Designing Brussels ecosystems

This is the goal of Metrolab’s 2019 MasterClass on urban ecology.

For 15 days, from 28 January to 8 February, 30 international researchers will explore ecosystem design in Brussels as part of the second annual Metrolab Brussels MasterClass, which this year focuses on urban ecology. The class consists of two intensive weeks of educational and practical experimentation in urban situations. Participants discuss a specific theoretical question based on selected empirical cases. Their work aims to provide contributions to improve urban situations.

Co-managed by UCLouvain and ULB, Metrolab is an inter-university project financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF-Brussels) for more €5 million. Three themes guide it: inclusion, ecology and urban production. ‘Three classic dimensions of sustainable urban development that our research collective captures in an interdisciplinary way’, says Mathieu Berger, a UCLouvain sociologist and the project’s coordinator. ‘Architects, urban planners, geographers and sociologists meet to develop research areas on these three themes via concrete cases, but also to follow and support many of the 46 projects that are receiving €220 million from the ERDF in Brussels. Our project proposes following up this investment, not administratively but with action, by means of interdisciplinary research.’

This year’s MasterClass follows last year’s on social inclusion and hospitality in urban environments. A third MasterClass will take place in 2020 on urban production.

After two years of research on the subject of the 2017 MasterClass, which attracted 40 students and international researchers, Metrolab researchers published the book Designing Urban Inclusion. It unveiled the results of four case studies involving ERDF-funded projects in Brussels and approached them from the perspective of inclusion (see ‘Opening Brussels to everyone’). These results will whet your appetite for the progress researchers are making in Brussels’ urban ecology.

Published on January 28, 2019