The Village within the city
TYPE/ Masterplan - Individual project - Studio - urban renewal, industrial wasteland - September 2013
This project presents how we can recreate a rich urban life and initiate an ecologicical transition in a a territory who suffered from the closure of the coal mine and steel factories.
“The Village” is a neighborhood located in the southern part of Charleroi and was, in the past, one of the most industrialized part of the region. The study perimeter is a 43 ha brownfield along the river Sambre which is still used for freight. For about two centuries, the local economy revolved around the coal mine and the steel industry. But from the 1980's the regions has experienced an industrial decline, and all those activities have closed and many workers lost their jobs. As a result, most of the factory has been demolished and the site is now mostly used as a municipal waste site and parking lot.
Nonetheless, this peculiar working class neighborhood has many potentials. It is well connected ( railway, highway, waterway), very closed to the city center and other economical and industrial clusters. The existing municipal waste could play a key role in the future ecological industry network.
Further more, The Village has a significant natural and architectural heritage. We can mention its typical working class brick houses, former warehouses along with other architectural landmarks and slag heaps colonized by diverse fauna and flora.
Unfortunately, the Village stays enclosed, stuck between the vast wasteland, the railway on the south and the river on the north. For the last 30 years it suffers from urban decay, people are moving out and the unemployment rate keeps increases gradually.
The factory in 1964
The factory in 2013
The main goal of this project is to regain access to the whole territory by developing a mixed use program on the actual wasteland and canal bank. An other aspect is to reconnect this site with the existing neighborhood. In order to do so, we would 3 tools : mobility, functions/activities and public space design. Collective spaces (indoor or outdoor) along with pedestrian pathways could link and organize transitions between the urban life and the industrial activities, adding an ecological and sociological value to the whole urban structure.
The program for this masterplan includes new houses and apartment buildings, offices and a recycling complex, part of a new sustainable strategy.There is also significant part dedicated to open public spaces for walking, cycling, hiking and many other kinds of leisure activities.
The heart of this urban center would be at the meeting point between the church and the former warehouses, renovated and transformed into a cultural and artistic equipment. For example, inhabitants could organize collective activities (aweekly market, parties, exhibitions).