‘Leefbuurten’ are lively, climate-robust and car-free neighbourhoods where it is pleasant to walk, cycle and live. The design of the public domain in these neighbourhoods contributes to the evolution towards safe, healthy, social and sustainable communities by transcending the mere traffic function and by offering more space to the many space requirements that our streets are confronted with. They are pleasant places to stay, tailored to the needs of young and old alike. Their layout provides space for meeting and activity, for nature and greenery, for water and trees that can temper the summer heat and drought, for healthier air and for quieter places. Cycling and walking are a matter of course. The car is not dominantly present.
The study is not (only) about cycling, it about active mobility as means to achieve vital, liveable, inclusive and healthy neighbourhoods. It addresses accessibility for all: young- old, for all genders, ethnicities and abilities. The project promotes behavioural change and formulates practical guidelines for the transformation of neighbourhoods, taking into account all users.
To realize this project, the Flemish state architect and Fietsberaad Vlaanderen together set up a collaboration. The study combines spatial planning and cycling policy, a top-down and bottom-up approach; as well as design practice and academic research. Artgineering with the support of VUB (Vrije Universiteit Brussel) and in collaboration with different municipalities, researched for inspiring examples, strategies and hands-on design principles.
This plea for ‘lively neighbourhoods, inspires municipalities and other actors who can contribute to the design and realisation of cycle friendly, lively neighbourhoods. The findings on the importance of network, proximity, aesthetics, ecology and process are bundled in a brochure with international best-practices. The study resulted in concrete follow-up projects for the actual transformation of several neighbourhoods into ‘Leefbuurten’ in Flanders.