Residents of Kessel-Lo, Belgium, are invited to shape the future of their neighbourhood

EIT Climate-KIC is working with the city of Leuven on Vorm 3010, an initiative that invites citizens to participate in the design of safer and more sustainable spaces for the borough of Kessel-Lo. Leuven is one of 15 cities participating in the EIT Climate-KIC Deep Demonstration of Healthy, Clean Cities, a programme that aims to accelerate the transition of European cities towards carbon neutrality by 2030.  

As the population grows in Kessel-Lo, the city is building more schools and houses, and traffic is increasing. At the same time, climate change is already making the summers hotter and drier, which brings a lot of challenges when it comes to mobility and climate resilience. 

For the next two years, EIT Climate-KIC and the city of Leuven will work with the residents to shape the future of Kessel-Lo, transforming it into a more pleasant and sustainable place in which to live, meet and move around.  

The city authorities recognise the importance of creating more green spaces and meeting places for the population’s wellbeing, and have decided to engage in a two-year participation process that will allow residents to determine what their public spaces should look like.  

The strategic objective of the Kessel-Lo District Greening experiment is to surface insights and intelligence about how to build a green community and mobility strategy. Specifically, building ownership amongst its citizens and improving quality of life, while meeting the broader transport needs of the city.  

It will aim to: 

  • Grow acceptance, ownership and support amongst citizens in Kessel-Lo for new, disruptive mobility and urban living plans that serve the city beyond the immediate Kessel-Lo community 
  • Develop a financial model for small, medium and large infrastructure developments that tap into resources beyond public finances, in order to speed up progress 
  • Work within and across multiple domains of governance e.g. the province of Flemish Brabant, the city of Leuven, lnterleuven, De Lijn and AWV Flemish Brabant. 

Putting residents at the heart of the transformation 

“No one [but residents] can better indicate how the streets, squares and parks are experienced and where untapped opportunities lie,” says Mayor Mohamed Ridouani, who wants to shape the future of Kessel-Lo together with the citizens, hoping this will give them responsibility for and trust in the transformation. 

The first phase of the process started in February 2021 with a broad survey in which local inhabitants provided their opinion on, among other things, nine propositions in the field of mobility, greenery and meeting spaces. Participants can immediately see what their choices mean for Kessel-Lo on an interactive map, and boards have also been installed in the streets of Kessel-Lo to inspire residents to think about the future of their town.  

In a second phase, a panel of selected citizens will work with experts on the findings from the survey. During the third phase, residents will be invited to test the results in public spaces. 

The transformation of Europe starts in Kessel-Lo 

Leuven is part of a cohort of 15 European cities including Copenhagen, Vienna, Amsterdam, Milan and Madrid that are working with the EIT Climate-KIC Healthy, Clean Cities Deep Demonstration to develop and test new ways to transform cities towards a climate-neutral future. The programme has been designed with the cities and borrows from the world of system innovation to help them solve their most pressing challenges while developing climate resilience. Vorm 3010 is only one of the seven pilot experiments that Leuven is running in 2021 with EIT Climate-KIC, and its performance will inspire and inform the other cities’ pathways to a more sustainable future. 

 

 
Location
Belgium
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