IABR-

Atelier Brussels

The Productive Metropolis BXL

Picture: Bas Bogaerts

Atelier Brussels: The Productive Metropolis BXL
A productive city is a healthy city and requires an approach that strives for a strategic anchoring of the future of the economy in the fabric of 21st-century city. International challenges and trends underline the need to reintroduce the manufacturing industry to our regions: from manufacturing that makes the link between knowledge, innovation and production, to a circular economy committed to shorter chains and flows of materials and energy.

The Flemish-Brussels metropolitan region has a large number of low-skilled unemployed, while old industrial zones languish in the city and its outskirts. Atelier Productive Metropolis BXL proposes giving these old industrial sites a new lease on life by focusing on attracting innovative production activities. The city as a melting pot of knowledge and labour is seen as the ideal breeding ground, with opportunities for the Brussels Canal Zone and the adjacent industrial zones in Vilvoorde, for developing a circular economy, and for local assembly coupled with a global logistics system.

Map: Architecture Workroom Brussel


The thesis central to the research agenda of Atelier Productive Metropolis BXL is that the foundations of the productive city of the future can be laid in the metropolitan area, while at the same time achieving social, ecological, economic and spatial gains on both sides of the regional border. According to Atelier Productive Metropolis BXL, the foundations of the productive city of the future can be laid in the metropolitan area, while at the same time achieving social, ecological, economic and spatial gains on both sides of the regional border. The Atelier explores a better match between the changing economy and the organisation of space for productive activities in the capital city's metropolitan area. How can spatial quality and the urban economy reinforce one another, and who creates the productive city?

picture: Bas Bogaerts

Within the workshop, a number of prospective design research programmes are being conducted on the basis of specific case studies, always in close cooperation with the relevant actors in Flanders and Brussels. The totality of the ongoing processes, and spatial and governance challenges in the Brussels metropolis make this region an excellent testing ground for future spatial models, as an example for many other cities and urban regions in Flanders, Wallonia and Europe. Through design research and a programme of policy and stakeholder participation, Atelier Productive Metropolis BXL will go in search of the desired development models and spatial typologies for the productive city.

Atelier Productive Metropolis BXL is a collaboration of the IABR, Architecture Workroom (AWB) and Brussels and Flemish actors amongst which the Brussels-Capital Region,Ruimte Vlaanderen, the Public Waste Agency of Flanders (OVAM) and the Province of Flemish Brabant.