Modern city: Technology can help us

Mayors make their mark on the politics and appearance of their city. We asked the mayors of Ghent, Brussels and Antwerp what steps they are taking to create a modern city through smart technology and balanced choices.

Mathias De Clercq (Open Vld)
Mayor of Ghent

What does a modern city mean to you?

“A cozy, safe and livable city, where different housing functions are connected. Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo talks about the 15-minute city, where residents go to school, work, relax and shop 15 minutes walking or cycling distance from home. In a compact city like Ghent, this should even be possible in less than fifteen minutes. In our busy lives, we always have a short time, so we need to make sure we move as little as possible, and preferably in a sustainable way. By interweaving living, working and relaxing, we can make our lives much easier and more comfortable. This also gives more time to the fun things in life. ”

What initiatives are you taking to make your city a modern city?

“In urban renewal projects, we focus strongly on this interweaving of functions. Take, for example, the new Oude Dokken district. We are transforming this former port area into a whole new neighborhood. In addition to apartments, there is space for offices, for trade, for education and for relaxation by the water. We limit the footprints of the buildings so that there is also space for squares and parks. There is even a city beach. A walking and cycling promenade of 4 kilometers long connects all functions. We also focus on common use of the space: the school’s sports hall can also be used by the neighborhood, for example. ”

What will your future city look like?

“Cities are best placed to tackle the challenges of mobility, climate and housing. Look at Ghent! We are working on softening, new forms of housing and joint mobility. We can make life easier for our citizens through new technological applications tailored to our city. Technology can help us adjust our policies. For example, by performing pressure measurements in shopping streets, we can give our entrepreneurs much better advice on where to place themselves and when to deploy more or less staff. We do not have to be afraid of technology, but nowNew applications should always be dominated by the people of Ghent. “

mayorsBart De Wever (N-VA)
Mayor of Antwerp

What does a modern city mean to you?

Cities in Flanders were for a long time depicted as dirty places with moral decay. Herman Van Rompuy even called the city the enemy of man. Fortunately, that image of doom has become more nuanced since the 2000s. Modern urbanism aims to unite the complex social fabric with individual freedom and creativity. We are increasingly realizing that cities offer solutions to the great problems of our time. They are the breeding ground for sustainable innovation and prosperity engines. A modern city has the power to provide the best care to those who need it. In addition, the city provides a proud identity that can connect a community. ”

What initiatives are you taking to make your city a modern city?

“Cities must have the power to implement policies tailored to their citizens. They differ greatly in economic profile, demographic composition and mobility challenges. This means that they must have a place not only in the financial field but also in the legislative ones. framework to focus on improving safety and quality of life. For example, I am thinking of more respite to implement a mobility approach tailored to a big city. The social benefits of a prosperous city are enormous, the center functions serve a wide urban area. converted to oxygen to shape our own metropolitan approach. “

What will your future city look like?

“Dthe city of the future is a smart city with technology that serves its residents, associations and businesses. This principle must cover all policy areas such as quality of life or climate change, but also mobility and security. Think of ‘security drones’ for police and firefighters who are faster on the spot because they do not have to defy the busy traffic. Above all, the inhabitants must be able to be proud of their city. A city must form the basis of a collective identity. Therefore, cities need to invest in bricks. Because urban renewal and maintenance of the rich heritage creates urban pride. And it strengthens the urban community. ”

modern cityPhilippe Close (PS)
Mayor of Brussels

What does a modern city mean to you?

“In a modern city, everyone can be themselves and feel safe, and it is good to live and work. The right infrastructure should make this possible. Brussels wants to be as attractive as possible for residents, commuters, tourists and businesses. All essential services, from schools to cultural centers or green areas, must therefore be easily accessible. To put the people of Brussels at the center, we must also bring our services to the 21stste now century. We recently started doing this with MyBXL, the new citizen portal in Brussels. It is not only a digital mailbox, but also a digital platform where citizens can order and follow up on documents. ”

What initiatives are you taking to make your city a modern city?

“One element we are working on at the moment is ‘chrono-urbanism’. This means that a particular room or building gets a different interpretation depending on the time it is used. Our new Brucity administration center, which opens at the end of this year, will be open during the day to serve citizens even better, but will also be open at night for students who need a place to study or for people who want something on. the roof terrace to eat. The future of Brussels is shaped by knowledge in the city. We are the largest university city in Belgium and the largest budget in the city of Brussels goes to education. Modernity and knowledge go hand in hand. ”

What will your future city look like?

“As a city that is increasingly spacious and where everyone feels respected. More and more people are leaving the country and moving to the cities. The ideal city of the future is the city where all the different people feel good and safe. By safety I mean the physical security, eg as a woman to walk alone and without worries through the city at night. But also economic freedom. By focusing on education and knowledge, the city also creates more opportunities for young people. These opportunities will ensure that we can gradually build in more equality. That way, the city becomes accessible to everyone. A beautiful place to live. ”

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