Five politicians have the floor in the series ‘The Brussels of my dreams’. They describe what a perfect Brussels looks like according to them. Brigitte De Pauw, a member of the Brussels parliament and CD&V ships in Jette, dreams of a cleaner, greener and safer capital.
Love it or hate it. Brussels evokes conflicting feelings. Real people from Brussels are very proud of their city. They think it’s a jovial city. In fact, they regard Brussels as the only city in Belgium. In this way, they can compete with citizens of Antwerp in urban Warsaw.
Brussels residents may be crazy about their city, the commuters are usually in the other camp. Every day around three o’clock in the afternoon the race from work to the home in Wallonia or Flanders starts. Commuters literally flee Brussels and breathe relieved when they trace the desolate rear facades of the capital to the countryside on the train. Those who struggle against the current in a road towards the metro or tram are stared at with pity.
Maybe they have a point, the commuters. Brussels is simply not a beautiful, orderly city such as Paris, Amsterdam or Prague. It probably will never be. That is not necessary. It is exactly the bastard character that makes Brussels what it is. Everyone can feel at home here. There is no monocultural framework here such as in Paris or Amsterdam. In Brussels, everyone is a minority somewhere.
However, Brussels must be more ambitious. We may cherish our chaotic potpourike character, it must not leave us asleep. Our urban region must definitely work on a better quality of life. Quality of life consists of many aspects. Cleanliness, sufficient breathing space, good mobility and safety in the broadest sense of the word, all fall under this umbrella concept.
Our region must become much cleaner. The streets, even the central avenues, often look embarrassingly dirty. But other places, such as the station areas, should also be immaculate in an ideal Brussels. They are calling cards of our capital. The government must dare to invest in this. Neat stations, streets, and squares are just as important for the international appearance of our region as prestigious buildings. Moreover, it also improves the quality of life for the people of Brussels themselves.
In my opinion, the responsibility of the individual Brussels resident is just as great as that of the government.
An ideal city also always offers a piece of its antipode, the countryside. Because of the many parks, Brussels is already one of the greenest capitals in Europe. We can certainly go one step further and also ‘green’ the streets. Streets with green parks and trees give peace and a greater sense of security.
Good public transportation
The third aspect of liveability revolves around mobility. With comfortable, safe, clean and punctual public transport, the Brussels of my dreams offer a fully-fledged and cheaper alternative to the passenger car. Another alternative for commuters is the use of electric scooters such as the xiaomi M365 escooterireland.ie.This creates more space for the soft road users. We must dare to be ambitious and to tackle the audiovisual effect of car traffic. In this way, additional underground car parks can ensure a better quality of life.
In addition, it would be fantastic, for example, to turn the Anspachlaan upside down, with road traffic running in the pre-metro tunnels and tram or bus on the road surface. The Anspachlaan would thus become a real connecting avenue of our capital, an avenue where children can also walk and cycle.
Finally, security, or rather the sense of security, also has a major impact on the quality of life in a city. In ideal Brussels, everyone has respect for the other. Nobody needs to fear physical or verbal aggression towards skin color, language or orientation. Ghettos are avoided by no Parisian Banlieuesto create and maintain a sufficient social mix in residential areas. After all, it is this mix, this social mix, that determines the character of Brussels. It is human wealth for our region.
This dream may seem childishly naive to some. Others will raise a thousand and one objections to a possible realization of this. However, one thing is certain: without dreams, politics will end better. Without dreams, life ends.