New regeneration plans for Belgian capital
Waterwalk is a 30ha sustainable urban regeneration project integrated in the wider strategy of some of Brussels city’s main components reorganisation.
It aims at recomposing the urban fabric where the outward move of the city’s main logistical areas will leave city centre brownfield sites available where urban social life can be developed, reducing transport CO2 and traffic nuisances.
Regeneration will generate facilities in order to revitalize areas historically dedicated to industry along both the river 'Senne' and the canal. Urban continuity with surrounding districts is enhanced through canal bank promenade and new bridge links across the rail tracks that isolate the island site.
The holistic environmental and humanistic approach of the eco district project, (with a strong long term and zero emission concern), includes opportunities for social diversity through the variety of residential schemes and new accessibility to the site favouring modes of public transport, designed to reduce pollution. This includes promenade and cycle tracks, tramways, buses, a canal shuttle and an improved link to the nearby train station.
Heating & cooling energy requirements are reduced through an exchange between functions on a shared loop. The loop is fed simultaneously by geothermal and canal water exchangers, while hot water recuperation is aided by the nearby existing waste treatment plant. The scheme also employs renewable electrical power through solar harvest and canal bank wind corridor windmills, guided by strict specification on water and energy consumption for each component. The scheme allows for water collection and biological treatment for on site re-use while purifying the river, ground permeability is retrieved and green roofs imposed, while biodiversity is promoted through green corridors and green 'stepping stone' areas.
Soil recovery and depollution are achieved through phased natural enrichment. Experimental renewable energy production techniques are compared for education, research and training in this domain, from solar, wind, biomass, and geothermal to fuel cell technologies, with a view to reduced grey energy and waste through a choice of C2C materials, prefabrication and transport via canal and rail.
The project relies on a nourished public / private sector dialogue while preserving the balance between public interests and private objectives, providing diversified housing units (300.000 m2), and an open retail complex serving the region (50.000 m2) connected to proximity retail streets serving the neighbourhood, schools / educational and training facilities, cultural amenities, sports facilities & parks, inter-generational activity and meeting facilities public administration services and urban light industrial buildings and infrastructure (100.000 m2).
Waterwalk is centered on quality urban life and provides an exemplary solution to Brussels limited territory's densification for future generations while setting the trend in sustainable development for the whole region by aiming at both zero energy and C2C requirements generally.