Sustainable Neighbourhoods, Brussels

A collaboration between citizens and public authorities

Sustainable neighbourhoods are the stories of how neighbours are talking to each other; about how people are working together and learning together of ways to make life better. Sustainable neighbourhoods does not represent one story but multiple stories. It illustrates the empowerment of people by their local government; and demonstrates that one shoe does not fit all when talking about community-led initiatives and that people are the bearer of solutions.

This means that the 43 Sustainable Neighbourhoods stories in Brussels are also responding to SDGs 7; 10: 11; 12; 13; and 15. Brussels is known to be an incubator of innovative and alternative solutions. Since 2004 autonomous citizens initiatives operating at neighborhood scale or as Transition initiatives have received funding and other support from Brussels Environment (the regional administration in charge of environment and energy in the city) for small-scale neighborhood regeneration projects. ECOLISE member 21Solutions is at the center of this co-creative work.

Every year Brussels Environment launches a call for action; 21Solutions has been supporting this process through diagnosis, action, and evaluation of projects.

In recognition that not all sustainable neighborhood projects are necessarily in need of financial support, and that an idea can strike at any given moment, 21Solutions makes it easy for people to transform their neighborhoods for the better all year round. 21Solutions strengthen civic engagement by, on the one hand, bringing public bodies and community groups together, and on the other supporting organizations and researchers to co-create local approaches to sustainable development, through a project called Vilco.

In the Brussels region, for example, the Sustainable Neighbourhoods initiative has helped nurture the establishment of a network of hundreds of community projects in 30 neighbourhoods involving thousands of local people, focused on issues such as energy, mobility, food and zero waste.

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