Friday, September 17, 2021

Brussels' Grand Canal Plan

The Brussels–Charleroi Canal runs through the city of Brussels for about 14km.This canal was once an essential part of the city's industrial infrastructure and was home to thousands of warehouses, factories and other businesses. However following the arrival of the automobile and the de-industrialization of the city in the second-half of the 20th Century the canal fell into disuse. Consequently many of the industrial businesses along the canal moved elsewhere or simply went out of business. 

Following de-industrialization the canal sides in Brussels became dominated by abandoned industrial buildings and brown-field sites. This fall in local employment in turn led to a deterioration in the local housing stock. So eventually the Brussels canal became synonymous not with industrial prosperity but with poor housing and low-income groups. 

Brussels however has a plan to revitalize and improve the neighborhoods on the Brussels-Charleroi Canal. The 'Canal Plan' includes a set of objectives to create new housing, attractive public spaces, and more economic activity on both sides of the canal. You can learn more about the specific development proposals in the Canal Plan in L'Echo's wonderful overview of the plan.

In Can the Canal Plan Relaunch Brussels? L'Echo uses maps, photos, drone imagery and 360 degree panoramic presentations to showcase some of the Canal Plan's visions for revitalizing Brussels. The newspaper's presentation includes an impressive satellite view fly-over of the canal. As you scroll through L'Echo's article a 3D satellite map of the city pans along the the canal, illustrating the prominent position that the canal occupies in Brussels. As the map pans around the city the accompanying scrolling text explains the Canal Plan's development proposals for each part of the city. 

L'Echo's article also includes a number of panoramic aerial views of the canal. These 360 degree drone images use map markers to provide a more detailed account of some of the Canal Plan's specific development ideas. Select one of these map markers and an information window will open with more information about how the area will develop and an artist's impression of the finished development.

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