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How will we share the city amongst each other in Bruxsels in 2030?

In the past months we crowdsourced questions online and offline about how we will live together in Brussels in the year 2030. Armed with mouth masks and alcohol gel, we traveled to Josaphat park, Bois de la Cambre, Scheutbos, parc de Laeken, Tour & Taxis, parc de Forest and Leopold park. After making sense of 280 questions with experts we chose to focus on the research question ‘How will we share the city amongst each other in Bruxsels in 2030?

Brussels is a laboratory for experimenting new forms of living together. During Ramadan, beautiful traditions like iftar tables are shared by different cultures; Brusseleirs love sharing food from different cultures with cosy conversations; the streets of Brussels are shared by the Pride Parade, the Zinneke Parade as well as the demonstrations for Black Lives Matter. 

These examples exhibit how spaces are used differently than usual, and where audiences are mixed. This, however, is not the case always.

With the research question, we want to explore how we can share the material worlds (spaces and resources) and the immaterial worlds (knowledge; cultures; languages; identities; care and stories) with different kinds of people. Sharing across diversity is an integral ingredient to live together in a city like Brussels. To imagine the futures around this topic we will have to navigate many complexities central to Brussels, such as sharing in hyperdiversity; sharing in a spatially divided context; sharing in an institutional maze; and sharing in covid times. 

Brusselèirs already know how to share, so our starting point is to share ideas and views on ‘sharing the city’ in 2030. We will be facilitating this process in the next few months. 

Keep scrolling below to read all the questions crowdsourced on the topic of living together in 2030.

Can we have car free city by 2030?
How will the street and buildings look like to create more connection and shared spaces that are not packed?
What tools do we have to connect with others that at first look we don’t see or feel similarities with?
How can we overcome fear and turned it into trust?
Can we have more presence and appreciation for what there is?
How will we avoid conflict and stereotypes between the different populations in 2030?
Will we be able to maintain a secular society and freedom of speech despite current political trends on both sides of the spectrum?
Will the lingua franca of Brussels go from French to English, and will Flemish be further marginalized by this shift?
How can we avoid segregation between linguistic and cultural communities going forward?
What are good structures of houses that you can live harmoniously with other humans and livings while preserving your privacy?
Will our social media and information bubbles already have exploded by then?
Comment créer des liens sociaux entre les différents “ghettos” bruxellois?
Comment les personnes pauvres vont pouvoir prendre leur place dans la société?
Quid du lien intergénérationnelle à la sortie de la crise du Covid?
Est ce qu’il y aura l’allocation universelle?
Est ce qu’il n’y aura plus de sans-abri?
Est ce qu’il y aura un accès faciliter aux droits sociaux pour tous?
Est-ce que notre état veillera à protéger les plus fragiles?
Ma rue sera telle encore si calme?
Que sera la diversité en 2030?
Aurons-nous pu entamer une vraie transition vers une économie locale et résiliente?
Aurons-nous mis en place une forme de revenu universel?
Quel sera la situation des migrants qui tentent de s’établir en Europe, aura-t-on finalement pu les accueillir comme il se doit?
Wie zijn mijn buren? Wat is hun verhaal?
Gaan we meer bomen zien, een groene stad, waar fietsers en voetgangers overal voorrang hebben?
Hoe kunnen we in harmonie en met kennis en respect voor elkaar leven in een diverse samenleving?
Hoe definiëren we diversiteit in 2030?
Hoe hebben we de groeiende ongelijkheid kunnen omkeren?
Hoe vrij bewegen we over grenzen heen?
Zal het nog zo divers zijn als nu, of zullen armere mensen uit de stad verdreven zijn?
Should Brussels become officially trilingual?
Will Brussels ever become an independent state?
Would they change the law so old Belgian houses can be tear down or at least restored properly so the city looks nicer?
Will we dare to ask each other questions about cultural habits?
Will we be open to learning new languages?
Will Covid-19 pandemic amplify the inequalities in the city?
Hoe kunnen we naar een niet racistisch en objectief politie- en rechtssysteem?
Hebben we geld, ondersteuning of voordelige initiatieven van de stad om te kunnen leven en kopen in de Brussel?
Wat is de rol van robots in de politiemacht?
Will there be more cultural sharing?
Comment sera la mobilité à Bruxelles en 2030?
Peut-on prendre quelques exemples de villes françaises plus durables?
Comment sera Bruxelles en termes d’espaces verts/faits divers, pourrait-on en trouver en dehors du centre-ville?
Will Brussels continue to be multicultural?
Me as a newcomer, will I be a part of the real Brussel?
Will COVID-19 pandemic change the way social interaction is conducted?
I notice that society becomes day by day more individualistic. Will it become even more in 10 years?
Will mobility- transport be extended in the city suburbs so that they will have access to the city center?
La ville aura-t-elle plus d’espaces verts?
Will the prices get higher; therefore forcing some groups outside the city?
Will public spaces have more elements that provoke more social activities open air?
Will the city have spaces that remain open all day?
How will i stop being afraid of other people that I consider unfamiliar?
What will be the common point of reference between the groups of the city?
Des moyens d’intégration différents sauront-ils disponibles?
La diversité sera-t-elle toujours un “problème”, ou sera-t-elle enfin banalisée?
La diversité sera-t-elle toujours une particularité, un enjeu, ou sera-t-elle acquise et devenue simplement “la norme”?
La mixité sera-t-elle intégrée à nos manières de fonctionner ensemble, tout naturellement?
Bruxelles sera-t-elle toujours une ville “record”, ou la diversité sera une donne présente universellement?
Hoe gaan we zorgen dat mensen in de straat elkaar blijven kennen, helpen en bezoeken?
Hoe gaan we polarisering tegen vanuit een bottom-up positie?
Hoe inclusief en toch hoogstaand onderwijs organiseren?
Hoe kunnen we polarisering (bv. op politiek en democratisch vlak) vermijden?
Hoe zal geestelijke gezondheid vorm krijgen in een diverse samenleving?
How will urban mobility enhance social interaction?
Will public transportation aim at creating human interactions at the top of sustainable mobility?
Quel rôle l’agriculture urbaine jouera-t-elle dans la ville?
L’agriculture urbaine sera-t-elle une source centrale d’interactions sociales?
L’interaction entre les différents groupes sociaux sera-t-elle affectée par les anciens modèles de relations entre les classes sociales?
Comment la participation des citoyens aux projets urbains peut-elle être plus inclusive?
Il y aura plus de plateformes en ligne pour atteindre un plus grand nombre de personnes?
L’institution cherchera-t-elle à accroître et à diversifier sa participation aux initiatives ascendantes?
Nowadays creative hubs are run mostly between companies and inaccessible institutions; therefore, they are exclusive and not interested in public participation. How can creative hubs be established in a more participatory way?
How will music play a role in the expression of diversity?
Comment la vie nocturne participera-t-elle à la création d’interactions entre différents groupes sociaux en 2030 ?
How will the urban environment be linked to nature?
How will the city/nature relationship be?
How will people of the city experience nature?
How will be possible to transfer social visibility from online to offline events?
How dense will be the city?
Will a new type of density enable a different set of social interaction?
Y a-t-il possibilité d’établir un réseau centralisé de laboratoires et d’activités (peinture, céramique, poésie) dans les quartiers?
How will the multiculturality of Brussels evolve?
Considering the impact of covid on nightlife, how will that affect the way people meet each other in a long term?
The city is moving away from car-oriented planning and more space is freed for public use; will that form the base for a new way of experiencing social exchanges in the city?
In which way the need of the families will be met?
Will families still moving out of the city in favor of a more comfortable suburban life or the city will accommodate families too?
Comment l’urbanisme peut-il être plus ouvert aux initiatives publiques?
How new ways of mobility and the related configuration of the space will change the quality of interactions in the space?
Will some of the most iconic sights of the city be pedestrianized? Will be avenue Louise more accessible to pedestrians?
How will the relationship between police and the public will evolve?
Will the city be safer?
How will the crime in the city evolve?
How will the linguistic configuration of the city be in ten years?
Will the city become multilingual in practice?
Which languages will be spoken the most?
How will circular economy initiatives change the relationship between public and private?
La confiance sociale permettra-t-elle des initiatives de partage durable à plus grande échelle?
Comment la technologie assurera-t-elle la médiation des relations humaines dans l’utilisation publique de l’espace et des infrastructures?
Y aura-t-il plus d’écoles, plus de salles de classe à l’intérieur qui permettront aux élèves d’avoir une meilleure relation les uns avec les autres?
Y aura-t-il une réelle participation citoyenne où même les citoyens bruxellois non représentés auront leur mot à dire?
Des initiatives comme le jardinage urbain peuvent-elles améliorer l’interaction entre les citoyens?
Is there going to be any chance for people to engage with redevelopment projects instead of having the companies deciding over as in the example of Heysel?
Would acts as the creation of shopping mall be replaced by projects like Tour & Taxis, that include an open public space?
Would it be possible to have a more of a neighbourhood dimension shops instead of malls?
Will there be enough communication of initiatives and actions between the different neighbourhoods of Brussels?
Y aurait-il plus d’activités gratuites dans la ville qui permettraient à plus de gens de participer?
Y aura-t-il plus de subventions pour aider les communautés dans le besoin?
Will the housing construction prevail and the creation of public shared spaces will disappear because of the economic development of the city ?
Will there be more infrastructure for using bikes in the city in general?
Will more people abandon the city because it doesn’t offer a natural environment anymore?
How can diversity be experienced at school in 10 years?
Will there be more physical interaction between people, or will it be done through the social media?
Will sports play an important role on the social interaction of people with each other?
Are there going to be more swimming places as public infrastructure?
How will the garbage disposal will work in 10 years?
Will the traffic problem be solved enabling other methods of transportation?
Will Brussels continue to be a working place for many commuters or will the working people move to the city?
Les petits magasins ethniques existeront-ils à l’avenir, ou seront-ils remplacés par de grandes chaînes?
Is there going to be an alternative to car ownership freeing the space nowadays used as parking?
Will neighbourhoods be bigger or smaller?
Quel genre d’événements publics la ville accueillerait-elle?
Seront-ils liés à la religion comme vacances de Noël?
How will local culture be expressed?
Will kids be playing on the streets of Brussels?
Is there going to be more green space?
Hebben we een duurzame plaats gevonden voor alles en iedereen?
Will there be more systemic inclusion by then?
If coexistence will be achieved, will crime be reduced?
Is communication the primal mode that diversity and coexistence can be achieved?
How can diversity in the workplace can be achieved?
Hoe zal de digitale kloof gedicht zijn in 2030?
Hoe kunnen we digitale toepassingen toegankelijk en betaalbaar maken voor iedereen?
Hoe zullen de moderne communicatiekanalen voor iedereen toegankelijk zijn?
Hoe zal ervoor gezorgd worden dat in 2030 de mensen elkaar makkelijker kunnen vinden?
Hoe zullen er duurzame wijkinitiatieven bestaan, plekken waar er ruimte is om eigen initiatieven op te zetten?
Hoe kunnen we de drempels tot participatie verlagen?
Hoe kunnen we er voor zorgen dat mensen de verschillenden diensten gemakkelijker vinden en kunnen participeren naargelang interesse en eigen kunnen?
Hoe kunnen we de drempel voor participatie voor nieuwkomers in de stad verlagen?
Lage drempels helpen om te participeren waardoor je je talenten beter kan ontwikkelen, je erkend wordt,…?
Hoe kan de verbinding tussen verschillende wijken verbeteren?
Hoe zal er voor gezorgd worden dat je overal kan gaan en staan waar je wil en je goed kan voelen, dat je niet meer moet aarzelen om een “vreemde” winkel binnen te gaan?
Hoe zal de technologie voor betere online vergaderingen zich verder ontwikkelen?
Hoe kan meertaligheid vanzelfsprekend worden?
Zullen we geen pandemieën meer hebben?
Hoe zullen we met eenzaamheid omgaan?
Zal de politie luisteren naar jongeren en hun rol als medewerkers in de stad opnemen?
Zullen vrouwen kunnen gaan en staan waar ze willen zonder lastig gevallen te worden?
Zullen de stadsdiensten toegankelijk zijn voor iedereen, ook voor mensen met verschillende beperkingen (waaronder ook taal, letterkunde)?
Hoe zullen alle aanwezige groepen in de stad representatief vertegenwoordigd zijn in de maatschappij?
Zal Brussel compleet autovrij zijn?
Hoe zullen structurele drempels zijn weggewerkt?
Hoe zullen kinderen keuze kunnen maken op basis van talenten?
Zal Brussel zo groen geworden zijn dat we nu in de publieke plaats eten in plaats van in restaurants?
Zal er geen politiegeluid meer te horen zijn?
Wat zal de rol van praktijktesten zijn in de aanpak van discriminatie op de werkvloer?
Zullen sportcomplexen gratis / toegankelijk zijn voor iedereen?
Hoe zal “slow democracy” zich verhouden ten opzichte van politieke partijen? (bijvoorbeeld kinderopvang, brede school,…)
Zal de stad veilig zijn?
Zal er een nieuwe opleiding zijn, ‘HR’ in de hogeschool?
Hoe zal de verhouding man – vrouw in relatie tot het kind zijn?
Zal diversiteit worden gezien als een oplossing, en niet als een probleem?
How will we share the city amongst each other in Brussels in 2035?
Zal de politie geen wapens meer dragen?
Zullen essentiële beroepen ge(her)waardeerd worden, op een financiële manier of op maatschappelijk vlak?
Hoe zal de toegang tot de arbeidsmarkt ook tot hogere niveaus gaan?
Hoe zal er ingezet worden op talentgericht aannemen i.p.v. te focussen op bepaalde diploma’s?
Hoe zullen scholen de rol opnemen om in te zetten op talenten om zo het verschil in de rijkdom van de ouders te neutraliseren?
Hoe kan er meer focus komen op mentaal welzijn, zowel op school als in de vrije tijd?
Hoe kan de overheid een facilitator worden van de burgers; hoe kunnen de burgers en de overheid op gelijke hoogte komen, want de mensen zijn de changemakers?
Hoe kan de mening van een grotere groep burgers worden meegenomen in het maken van het beleid.
Hoe kunnen we optimistisch zijn, de systemen veranderen heel traag, terwijl de burgers veel sneller zijn?
Past de overheid zich aan aan jongeren?
Passen jongeren zich aan aan de overheid?
Moeten jongeren zich wel aanpassen?
Doet de regering genoeg voor jongeren?
Hoe kunnen we diversiteit behouden en verbeteren?
Hoe kunnen we het integratieproces tussen nieuwkomers en lokale bevolking verbeteren?
Wat is het effect van media op jongeren en nieuwkomers?
Hoe kunnen we de negativiteit van de massamedia filteren?
Hoe kunnen we de lokale burgers culturele “bewustwording” bieden?
Wat zijn de instrumenten om de visie van burgers uit te breiden?
How could the city create more public spaces that are not a square?
How can we fight deforestation?
How will the changing in urban density affect our social relationships?
How could it be possible to recreate the social places available on summertime for the entire year?
How will police relate to diversity in 2030?
How the relationship between youth and police will change in ten years?
Will the police be more tolerant?
Will police robots not be racist?
Will people be happier?
La pratique de la police sera-t-elle inscrite dans un nouveau cadre de pratique approprié afin de garantir l’ordre public?
La mobilité durable prévaudra-t-elle?
How will local communities and international communities engage in the future?
Y aura-t-il différentes façons de comprendre les différentes cultures, à côté de la formation scolaire?
Will the city be more flexible in the way it accommodates newcomers?
Will newcomers have to adapt to the city or will be the city able to assimilate them without pushing them to standardized behaviors?
How will multilingualism be in ten years?
Will English be more integrated into the everyday experience of public services or will it only be a temporary “bridge” language?
Will there be a way to provide the experience of diverse cultures without the spatial experience of the site where those cultures are performed?
How can we enhance social exchanges and create places of interaction on smaller scales, instead of massive parks and public squares?
Bruxelles sera-t-elle toujours aussi multiculturelle qu’aujourd’hui?
Comment la ville pourrait-elle favoriser l’interaction entre les habitants et les nouveaux arrivants au cours de leur apprentissage linguistique?
Comment fixer la fraction entre la communauté internationale et la communauté locale?
How could it be possible for people living different social spheres to meet individuals with a different background?
How can European institutions be more involved in deconstructing exclusive social clusters between their employees?
How could bike infrastructures could car infrastructures?
How the many temporary presences in the city could be integrated into a more meaningful system of interactions?
How could temporary social exchanges in the city lead to a more long-term social effect?
Zal racisme eindelijk een non issue worden?
Kunnen we racisme uitroeien?
Is de samenleving homogener of minder homogeen dan nu het geval is?
Is er een sterkere mix tussen verschillende nationaliteiten, geloofsovertuigingen, … of wordt de bevolking juist meer gefractioneerd hierdoor?
Heeft de huidige opkomst van extreem rechts in Vlaanderen een effect op de Brusselse politiek en samenleving?
Hoe zit het met de aangrenzende Vlaamse gemeenten rond het Brusselse gewest, die ook steeds meer de Brusselse diversiteit reflecteren o.a. door het grote aantal mensen die werken in Brussel maar besluiten om net buiten het gewest te gaan wonen?
Worden randgemeentes binnen x aantal jaar ook als (buitenwijken van) Brussel gezien? Zo ja, hoe staat de politiek hierover en houden deze gemeenten dan ook vast aan Nederlands als voertaal of evolueren deze op termijn eerder naar een tweetalige werking (zoals het oprichten van Franstalige scholen, etc.)?
Is wonen nog betaalbaar in de stad voor jongeren?
Hoe zorgen we ervoor dat wijk/jeugd/cultuur/sociale activiteiten en projecten niet aan de kant worden geschoven voor commerciële projecten?
Is er nog plek en draagvlak om jeugd in eigen stad te laten experimenteren en dingen uit te proberen?
Hoe zou de relatie tussen verschillende bevolkingsgroepen en de politie/overheid zijn gevorderd?
Zal de media voor iedereen evenveel respect hebben?
Gaan mensen meer verdraagzamer zijn voor anderen?
Zal er misschien minder wordt gedacht in groepen?
Blijft iedereen elkaar aanvaarden?
Zou racisme de wereld uit zijn?
Zal er meer gelijkheid zijn?
Gaat er meer appreciatie zijn voor andere culturen?
Hoe zien toekomstige families er uit?
Gaat er meer verdraagzaamheid zijn en minder achterdocht?
Hoe het staat met gelijkheid, duurzaamheid,…?
Zullen we meer vredevol samenleven?
Zullen mens en natuur harmonisch samenleven?
Zullen we een meer divers publiek hebben dan nu?
Is er minder discriminatie?
Bestaat Vlaams Belang nog?
zal racisme nog bestaan?
Is er zichtbaar meer diversiteit dan 10 jaar geleden?
Is er een diverse samenleving die in harmonie samenleeft?
Is er nog racisme?
Zijn mensen toleranter geworden voor andere culturen, klassen, soorten,…?
Voelen mensen van andere culturen, klassen, soorten,… zich nog als een ‘buitenbeentje’ binnen de samenleving?
Hoe gevarieerd gaat onze samenleving eruit zien?
Diversiteit is iets dat ik persoonlijk heel belangrijk vind, maar zal dat niet voor nog meer culturele botsingen zorgen?
Hoe gaan de verschillende culturen met elkaar verzoend zijn?
Gaan mensen meer verdraagzaam zijn t.a.v. andere culturen?
Zal er vrede zal zijn?
Zal racisme en populisme toenemen?
Gaat er meer tolerantie zijn ten opzichte van mensen met een andere geaardheid, etniciteit,…?
Gaat er meer representatie in de media zijn?
Zal de helft van de Belgische bevolking nog bestaan uit Belgen, of wordt de meerderheid buitenlanders?
Gaat er in elk restaurant een speciaal gerecht aangeboden worden van een ander land?
Wordt iedereen meer progressief en verdwijnt racisme op een gegeven moment, omdat men er niet meer onderuit kan komen?
Hoe laten we mensen met totaal andere cultuur zich thuis voelen in een Brussel met totaal andere westerse progressieve ideeën? En omgekeerd, hoe zorgen we ervoor dat de progressieve Brusselaar geen frustraties krijgt tegen mensen die enkele westerse progressieve ideeën nog niet kennen?
Hoe krijgen we pluraliteit zonder fricties tussen verschillende leefgroepen in Brussel?
Zullen bevolkingen nog sterk gescheiden leven?
Will there be more systemic inclusion by then?
Will there be more green spaces apart from the center?
How will we interact after Covid?
Can art in public spaces act as a facilitator between different cultures?
Is there a possibility to live together with natural wildlife in a city?
Can we stop putting asphalt in our cities without harming our way of living?
Is youth going to be included in the decision-making process in the future?
Will it be easier to meet new people in public spaces in the future?
How can we improve the interactions between international citizens and Brusselaars?
Can we achieve a city where as little as possible is owned and as much as possible is shared: from cars, to bicycles, to lawnmowers?
Is it possible for people from different cultures to get to know each other so that they can share with each other?
Are people who have lived here for a long time (but not have the Belgian or double nationality) be allowed to help make decisions about the city (for example voting)?
Can we make people their lives better by having some creative housing projects?
Gaan er minder regels en formaliteiten zijn om iets fijn te mogen organiseren op openbare plaatsen?
Gaan jonge mensen juist langer of minder lang in de stad blijven wonen?
Heeft iedereen die wilt de kans om uit de stad te vertrekken?
We leven duidelijk in een super diverse stad, maar hoe gaat die diversiteit blijven evolueren?
Gaat de diversiteit stijgen, dalen of stagneren?
Gaat corona een blijvende impact hebben op de manier waarop wij leven in 2030?
Gaat er een grote taalbarrière blijven bestaan?
Wat zijn creatieve manieren om andere wijken te leren kennen?
Is het mogelijk om het verkeer in de stad beter te reguleren?
Is goedkoop tot gratis openbaar vervoer in het centrum van de stad een mogelijkheid?
Wat zijn kleine maar toch impactvolle acties die het algemene leven in Brussel aangenamer kunnen maken?
Kunnen jeugdhuizen een belangrijke rol spelen bij het verbinden van wijken/buurten?
Kunnen alle beter gegoede Brusselaars het verschil maken voor mensen die het minder breed hebben?
Quelle sera la diversité de Bruxelles dans 10 ans?
Est-il possible que les gens soient plus tolérants les uns envers les autres?
Les vélos partagés joueront-ils un rôle majeur à l’avenir?
La ville doit-elle prendre des initiative pour les personne étrangère?
Comment le gouvernement peut-il aidée les jeunes étudiants à se développer ?
Comment motiver les étrangers à étudier chez nous?
Les étudiants étranger ont-ils assez d’aide financier?
Quel aides financière peuvent il apporter?
Que faut-il faire pour motiver les interaction interculturelles?
Faut-il augmenter la fréquence d’exposition plus multiculturel?
La ville devrait-elle encourager les maison de jeunes à éduquer leur jeunes?
La ville doit-elle débloquer plus d’aide et subside pour les maison de jeune?
Comment Bruxelles peut-elle stimuler et organiser des activités plus pertinentes pour les jeunes?
La ville devrait-elle organiser plus d’activités public comme des marchés, foires etc.?
Doit-on organiser plus de sujets scolaire autour de la diversité, pour sensibiliser et éduquer les jeunes?
Doit-on organiser plus de sortie scolaire pour les jeunes basé sur la diversité?
Les partie d’extrême droite ont ils leur place parmi le gouvernement?
Comment peut-on empêcher ou limiter la promotion l’extrême droite et leur message?
Le régime politique actuel est-il adapté au problème et défi des jeunes au quotidien?
Le régime politique actuel est-il adapté au problème et défi des étrangers au quotidien?
Que peut-on faire pour informer le gouvernement des problèmes des jeunes et étrangers?
L’hygiène dans les espace public, est-il conforme au norme?
La ville doit-elle investir plus dans les espaces publics?
La ville doit-elle investir plus dans la propreté des espace public?
Que peut-on faire pour sensibiliser les gens à la propreté des espaces publics?
Sera-t-il possible d’éliminer le vandalisme par des pratiques d’intégration sociale?
L’architecture permettra-t-elle plus de connexion entre les espaces internes et externes?
Y aura-t-il plus d’espaces habitables dans les lieux publics?
Les villes seront-elles plus reliées à la campagne par les transports publics?
Y aura-t-il plus d’espaces pour les initiatives sociales bottom-up?
Y aura-t-il plus d’espaces pour les initiatives de cocréation?
La ville redeviendra-t-elle vivante et vivante en 2030?
Are many people still going to work from 9 till 5?
Est-ce que toutes les genres d’humains continuons de se faire la guerre?
Quel place pour la nature à Bruxelles en 2030?
Are people going to be happier?
Is the rythm of life slower?
Quel sera le moyen de déplacement privilégié en ville?
Are the different cultures mixed?
How will covid impact the future?
What is going to happen around the concept of ecosystemic services?
La ville sera-t-elle co-construite avec les habitants des quartiers?
Y-aura-t-il toujours autant de voitures du Bruxelles?
Est-ce que les quartiers seront de plus en plus mixtes socialement, ou à l’inverse avec de plus en plus d’écant?
Est-ce que nous vivrons mieux?
Is Covid still present?
Est-ce que les schémà de vie peuvent changer?
Are there still cars?
Is there still so much concrete in the city?
Are we going to need heat regulation systems?
La crise du logement à Bruxelles se sera-t-elle tésorbé partiellement ou totalement?
Vivrons-nous de manière plus durable et responsable?
What is the situation of mobility in the city?
Est-ce qu’il y aura plus d’initiatives collectives de petites échelles?
Est-ce que j’aurais encore peur de la police?
Est-ce qu’on devra toujours lutter contre le changement climatique?
Do we produce all our own food inside the city?
Est-ce que je participerais à la vie de mon quartier?
Quels seront les transports en commun qui nous faciliterons la vie?
Comment les gens vont pouvoir se nourir sainement?
Is biodiversity increased in 2030?
Est-ce que le vélo sera le moyen de transport numéro 1?

Hello Brussels 2030!

City Observations

Monday, 7 October 2030
Today marks the start of the new school semester. In recent years, overarching heat waves have made it difficult for children to go back to school, causing summer holidays to be longer than before. The heatwaves have become an incredibly disruptive and difficult problem for many people in society. The worst case was the summer of 2024, when several people, mostly the poor and elderly, died in Brussels because of them. At that time, it was said that Brussels was one of the greenest cities in Europe. Unfortunately, this was not true for everyone. A lack of green shelters and a poorly designed information system for Brussels’ diverse citizens led to a series of unfortunate events that were directly caused by climate change. The city struggled to keep its basic services functioning, as foundational economy workers were among the ones who suffered the most during the heatwaves. To cope with these issues, a socio-ecological fund was established in 2026. The fund’s first initiative was to focus on street lights. By installing infrared sensors, street lights now only turn on when someone passes by. Gradually, existing lights were also replaced with more energy efficient light bulbs. This saved a lot of money which was then injected into the fund to support vulnerable groups by insulating their houses throughout the city. This initiative also inadvertently contributed to biodiversity restoration, as more bats and owls began to visit Brussels at night. Today, throughout the city, we have kiosks that emit cold mist during heatwaves and provide shelter in case of excessive flooding. These kiosks are also used by local governments to connect and interact with citizens by listening to their concerns and providing them with information and useful tips on how to face today’s challenges. This reimagining of citizenship has been crucial to combat climate change in the urban context.

Tuesday, 8 October 2030
There is a lot of movement throughout the city today now that people are fully back to school and work. Since car-incentives were banned in Belgium to finance and improve soft mobility infrastructure, more people now commute by bicycle or use public transport. There is generally a “no driving” discourse in politics, as well as in the media. To support this, young, old and lower-income population have access to free public transport. What has been surprising is the meteoric rise in the number of bicycle users. This can largely be accredited to safer infrastructure and special subsidies for electric bikes for people who do not own cars. Radjaa, a Tunisian-Belgian woman, always wanted to cycle but she felt it was not safe, especially with her child. After joining a neighbourhood group for collective biking in the city during the peak hours, she feels pretty comfortable in cycling now. Car sharing services are very popular as they are managed at neighbourhood scale and, by bridging the digital divide, they now reach a wide diversity of citizens. Despite Tuesday being the busiest day of the week, the city’s air is clean, noise pollution is low, streets feel safe and people are less stressed.

Car sharing services are very popular as they are managed at neighbourhood scale and, by bridging the digital divide, they now reach a wide diversity of citizens.

Wednesday, 9 October 2030
On Wednesdays and Fridays, everyone has a half-day, working only in the mornings. Salaries are not affected by this schedule, as it is part of a progressive government programme. These half-days provide a good opportunity for people to slow down and connect with their families, as well as contribute to community activities in their neighbourhood. So far, it has not only had positive impacts on the social fabric of the city but also on our joint carbon footprint. Back in 2019, a lot of pressure and scrutiny was put on citizens’ individual footprints as a means for climate action. However, instead of having a positive influence, it had a rebound effect of intolerance and polarised opinions. With the “climate neighbourhood initiative”, citizens now focus on the joint footprint of their neighbourhoods. This way people support each other in their neighbourhood by sharing knowledge and best practices. For example, this evening in Rue Malibran, neighbours have gathered together to help a new migrant family make their apartment more energy efficient. The family is not well educated nor familiar with the Brussels administration. The neighbours are writing a collective email to the Brussels Region’s socio-ecological fund to demand support for this migrant family. While this discussion is going on, the community also get to learn from new techniques from the family on how to conserve water, electricity and gas. After all, scarcity makes you creative.

With the “climate neighbourhood initiative”, citizens now focus on the joint footprint of their neighbourhoods.

Thursday, 10 October 2030
Back in 2012 we had ‘Veggie Thursdays’, today in Brussels we have ‘Fasting Thursdays’. What started off as hipsters hijacking a ritual from Brussels’ migrant communities has now become quite normal. Despite its origins, it has been a blessing for the planet. Many people who practice Fasting Thursdays, find themselves having a healthier relationship with food. In a city like Brussels, where there are 190 different nationalities, it was not very easy to change people’s eating habits. In the past, a lot of people bought ingredients that had come from abroad for their traditional recipes. This slowly changed when some avant-garde chefs from different communities started experimenting with their traditional recipes. They replaced the meat and other ingredients that were not locally grown in Belgium with other substitutes. The results were surprisingly tasty. We haven’t transitioned 100% to a plant-based diet but at least there is now less friction around the debate of meat consumption VS religious and cultural norms, which was a major issue back in 2020. Since people got creative in proposing alternatives and showing long-term health benefits, we now have the majority of Brussels’ population on board, ready to embrace sustainable eating. However, the biggest achievement of our city’s food consumption habits, so far, has been to transform 100% of our schools’ meals to locally-sourced and organic food.

Friday, 11 October 2030
It is the start of a long weekend but almost no one is flying abroad. Back in 2021, many people felt guilty for flying. Others were angry to see heavy taxation on flights as they were no longer able to afford them. However, neither guilt nor anger was helping the socio-ecological situation, as after all we had all become victims of a consumer culture that prioritised the individual self instead of the collective. Instead, what made sense was when people posed the question, ‘isn’t it ecologically greedy to fly too much and not leave any space for others to prosper, particularly poor people and the next generations?’ After all, we could only fairly divide what was left within the limits. The new unified media strategy in Brussels played a big role in helping people understand the problem in a language and format they could comprehend. The pedagogy campaigns on new solutions like slow travel, flight rationing not only helped people change behaviours but adopt a ‘responsible citizen culture’. The European Institution implied the EU MEPs in Brussels to adopt no flights policy as part of the Flight Rationing strategy. All EU employees are now given longer holidays to travel by train. As a result, we have an amazing rail network in Europe now with night trains at an affordable cost. We still take flights but with Flight Rationing in place, we have reduced the number of flights we take every year.

We still take flights but with Flight Rationing in place, we have reduced the number of flights we take every year.

Saturday, 12 October 2030
This morning in the Brussels northern quarter, a citizen council gathered along with the Bouwmeester of Brussels-Capital Region to discuss a recent influx of climate refugees and the lack of housing infrastructure to accommodate them. Tuning in to the radio show “20:30 Brussels Talks” to hear the conclusions, it is fascinating to hear citizens, refugees and the Bouwmeester coming together to share the collective conclusions that were drawn. As a next step, some of the refugees will be moved to empty apartments in Saint-Vide/Leegbeek, while others will be given temporary shelter until more housing is renovated in Saint-Vide municipality. In Brussels, the debate on increasing built area has been on fire. New construction plans are not easily approved, as the densification was leading to reduction in the green spaces. With the revitalisation of our empty municipality, “Saint-Vide / Leegbeek”, we can keep the essential parks and green areas intact, as it is much needed with climate change. In the urban development field, there are two main objectives today – energy efficient social housing and shared vegetable gardens. Thanks to community programmes on vegetable gardening, we see many shared gardens in public spaces and rooftops. For the first time last year, we saw everyone having access to fresh and organic food instead of just a few privileged ones who could afford it in the past. It feels good and above all we see a return of vibrant communities, cross-cultural knowledge sharing and wellbeing.

Sunday, 13 October 2030
This morning, many people from Schaerbeek have gathered in Parc Josaphat for a spiritual discussion. Today’s spiritual debates are very different from the new-age spiritualism that was on rise in 2019. Instead of individual transformation, we focus on communities and collective wellbeing. There is also a certain guilt in many Europeans today regarding what is happening in the global south. Climate change has hit the global south badly and people are dying due to floods, droughts and extreme heat. We hope to stay together and restore local resilience. Every Sunday, we also have solidarity Table d’Hôtes, where people are served free lunches cooked with fresh and local ingredients. It works with donations, those who can pay and those who cannot don’t pay. What is important is that these lunches gather a wide diversity of people under the same roof and demonstrate healthy relationships with food. This afternoon, the citizen panel is going to announce the final distribution of the budget (50% of the budget distribution is managed by citizen panel). Unlike last year, everyone feels the issue of “social cohesion” will decrease a bit as so many things have changed for good. However, the issue of “climate” still remains a priority. Our lifestyles are quite different today. We have not gone back to the middle ages but we do live more like our grandparents, as we now value things more and have healthier relationships.

How did we get here? 

We had never imagined so much could change in Brussels in the last ten years. It demanded a collective shift of values, appropriation of solidarity and support, along with drastic lifestyle changes. The turning point was back in 2019, when it became clear that climate change is, above all, a question of social justice. While most carbon emissions were produced by a minority, the effects were felt by everyone, especially by the most vulnerable groups. On the other hand, many of the sustainable solutions proposed were only accessible to some, creating even more social injustice. 

Only when both citizens and governments saw climate transition and social justice intertwined, we were able to take a leap to this eco-social future. This transition was the result of a shift in the collective mindset and action, without dictating individual choices but offering alternatives that fit people’s lifestyles. Though, each individual had to take their role as a citizen, instead of a consumer, to make the transition happen. The shift from “ecology as a punishment” to “ecology as a good life” was essential. Governments played a crucial role in making sure citizens did not have to choose between the end of the month and end of the world. 

We are still far from completely saving the planet or removing social inequality from our city. But the movement has started and it cannot be stopped, there is no turning back. 

2019 has been marked as a very important year in the eco-social transition at three levels – first, thanks to climate and social movements like Youth4climate, Extinction Rebellion and Gillet Jaunes, so many citizens were mobilised to pressure the governments; second, we made climate change personal in our life and started helping each other in this transition; lastly, collectively we imagined new futures that triggered us to take concrete actions. 

Do you want to know more how we came to these future visions? Read more on our Medium page.

Climate action + social justice = possible and needed in Brussels

Dear Brussels,

Let’s be clear. We can’t ignore it anymore. Scientists have confirmedOur planet is warming up. Humans are responsible for it. And the consequences are serious.

For those who are still sceptical: the proof is in the numbers, and more specifically the ones from the reports from the IPCC.

  • The planet has warmed up 1° since 1880.
  • 95% of the climate warming is caused by human activity.
  • We can burn 1 trillion tons of carbon before we run the risk of causing dangerous climate change.

Eh wait, climate what? So this doesn’t have to do with recycling my trash? This movie refreshens what it’s all about…

And what about Belgium?

On the Belgian climate website (FR/NL) we learn that the yearly average temperature in Ukkel is 2,3° higher than in the pre-industrial period.

Evolution of the average temperature in Uccle between 1833 and 2018

The 20 warmest years since 1833 are in the period between 1989–2017.

The frequency of heat waves increased since 1970 from 1 every 3 year to 1 every year.

The amount of days with heavy rainfall has increasedsince 1950 from 3 to 6 days a year.

The amount of rainfall in the winter increases.

Flooding during June 2018, droughts during July 2018 (2nd picture ©Joris Casaer)

So,… change is needed. And we need to act now.

But wait, Belgium already agreed to become more ambitious, since they have signed the Paris Agreement, right?

The goals of this agreement are challenging but necessary to fulfill: keep the climate warming below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit the increase to 1.5 °.

But how?

Well, reducing greenhouse gas emissions is technologically feasible and economically attractive. Many concrete solutions exist and are communicated.

Those solutions require a plan for transition, but again, many tools are made to help governments put priorities and take the right decisions.

The Exponential Climate Action Roadmap outlines the global economic transformation required by 2030 to meet the Paris Agreement on climate.

Belgian politicians struggle to translate these ambitions into policy plans though.

And citizens protest. Youngsters do school strike. Companies gather forces. Artists speak up. Activists of all kind come on the streets.

One group of protesters seems different than the others though. The Gilets Jaunes have socio-economic motivations for protesting and claim rising fuel prices, high cost of living, and unfair tax systems.

They protest in a different way. Definitely. But their demands are interlinked with the ones of the other activists.

Climate change affects us all, but…

Climate change is unfair. The people who have benefited the least from our fossil fuel dependencies, and who are contributing the least greenhouse gas emissions, are suffering the most from the consequences.

Wealthy people still use over ten times more carbon than poorer people, but they breath the same bad quality air.

Responses to climate change are also unfair. People who are socially, economically, culturally, politically or otherwise excluded or marginalized typically profit the least from environmental subsidies, low carbon transportation options, resilience measures and energy efficiency savings.

A law that forbids old cars from entering the city harms owners of old cars, low-income citizens.

Tackling climate change and growing inequalities simultaneously needs everyone. And it is impossible to tackle climate change without also tackling inequality, and vice-versa.

This has lead us to a very important question:

How will everyone thrive in a climate-proof Brussels in 2030?

Everyone. We talk about Brussels. The most cosmopolitan city of Europe, with a highly diverse population living together on little space, and with many social challenges. 30% of the population lives under the poverty line, the climate isn’t really their first worry. Most families rent, so climate subsidies for renovation aren’t beneficial for them. And a big part of the emissions is caused by commuters, while the people that have to work in the bad quality air, are vulnerable groups.

It makes sense to look at solutions on a city level. The problems in cities are similar and there is a lot of knowledge to exchange.

Besides, cities are the drivers of change. Cities are 3 times more likely to take action if a goal or target has been established. And cities are close to their population. They know their vulnerable population and what the social and cultural challenges are.

So far the challenges, what about the opportunities?

Climate actions bring wider social, economic and environmental co-benefits, such as air quality improvement, low cost renewable energy andemployment opportunities.

Following a low-carbon and climate resilient development path can create a more inclusive urban society.

Inclusivity in climate action planning means:

  • engagement of a wide range of communities and stakeholders(inclusivity of the process)
  • fairness and accessibility in design and delivery (inclusivity of the policy)
  • wider benefits of action as equitably distributed as possible (inclusivity of the impact)
Barcelona decided to put climate justice at the core of its new Climate Plan, concentrating on inclusive actions that serve all Barcelona citizens, but particularly focusing on those most vulnerable. The five areas of action in the Plan reinforce this focus on climate justice: (1) people first, (2) starting at home, (3) transforming communal spaces, (4) climate economy, and (5) building together.

We can learn how to jointly tackle climate change and inequality from existing cases, from e.g. the Inclusive Climate Action report from the C40.

Just a few ideas:

  • Build plans that support everyone, and focus on the most vulnerable to climate change
  • Implement projects that address multiple needs and provide countless benefits
  • Build a diverse and inclusive steering group to ensure successful implementation
  • Create access and pricing structures that allow low-income communities to participate
  • Hire from local communities to create multiple benefits for residents and increase outreach Adapt your engagement methods based on the target audience
  • Use engagement to leverage buy-in from other levels of government
  • Create a central public engagement unit to pool resources
  • Reach out to the private sector to prompt action

The knowledge is out there. Let’s find a way to make the transition to Brussels 2030 not only green but also just!

How will everyone thrive in a climate-proof Brussels in 2030?

It is urgent for cities to transition to ‘green’. Yet climate-friendly initiatives are also at risk of increasing inequalities. The yellow vests movement sparked from exactly this tension: endeavours towards ecological transition, that do not take into account their negative impact on ordinary citizens.

Do ecological measures have to be detrimental to less wealthy citizens — or can the transition towards a green city be an opportunity for all?

Smoothie recipes for ecological transition: “Green Detox” or “Green Disaster”?

Imagine Brussels in 2030. A green, eco and climate-friendly city. People have electric cars and houses are passive with solar panels and energy-saving windows. Most people eat healthy, locally-sourced foods. Connected citizens use apps to participate in politics and influence decision-makers directly.

Futuristic eco-cities are often painted as a green paradise.

But what if half of that paradise was a mirage?

What if, as fossil fuel cars are forbidden, poorer citizens have to abandon their vehicle despite living in zones that are not well-connected with public transport. What if strict passive housing requirements prevent the less wealthy from renovating, worsening unsanitary living conditions.

What if organic foods remain a privilege for those with a comfortable wallet. What if, while wealthy people still use over ten times more carbon than poorer people, they also still pay 4 times less taxes. And what if children in less privileged neighbourhoods have no knowledge of the apps that their privileged counterparts use to participate in society, influence politics and educate themselves.

As a result, frustration remains on the rise. A ruling elite is increasingly out of touch with a big segment of the population that feels left out of a privileged, tech-savvy, green smoothie revolution. The eco-revolution has not reached their neighbourhood. Only their wallet.

Instead of turning green, the yellow vests may turn red with anger…

Why making a green detox smoothie is not enough

Far from being a theoretic, these questions call for real answers if we want to ensure an ecological transition that doesn’t worsen already existing inequalities. In Brussels, more than 40% of the youth from 0 to 15 years old live in risk of poverty. If our youth marches for the climate, we must ensure the measures responding to it do not prejudice them!

Inequality is one of the factors that complicate action against climate change. Citizens with purchasing power have a much easier access to solutions such as electric cars or solar panels. Less wealthy citizens are often penalised in this game.

For example, a law that forbids old cars from entering the city may seem harmless. Yet most people owning old cars are low-income citizens. How can those that are not able to buy new cars or that do not live next to well-connected public transport continue playing on the same level playing field? Similarly, while the government might subsidise green energy investments, this excludes those who do not own a house or do not have enough savings to do renovations in the first place.

If unaddressed, the structural inequalities in terms of means and power that certain measures engender will inevitably lead to tensions and political unrest.

Beyond the hipster cafés: a green smoothie accessible to all

If inequality and climate change are interconnected, can we turn this into an opportunity instead of a problem? Rather than reinforcing inequalities, climate-friendly measures that follow simple principles, such as sharing, could benefit all and foster a city that is not only more ecological, but also lead to more integrated, connected and egalitarian society.

For instance, climate change requires that we consume less. Consumption in cities can be radically diminished through mutualisation of infrastructures. The optimisation of living areas require shared heating systems that can make energy affordable for all. Shared car systems can divide the number of cars in a city by seven. Obsolete parking spaces could be used to create more green areas, and ensure equal access to nature for all. But… they could also be used to build luxurious (eco-)buildings for the wealthy.

What kind of future will we choose?

Let’s envision a future together, and prepare the best smoothie Brussels has ever had!