Niets bestaat dat niet iets anders aanraakt (Jeroen Brouwers)
Dear Brussels residents,
We love Brussels. We refuse to give in to the negativism and horror stories that make the rounds about this city. Brussels has huge potential. It is our duty to grab these possibilities and lift the city to a higher level.
In Brussels everyone in their own way belongs to a minority. Our mother tongue is Dutch, but in this city we hear other languages all day long. Cyclists demand their place amid (too many) cars. One neighbour was born in Rabat, the other in London. In Brussels the immigrated Fleming, the Marolles resident of an certain age, the young street urchin, the housewife from Laeken and the advertising boy from the pentagon together make up the city. We have no common past, but we do have a common future. What binds us together is Brussels.
What we miss most in Brussels is space: space to live, to play with children, green space, wider bicycle and foot paths, space to practise sports, enough places in the crèche. We want to give all Brussels residents the space they deserve.
Pascal Smet (n° 49) and Ans Persoons (n°8), sp.a candidates on list n°11 PS – sp.a
Please find below our priorities for Brussels. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have other questions (email@example.com, 0498 79 28 96). In Brussels you can vote vote for specific candidates or for the list as a whole. You can give a nominal vote to more than one candidate (but they have to be on the same list).
Return the squares to the people
Squares are the urban dweller’s garden, terrace and living room. There are so many more fun things you can do on a square besides parking and honking. We aim to return the squares to the people, just as we did with the Place du Vieux Marché aux Grains.
The majority of Brussels residents live in cramped quarters, perhaps have a balcony, rarely a garden. City dwellers live in the street, in squares, in parks. That is why we have to reorganise the scarce space in the city. Squares should become the heart of the city, where you meet friends, allow your children to play, read a book on a bench.
Stylish Central Boulevards
We want to return the central boulevards to their former grandeur. The stock exchange and Place De Brouckère must become true squares again, linked by a pedestrian, green strolling lane. We will also make Rue Orts a pedestrian street, thus creating one large pedestrian zone between the Grand Place and the Place Sainte Catherine. The Sablon and the Place Bockstael must also become pedestrian, with an underground car park.
Through traffic or non-local traffic does not belong in the centre. We want to keep it out of the pentagon with a ‘loop’ system that leads cars to an underground car park or to the small ring road. The pentagon is in zone 30. We aim to impose this speed limit with speed cameras, police checks and a redevelopment of public spaces. Residential neighbourhoods outside of the pentagon must also be in zone 30.
Brussels bicycle city
It is not enough to say that people have to cycle, we also have to provide the necessary infrastructure. With each street redevelopment, a bicycle path must be added, as much as possible in its own bedding. We want to provide enough safe bicycle sheds and build bicycle superhighways: a network of bicycle streets where cars have limited access. The police must impose fines on cars that park on bicycle paths.
Keep it neat
Brussels needs more love. Those who litter, do not care about this city. Those who abuse their fellow citizens are not worthy of this city. Those who love Brussels respect its streets and residents.
Street litter. Neglected playgrounds. Vacant houses. Vandalised bus shelters. Insults because you are a woman or gay. Stolen wallets. A metro corridor that reeks of urine. All examples of things we feel should not be in a civilised society. We, Brussels residents are entitled to demand an optimally organised city. And Brussels deserves to be respected by all its residents.
Clean and tidy
Keeping Brussels clean is a daily struggle. We want to see mini container parks in every neighbourhood and rubbish bins in every street, so that no one has an excuse to litter or discard their empty tins in the street. All public toilets have to go free. Those who continue to behave antisocially, must be efficiently fined.
A well cared-for neighbourhood encourages people to respect their environment, a neglected area attracts more dirt and trouble. Whatever is broken must be immediately repaired. We plead for a central telephone number and an application for smartphones on which residents can report cleanliness and maintenance issues to a fast response unit, which travels to the site within 24 hours.
Safety constitutes a basic right. The street belongs to us all. We want approachable police officers who patrol on foot or on bicycles in all our Brussels neighbourhoods, even outside of office hours. The public prosecutor and the court must set up an urban cell that only handles street and petty crime, in order for these cases to be punished.
Brussels: City by the water
Every Parisian would like to live on the banks of the Seine. In Brussels the canal is a no-cross zone with scrap heaps and heavy industry. The canal has to liven things up in the city: with an outdoor swimming pool, parks, residences and a museum of contemporary art.
Every city with any character has a river. Today no one sees Brussels as a city by the water. The canal area has a high concentration of young street urchins, but is unfortunately an area with few public spaces and greenery. Our river’s potential is grossly wasted. We aim to change this situation.
Every day Brussels on the River
It should be Brussels on the River every day on the banks of the Béco dock: with lowered quays, city parks, play and sports infrastructure, large terraces overlooking the water. In new and existing buildings we would make room for homes, shops, schools and crèches. These new activities would provide job opportunities in the neighbourhood.
Outdoor swimming pool
Nearly all major cities in Europe have an outdoor swimming pool. It is high time that Brussels follows in their footsteps. Nowhere does an outdoor swimming pool make more sense than in the canal area. Nowhere in the city do you find more families living in cramped quarters who do not travel during the summer. Nowhere in Brussels is there a greater shortage of play and sports facilities.
Tate Modern on the Canal
Brussels boasts magnificent works of art from the 20th and 21st century, but no one gets to see these collections, since the Museum of Modern Art closed its doors last year. These masterpieces are gathering dust in a warehouse. In addition, our banks own brilliant art collections from the same period that remain hidden to the public. We want to gather these treasures in a new museum of contemporary art, after the example of the Tate Modern in London.
Making it possible for young people to succeed
This is Aberslam, a top talent. His dream is the 2016 Olympics. His club is bursting at the seams and needs an actual boxing ring. We have to invest in education and sports, so that all young people in this city can realise their dreams.
Nearly 25% of the population in the City of Brussels is under 18 years old. One out of five young people leave school without diploma, the youth unemployment rate is 33%. Dramatic figures. Providing children and young people with every opportunity to develop and ensuring that they succeed in life, is the greatest challenge Brussels is facing.
Preschoolers & toddlers
Toddlers who go to crèches, are later better able to keep up at school. The crèches in Brussels are struggling with a shortage of places. Specifically Laeken and the centre have to build an additional crèche. Toddlers who do not attend school, quickly fall behind and develop a language deficiency. We aim to actively track down and convince parents who do not send their children to nursery school.
The city has to set up a new Dutch-speaking primary school in the pentagon. We want to turn every school into a ‘community school’, anchored in the neighbourhood. This implies that schools must work closely with sports, cultural and youth clubs in the neighbourhood so that Dutch does not remain a stiff schoolroom language, but also a language to play basketball and the guitar in.
Brussels is an ideal breeding ground for champions. French cities invest in boxing training for young people. Result: they take part in the Olympics with their youngsters. Sport is a vent, it constitutes meaningful recreation and gives direction to life: winning a competition, being good at something, works wonders with someone’s self-image. We want to invest in additional sports infrastructure (among which a boxing ring) and good staffing.