Between liveability and accessibility in Brussels’s Bois de la Cambre

Nicola Da Schio, Claire Pelgrims

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingMeeting abstract (Book)Research


A large part of the space dedicated in cities to the circulation of people and goods is public or quasi-public space. In this context, considerations about how people (do/would/ should) move about the city and organise their trajectories is a critical element in detemining how public space comes to be designed and organised. At the same time, as urban space is limited, different forms of mobility but also of other ways to inhabit the public space cannot always be conciliated. Conflicts related to different visions for the city and opposing divergent ways of life emerge. In this paper, in particular, we look at urban park roads and their role as places of leisure and of motorised thoroughfares. Our empirical focus is the Bois de la Cambre, a 120-hectare park situated in the southern fringes of Brussels, at the core of a conflict on whether its roadways should be open or not to motorised traffic. First, we study the 150 years of history of the park. Secondly, we present an explorative survey of citizens’ preferences for the park. Both approaches show how the park setup has reflected the broader societal changes in the way people organise their lives, more than an explicit urban project; and that today the order of priority observed among social groups is strongly connected to residential location, modes of transport and use of and access to green spaces. The study stresses the need to work as much on the construction of concrete mobility alternatives than on the construction of new urban and mobility imaginaries.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationT2M 20th annual conference - book of abstracts
PublisherInternational Association for the History of Transport, Traffic and Mobility
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2022
EventT2M 20th Annual Conference Mobilities: Disruptions and Reconnections - Padua, Italy
Duration: 21 Sep 202224 Oct 2022


ConferenceT2M 20th Annual Conference Mobilities: Disruptions and Reconnections
Internet address


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