Innovation pool Turnhout as a prototype for the Flemish city of the future.

Innovatiepool Turnhout - Axonometry

In the future Flemish cities will look vastly different than they do now. The Flemish government has reached an agreement on the “Beleidsplan Ruimte Vlaanderen (BRV)”, better known as the ‘concrete halt’. Consequence of this is that, from 2025 onwards, only very little construction is allowed in outlying areas. From 2040 onwards, all new building will have to take place within existing cities and villages. This has led to concern with many residents on what effect this will have on their quality of living.

As a response, the ‘Vlaams Bouwmeester, (Flemish building master) Leo van Broeck in this interview for the VRT, pleads for a densification of existing cities and villages, depending on the facilities that the area can provide. In his vision, a significant amount of the new construction task will be realized by means of townhouses. However, locations around traffic nodes like railway stations provide opportunities for higher and more densified residential complexes. He adds that he would like to enable investors to invest in more densified and financially attractive construction there, provided that they will take responsibility in the development of attractive green public spaces of high quality there as well.

Right next to the railway station of Turnhout a project is realized that will be a representative example of how this typical kind of intensive development in the future would look like. Designed by Bureau B+B and B-architecten, an existing industrial park will be transformed into ‘De Innovatiepool’, a program that is unusually dense for Flanders. Goal of this project is the development of an ‘innovation pool for Life Science and Global Care’. This means that the new district will provide space for innovative projects related to care and housing.

In addition to townhouses and apartments, accessible homes for disabled and care providers will be integrated into one plan. Spatially the plan aligns along the existing pattern of squares, streets and alleys, but will additionally provide Turnhout with public gardens, arcades and courtyards. This way the neighborhood will be optimally suitable for both young and old. In the middle of the neighborhood a new urban square with metropolitan allure is created, as an asset to the entire city.

  • Location: Turnhout, Belgium