Good Living: Brussels aims for an even more car-free city

The Brussels government has validated the first version of Good Living, the future bible of urban planning in the Brussels Region. Open spaces, urbanity, and liability are the three principles of Good Living, which will be the guiding principle for the transition of Brussels to a future-oriented city on a human scale.

It foresees a maximum of 50% of the roadway to be redeveloped and reserved for cars. The rest will be used for pedestrians, cyclists, public transport, trees, games, and benches. Good Living aims to create open spaces where people have room to relax, feel safe, and move around pleasantly.

Improving the quality of life

Good Living thus lays down the rules that every street, square, or building in the Brussels Region must satisfy to obtain a building permit in the future. “Good Living will define the urban fabric of Brussels for the next 50 years and thus improve the quality of life and living in the city for everyone,” said Brussels State Secretary for Town Planning, Pascal Smet (Vooruit).

As far as open spaces are concerned, a maximum of 50% of the street will be reserved for individual motorized transport. On through roads, there will be an ochre-colored separate cycle track at least 1,8 meters wide for a one-way cycle track and at least 3 meters wide for a two-way cycle track. In addition, each footpath must be at least 2 meters wide, and at least 10 to 15% of the surface will be reserved for trees and plants.

Benches, toilets, drinking fountains, playground equipment, and other street furniture will be provided in busy places. Angled and perpendicular parking will be prohibited, as well as parking in front of listed monuments, parks, and cultural and religious buildings. At least 30% of each site must remain undeveloped. And of that 30%, 75% shall be open ground to allow for proper drainage.

As far as high-rise buildings are concerned, Good Living provides that the project’s density is determined based on the green and open space available, the accessibility of public transport and shared mobility and the mix of the project’s functions.

The target is 2024

Good Living, in line with the city’s Good Move plan, still has a long way to go. In the autumn, consultation with the municipalities and regional administrations will begin, and the public inquiry will take place, after which the Brussels government will approve the text at second reading and send it to the Council of State.

The final approval by the Brussels government is planned for next summer, after which the ball is in Parliament’s court. Smet and Brussels Minister-President Rudi Vervoort (PS) hope Good Living will come into force on 1 January or 1 July 2024.

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