Climate Streets

© Ecohuis Antwerpen

Liveable, safe and healthy streets.

How do we design our streets as liveable places for encounters that offer space for cooling, water and greenery? How do we prioritise healthy and safe mobility at the same time?

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Citizens are taking the management of their streets into their own hands. They are creating garden streets, summer streets, living streets and school streets. What can we learn from all these initiatives? What support could they use? How can we boost social innovation?

Action plan


Many challenges converge in the narrow but intensively used space in the street: mobility, climate, water, community building. The new needs require a cascade of changes. What resources and expertise do we need to scale up the future-oriented street in bold policy programmes?

Discover the map with all the Building Blocks

Building blocks

From grey car park to green inner garden
From grey car park to green inner garden
© Stad Oostende

Lijnbaanstraat, Ostend - Cool Towns

Today, Lijnbaanstraat, an extensively paved and unattractive car park in the commercial centre of Ostend, is being transformed into a green oasis. The street thus not only serves as an appealing garden for city dwellers, but is also an important asset for combating heat stress. The project is part of the European Cool Towns project.
The impact of a central road verge
The impact of a central road verge
© Google

N9 road verge, Eeklo

The N9 is an arterial route running right through Eeklo and is the first thing visitors see when travelling to the city. The bare appearance of the road verge and the redevelopment of the mobility plan prompted the city council to take over ownership and management of the road verge from the Roads and Traffic Agency (AWV).
Initiatives of Commons Lab in the spotlight, Antwerpen
Initiatives of Commons Lab in the spotlight, Antwerpen
© Commons Lab Antwerpen, Antwerpen

Commons lab, Antwerp

Commons Lab Antwerp can be viewed as the spider in the web of a multitude of initiatives in Antwerp carried out by citizens, government, businesses and knowledge institutions. The collective focuses on involvement within a broad theme and a sense of urgency, with the key question: to whom does the city belong, and how can we all manage the city together?
Edegemsesteenweg rainwater axis in the spotlight, Kontich
Edegemsesteenweg rainwater axis in the spotlight, Kontich
© Gemeente Kontich, Kontich

Edegemsesteenweg, Kontich

Planned sewerage works prompted a total revamp of the Edegemsesteenweg, including a park and two school zones. Water that was previously drained invisibly underground is now afforded a very prominent place in the street scene. A number of obstacles had to be overcome to achieve this.
From trial set-up to permanent installation, Antwerpen
From trial set-up to permanent installation, Antwerpen
© Stad Antwerpen, Antwerpen

Garden Streets Antwerp - Lange Ridderstraat

Garden Streets Antwerp is part of a broad vision to turn the city into a climate-resilient, high-quality environment. The garden street also promotes social interaction in the street. After an initial phase of pilot projects, the city is elevating its ambitions to the permanent green-blue transformation of streets in five Antwerp districts.
A living garden full of activities
A living garden full of activities
© Samenlevingsopbouw Gent vzw

Borluut Living Garden – Ghent Living Gardens

Since 2012, Ghent has been experimenting with the Living Streets programme on how an alternative street layout can create a stronger neighbourhood feeling. In 2020, the temporary living streets were expanded to include three living gardens. A living garden, just like a living street, is always created at the initiative of the local residents. The living garden at Borluut, a social housing block on Watersportbaan, was supported by the city in cooperation with Samenlevingsopbouw vzw.
An ode to the soft road user
An ode to the soft road user

School environment Elzestraat, St. Katelijne-Waver

The Elzestraat in St. Katelijne-Waver is the village’s central street, with a church, parish hall, catering establishments and a school. The public space largely focused on the flow of vehicular traffic, with school-aged children navigating their way in the margins. A large-scale renovation of the village centre revamped the school environment and transformed Elzestraat from a transit area to a residential area.
Road transformation in the spotlight, Genk
Road transformation in the spotlight, Genk
© Borgerhoff, Genk

Evence Coppéelaan, Genk

In the 'Vlaanderen Breekt Uit' programme, Evence Coppéelaan was the only entry in which a concrete road was completely desealed. The road will be transformed into a pleasant, experiential and traffic-safe environment. No less than 10,000 m2 of asphalt will disappear in the process.
Fighting for clean air and road safety
Fighting for clean air and road safety
© Filter Café Filtré

Filter Café Filtré Atelier vzw

In 2018, continued insight into the harmful effects of air pollution on our health gave rise to mass campaigns by parents, schools and children in Brussels and Flanders against unsafe and unhealthy school environments. With actions, from school gates to the A12 motorway and the Brouckèreplein, Filter Café put air quality on the political agenda.In 2019, the non-profit organisation of the same name was created, which continues to work with its Atelier on the constructive representation of a car-free, liveable and climate-proof city.


© Bob van Mol
Not only were our tales on transformation told by our human guides the past few months, but the printed exhibition guide also took you along prefigurations of our societies, neighbourhoods and landscapes.

Some of you took a copy home, to colleagues, to family and friends. The tales are now ready to live their own lives. You can browse the booklet yourself and get carried away by the narratives told and be surprised by the projects involved.

Browse the exhibition guide
© Bob van Mol

The climate street as a lever
The climate street as a lever
© 2020
The climate street as a lever
Many challenges converge in the street. Although they are often linked to different policy domains and competences, they land in the same space. In many pioneering projects, we see that they start from one specific challenge. For example, the air quality at the school gates, or the desire for extra meeting and playing space during the summer months.
When we talk about a climate street, we go a step further. Although it may start from one specific challenge, the climate street looks for methods to tackle other challenges at the same time. How can improving air quality be combined with combating heat? How can the reuse of rainwater also provide for additional meeting and social contact in the neighbourhood? There are endless win-win opportunities to be found in the street.
The climate street as a lever
The climate street as a lever© 2020

Portraits: #10 Lieven
The fact that the green spaces in the city, such as at the foot of trees in the street, have to be neatly and professionally maintained is something that few people think about. Lieven provides an insight into the impact of the greening of streets on the management activities of the Parks Department - and the way in which citizens can enjoy this 'self-evident process’.

Portraits: #8 Koen
Commons Lab is an Antwerp citizen initiative set up in 2018, involving shared use without ownership, but with proper agreements. A common, Koen says, which started with a communal rain barrel - but now has a portfolio that extends to the city level.

Portraits: #6 Sophie
Sophie is a Hero for Zero: she advocates for zero road fatalities and serious casualties in the streets of Brussels. It not only involves road safety, but also laying claim to the public space. To create a city that prioritises soft road users and social life above the flow of vehicles.
Portraits: #6 Sophie

Portraits: #2 Bernadette
A group of local residents in the Ghent district of Rabot won their battle against the construction of a car park in their area and set up a communal garden on the site instead. The inner area containing 24 kitchen gardens now forms a green space for neighbourhood encounters, explains Bernadette, catalyst behind the project.


De strijd om de straat
Ine Renson, Ivan Put
De Standaard

Proeftuinen Ontharding
Architecture Workroom Brussels, Departement Omgeving Vlaanderen
Architecture Workroom Brussels | Departement Omgeving Vlaanderen

Buurten met lef, buurten vol leven
Stefan Bendiks, Ana Daniela Dresler, Aglaée Degros en Clément Gay (Artgineering), Eva Van Eenoo, Kobe Boussauw (Vrije Universiteit Brussel – Cosmopolis Centre for Urban Research), Wout Baert, Inge Caers (Fietsberaad Vlaanderen), Leo Van Broeck, Julie Mabilde, Annelies Augustyns (Team Vlaams Bouwmeester)
Fietsberaad Vlaanderen | Team Vlaams Bouwmeester

Op weg naar een New Deal tussen boer en maatschappij- advies en essays
Essays door Berno Strootman, Jan Willem Erisman, Krijn Poppe, Merel Hondebrink, Jeroen Pijlman, Evert Prins, Pieter Struyk, Jan-Paul Wagenaar, Shera van den Wittenboer, Marieke Francke onder redactie van Marijke Bovens. Tekstadvies van College van Rijksadviseurs en Noël van Dooren
College van Rijksadviseurs

Antwerpen voor klimaat 2030
Johan De Herdt, Griet Lambrechts, Ronny Van Looveren, Kristel Heyman, Vincent Van Ryssegem, Filip Lenders, Elke Van de Mosselaer, Marijke De Roeck
Stad Antwerpen

Groenblauwe netwerken in Vlaanderen -Leren uit praktijkvoorbeelden
Smets J., Wanner S., De Blust G., Turkelboom F.
Departement Omgeving Vlaanderen

Capital Agricole
Augustin Rosenstiehl
Pavillon de l'Arsenal

Op grond van samenwerking
Dirk Holemans, Pieter Van den Broeck, Annette Kuhk et al.

Ademen onze kinderen zich ziek?
Ilse van Lysebet, Guy De Troyer
Pano | VRT NWS

Every breath a threat

Ruimte voor Gent: structuurvisie 2030
Paul Teerlinck et al.
Stad Gent

De beweegvriendelijke stad
Ad de Bonk, Anouk Distelbrink, Wendy Van Kessel et al.
Gemeente Amsterdam, Urhahn

Impact van Nature Based Solutions in het Brussels hoofdstedelijk gewest
Dirk Lauwaet, Stijn Vranckx, Stefanie Dens, Thomas Hawer
Leefmilieu Brussel