SLRB (The Housing Company of the Brussels-Capital Region) is the regional institution responsible for social housing, developing a variety of projects throughout the Region. One such project is "Dames Blanches", located in the municipality of Woluwe-Saint-Pierre, which entails the creation of 200 dwellings (thereof 120 social housing) on a 5-hectare site. The objective is to make it a model eco-district of the 21st century in accordance with the Sustainable Neighbourhood Reference Framework ("Référentiel Quartier Durable").
The development of the site has been the subject of numerous drafts and discussions with the municipality and local residents. A memorandum of understanding was concluded in 2019, which outlined the site's future development. Based on this, the current master plan will be revised and complemented by studies of the local mobility and hydrology.
In this case, the participatory process concerns the phase prior to the launch of the architectural competition. This feature enabled an iterative process of guided support with the project team on the refinement of the master plan, as well as the definition of the site's public spaces and the mobility study. The contributions from the participatory process are thus well-placed to inform the architectural design.
In addition to this, the participatory process also entails the deliberation of part of the site that will remain undeveloped. This deliberation, entitled "opening up the field" ("ouvrir le champ"), is there to accompany the programmatic definition of activities to be implemented on this part of the site (e.g. urban agriculture, social cohesion, sport and leisure, etc.).
CityTools is responsible for the organisation of the citizen participation process, with the aim of initiating dialogue among the actors on the ground. To achieve this, several methods of exchange have been organised: public meetings, participatory workshops, site visits, bilateral meetings with key actors, fieldwork, etc. The objective is to ensure that, for each topic addressed, the contributions of the local actors are brought to the fore so as to ensure the project is in line with the needs of the district. The intention is also to foster the gradual appropriation of the field by locals, with the help of a swift activation of the site.