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A Good City Has Industry: An exhibition about the project Atelier Brussels on view at BOZAR
Cantillon © Bas Bogaerts.


BRUSSELS.- The majority of European cities turn their old industrial districts into residential areas with shops and offices, pushing productive activities further and further out of the city. The Brussels Region has gone for a different approach. But industry is a vital part of the rich economic and urban fabric of a vibrant city. The BOZAR exhibition ‘A Good City has Industry’ gathers policy makers, architects, experts, developers and entrepreneurs round the table and makes a plea for the productive, circular city. The exhibition is on view until January 15 at the Ravenstein Gallery.

The exhibition A Good City Has Industry is falling back on the results of the IABR Atelier Brussels. This workshop for research-by-design and knowledge exchange was founded by Flemish and Brussels players within the context of the 2016 — The Next Economy edition of the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam (IABR).

During the last IABR edition, Mark Brearley (professor at The Cass in London) made a speech about Brussels and the Flemish periphery. ‘A good city has industry’ was the very message that Brearley wanted to drive home. And what has emerged? Brussels is one of the few European cities where industry is very much part of its fabric. Mark Brearley referred during his speech to his own city, London, which, in his own words has, ‘swallowed itself up’. Industry has been cleared out of the city in favour of homes, shops and entertainment. Brussels, on the other hand, still has all that is required to be a ‘good city’. Industry is still everywhere. On large premises around the canal, along the railways and in the periphery we find an abattoir, a cement factory and a sorting and transhipment centre for metals. But even in the heart of the city industry is omnipresent: car garages, carpenters, logistics firms, etc. The prominent presence of industry in the city is a big advantage for Brussels, and we need to further strengthen this and better entrench it in the urban fabric. Thanks to its industry Brussels has the potential to develop into a sustainable, more self-supporting and circular city.

The exhibition A Good City Has Industry is falling back on the results of the IABR Atelier Brussels. This workshop for research-by-design and knowledge exchange was founded by Flemish and Brussels players within the context of the 2016 — The Next Economy edition of the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam (IABR).

During the last IABR edition, Mark Brearley (professor at The Cass in London) made a speech about Brussels and the Flemish periphery. ‘A good city has industry’ was the very message that Brearley wanted to drive home. And what has emerged? Brussels is one of the few European cities where industry is very much part of its fabric. Mark Brearley referred during his speech to his own city, London, which, in his own words has, ‘swallowed itself up’. Industry has been cleared out of the city in favour of homes, shops and entertainment. Brussels, on the other hand, still has all that is required to be a ‘good city’. Industry is still everywhere. On large premises around the canal, along the railways and in the periphery we find an abattoir, a cement factory and a sorting and transhipment centre for metals. But even in the heart of the city industry is omnipresent: car garages, carpenters, logistics firms, etc. The prominent presence of industry in the city is a big advantage for Brussels, and we need to further strengthen this and better entrench it in the urban fabric. Thanks to its industry Brussels has the potential to develop into a sustainable, more self-supporting and circular city.

The exhibition in BOZAR charts Brussels’ productive fabric and economic flows with the aid of photography and cartography. Scale models and drawings show the research-by-design that designers developed in collaboration with public and private players. Concrete practical examples provide opportunities and strategies for a city which reconciles living and working and which makes room for an inclusive, circular economy.

The gallery space in the Ravenstein rotunda has been taken over by more than just a classic exhibition. A large desk marks it out as a setting for discussions and workshops. The exhibited works serve as inspiration or provocation for further actions. The exhibition space is a space for knowledge exchange and debate about the future of the city.






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