A school connected to the City, a benefit for a healthy and inclusive urban development

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Submission Summary
Demographic growth: a need to focus on school facilities: The demographic growth that the Brussels Region is currently experiencing, coupled with the small size of its territory and the need to strengthen social cohesion, have prompted the Region to take an interest in school facilities. Scattered throughout Brussels, the schools are landmarks in the neighbourhood, daily meeting points between multiple generations. In addition to their educational function, school facilities and their surroundings offer the potential for sharing spaces outside school hours and strengthening social ties within the neighbourhood. Investing in these spaces, creating a child-friendly urban environment helps build a more inclusive society in which children and young people can safely thrive. Therefore, the Brussels Region has developed various action plans to make schools full-fledged partners in urban development within the framework of its Education Plan. Actions for integrated, inclusive and healthy school facilities: The “School Contract” saw the light of day in 2017. Its aim is to improve the school environment and to participate in opening up schools to the neighbourhood in the Region’s vulnerable areas. It is in line with urban development tools such as Neighbourhood Contracts and Urban Renewal Contracts. The School Contract is the result of a participatory process between the Region, a school, and the municipality in which it is located. It also involves neighbourhood associations, residents, school users and managers of public facilities. The School Contract takes shape via a programme of investments and actions to be carried out in and around the school, with a maximum budget of €2.5 million, over a five-year period. This regional support aims to improve the conviviality and safety of the school environment (quality and safe school surroundings, green spaces, etc.) and to open the school to the neighbourhood, for example by promoting access to its facilities (sports hall, playground, etc.) for associations and residents outside school hours. Apart from the granting of direct subsidies, regional tools that raise the general public’s awareness vis-à-vis the issues of schools’ infrastructure quality and their urban integration are being developed. The “school toolbox”, accessible online, provides schools with a one-stop shop to find the regulations and recommendations applicable to school infrastructure projects as well as the available public funding. Reference guides on school facilities and their surroundings are also published. They are co-constructed with stakeholders. Participation is carried out at the school and neighbourhood level, with the people from the school, the inhabitants, but also with institutional actors of the school and regional planning. The “My school, a space of quality "guide makes it possible to assess the quality of a school infrastructure by identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the analysed school, to determine the improvements to be made and to set priorities for action. Quality, a complex concept, is approached through five themes: the school's interior and exterior spaces, building safety, durability, comfort and integration into the city. The Region has also decided to develop a specific “reference guide on the development of school grounds and playgrounds”. These spaces offer opportunities to respond to challenges related to the environment (permeability, biodiversity), the well-being of young people (prevention of violence) and the quality of life of neighbourhoods (when properly developed, these spaces can open up to the neighbourhood and expand the amount of green spaces accessible to the population). Improving the school environment and integrating schools into neighbourhoods helps to create a welcoming and inclusive urban environment. The actions developed by the Brussels Region (public financial support, technical support, awareness-raising tools,) can be reproduced in other cities and on other scales.
Submission ID :
Submission Type
Submission Track
6: Creating Healthy and Inclusive Urban Environment
Director School Services
Project Manager
perspective.brussels - Brussels Planning Agency
Project manager
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