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Observatoire du Centre-ville/piétonnier

“The BSI-Brussels Centre Observatory (BSI-BCO) is the observatory that studies the evolution of the city centre of Brussels, since the pedestrianisation of part of the central boulevards.

The overall process of pedestrianisation serves both as a starting point for numerous research projects and as a lens through which the researchers associated with the Observatory question, highlight and study the broader functioning, mechanisms and developments at work in Brussels. This is why the pedestrian zone is considered in its relations on different scales: the city centre of Brussels, the neighbouring districts, the other Brussels municipalities, but also the Brussels-Capital Region, its periphery and even beyond.

The Observatory focuses in particular on four research areas:

  • the socio-spatial dynamics of public space and its evolution ;
  • the socio-demographic and socio-economic evolution of the city centre
  • the evolution of the accessibility of the pedestrian zone and of the movement practices of people and goods;
  • the evolution of the policy, the relationship with civil society and the democratic debate.

The BSI-BCO is a multi-scale, multi-disciplinary and multi-university research structure set up by the Brussels Studies Institute (BSI). It currently brings together some fifty researchers from a wide range of backgrounds: historians, urban planners, architects, geographers, sociologists, political scientists, engineers, etc. They come from 15 research centres in 5 universities (ULB, VUB, USL-B, KU Leuven, UCL). The variety of disciplinary perspectives enriches the analysis of the multiple evolutions that have affected the city centre since the implementation of pedestrianisation. It is precisely this complex dynamic that needs to be examined through a variety of lenses and from a variety of viewpoints. In this way, the BSI-BCO and its associated researchers are building a picture of the city centre that is not one-dimensional, but rather one that is full of relief and depth. This enables it to open up concrete reflections and courses of action.

The Observatory also aims to make its work accessible and socially useful. To this end, it disseminates it widely. It also endeavours to discuss and debate its work with both the public authorities and civil society actors. In addition to this website, which serves, among other things, as a platform for disseminating its results, the BSI-BCO organises seminars and working sessions and collaborates with the Brussels Academy, among others.”

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