In Brussels (Belgium), as in other parts of the world, the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated and legitimated changes in planning policy and regulation. The ongoing reform of Brussels’ regional planning regulations has been reframed as the ‘good living’ plan and has high ambitions to improve everyday quality of life, notably by setting more flexible rules for new developments. Despite long-lasting citizen engagement in planning processes, Brussels’ aspirations to improve its inhabitants’ quality of life have faced several spatial and institutional challenges. The Belgian capital hosts the European Commission and international and administrative office districts as well as industrial areas. Housing and public space quality are very contrasted between Brussels' south-eastern, high-priced neighbourhoods and the former industrial zone along the canal. Furthermore, its planning framework has suffered from institutional fragmentation, conflicting government agencies, politicised planning and strong market intervention. In this reflection paper, we discuss the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on planning instruments aimed at everyday quality of life through analysis of Brussels’ planning regulation reform, based on documentan alysis and semi-structured interviews conducted with actors of Brussels’ planning system. Beyond emphasising outdoor space, the revision proposal aims to improve housing quality through health and flexibility and sets criteria for density, mixed-use, green space…that relate to the 15’- city principles. Covid-19 may be an opportunity to reduce the gap towards ‘good living’ in Brussels and make us more resilient the next time we face a major health crisis. Setting and consolidating policy goals is one thing, making sure to implement them without excluding vulnerable groups is another one.
- Ruimtelijke planning