The history of a citizens' platform: Platform Kanal

Based in the building of the former brewery Belle-Vue in Molenbeek-Saint-Jean, Platform Kanal has been founded in 2008 as a citizens’ movement after a series of encounters and discussions about the post-industrial conversion/renewal of old industrial urban districts. As a result of a spontaneous synergy between a range of persons with a collective “sense of urgency” with regard to common challenges and problems, the participants agreed on the need of opening up their debate and bringing it to a higher level, covering all the Canal Zone. The debate is about the need of visions for the future of the city of tomorrow, about the creation of a vision that is supported by a big number of local actors and partners, about making the most of the big potentials of these districts and their populations. There is a consensus about the need of new links between people, sectors, interests, and energies. The initiators agreed furthermore on the necessity of an integrated and dynamic approach. Bridges have to be built in order to address these challenges: bridges between physical urban structures (districts, municipalities…), bridges between involved public authorities and citizens, between different social sectors, between cultures and between private partners and civil society.

As a reaction to the increasing amplitude of its projects, Platform Kanal has been established as a formal administrative entity (a non-profit association under Belgian law) by the end of 2009.