In Europe
illustration et dates de l’European Week of Regions and Cities 2020

The Brussels-Capital Region is participating in the 2020 European Week of Regions and Cities

Like every year, the Brussels-Capital Region (BCR) is participating in the 2020 European Week of Regions and Cities in mid-October.

On 14 October, Brussels International will present to citizens and the press the sustainable projects that received support from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). That same day, several Brussels institutions will participate in the #territorialdata: Maps and Visualisations workshop.

On 19 October, Brussels Minister for Climate Change, Environment, Energy and Participatory Democracy Alain Maron will present local initiatives in terms of energy-efficient buildings during a workshop on fuel poverty.

Finally, on 20 October, Brussels State Secretary for Urbanism and Heritage, European and International Relations, and Foreign Trade Pascal Smet will give a presentation on the capital region’s green transition during a seminar onCities & Regions in Green Transition.

 The European Week of Regions and Cities gives cities and regions an opportunity to demonstrate their ability to create growth and jobs, to implement the European Union’s cohesion policy, and prove the relevance of European good governance on the local and regional level.

This year’s EU Regions week will be spread over three consecutive weeks, with many events held virtually. Each week will have a specific theme: empowering citizens, cohesion and cooperation, and Green Europe.


Presentation of sustainable Brussels projects to the press

Each year, the BCR participates in this event. For the 18th EU Regions Week, our region has chosen to accentuate the Green Europe theme, starting with the presentation, on 14 October, of sustainable Brussels projects that were implemented with European financing.

Brussels International has partnered with the European Commission’s DG REGIO and the EU’s Assembly of Regional and Local Representatives to welcome the press in Brussels and present two projects that were implemented with the support of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to achieve a greener Europe: and the sustainable swimming pool of Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB).

These two projects are part of the energy transition of public infrastructure, included in Axis 3 of the 2014-2020 ERDF programming, which promotes the development of a circular economy and the rational use of resources. a new international sustainable university neighbourhood is the project for the redevelopment of the site of the former National Gendarmerie School into a sustainable neighbourhood. By creating an international, multicultural and university neighbourhood in the heart of Brussels and Europe, this project aims to lead by example, both on the technical (circular economy, energy performance, etc.) level and in terms of living together (collective projects, solidarity, …).

The site’s renovation contributes to the enhancement of the architectural heritage, the redevelopment of public spaces, the construction of housing and the development of an interuniversity centre dedicated to sustainable development, entrepreneurship, and innovation. The ERDF’s intervention provides support for the renovation of buildings, turning them into very low-energy buildings to be used by shared and collective university facilities.

This joint project of the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and the Urban Development Cooperation (SAU) received financing from Europe and the Brussels-Capital Region to the tune of 11.8 million euros out of a total investment of approximately 18 million euros. The ERDF investment will be used for the renovation of several buildings covering an area of 10,000m2. Their annual energy consumption will be reduced by 3,000 tons of CO2 a year.

The SAU is tasked with overseeing the site’s future development. During the transitional period, the buildings will be temporarily occupied by the See U association with a view to opening up the site to local residents and organise events there before the works start.

Views of the buildings and project, redevelopment project for the site of the former school of the National Gendarmerie

A new sustainable swimming-pool on the VUB campus

Another sustainable project is the new swimming pool on the campus of Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). As a result, the BCR will have a swimming facility of approx. 400 m² for swimming lessons and recreational swimming.

Interior view of the training pool
The VUB’s new sustainable swimming pool

The CO2 production of this new, compact and energy-saving iconic building will be reduced by more than 500 tons a year compared to the old infrastructure. Consequently the swimming pool contributes to achieving the objectives set out by the Brussels-Capital Region and the European Union. The swimming pool’s renovation also meant that a training area could be added to the building.

This new sports complex contributes to the creation of a more pleasant urban environment to live in, in addition to promoting a healthy lifestyle. It also underscores the VUB’s commitment to community outreach with the surrounding community. In the long term, the pool is expected to welcome 130,000 visitors a year.

The intervention of the ERDF and the BCR in this project amounts to 2.03 million euros out of a total investment of 7.8 million euros.


Participation of the BCR in the territorial data workshop and presentation of a virtual stand

Also on 14 October, the #territorialdata: Maps and Visualisations workshop will give cities and regions an opportunity to present their tools to visualise territorial data and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The purpose of this session is to demonstrate the power of territorial data, which combine spatial representation and its contributions in terms of gaining a better understanding of the territory, decision-making and flexibility.

The BCR will be virtually represented during this workshop by Brussels Environment, They will present the Be Sustainable platform,  which brings together the various players in land use planning and urban revitalisation (regional and municipal authorities, real estate developers, project designers, consultants, …), with a view to effective collaboration in the framework of development projects for sustainable neighbourhoods.

Be Sustainable stimulates mutual inspiration and knowledge exchange, while introducing professionals with innovative practices and specific solutions. The platform offers a toolbox and a support service for the implement of sustainable neighbourhood projects as part of the Brussels Sustainable Regional Development Plan and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.


Intervention of Brussels Minister Alain Maron during the European workshop on fuel poverty

On 19 October, Ghent, Lille Metropolis, Vienna and the BCR are organising a workshop on energy retrofit, which focuses on energy-poor households. This virtual debate, which is hosted by the European network for sustainable innovation Greenovate! Europe will focus on how cities can ensure that low-income households have access to energy retrofit programmes.

In this framework, Brussels Minister for Climate Change, Environment, Energy and Participatory Democracy Alain Maron will present Brussels initiatives for energy-efficient buildings.


Presentation of Brussels State Secretary Pascal Smet during the “Cities & Regions in Green Transition” seminar

Given that the capital and metropolitan regions have a relatively high concentration of population and economic activities, they are looking at ways to achieve their objectives for reducing CO2 emissions in transport, the energy efficiency of buildings and the introduction of circular economy principles.

In this context, the BCR will partner with the Capital Cities and Regions Network for the organisation of the Cities & Regions in Green Transition seminar. Brussels State Secretary for  Urbanism and Heritage, European and International Relations, and Foreign Trade Pascal Smet will give a presentation on the BCR’s green transition during the seminar.


With these interventions and presentations, our region wants to underline Brussels’ capacity to implement sustainable projects for a greener Europe for the benefit of its citizens.