How to save industrial heritage

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Industry had long been the principal economic activity of Brussels before its decline from the 1970s onwards in favour of office-based services.

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Industry had long been the principal economic activity of Brussels before its decline from the 1970s onwards in favour of office-based services. This change is particularly obvious in the port district, whose identity is heavily marked by industrial history, traces of which can be found as much in its historical buildings as in the layout of its public spaces. Despite the advent of offices that has strongly affected the development of sites such as Tour and Taxis, more recent projects have favoured residents and visitors, with initiatives such as the Kanal cultural project or the restoration of the former Byrrh warehouse. How have these new urban projects profited from the area’s industrial identity? How can urban areas be reconstructed via conversion projects and how can the pitfalls of building-plot marketing be avoided? Will industrial activities once more find a place in this city transformation process?