Seraing

Urban poverty

A Place to Be-Come

To meet the new challenges, the City of Seraing has implemented a vast plan for the economic and social revitalization of the most affected neighborhoods. A Place to Be-Come's main objective is social inclusion. The goal is that every current or future inhabitant feels heard and included in the transformations of the neighborhood. The project combines the priorities of the urban and social master plan of the city.

Francis Bekaert, Mayor, City of Seraing
The project in numbers
10 %
of the city population lives in the targeted neighbourhood (around 6000 people)
11 %
of the neighbourhood inhabitants live from the social integration income (below poverty threshold)
12%
of the neighbourhood inhabitants are job seekers benefiting from unemployment allowance
1024
littering infractions recorded in the targeted zone by proximity agents in the year 2017
3,631,812.00
Total ERDF budget granted
Challenge addressed

Former prosperous industrial city, the city of Seraing faced a severe steel crisis that dramatically impacted employment and the living conditions of its inhabitants. In response, the city of Seraing set up a wide-ranging reaction at the dawn of the 2000s by the development of a long-term urban investment plan.
Despite the positive impacts of the plan, the train station area is one of the most deprived of the municipality. This situation reflects particularly in the social context (precariousness) and in the low residential attractiveness:
-    11% of the inhabitants live from the social integration income (which is below the poverty threshold), that is 25% of the recipients at the city-scale. The number of recipients is rising by 10% every year.
-    Visits at the day shelter and social restaurant increased by more than 30% between 2015 and 2017.
This district presents however many opportunities in terms of 
-    mobility (train line, bus network, bike paths, …), 
-    human capital (social diversity: more than 26% of foreign residents) 
-    environment (brownfields and parks).

The main objective of the project is to benefit to all, to create work opportunities, enhance the local economy and improve the living environment.

Solution proposed

The solution proposed is based on new forms of active participation of the citizens - including the more underprivileged - in the regeneration of their neighbourhood. Three types of activities will be tested.
1.    Nature-based trainings
This training addresses the lack of knowledge to manage new green spaces, including native species and the preservation of biodiversity. In addition to training municipal agents, around 10 recipients of the social integration income will benefit from a training as an opportunity to develop niche jobs related to sustainable nature management has been identified. General public will also have the opportunity to take part to green management workshops in order to develop a greener sensibility among the inhabitants.
2. Development of soft-skills based on the design of parks and other public areas
An alternative approach is proposed to reduce incivility. A comprehensive psychosocial diagnostic of the neighbourhood will be conducted in parallel of an inclusive urban planning process to design innovative urban developments. Choice architecture and nudging will proactively encourage vulnerable target groups to re-appropriate their living area and become active actors of a local dynamic.
3. Co-planning and co-design of a new district 
The project aims to give most deprived citizens the opportunity to be the first users of the new district of a new mixed neighbourhood located on the former Blast Furnace 6 site in order to integrate them into social life. A new day shelter will be relocated in the district involving all inhabitants in the development of the area. The project will also set up a local meeting place embedded in the social and associative network of the neighbourhood and offering new services and opportunities.

Partnership
  • City of Seraing
  • AREBS - association
  • Natagora - association 
  • University of Liège
  • CPAS Seraing - local public authority
  • Letsgocity - private company
  • PSYKOLAB - private company
Expected results

The creative and participative approach of the project intends to reinforce the social, economic and environmental improvement of the targeted neighbourhood. The project initiates a local dynamic where the citizens are the centre of attention and enables them to re-appropriate public space and evolve  with their city.
By the end of the project, we expect to:
-    Develop a transversal, comprehensive and integrated work process between the municipal services and the associative sector based in the targeted neighbourhood.
-    Experiment an innovative work method through the opening of a meeting place in the heart of the city enabling new interactions models between inhabitants with various background.
-    Implement new urban developments in line with the needs and specifications of the inhabitants and associative sector of the neighbourhood.
-    Set the baseline of a greener and more eco-conscious city where nature can regain its rightful place.
-    Produce an unprecedented diagnostic of needs of the neighbourhood in order to foreshadow of the development of a new residential area on the field of the former Blast Furnace 6.

Main milestones

November 2019 : Launching of the project with the partners
January 2020 : Start of the psychosocial diagnostic of the neighbourhood and public about urban planning workshops 
February 2020 : Permit application and beginning of the construction process of the new day-shelter
Spring 2020 : nature training for municipal agents, art.60 trainees (citizens recipient of social integration income) and general public.
January 2021 : Implementation of urban planning solutions emerged from qualitative and qualitative diagnostic (nudging)
Fall 2021: Opening of the “Creative station” meeting place embedded in the social and associative network of the neighbourhood
Spring 2022 : Certification of the art. 60 trainees in nature management
August 2022 :  Evaluation of the urban planning solutions developed
Opening of the new day-shelter
Dissemination of the results

The project in numbers
10 %
of the city population lives in the targeted neighbourhood (around 6000 people)
11 %
of the neighbourhood inhabitants live from the social integration income (below poverty threshold)
12%
of the neighbourhood inhabitants are job seekers benefiting from unemployment allowance
1024
littering infractions recorded in the targeted zone by proximity agents in the year 2017
3,631,812.00
Total ERDF budget granted
Contact of the project
Julien Bebronne
Project manager
Francesca Ansaloni
UIA Expert

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