Research seminars cycle "Cities in the metabolic loop | and design" [EN]

[by invitation only]


About Cities in the metabolic loop

The regard for urban metabolism is in vogue again. The concept seems to respond to the current eagerness of urban policies – and, since recently, the market – to make our economies more circular. For cities, the imperative is to keep pace and “closing the loop of product lifecycles through greater recycling and re-use”, and in so doing, bringing “benefits for both the environment and the economy” (Circular Economy Strategy, EU 2014).

Enhancing the “functioning of the urban metabolism of the region” (Brussels Capital Region 2014) is the orientation for the about 50 projects of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Brussels programme 2014-2020. The ERDF Brussels policy is perfectly matching the three priorities of the European Strategy Europe 2020 of ¨smart, sustainable, and inclusive growth. The enhancement of urban metabolism is expected to have the economic, environmental, and social impacts coveted by the European Strategy Europe 2020

The seminar is meant to be an occasion for discussion among institutions, academics, designers, and artists dealing with the issue of urban metabolism. The purpose is to cross-referencing different perspectives and feed the Brussels debate on the topic.

Cities in the metabolic loop | and design gathers representatives and researchers working for institutions differently committed to implement policies, strategies, regulations and projects related to the sphere of urban metabolism and the circular economy.

8. Cities in the metabolic loop | and design (20/02/2018)

Across material and human flows: the cases of the Abattoirs and Médecins du Monde in Cureghem

This session comprises a workshop and an evening lecture by Dirk Sijmons (H+N+S Landscape Architects) followed by a roundtable about the impact of the metabolic perspective on urban design practice. The aim is to explore the issue of enhancing the Brussels’ urban metabolism.

The workshop will take two Brussels ERDF 2014-2020 projects, the Abattoir of Anderlecht and the integrated health centre of Médecins du Monde, both located in the neighbourhood of Cureghem, as starting point of reflection. These two projects apparently pose different ways to question the metabolism of the city. The discussion will be guided by Marco Ranzato and Andrea Bortolotti (Metrolab | ULB/LoUIsE) and will involve researchers, professionals, and representative of public institutions and local associations concerned by the projects. The workshop will be open to a selected number of participants and it will be held in French.

The evening lecture by Dirk Sijmons will be followed by a round table where some designers and representatives of the public institutions are invited to debate. The evening lecture and roundtable is a public event and it will be held in English.

Program: 20/02/2018

Workshop 14:00 - 17:00 | Closed session | Language: French

14:00 coffee

14:30-15:00 presentation of participants and scope of the workshop | Marco Ranzato & Andrea Bortolotti

15:00-15:15 Cureghem and its challenges | Muriel Sacco

15:15-15:30 The ERDF project Manufakture Abattoirs | Jo Huygh

15:30-15:45 The ERDF project Médecins du Monde | Isabelle Heymans (TBC) / Maguelone Vignes

14:45-16:00 pause

16:00-17:00 exercise

17:00 exchange and conclusions

17:15 drink

Lecture and Roundtable 18:00 - 20:00 | public event | Language: English

18:15 – 18:20 Introduction to the Regional Program (ERDF, PRDD, PREC) about urban metabolism (Marco Ranzato, Metrolab) & description and results and questions from the afternoon workshop (Andrea Bortolotti, Metrolab)

18:35– 19:00 Designing urban metabolism: Dirk Sijmons (H+N+S Landscape Architects)

19:00 – 19:40 Roundtable with Elmar Willems (OVAM), Sotiria Kornaropoulou (51N4E) and Benoit Moritz (MSA)

19:40 – 20:00 Open debate and conclusion



1. Cities in the metabolic loop | and design (19/10/2016) Speakers: Geoffrey Grulois (ULB / La Cambre-Horta) Bruno Notteboom (Universiteit Antwerpen) Julie Marin (KU Leuven) Andrea Bortolotti (ULB / La Cambre-Horta) Saverio Massaro (Università di Roma)

2. Cities in the metabolic loop | and design (8/02/2017) Speakers: Michiel Dehaene (Universiteit Gent) Thorsten Schuetze (Sungkyunkwan University) Marco Ranzato (ULB / La Cambre-Horta) Greet De Block (Universiteit Antwerpen)

3. Cities in the metabolic loop | and design (17/03/2017) Speakers: Sybrand Tjallingii (TU Delft) Pierre Vanderstraeten (UCL) Stephan Kampelmann (ULB / La Cambre-Horta) Koenraad Danneels (Universiteit Antwerpen)

4. Cities in the metabolic loop | and design (20/04/2017) Speakers: Roeland Dudal (Architecture Workroom Brussels) Thierry Kandjee (Taktyk)  Sotiria Kornaropoulou (51N4E) Nadia Casabella (1010)

5. Cities in the metabolic loop | and design (23/05/2017) Speaker: Nikos Katsikis (University of Luxembourg - Harvard GSD)

6. Cities in the metabolic loop | and design (26/06/2017) Speakers: Vincent Calay (IWEPS) Catherine Fierens (IBGE) Marion Courtois (ACR+) Andrea Bortolotti (ULB)

7. Cities in the metabolic loop | and design (05/09/2017) Speakers: Maarten Loopmans (KU Leuven) Ana Povoas (PhD at EPFL) Sarah Vanhee Anna Rispoli

illustrations by Pam & Jenny — Website design & development by Variable