The 10th edition of the ConSoil international conference on soil purification took place in Milan from 3 to 6 June. The main themes of the conference were the clean-up of urban districts and their redeployment.
This is also the theme of Ghent’s progressive "Bridges to Rabot" project. This district has to deal with many problems due to its isolated location, the lack of green areas and the poor quality of its housing. Furthermore, in the past this centrally located area had to deal with polluting industry. Soil purification and a different function for the district were therefore absolutely crucial.
The city of Ghent has very ambitious plans for the working class district of Rabot. There were already a number of projects in the pipeline but in order to speed things up and harmonise them, they were all placed under an urban renewal project known as "Bridges to Rabot". All the required soil studies have been carried out in areas where earlier the gas plant, Alcatel and the Nieuwe Molens factory used to stand. The city is now looking for a private partner to clean up the soil and to give these areas a new purpose. There are plans to build many new housing projects and to make the whole area greener.
A really progressive aspect of this project is that the city wants to get the inhabitants of the Rabot district actively involved. They were allowed to express an opinion and the city took their needs into consideration. In the meantime before actual work gets underway, inhabitants of the district can make use of parts of the terrain for market gardens, sports fields and even a neighbourhood barbecue.
The scale and complexity of the project has never been seen before in Flanders. It was therefore no coincidence that Ghent was allowed to present its project in Milan.
Department for Urban Planning, Mobility and the Public Property
Woodrow Wilsonplein 1, 9000 Gent
Tel.: 0032 9 266 77 60
Fax: 0032 9 266 77 99