Productive Metropolis

Productive Metropolis

Invitational competition for a research by design on the ‘productive metropolis’ of Brussels (IABR 2016), Laureate, 2016

Most European cities convert their former industrial areas into residential districts with shops and offices. They push productive activities ever further away from the city. The Brussels-Capital Region has opted for a different strategy. Industry is afforded a prominent position in the urban project for the Canal Zone. Flanders is also looking for tools to anchor the economy of tomorrow in the city of today. In the context of the International Architecture Biennial Rotterdam (IABR) 2016, with its theme of The Next Economy CENTRAL has been invited  to make a research on a better match between the changing economy and the organisation of space for productive activities in the capital city’s metropolitan area. The results of this process of design research and knowledge sharing wereon display at the Rotterdam Architecture Biennial, but also in Brussels at BOZAR.

A healthy city is a productive city. This requires an approach that strives for a strategic anchoring of the future of the economy in the fabric of 21st-century city. International challenges and trends underline the need to reintroduce the manufacturing industry to our regions: from manufacturing that makes the link between knowledge, innovation and production, to a circular economy committed to shorter chains and flows of materials and energy.The Flemish-Brussels metropolitan region has a large number of low-skilled unemployed, while old industrial zones languish in the city and its outskirts. Atelier Brussels Productive Metropolis proposes giving these old industrial sites a new lease on life by focusing on attracting innovative production activities. The city as a melting pot of knowledge and labour is seen as the ideal breeding ground, with opportunities for the Brussels Canal Zone and the adjacent industrial zones in Vilvoorde, for developing a circular economy, and for local assembly coupled with a global logistics system. According to Atelier Brussels Productive Metropolis, the foundations of the productive city of the future can be laid in the metropolitan area, while at the same time achieving social, ecological, economic and spatial gains on both sides of the regional border.


Radim Louda, Paul Mouchet, Valentin Piret

  • Urban design
Client Type