flanders is already developing as a steering force for aspects of the grid city in a very hesitant way. Examples include the bordering off of urban areas, identifying forests on the edge of the city, mobility planning focusing on specic areas, etc. These and other projects lead to interaction and networking between actors in the urban area. These are dynamic, soft, flexible forms of institutions, and we opt for this sort of approach. They correspond with activities and practices. We believe

that this is an interesting and useful direction for the creation of frameworks of communication and dialogue on programmes and projects. In our view, the involvement of the social partners and of citizens in these types of cooperation is important to prevent the administrators from becoming too involved in their own personal agendas. The Government of Flanders should work on this in a more systematic and professional way and develop the necessary capacity at the Flemish level. At the moment, it is only available to a limited extent. The team on urban policy should be strengthened with this capacity. We are convinced that the Government of Flanders can and must give legitimacy to initiatives in the grid city. After all, we do not believe that this should count solely on the local dynamics. Where this dynamic character is growing anyway, it corresponds with a tailormade approach which the Government of Flanders can then cautiously draw up, stimulating and rewarding these sorts of local initiatives. In our view, stimulating this sort of implementation of policy and making it possible is a key task of the Government of Flanders. Town and country planning is probably the most important lever available to the Government of Flanders. Many important aspects of urban policy come together in town and country planning (housing, economic infrastructure, mobility, ecological lines, public infrastructure, etc.). We believe that the Government of Flanders should give absolute priority to this, and should provide professional frameworks for negotiations. This should not be done on the basis of a single xed framework, which is laboriously gaining shape at the moment in the processes for creating the boundaries of urban areas. The many problems in the grid city cannot be dened by xed boundaries. Therefore it is necessary for the

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Government of Flanders to work with an open scale, but with incentives for programmes at the level of parts of the grid city.

With the city republic, we opt in this chapter for a strong local urban democracy as the rst level of the political order. The city republic appeals to the responsibility of citizens, administrations, the social partners and private actors. We wish to strengthen the responsibility of all these groups and cooperation in the city. The social debate on the management of the polis, from the district to the world, has a central place: more politics and democratic debate on politics characterises the city republic. We opt to strengthen citizenship as a basic strategy. In this chapter we indicated several paths for this. Strengthening citizenship can be supported by reforms of institutions and administrations, but citizenship should be stimulated above all by action: in the form of activities, by introducing dynamic elements in the city, by getting inhabitants, the users and the social partners to act. We describe how institutions can focus on this and how the Government of Flanders can support it. Citizenship and participatory democracy go together. The complexity of the city does not leave any choice: the citizens and users must be involved more, differently and more effectively in the decision-making process. This applies for the development of urban visions, for programmes and projects and for large and small matters, for the strategic choices and for district management. Participatory democracy means that the decision making is built up on the basis of the involvement of citizens.

Town councils have a special political, administrative and social responsibility. The modernisation of town councils is not only necessary for management, but also for the way in which town councils play their political role in the city. We roughly outlined this perspective: a more integrated approach and an organisation geared to this with more cooperation between politicians and civil servants, instead of separate sectoral activities, greater attention to the governing role in social networks and a more critical attitude to the councils own role and operation. A new administrative capacity is necessary for a more political and better management. The town council should play a more central role as a political platform than it does at the moment. We conclude the chapter with a few indications for Flemish urban policy. The Government of Flanders can support the principles of the city republic in various ways: with an appropriate tax system, by strengthening the role of the town councils and by rewriting the regulations towards greater decentralisation, cooperation and local responsibility. One of the crucial core tasks of the Government of Flanders is to create and stimulate the conditions for programmes and projects at the level of the grid city. In this sense the city republic is also an open concept.

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1 A free interpretation of Amin, A. and N. Thrift (2002), Cities. Reimagining the Urban, Polity Press: Cambridge. We were particularly inspired by chapter 6: The Democratic City. 2 For a fascinating journalistic analysis of democracy, in particular in cities, we refer to Van Westerloo, G. (2003), Niet spreken met de bestuurder, De Bezige Bij: Amsterdam. 3 Reference is made to the work of John Rawls and Jrgen Habermas as representatives of a deliberative view of democracy. 4 Healey, P. (1997), Collaborative Planning. Shaping Places in Fragmented Societies, MacMillan: London; Edelenbos, J. and R. Monnikhof (ed.) (1998), Spanning in interactie. Een analyse van interactief beleid in lokale democratie, Instituut voor Publiek and Politiek: Amsterdam. 5 Examples of this literature: Flyvbjerg, B. (1998), Rationality and Power. Democracy in Practice, University of Chicago Press: Chicago; Forester, J. (1992), Empowerment. The politics of Alternative Development, Blackwell: Oxford. 6 For an administrative approach to the urban problems in America: Ross, B. and M. Levine (1996), Urban Politics: Power in Metropolitan America, Peacock Publishers: Illinois. 7 The work by Amin and Thrift cited in footnote 1 is an example of this: town councils are not mentioned anywhere in the book. 8 Traditionally three models are distinguished in the literature on citizenship: a liberal model which places the emphasis on the individual rights of citizens in the state, a community model which places the emphasis on the common values to which citizenship must contribute, and a republican model which emphasises that politics is a process that is determined by the way in which people relate to each other, discuss matters and resolve conflicts. In this chapter, we side with this republican tradition. In this book we submit that the content and organisation of the city are essential for this. For a further description of the republican approach, see Van der Brink, G. (2002), Mondiger of moeilijker? Een studie naar de politieke habitus van hedendaagse burgers, WRR, Voorstudies and achtergronden, 115, Sdu: The Hague and Van Gunsteren, H. (1992), Eigentijds burgerschap, Sdu: The Hague. 9 Freely adapted on the basis of: Denhardt, R. (2000), Democratische criteria ter beoordeling van bestuurlijk vermogen, in Bestuurswetenschappen, no. 3, pp. 194-207 and Denhardt, R. and J. Denhardt (2000), The New Public Service: Serving Rather than Steering, in Public Administration Review, vol. 60, no. 6, pp. 549-559. 10 For an explanation of the effects of these plans and the criticism on the planning philosophy, see the contribution by De Rynck, F. and N. Vallet (2002), Stedelijke netwerksturing in het licht van interbestuurlijke verhoudingen and strategisch management, working text for the project Thuis in de Stad, included in the preliminary study to this book. 11 For an explanation of the problems of this administrative conglomerate of institutions: see Bouckaert, G., W. Van Dooren, B. Verschuere, J. Voets and E. Wayenberg (2002), De stedelijke organisatie in 2020: het intern stedelijk management, working text for the project Thuis in de Stad, included in the preliminary study to this book. 12 The texts of the draft Flemish Municipal Decree and the responses to this can be consulted on the website of the Hoge Raad voor Binnenlands Bestuur (Supreme Court for Home Affairs). 13 Moesen, W. (2001), Openbare nanciering and de nieuwe steden, basic text for the workshop on the funding of cities in the context of the project Thuis in de Stad. Also see the preliminary study to this book. 14 Reference is made to the Government agreement between the Government of Flanders, the provincial councils and the municipal councils, 2003 (see website on the debate on core tasks). 15 We make use of the insights in the text of Bouckaert c.s. (see footnote 11). 16 This is based on the texts on government communication, which were prepared in the context of the project Thuis in de Stad and presented at a workshop in 2002. See the preliminary study to this book. 17 The internal audit is determined in the draft Flemish Municipal Decree. 18 All the texts on the city monitor can be consulted on the website of the project Thuis in de Stad (

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19 Moesen, op. cit. 20 Kenniscentrum Grote Steden (2003), Strategic Knowledge Themes Agenda 2003-2010? Advisory Committee on Strategic Urban Knowledge Themes, Draft, The Hague and Kenniscentrum Grote Steden (2003), New knowledge for cities, The Urban Innovation Programme, Draft, The Hague. 21 Idea-Consult (2002), Bouwstenen voor een dynamisch and efcint subregionaal beleid in Vlaanderen (Building blocks for a dynamic and efcient subregional policy in Flanders). Study commissioned by the Flemish Minister for Employment and Tourism in the context of the VIONA research programme, study carried out under the promoter, F. De Rynck, Brussels. 22 Decree on establishing the rules on the operation and distribution of the Flemish Urban Fund.

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We do not have a tradition of strong social debate in Flanders. Discussions soon fall under party political control and respond to the rhythm of the attention devoted to them in the media. There is no clear relationship with the activities of the social partners, there is rarely time or money available to encourage a culture of discussion, and the approach often lacks professionalism. Debates do not really have a place in a populist, anti-intellectual approach. Action is considered more important than words. The debate on cities does not really take place in Flanders at all. We are more inclined to defend the countryside than to improve the living conditions in the cities. The argument soon degenerates into a distribution of funds and about individual incidents. Safety and immigrants are issues which continue to attract attention. They are not only dealt with in a one-sided way, they also reinforce the already strong prejudices about cities. Therefore the appeal made in this book is not self-evident. We want to start a fundamental debate about the city which extends beyond short term considerations. This must be about more than doing odd things here and there and hoping everything will pass. It is not concerned with an accumulation of individual projects and it is not about more or less money for the cities. In our view, this debate is concerned with the most strategic choices which Flanders has to make. We argue for a strong and permanent debate about the purpose of the urban character, the changes in urban space, and the outlines of urban policy in Flanders. We hope that the governments, every city and many social groups will take up the challenge and use this book as a basis for discussion.

We ask for attention to be paid to the new attitudes and the innovation related to content which we support. Above all, we have tried to develop a cohesive and strong vision: a vision which opts for an urban character and is supported by powerful and cohesive principles: density, diversity and democracy. These mean that cities can support real sustainable development, and therefore the future of Flanders. We have indicated how the vision and these principles can be converted into programmes, in a new organisation of administration and in different methods of planning. Of course, all this affects the traditional sectors such as the economy, housing, the cultural sector, the social sector, etc. Nevertheless, the arguments and certainly the interests of the sectors are not the starting point; they are not even our primary concern. Our approach is not based either on the traditional thinking in terms of target groups: immigrants, women, the elderly, the unemployed, etc. We have tried to transcend thinking in sectors and target groups on the basis of an integrated, strategic approach which focuses on increasing the urban character as the interaction between a new urban space (the grid city) and a new democratic form of the city (the city republic). Sectors and target groups are interconnected and interrelated in this. Above all, we hope that this framework will survive, that the vision is successful, and that the book will motivate and encourage people to break down boundaries. In the rst place, these are the boundaries between people, but there are also boundaries between levels of government and administrative, political and mental boundaries. Pushing back the boundaries is quite an ambition for a book. However, in our view it is necessary, an essential choice which is inherent in opting for the urban character.



To place the city and the urban character in a central place in this typical context of Flanders and the Flemish city, a substantial change is required. Deep-rooted political and social practices will have to be turned upside down. This may sound like a utopia. We are not optimistic about all the developments in our society, but we guard against cultural pessimism. In our opinion, there is hope for new forms of political activism, new forms of citizenship. Cities are an extremely suitable biotope for this purpose. Sometimes there is a sense of impotence and complacency, but this alternates with the hope of creativity in society. We appeal to the imagination of the inhabitants and users of the city, to the energy of the administrators and politicians and to the efforts of social partners. In this book we indicated how the organisation of politics and administration can be directed in such a way that it gives the maximum opportunity for this imagination, energy and effort. It is not the exodus from the city, but the atmosphere in the city that should lead to freedom. In our view, the urban character represents the mentality of the twenty- rst century; this century is the century of the city. It contains the leading principles and basic elements for political and social innovation. It is supported by a broad vision of the developing city and urban networks in Flanders and Brussels, and has links with the district and the world. Focussing on sustainable development, supported by an interaction between people with different backgrounds, by shared responsibility and coalitions, by solidarity and an intelligent use of space and raw materials. Density, diversity and democracy require a new way of thinking about planning, a new relationship with the public character, and a new vision of government and politics. This book is full of

choices and there are many controversial issues. Therefore it is in the purest sense, a political plan for the next decades. A plan for politics which focus more on the urban character. Long live the city republic!

The Century of the City | W H I T E PA P E R

We w o u l d l i ke t o t h a n k e v e r y o n e w h o contributed to the genesis of the White Paper

1 Authors of preliminary studies

Christian Kesteloot, Ron Lesthaeghe, Willy Miermans, Ruth Soenen, Filip De Rynck, Nathalie Vallet, Geert Bouckaert, David Slosse, Andr Loeckx, Paul Ponsaers, Frans Steffens, Ludo Struyven, Marc Verlot, Myriam Jansen-Verbeke, Guido De Brabander, Wim Moesen, Mora Heyn, Eisse Kalk en Rudy Laermans.

Quanten, Rik Desmet, Dirk DHulster, Tom Vandenbrande, Mimi Cober, Otto Atzema en P.H. Laman.


Marc Verlot, Dimokritos Kavadias, Paul Mahieu, Johan Lamote, Rik Schreurs, Lydia Raeymaekers, Laurent Thys, Christine Dupont en Johan Boucneau.

Leisure time in the city

Myriam Jansen-Verbeke, Georges Allaert, Hans Mommaas, Annick Bogaert, Dirk Yzewyn, Toon Berckmoes, Gilles Facon en Hilde Plas.

2 Focus groups
who provided ideas for and feedback on the text

Theoretical framework
Christian Kesteloot, Andr Loeckx, Eric Corijn, Peter Cabus, Pascal De Decker, Ron Lesthaeghe en Philippe Van Wesenbeeck.

Economic basis
Guido De Brabander, Frank Witlox, Ann Verhetsel, Hans Kinoo, Paul Teerlinck, Luc Vervoort, Frederik Looten, Anniek Desmet, Koen de Cock en Christelle Debruycker.

Willy Miermans, Paul Jansen, Wilfried Goossens, Peter Vansevenant, Jean-Paul Vandewinckele en Roger Kesteloot.

Administrative policy, Internal urban management, Communication policy and Finances

Filip De Rynck, Nathalie Vallet, Francine Quanten, Guido Decoster, Geert Hillaert, Roel Verhaert, Jan Leroy, Marc Verheirstraeten, Adelien Decraemer, Geert Bouckaert, Wouter Van Dooren, Bram Verschuere, Joris Voets, Ellen Wayenberg, Johan Ide, Danil Verbeken, Jan van Alsenoy, David Slosse, Eric Goubin, Johan Steyaert, Jan Van Den Bergh, Ineke Pycke en Wim Moesen.

Social cohesion
Ruth Soenen, Gust De Meyer, Phillippe Matthys, Thierry Timmermans, Annemie Degroote, Paul Salmon, Anissa Akhandaf, Marc Trullemans, Lut Schrevens en Dirk Beersman.

Andr Loeckx, Bruno De Meulder, Pascal De Decker, Bob Van Reeth, Marc Dillen, Mark Martens, Peter Haverals, Frank Heylen, Gunther Gysemans, Gerda Vanhove, Maryse Gys en Jimmy Eeckhout.

Relationship between the urban character and crime

Paul Ponsaers, Christian Eliaerts, Elke Devroe, Marcel Scheyvaerts, Sandra Rottiers, Lieven Pauwels en Sofie De Kimpe.

3 Participants in the Thuis in de stad workshops in autumn 2001 and June 2002 as well as people who read the texts of the authors of the preliminary study and/or formulated comments
Luc Aerts, Katelijne Aerts, Mia Aerts, Luitje Afschrift, Noran Akgun, Anissa Akhandaf, Karen Alderweireldt, Georges Allaert, Jan Alleman, Bart Ameye, Jo Ampe, Mark Andries, Geert Anthierens, Fonny Anthonissen, Marnix Auman, Prosper Baelen, Herman Baert, Edwin Baert, Johan Baeten, Godfried Baeten, Luk Baetens, Jan Bal, Ria Baldewijns, Jo Baret, Ralf Bas, Maurice Baute, Michel Beckers, Eddie Beek, Wim Beelaert, Dirk Beersmans, Hugo Beersmans, Kathleen Beirnaert, Ludo Bekker, Toon Berckmoes,

Residential environment and the public domain

Frans Steffens, Karel De Baere, Theo De Vos, Rudi Haeck, Eddy Beeck, Xaveer De Clercq, Luk Bral, Rob Cuyvers, Marijke Mahieu, Yves Decuypere en Dirk Demeyere.

Ludo Struyven, Jan Denys, Luc Luwel, Jos Geuvens, Fons Leroy, Ilse Loots, Marion Vrijens, Dirk Diels, Gudrun Vandergucht, Tom Meeuws, Francine


Rik Bernage, Renaat Bernard, Louis Beulens, M. Beullens, Herman Beyens, Kristel Beyens, Leen Beyers, Andr Binon, Guy Bisschops, Rene Blavier, Thomas Block, Sylvie Bloemen, Linda Blomme, Nikolai Boeckx, Paul Boerjan, Vicky Boerjan, Annick Bogaert, Johan Boie, Rita Bollen, Eva rita Boon, Kaat Boon, Hilde Borms, Kristiaan Borret, Dirk Bostoen, Yvan Bostyn, Robrecht Bothuyne, Claude Bouckaert, Johan Boucneau, Jan Boulogne, Maarten Bouwen, Ingrid Bracke, Guy Braeckman, Jan Braeckman, Luk Bral, Jaak Brepoels, Robert Breulemans, Marc Broeckaert, Boudewijn Brouckaert, Els Brouwers, Karin Brouwers, Robert Bruelemans, Frans Bruneel, Ben Bruyndonckx, Jeroen Bryon, Luc Bungeneers, Philippe Buysschaert, Peter Cabus, Maarten Caestecker, Myriam Callebaut, Lucette Callebaut, Michel Camerotto, Filiep Canfyn, Ivo Cappaert, Inez Cardinaels, Patrice Caremans, Freddy Carlier, Yves Cartuyvels, Jef Cassimons, Gregory Casteels, Luc Catteeuw, Dave Cerpentier, Ivo Claes, Carlo Claes, Luc Claessens, Urbain Claeys, Erik Claeys, Chris Claeys, Danny Claeys, Rozemie Claeys, Danny Coecke, Guy Coenen, Jean-Marie Coenen, Carine Coign, Hans Coltof, Jan Cools, An Coolsaet, Koen Cooreman, Luc Coorevits, Lieve Coorevits, Tom Coppens, Roger Corbreun, John Cordier, Eric Corijn, Steef Corijn, Jef Cornelis, Andr Cornille, Guy Cox, Annemie Creemers, Jerry Crombez, Luc Croonen, Marc Cuffez, Rob Cuyvers, Herman Daems, Griet Daneels, Frderic Dauw, Guy De Backer, Karel De Baere, Emilie De Bauw, Tim De Beule, Maria De Bie, Dirk De Boever, Guido De Brabander, Christelle De Bruycker, Serafien De Bruyn, Bart De Buysscher, Lieven De Cauter, Monique De Ceuster, Willy de Clerck, Xaveer De Clercq, Helena De Clercq, Koen de Cock, Stefan De Corte, Frederik De Coster, Jean de Craen, Ann De Cuyper, Arthur De Decker, Pascal De Deckere, Chris De Dobbeleir, Paolo De Francesco, Stijn De Geest, Alfredo De Gregorio, Karel De Gucht, Karl De Groodt, Freddy De Gryse, Anne de Hingh, Patrick De Klerck, Frank De Laere, Walter De Lannoy, Stefan De Lausnay, Herman De Ley, Paul De Ligne, Filip De Maesschalck, Koen De Mesmaecker, Bruno De

Meulder, Juul De Moiti, Ronny De Mulder, Nancy De Naeyer, Johan De Neef, Stan De Neve, Doris De Neve, Piet De Pauw, Eva De Pauw, Bart De Peuter, Bram De Pooter, Bruno De Raedt, Annelies De Roeck, Filip De Saeger, Carla De Saer, Eddy De Seranno, Peter De Smedt, Luc De Smet, Giu De Vaucleroy, Christiaan De Veth, Ariane De Vleeschouwer, Theo De Vos, Eddy De Waele, Patricia De Waele, Sabine De Wandel, Annemie De Weerdt, Andr De Wilde, Katelijne De Winter, Lodewijk De Witte, Alex De Witte, Andr De Wolf, Philippe De Wulf, Guido Deblaere, Jacques Debouserie, Tine Debruyne, Jan Deceuninck, Stefaan Deckmyn, Hilde Decleer, Bart Declerck, Charlotte Declerck, Caroline Declerck, Adelien Decramer, Frans Decreus, Yves Decuypere, Tinneke Degraeuwe, Isabelle Degraeve, Veronique Degrijse, Filip Deheegher, Peter Dekeyser, Els Delanoeije, Dirk Delarue, Caroline Delesie, Tom Delmotte, Frank Delmulle, Filip Delos, Leo Delwaide, Esther Deman, Dirk Demeirleir, Jari Demeulemeester, Joris Demoor, Marleen Demuynck, William Denayer, Jan Denys, Luc Denys, Kris Depovere, Bruno Deraedt, Frederik Dericks, Dirk Derijck, Kurt Deruyter, Daniella Descamps, Kris Deschouwer, Piet Desiere, Jan Desmedt, Andr Desmet, Rik Desmet, Anniek Desmet, Frans Destoop, Bernd Deuten, Carl Devlies, Rudy Devos, Jean-Pierre Devos, Wouter Devriendt, Elke Devroe, Jean Pierre Dewael, Carl Dewaele, JeanMarie Dewandel, Paul Deweer, Annemie Deweerdt, Peter Dewit, Jan Dewitte, Lieven Dhaenens, Bart D'haenens, Luc Dhaese, Renilde D'Haese, Donate D'Hauwer, Jan Dhiedt, Paul D'Hoker, Michal Dhoose, Michal Dhore, Dirk D'Hulster, Dirk Diels, Stephan Dierickx, Willy Dierickx, Pieter Dierickx, Jos Digneffe, Roel Dobbelsteyn, Xavier Donck, Vera Dua, Luc Dullers, Tom Dumez, Christine Dupont, Nico Duquesne, Donald Duthieuw, Marc Duyck, Stefaan Eeckhout, Sad El Khadraoui, Christian Eliaerts, Robert Elias, Judith Elseviers, Hugo Engelen, Koen Engels, Caroline Enkels, Pascal Ennaert, Nathalie Espeel, Lieve Evens, Rudy F. Verheyen, Gilles Facon, Pedro Facon, Alfons Famaey, Mario Fancello, Nathalie Ferket, Joost Fillet, Christian Floru, Freija Fonteyn, Jo

The Century of the City | W H I T E PA P E R

Forceville, Hector Foulon, Gert Fransen, Heidi Frederix, Jef Gabrils, Griet Geerinck, Jo Geerinckx, Guy Geerts, Luc George, Jan Gerard, Joost Germis, Jos Geuvens, Patricia Ghekiere, Gerard Gielen, Edgard Gielen, An Gijsen, Rudi Gilen, Geert Gisquire, Ann Glaublomme, Jan Goorden, Michel Goormachtigh, Jos Goossen, Stijn Goossens, Ine Goris, Tessy Gorris, Karin Goyvaerts, Geert Grillet, Luk Groffy, Dirk Grootjans, Herman Grossard, Maryse Gys, Gunther Gysemans, Annemie Gysen, An Gysen, Grete Gysen, Dirk Habils, Ilse Hacketal, Rudi Haeck, Karel Haegeman, Christiana Haepers, Jeroen Hallaert, Paul Hallaert, Gatan Hannecart, Pierre Hap, Eric Hardy, Gerard Hautekeur, Lyliane Hebbrecht, Eddy Hector, Rikkie Heeman, Jos Heiremans, Filip Helssen, Marcel Hendrickx, Marc Hendrickx, Ann Hendrickx, Paul Hennes, Wouter Hennion, Hugo Herman, Ronald Hermans, Philip Hermans, Gilbert Hertecant, Tiene Hertogen, Mora Heyn, Hildegarde Heynen, Celien Heyvaert, Geert Hillaert, Veerle Hobin, Jurgen Hoefkens, Hans Hofman, Dirk Holemans, Katleen Hollants, Marc Hoogmartens, Jan Hooijmaaijer, Willy Hooyberghs, Marc Horrix, Gabril Hostens, Tony Houthaeve, Kris Houthuys, Wim Hox, Paul Huvenne, Idriss Ibnou-Cheikh, Yamilla Idrissi, Pieter Jacobs, Thrse Jacobs, Rik Jaeken, An Jamar, Wouter Jamin, Marc Jans, Paul Jansen, Myriam Jansen Verbeke, Guido Janssens, Patrick Janssens, Christin Janssens, Annelies Janssens, Piet Jaspaert, Jaak Jespers, Hubert Jeunen, Karin Jirofle, Luc Joos, Liesbet Joris, Greet Juchtmans, Bart Julliams, Bart Kaesemans, Dan Kaminski, Dimokritos Kavadias, Luk Keersmaekers, Katrijn Kelchtermans, Patrick Kenis, Ramon Kenis, Charles Kennes, Wim Kennis, Koen Kennis, Ulrich Keppler, Greet Kerckhove, Pieter Kerremans, Roger Kesteloot, Christian Kesteloot, Katrien Kesteloot, Raf Keustermans, Hans Kinoo, Eddy Klijnen, Jiri Klokocka, Mieke Knollenburg, Tom Kolenberg, Jef Koninckx, Ariane Koninckx, Rita Lagae Vanhoutte, Tom Lagast, Tom Lamberts, Kathleen Lambi, Peter Lambrecht, Lieve Lambrecht, Luc Lamine, Marc Lammar, Mia Lammens, Jowan Lamon, Johan Lamote, Griet Lannoo, Paul Lantin, Chris Lardeur, Piet

Lareu, Myriam Lauwerens, Staf Lauwereysen, Jan Lecocq, Griet Lecompte, Rob Leemans, Vincent Lefvre, Stephanie Lemmens, Steven Lenaers, Maarten Lenaerts, Filip Lenders, Erwin Lens, Jan Lenssens, Jean Pierre Lepre, Fons Leroy, Dieter Lesage, Ron Lesthaeghe, Frank Leys, Nathalie Libbrecht, Pascal Lieven, Wiliam Lievens, Paul Lievevrouw, Els Lievois, Kathy Lindekens, An Lobijn, Andr Loeckx, Muriel Lomme, Filiep Loosveldt, Robert Loosvelt, Frederik Looten, Ilse Loots, Isabelle Loris, Fred Louckx, Sonja Lucas, An Lukowiak, Luc Luwel, Lieven Lybeer, Hubert Lyben, Bruno Machiels, Lut Machiels, Jan Maenhout, Alfons Maes, Trui Maes, Bart Magiels, Paul Mahieu, Marijke Mahieu, Anne Malliet, Sol Mannens, Theo Mardulier, Albert Martens, Johan Martens, Nico Martens, Nico Martens, Alex Marx, Cindy Matheeussen, Dirk Mattheeuws, Mark Matthys, Mario Matthys, Filip Meersman, Paul Meersman, Henk Meert, Tom Meeuws, Stefan Meijlaers, Martine Meire, Patrick Merlevede, Guy Mesotten, Fanny Mestdagh, Karin Meul, Caroline Meyers, Marc Michiels, Guido Minne, Batrice Mos, Kaatje Molenberghs, Dola Mols, Hans Mommaas, Georges Monard, Lieven Monserez, Karlijne Moons, Lies Moons, Ruth Moors, Myriam Morel, Mars Moriau, Yves Morin, Nathalie Morren, Marc Morris, Mario Mortiers, Paul Mulders, Philippe Muyters, Dirk Nachtergaele, Ludwig Neefs, Bart Nevens, Frank Nobels, Frank Noens, Erik Nuyts, Marc Olivier, Luc Onclin, Guy Orens, Hilde Osselaer, Gilbert Otten, Nel Ottevanger, Erwin Pairon, Bart Palmaers, Eric Paredis, Frank Parent, Roger Pauly, Chantal Pauwels, Gert Pauwels, Lieven Pauwels, Bert Pauwels, Wendy Pauwels, Tom Pellens, Hugo Penne, Jacques Perquy, Tony Peters, Gert Philippeth, Marieke Pieters, Philip Pirard, Freya Piryns, Ann Pisman, Griet Pitteljon, Rik Platteau, Stefaan Plysier, Jean Marie Potters, Eddy Priem, Ulla Provoost, Martina Put, Francine Quanten, Lydia Raeymaeker, Luc Rammelaere, Paul Rapsaet, Peter Raymaekers, Dafne Raymen, Luc Redig, Hilde Rekkers, Stefaan Renard, Petra Reynaerts, Hilde Reynvoet, Dirk Robbeets, Willy Roets, Anja Rogiers, Fabienne Rogiers, Theo



Rombouts, Manu Romero, Melanie Roscam, Rik Rttger, Sandra Rottiers, Rik Rousseau, Jos Roux, Paul Ruys, Pieter Saey, Lieve Saeys, Ali Salmi, Paul Salmon, Rik Samyn, Jan Sap, Rik Schaerlaecken, Johan Schepers, Edmond Schepers, Eddy Schevernels, Marcel Scheyvaerts, Patricia Schoolmeesters, Inge Schoups, Marcel Schouteden, Rik Schreurs, Patrick Schreurs, Manfred Sellinck, Peter Sels, Chris Serroyen, Ronny Severy, Annick Seys, Eveline Sierens, Davy Simons, Katrien Slegers, Janick Smessaert, Jan Smets, Marc Smolenaers, Lieven Soens, Dirk Somers, Inge Somers, Andr Sonneville, Luc Speeckaert, Geert Spitaels, Pieter Sprangers, Mieke Stappaerts, Bram Starckx, Peter Steenhaut, Kris Stegen, Luc Sterckx, Steve Stevaert, David Stevens, Leon Stevens, Patrick Stevens, Anny Stevens, Reinhard Stoop, Alain Storme, Maxim Stroobant, Eric Stroobants, Els Strubbe, Ludo Struyven, Karen Stuyck, Stijn Suijs, Tony Swinnen, Kristien Sysmans, Raoul-Clement Syts, Roland Syvertsen, Luc Tayart de Borms, Paul Teerlinck, Dirk Temmerman, Luc Tesseur, Jean Theunis, Jan Theunissen, Jean-Marie Theunnick, Steven Thielemans, Jos Thijs, Staf Thomas, Laurent Thys, Gil Thys, Jos Thys, Sofie Tielen, Nele Tierens, Monique Tilkin, Christine Timmermans, Marc Tobback, Louis Tobback, Filip Tondeleir, Bruno Tricot, Patrick T'Seyen, Pierre Tuypens, Sabien Tyberghien, Trui Tydgat, Francine Tyssen, Benny Van Assche, Jo Van Assche, Bart Van Bael, Ellen Van Beek, Charlotte Van Belle, Luc Van Beneden, Bertiel Van Betsbrugge, KrisVan Boechoute, Leo Van Broeck, Beatrice Van Buggen, Broos Van Buggenhout, Frank Van Campe, Ludo Van Campenhout, Sabine Van Cauwenberge, Erik Van Daele, Lieve Van Daele, Dirk Van Damme, Wilfried Van Damme, Benediekt Van Damme, Johan Van De Maele, Fabiaan Van de Sande, Yves Van De Vloet, Paul Van De Voorde, Roeland Van De Walle, Walter Van Den Bergh, Frans Van Den Bossche, Wim Van Den Bossche, Jan Van den Eynde, Norbert van den hove d'Ertsenryck, Jan Van der Auwermeulen, Myriam Van Der Beken, Paul Van der Borcht, Herman Van der Haegen, Claudia Van der Stappen, Bogdan Van Doninc, Jef Van Doorslaer, Jan Van Doren, Luc

Van Dorpe, Carl Van Dyck, Ellen Van Eyndhoven, Henry Van Gael, Julien Van Geertsom, Louis Van Geyt, Michel Van Geyte, Jan Van Grieken, Ben Van Havere, Etienne Van Hecke, Stan Van Hees, Karel Van Hoorebeke, Werner Van Horebeek, Gerda Van Hove, Patrcik Van Ingelom, Geert Van Istendael, Denis Van Laeken, Hilde Van Laere, Nancy Van Landeghem, Kathleen Van Lerberghe, Marja Van Loon, Dirk Van Mechelen, Robin Van Meirvenne, Robie Van Mieghem, Karin Van Mossevelde, Steven Van Muylder, Dirk Van Noten, Chantalle Van Oeteren, Veerle Van Reusel, Stiene Van Rie, Iris Van Riet, Jos Van Rillaer, Gerda Van Roelen, Bart Van Schel, Ineke Van Schoor, Frank Van Sevencoten, Bjrn van Staeyen, Paul van Steenvoort, Bert Van Thienen, Raf van Tichelen, Danny Van Vlem, Tuur Van Wallendael, Tinne Van Wesemael, Philippe Van Wesenbeeck, Tom Van Wynsberge, Gina Vanattenhoven, Christiane Vanautgaerden, Stefan Vancraeynest, Ronny Vandaele, Wiet Vandaele, Marijke Vandebuerie, Henk Vandeginste, Ankie Vandekerckhoven, Pascal Vandelanoitte, Jeroen Vanden Berghe, Herman Vanden Driessche, Marc Vanden Eynde, Ann Vanden Wyngaerd, Geert Vandenabeele, Joke Vandenabeele, Patrick Vandenberghe, Lieven Vandenberghe, Katrin Vandenbosch, Mark Vandenbraembussche, Theo Vandeplas, Tony Vandeputte, Isabelle Vander Linden, Lucas Vander Taelen, Marc Vanderbiesen, Gudrun Vandergucht, Barbara Vanderlinden, Marleen Vanderpoorten, Bart Vanderstraeten, Luc Vandewalle, Katleen Vandeweyer, Patrick Vandijck, Hilde Vandormael, Frank Vangeel, Raoul Vanhaeren, Andr Vanhaeren, Ivo Vanhamme, Filip Vanhaverbeke, Marc Vanheirstraeten, Kris Vanherpe, Johan Vanhoutte, Frank Vanhove, Annick Vanhove, Charlotte Vanneste, Dominique Vanneste, Etienne Vanoppe, Rgine Vantieghem, Robert Vantorre, Tijs Vastesaeger, Jan Velghe, Ludo Vennekens, Marc Vennekens, Dirk Verbeeck, Fons Verbeek, Rob Verbeelen, Luc Verbeke, Hendrik Verbist, Viviane Verbruggen, Andr Verdegem, Ben Verdickt, Dries Verdonck, Evi Verduyckt, Ingrid Verduyn, Alfons Verdyck, Raymonda Verdyck, Marleen Verfaellie,

The Century of the City | W H I T E PA P E R

Peter Verheecke, Jan Verheeke, Marc Verheirstraeten, Boudewijn Verhelst, Greet Verhenne, Ann Verhetsel, Annemie Verheyden, Yves Verhoest, Gerda Verkoelen, Arlette Verkruyssen, Joke Verlaet, Bram Verlinden, Mark Verlot, Johan Vermandere, Jan Vermassen, Johan Vermeersch, Kristof Vermeir, Didier Vermeiren, Miranda Vermeiren, Bert Vermeulen, Bram Vermeulen, Sandra Vermuyten, Bart Verschaffel, Paul Verscheuren, Emmy Verschueren, Ruben Verstraeten, Katie Verstraeten, Levin Versweyver, Stefaan Vervaet, Luc Vervoort, Kris Vlaeminck, Alphonse Vleugels, Ellen Vlogaert, Lucie Voet, Andr Vollmacher, Annemie Vos, Erwin Vrijens, Maria Vrijens, Melanie Vrijens, Bart Vrints, Lode Walgrave, Bart Wallays, Willem Warmenbol, Erik Waterschoot, Jef Wellens, Francis Werbrouck, Noortje Wiesbauer, Danny Wildemeersch, Bart Willaert, Peter Willekens, Patricia Willems, Paul Willemse, Paul Windey, Peggy Winkels, Sien Winters, Vera Withofs, Frank Witlox, Els Witte, Fons Wouters, Liesbeth Wouters, Piet Wulleman, Hilde Wylin, Leen Wyn en Dirk Yzewyn.


4 Task Force
Christian Kesteloot, Willy Miermans, Ruth Soenen, Filip De Rynck, Andr Loeckx, Paul Ponsaers, Ludo Struyven, Marc Verlot, Eric Corijn, Peter Cabus, Geert Bouckaert, Myriam Jansen-Verbeke, Guido De Brabander, Luk Bral en Linda Boudry (voorzitter). Paul Van Herpe en Johan Baeten stonden in voor de verslaggeving. Luc Deschamps begeleidde ons startweekend.

5 Editorial board
Filip De Rynck (hoofdredactie), Christian Kesteloot, Peter Cabus, Eric Corijn, Andr Loeckx en Linda Boudry. Liesje Schets stond in voor de eindredactie. Met dank ook aan Filip Van Haverbeke, Jef Van den Broeck en Bernard Hubeau voor hun kritische lezing van de ontwerpteksten.

The Century of the City | W H I T E PA P E R


built-up areas 27, 91, 96, 105, 157

economic city project 9, 52


citizenship 12, 17, 21, 61, 91, 99, 102, 189, 190, 191, 192, 194, 196, 197, 198, 200, 201, 202, 204, 206, 207, 208, 209, 210, 212, 214, 215, 216, 217, 218, 220, 222, 223, 224, 226, 237 city and its periphery 53, 74, 77 city centre 18, 19, 28, 33, 34, 36, 38, 43, 84, 94, 156, 173, 178 city republic 10, 12, 16, 17, 21, 58, 60, 67, 72, 100, 102, 189, 190, 192, 194, 195, 196, 197, 198, 199, 200, 201, 202, 204, 206, 208, 209, 210, 212, 214, 215, 216, 217, 218, 220, 222, 224, 225, 226 civil society 10, 71, 72, 73, 86, 98, 99, 100, 102, 105, 189, 195 combination of functions 41 community 15, 23, 26, 41, 42, 43, 53, 55, 56, 57, 61, 62, 65, 66, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 76, 77, 81, 90, 91, 102, 150, 158, 164, 174, 176, 182, 186, 197, 198, 199, 200, 201, 205, 212, 223, 236 community management 71 compact cities 15 compact city 31, 36, 43, 84, 85, 91, 93, 94, 96, 219 complete city 163 core of the city 33, 34 countryside 18, 27, 28, 54, 66, 74, 84, 90, 91, 92, 94, 96, 163, 225

Fordism 9, 28, 44, 48, 49, 76, 83, 85, 98, 182

global-local paradox 9, 49 glocalisation 10, 88, 106, 237 grid city 10, 11, 12, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 31, 33, 34, 36, 40, 41, 53, 54, 60, 78, 80, 81, 93, 94, 96, 97, 100, 104, 105, 149, 150, 152, 154, 155, 156, 157, 158, 160, 162, 163, 164, 165, 166, 168, 170, 172, 174, 176, 177, 178, 180, 181, 182, 184, 186, 187, 188, 195, 217, 219, 220, 222, 225 growth coalition 52

hinterland 28, 32 historical city 9, 26, 27, 28, 29, 31, 156, 163, 178, 180, 182, 184

individualism 25, 54, 56, 194, 214 informal economy 49 inhabitants 15, 16, 17, 21, 25, 26, 30, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 41, 43, 49, 52, 58, 60, 61, 68, 70, 71, 74, 76, 77, 91, 93, 94, 97, 102, 158, 165, 170, 171, 173, 174, 176, 182, 184, 189, 192, 194, 195, 197, 200, 201, 222, 226 inner city 32, 56, 60, 163, 166, 173, 178, 180, 181, 184, 185

metropolis 173, 174 metropolitan 34, 35, 173, 223, 237 modernity 66, 91

democracy 12, 17, 19, 20, 21, 22, 25, 26, 57, 60, 67, 68, 70, 72, 73, 74, 78, 80, 82, 86, 97, 98, 99, 102, 104, 105, 151, 152, 155, 156, 158, 159, 161, 165, 166, 173, 189, 190, 191, 194, 195, 196, 198, 199, 200, 201, 202, 205, 212, 214, 222, 223, 225, 226, 236 density 10, 15, 16, 17, 20, 21, 22, 28, 29, 30, 31, 42, 71, 78, 86, 91, 93, 96, 97, 105, 149, 152, 156, 157, 159, 160, 161, 163, 166, 167, 171, 174, 180, 184, 225, 226 development coalition 9, 11, 43, 52, 182, 191 dialogue on the future of the city 17 divided city 9, 56 divisions 55, 71, 84, 85, 94, 163, 180, 195, 204, 207, 210, 212, 216

network city 9, 44, 78, 93, 94, 96, 182, 216 network enterprise 48

paradox of the urban employment market 48, 50 participation in the budget 60, 202 participatory democracy 12, 21, 60, 72, 97, 99, 102, 104, 151, 152, 155, 159, 196, 200, 201, 202, 212, 214, 222 private space 37 privatisation 9, 37, 38, 40, 54, 74, 85, 88, 208, 211, 212 public space 9, 31, 36, 37, 38, 40, 41, 42, 56, 77, 81, 102, 159, 167, 191, 192, 197, 215


rural character 28, 97, 156

social capital 48, 63, 71, 216 Social learning 10, 11, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 82, 192, 198, 205 social-cultural capital 43 suburbs 29, 32, 33, 34, 35, 43, 85, 91, 92, 93, 178 sustainability 16, 20, 28, 76, 77, 86, 104, 152, 162, 167, 180

users of the city 17, 19, 21, 25, 26, 32, 36, 45, 58, 60, 61, 75, 77, 97, 102, 108, 110, 111, 112, 115, 116, 117, 126, 130, 134, 144, 170, 174, 189, 194, 195, 197, 226

welfare state 54, 55, 83, 88, 98, 170

traditional city 26, 45, 90

urban character 10, 11, 12, 15, 20, 21, 22, 26, 28, 31, 36, 37, 41, 42, 45, 50, 58, 61, 65, 66, 67, 74, 75, 76, 78, 80, 83, 85, 86, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 96, 97, 100, 101, 102, 104, 105, 107, 108, 109, 110, 126, 127, 135, 138, 142, 144, 146, 149, 151, 152, 155, 156, 160, 161, 162, 163, 164, 165, 167, 168, 170, 174, 217, 225, 226, 227 urban culture 26, 27, 28, 29, 33, 36, 86, 90, 93, 130, 159 urban debate 11, 12, 17, 19, 20, 21, 60, 72, 101, 102, 104, 105, 107, 149, 150, 151, 152, 153, 154, 155, 156, 157, 158, 159, 160, 161, 162, 163, 164, 165, 166, 167, 168, 169, 170, 171, 172, 173, 174, 176, 177, 178, 180, 181, 182, 184, 186, 188, 195, 196, 197, 200, 202, 211, 212, 214, 215, 217 urban design 11, 118, 149, 168, 169, 170, 171, 172, 178, 181, 187, 188 urban pact 60, 160, 172 urban policy 3, 5, 6, 10, 12, 16, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 28, 36, 58, 73, 74, 75, 80, 86, 89, 90, 91, 93, 97, 100, 101, 104, 107, 109, 110, 111, 114, 117, 122, 123, 124, 126, 127, 130, 132, 138, 139, 140, 147, 150, 154, 155, 163, 165, 167, 169, 182, 189, 191, 192, 209, 215, 216, 217, 219, 220, 222, 225 urban polis 20 urban project 11, 12, 35, 149, 150, 152, 153, 154, 155, 156, 158, 160, 161, 162, 163, 164, 165, 166, 168, 170, 171, 172, 173, 174, 176, 177, 178, 180, 181, 182, 184, 186, 188, 201 urban region 21, 53, 85, 92, 94, 96, 107, 124, 138, 163, 206, 216, 219 urban vision 11, 89, 149, 150, 151, 153, 154, 155, 160, 161, 164, 170, 196 urbanisation 9, 27, 30, 32, 66, 83, 84, 92, 94, 96, 105, 118, 136, 163

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C O M P O S I T I O N O F T H E TA S K F O R C E Geert Bouckaert Department of Political Sciences Catholic University of Leuven Linda Boudry Person in charge of Urban Policy project Ministry of the Flemish Community Luk Bral Urban Policy advisor Flemish Minister Paul van Grembergen Peter Cabus Institute for Social and Economic Geography Catholic University of Leuven Eric Corijn Cosmopolis-City, Culture and Society Free University of Brussels Guido De Brabander Faculty of Applied Economic Science University of Antwerp Filip De Rynck Department of Commercial Sciences and Administrative Management Hogeschool Gent Moira Heyn Department of Land Management Catholic University of Leuven Myriam Jansen-Verbeke Institute for Social and Economic Geography Catholic University of Leuven Christian Kesteloot Institute for Social and Economic Geography Catholic University of Leuven Andr Loeckx Department of Architecture, Urbanism and Land Management Catholic University of Leuven Willy Miermans Institute for Traffic Studies Diepenbeek Paul Ponsaers Disciplinary Group, Penal Law and Criminology University of Ghent Ruth Soenen Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology Catholic University of Leuven Ludo Struyven Higher Institute for Labour Catholic University of Leuven Marc Verlot Disciplinary Group, Comparative Cultural Sciences University of Ghent Jan Vranken Research Group into Poverty, Social Exclusion and Towns and Cities University of Antwerp

The urban environment is the future of Flanders. The city republic is based on participatory democracy and grows through projects. The grid city requires a different and policy-oriented approach. These and other propositions can be found in this White Paper.
The Century of the City is the result of a two-year process which has involved the cooperation of a thousand academics, experts and interested parties. The starting point was a series of fourteen background reports drawn up form different academic perspectives. A Task Force of fifteen academics discussed these for more than a year. An editorial team of six members were involved in writing it for nine months. The result is a very refreshing collection of the knowledge on urban dynamics in Flanders. The book adopts a certain viewpoint. The urban environment is the condition for this century. Cities are the centres for social and political regeneration. This results in rather far-reaching changes in emphasis in political activities, for urban programmes and urban projects, for participatory democracy, for more transversal competences, and for an urban republic. It is obvious that all these things have become the object of a broad social discussion. This White Paper will encourage that discussion. It is a discussion that will be continued in fourteen cities and a discussion which every reader is invited to join.

Ministerie van de Vlaamse Gemeenschap