On 5 February 2015, the government of the Brussels-Capital Region adopted its methodology for the implementation of the Canal Plan and gave itself 10 years to realise its ambitions for the Canal Area.
The objectives include keeping economic activity in the city and strengthening its urban integration; creating housing that meets the needs associated with population growth for all household profiles; creating pleasant, unifying public spaces (in particular by improving the Canal axis and its crossings); and creating the conditions for an open city by promoting a mix of functions, a diverse population, etc.
To mobilise the Canal Area’s potential, the regional government has defined an operational zone of 700 hectares, including 300 hectares of public land, and appointed a dedicated team consisting of:
- the Chief Architect of the Brussels-Capital Region (guarantor of the overall vision of the Canal Plan; playing an advisory role to ensure a high level of architectural and urban quality; supported by a Research by Design team);
- the Brussels Planning Agency perspective.brussels (planning, elaboration and monitoring of regulatory framework) ;
- the Region’s Urban Planning Directorate (planning permits);
- a team of project leaders at the Urban Development Corporation (SAU-MSI), responsible for coordinating public and private projects and setting up certain public projects.
The role of the Urban Development Corporation (SAU-MSI)
The SAU-MSI is responsible for the operational implementation of the Canal Plan.
As the latter’s operational zone (700 hectares, including 300 hectares of public land) is one of the intervention zones of the SAU-MSI within which it has limited control over land, it plays both a coordinatory role and, in some cases, an operational role there – within the wider context of a territorial vision covering the entire area.
Specifically, the SAU-MSI coordinates public and private projects, with the role of project manager and sole point of access to the authorities, using an approach of co-construction and support for project owners. In some cases, the SAU-MSI can initiate and implement projects itself, if necessary through land control (e.g. Citroën-Yser). The SAU-MSI can undertake the management of public projects, relating to infrastructure for example, based on the principle of subsidiarity, i.e. if its involvement is found to add value compared to that of other public operators.