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Citizen involvement in Ghent: Ledeberg leeft!

From EPSA - European Public Sector Award

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Award nominee

Ghent has been subdivided into 25 different local districts, ranging from 19th century industrial neighbourhoods to residential suburbs. Every district shows its own distinctive individuality and development, as defined in the Spatial Structure Plan. Hence, the necessity arose to establish a customised road section, to suit the needs of the district, combined with global communication. This is the basic principle of the territory-based operations. The process of community-based planning has already been ongoing in Ghent since 1996. A city renewal office has been established within the Department of Strategy and Communication and is responsible for developing tools to invite citizen to participate in planning processes.

The urban renewal project ‘Ledeberg leeft’, which involves the redevelopment of an entire local district, was started in 2007 and is projected to last ten years. The project is based on an integrated approach based on three cornerstones linked at horizontal and vertical level: a) spatial cornerstone; b) social-economic cornerstone; c) social-cultural cornerstone

The integrated goals are to achieve more accessible green spaces, better living quality, better and more active service delivery, smoother and safer traffic, and more spaces for meeting with people. Ledeberg has so far been one of the more problematic districts as it is characterised by narrow streets and small grey buildings, little access to green areas and no incorporation of the river stream in the spatial planning.

Methods of involvement and discussing the spatial planning vision among a broad audience included the following: scale size street model with mobile blocks; writing poems in the scope of redesigning a square; rendering general advice to the steering group; indoor and outdoor exhibitions; short teaser films and themed guided tours with urban development experts.

Within the project, four urban development bureaus closely cooperate with two advisory bodies: a counselling group of expert municipal officers which expresses what is possible in terms of city planning; and a brainstorming group with inhabitants and local intermediaries. Those two groups formulate their advice to the steering group which is composed of all parties involved, including the deputy majors and heads of department, and which eventually takes all final decisions.

The citizen brainstorming group consists of around 50 people who applied within a public call to participate in the spatial planning process. All current members were then selected according to a certain balance to be met to represent geographic levels and different target groups (children were also involved). Since last year, 12 meetings have taken place. The members of this group act as quasi-ambassadors for the spatial planning process in front of their neighbours, networks etc.

Award info
Award category: citizen involvement
Award type: nominee
Award year: 2009
Project type
Sector: Public administration, modernisation, institutional affairs, reform
Type of activity: cooperation
Keywords: Spatial and urban planning, district renewal, citizen brainstorming group
Short English description: The integrated goals are to achieve more accessible green spaces, better living quality, better and more active service delivery, smoother and safer traffic, and more spaces for meeting with people
Further information
Organisation: Stad Gent
Other applicants:
Homepage:
Level of government: local level
Size of organisation: >100
Number of people involved:
Country: Belgium
EU membership: EU member
Language code: en
Start date:
End date:


Citizen involvement in Ghent: Ledeberg leeft! (51.0546805° N, 3.7257609° E)
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