Urban Assemblages Studio’s work focused on the promenade in the 21st century city, not only on its leisure aspect, but also on its functional one. Thus, the project aims to restore the ecosystem and biodiversity of the territory of Schaerbeek Formation that has known a constant industrialization since the building of the Brussels’Canal, resulting into environmental ruptures, and soil pollution. The research behind the project asks a question: ‘how can we bridge and enable a place that is hostile to people and animals, considering its ecological, environmental and economical significance to the city?’
The promenade is used in this project as a tool for stitching the fragments of the biodiversity. The existing ‘Promenade Verte’ travels Brussels, touching a series of green spaces and landscapes but avoids this site. The reason being its industrial character making it inaccessible and hostile.
Aiming to reconnect the biodiversity thus restoring the ecosystem, another main itinerary is suggested : passing from the Moeraske, through this industrial park, taking advantage of the to-be-resurfaced Senne as part of the BKP, going over the Canal to the Meudon Park, and finally rejoining its initial path.
In order to understand deeply the ecosystem and biodiversity, an analysis of the soil, the flora, and fauna has been done through on-site soil testings, and inventory of the green spaces around. After understanding the why and how of the current ecosystem, the restoration process consisted of identifying stepping stones on which the bridging would anchor on : the Moersake, the ‘Island’ (abandoned SNCB building), the Senne, the Canal, and the Meudon Park.
From the Moeraske, a path reaches the ‘Island’. It consists of an urban park, half green park and half covered sports facilities and open spaces that could host cultural events. The ‘Island’ is then linked to the Senne, a transition in nature, with the possibility to reach the ground alongside the Canal docks, a green corridor, ending in an esplanade. The Canal’s intervention comes with an observatory that offers the users a new view of this landscape. Finally, the path lands in Meudon Park, to continue to the initial green promenade. This way, the fragmented biotopes, green spaces are enabled and connected, thus restoring the ecosystem of a once flourishing valley.