Brussels Capital Region, Belgium

2016-12-31 17:18:30

Greenbizz incubator, Abbatoir 2020: reconversion of the slaugher house side, & Innovative Initiative Urban Marketing

Program 1: Boosting Together The Sustainable Development Of The Brussels' Canal Area

Background Information

Two Main Policies:

•The European Union’s regional policy: in 2008 the EU and the Brussels-Capital Region launched the Operational Program 2007-2013. This strategy financed 32 regeneration projects, including GREENBIZZ, URBAN MARKETING and ABATTOIR NV-SA/FOODMET, to foster the territorial competitiveness and cohesion of the Canal Area.

•Brussels-Capital Region’s policy: Greenbizz is in line with the region's economic, environmental and research policies (Strategy 2025, the Regional Circular Economy Plan, and the Regional Innovation Plan).

Goals of the Initiative

Greenbizz's objectives:

•strengthen sustainable business sectors in Brussels

•support sustainable business projects in Brussels by offering start-ups and new businesses in these sectors an optimum environment to create and grow their project

•construct an entirely new and ecofriendly building through innovative architecture.

•use sustainable production methods during the construction (ecoconstruction)

Parties and Partners to the Initiative

Initiated by, Greenbizz is the result of a collaboration between several public bodies:,, Bruxelles Environnement, and the CSTC (Scientific and Technical Centre for Construction).

Design: a team led by architectesassoc.

Construction: BAM Contractors

Management: SA Greenbizz, including three shareholders and a seven-member board

Partners for implementation through SA Greenbizz:


•Bruxelles Environnement

• (




Resources Used for Implementation

Financing strategy:

Project cost in euros:

EU contribution: 8,414,886.58 euros

Domestic public authorities’ contribution: 10,104,751.58 euros

Domestic private sector contribution: 0 euros

Total cost: 18,519,638.16 euros

•establishment of SA Greenbizz with capital: 1.6 million euros

•three shareholders: Brussels-Capital Region (1 million euros), (0.5 million euros) and CSTC (0.1 million euros)

various types of regional aid:

•ERDF subsidies

•1,090,242.72 euros invested by from its own funds

•annual operating aid: 175,000 euros

Other contributions:

•regional partnerships (advisory committee and platform of incubators)

•integration of Greenbizz in the region's policies: Strategy 2025, Regional Circular Economy Plan, Regional Innovation Plan

•involvement of a technological partner (CSTC)

•contacts with incubators in several European countries in order to evolve and fine-tune its concept.

Innovation for the Initiative


Greenbizz is the first incubator-cum-SME-park dedicated to sustainable economy in the Brussels-Capital Region which is set up in an innovative, exemplary building that meets the most exacting technical and sustainability standards.

Innovation has been applied in

Greenbizz is innovative on several levels:

•the first incubator-cum-SME-park dedicated to a sustainable economy in the Brussels-Capital Region

•a brand-new, innovative and exemplary building which meets the most exacting technical and sustainability standards, and boasts excellent energy performance (passive incubator and very-low-energy production workshops)

•specific ventilation, lighting, and heating technologies and photovoltaic panels on the roof

•In its notion of sustainability and exemplarity, Greenbizz includes the human, social, economic, sustainable and ethical aspects, all on equal footing. It aims at a responsible approach with a positive impact on society in its immediate surroundings and a favorable influence on the community as a whole

An innovative construction method:

•large-scale use of prefab elements for both the façades and the structure: budgets are reduced, construction periods are shortened, and the negative impact typically caused by inner-city building sites is lessened

•during the works, optimization of waste management and sorting in order to limit the typical construction waste to a minimum

•a great deal of attention went into the choice of materials, particularly in terms of life-cycle and health hazards, thereby prioritizing wood, cellulose, and recycled, recyclable, and non-harmful products

•on-site delivery of materials as ecological as possible

Obstacles and Solutions for Innovation

The biggest challenge was to reconcile top-notch energy performance with the particularly stringent fire protection regulations applicable to an industrial building. Indeed, materials generally excel in either one area or another, rarely in both at the same time. The engineering firms' remarkable research made it possible to design a building which is exemplary in both these aspects.

Outcomes and Assessments

Greenbizz aims to boost the sustainable business sectors in Brussels, supporting sustainable business projects and promoting employment in these sectors.

Greenbizz helps young businesses and start-ups from the sustainable business sectors to develop.

•seven small businesses/start-ups have set up shop since Greenbizz opened in April 2016

•five in 17 workshops have found occupants two months after the opening, proving that Greenbizz is meeting a real need and that the concept of a sustainable economy development hub in Brussels appeals to entrepreneurs

planned occupation rates:

•production workshops: year 1: 50 percent, year 2: 60 percent, year 3: 90 percent

•incubation modules: year 1: 20 percent, year 2: 50 percent, year 3: 75 percent


•in the medium term (3-4 years), some 200 people should have found a job on-site at Greenbizz, the vast majority of which will be new jobs, because the companies concerned are start-ups

Methods Applied

To help its occupants set up and develop their projects, Greenbizz has the optimum environment: modular production workshops (17 125-to-550-square meters, modules on a total surface area of 5,505 square meters) and incubation spaces (about 2,800 square meters). The office spaces are fully equipped and Greenbizz offers a whole range of administrative, guidance, and personal coaching services.

Greenbizz seeks to become an ecosystem where the occupants collaborate, exchange knowledge and accomplish their objectives together.

Program 2: Urban Marketing: “For A Farsighted And Sustainable Neighborhood Image”

Background Information

Two main policies:

•European Union’s regional policy: in 2008 the EU and the Brussels-Capital Region launched the Operational Program for the period 2007-2013. This strategy financed 32 regeneration projects, including URBAN MARKETING, GREENBIZZ and ABATTOIR NV-SA/FOODMET initiatives, to foster the territorial competitiveness and cohesion of the Canal area;

•Brussels-Capital Region’s city marketing policy: in 2009, Brussels launched a city marketing strategy in support to its urban development strategy. The URBAN MARKETING initiative was part of this policy.

Goals of the Initiative

Three goals:

•Change image of the Canal area

•Improve attractiveness and development of the Canal area

•Improve readability and visibility of actions carried on by public bodies in the Canal area

Parties and Partners to the Initiative

Run by the Urban Development Agency (ADT-ATO), the project brought together onto a regional urban marketing platform, 19 public bodies from regional and local scales and from several policy fields (including economic, spatial and environment). It was the first time several public bodies committed themselves to working together on a long term project focusing on a special territory.

This innovative multi-level governance tool allowed the public bodies to:

•involve key actors at all stages of project development

•contribute to a shared reading of a territory larger than the scope of intervention of each actor involved

•share a common discourse on the future of this territory

•develop common projects

Resources Used for Implementation

Total budget: € 3,163,647.85

Coordination team: four persons

Additional not in cash contributions: platform members, private partners, associations, inhabitants

Innovation for the Initiative

In 2008, the initiative was revolutionary in Brussels and internationally:

•Scale: territorial marketing strategies were used at the municipal, regional, and national level but not at the district level

•Purpose: territorial marketing strategies were used to bring exogenous development (attract tourists, investors, inhabitants) but not for endogenous development (pride of inhabitants, mobilization of local stakeholders)

The project has been considered an innovative practice by:

•EU Commission: project awarded as an innovative good practice in urban development across Europe (see annex).

•Specialized city branding networks: EU CityLogo project and Eurocities city branding working group (see annex)

Innovation has been applied in

•Policy: first time a territorial marketing strategy was used as a tool to leverage the deprived historic area’s development

•Design: participatory approach on diagnosis phase and communication strategy’s design

•Implementation: involving inhabitants, users, stakeholders and making them ambassador of their territory

•Territorial marketing strategy: no logo, no motto approach but strong messages towards six specific target groups: inhabitants, youth, general public, investors, tourists/users and commuters


a)approaches to involve participation by most deprived inhabitants (drawings, mappings etc…)

b)client-oriented: develop a multi-channel communication strategy to reach different publics (ages, socio-economic background …)

c)Go digital (with an internationally recognized video)

•Governance: transversal multi-actor’s platform and co-construction of projects with associations and private partners

Obstacles and Solutions for Innovation

Main obstacles:

•Keep during seven years the same involvement of 19 partners

•Urban development colleagues had difficulties understanding the added value of territorial marketing approaches

•Ownership and sustainability

In 2011, a Canal Plan was launched to guide the transformation of the territory till 2025. The urban marketing approach is now linked to the Canal Plan and the processes enriched each other for the benefit of the Canal area and its inhabitants.

Outcomes and Assessments

Three independent studies were made to measure changes: one press analysis (2014) and two surveys targeting inhabitants and users (2011 and 2014).

Some results (see annexes):

•Change image

a)the number of press articles related to the canal area: increased from 194 in 2007-2008 to 1,252 in 2013-2014

b)75 percent of people interviewed think the evolution of the image has been positive

•Improve attractiveness and development

a)80 percent of people felt good and safe in the Canal area in 2014, compared to 73 percent in 2011

•Improve readability and visibility of actions of public bodies

a)30 percent of persons interviewed knew two major participatory events organized by the project in the Area

Methods Applied

A practical “Communication toolbox” was distributed to facilitate the implementation of the communication strategy by the stakeholders and thus better achieve the desired outcomes.


•Main communication recommendations:


b)target groups

c)key messages and words

d)text for press releases

•Concrete actions to implement together

•Communication officers contact information

Program 3: Abattoir Nv-Sa: “Foodmet With Urban Farm, An Initiative For Innovative Solutions For Sustainable Urban Development In Particular Sustainable Food.”

Background Information

•European Union’s regional policy: in 2008 the EU and the Brussels-Capital Region launched the Operational Program for the period of 2007-2013. This strategy financed 32 regeneration projects, including URBAN MARKETING, GREENBIZZ and ABATTOIR NV-SA/FOODMET initiatives, to foster the territorial competitiveness and cohesion of the Canal area;

•Brussels-Capital Region’s policy: in 2009, Brussels launched a city marketing strategy in support to its urban development strategy, and a master plan “Abattoir 2020” related to the project.

Goals of the Initiative

•Abattoir master plan: a long term vision for the development of the historical ABATTOIR site;

•Reconversion of the ABATTOIR site and strengthen the link between the site and the neighborhood;

•Consolidation of the existing economic and productive activities with a focus on food (slaughter lines, meat cutting companies, markets) but also events;

•Realization of the FOODMET: a first step in the realization of the master plan, aiming to improve the working conditions (logistics and hygiene) for the ambulant merchants selling "fruit and vegetables";

•Extension of the project with ambulant merchants selling meat in order to create a modern food market with a contemporary architecture;

•Extension of the FOODMET with a pilot project of Urban Farming on the rooftop, a project that is in complete harmony with the food market and the food activities on the site.

Parties and Partners to the Initiative

The FOODMET project was managed by a private company, ABATTOIR NV-SA, and succeeded in bringing together several private, public and community stakeholders through different mechanisms:

•Quality Chamber in the preparation of the master plan with representatives from the business world, the academic and the civil society;

•A permanent presentation of and reflection regarding the master plan with private and public stakeholders at different levels (local, regional, European);

•Community participation in collaboration with Inter-Environnement Bruxelles and the creation of Forum Abattoir;

•Socio-cultural approach with the creation of the association Cultureghem, active on the site of Abattoir;

•Abattoir is a partner in another ERDF project, called "Port Sud";

•Guidance Committee with amongst others representatives from Euclides (local business center), Atrium (regional organization for commercial development), the commune of Anderlecht (local administrative level), GIMV (regional investment company), Citydev (regional organization for economic development).

This innovative multi-level governance tool allowed to:

•Involve key actors at all stages of project development;

•Contribute to a shared reading of a territory larger than the individual scopes of intervention;

•Share a common discourse on the future of the ABATTOIR site and the Canal


•Turn ABATTOIR into a reliable partner for the region in the urban development process from the Canal Area.

Resources Used for Implementation

•Total budget: 17,738,305 € (of which 7,479,067 € ERDF funding).

•Coordination team ABATTOIR: Two persons.

•Additional (not cash) contributions: participation of different stakeholders as described under D.3.

Innovation for the Initiative

The project can be considered as evolutionary because it focuses on strengthening existing economic activities. The development is an organic step by step process with respect for the environment and neighborhood.

Furthermore the project is revolutionary because of complete different approach compared to other real estate urban development projects:

•The architectural and urban approach of the master plan and the FOODMET reveals a fundamentally different approach to the site with an eye for quality, sustainability and inclusiveness. Actually the project is shown on the Architecture Biennale in Venice (2016), because of these qualities.

•The FOODMET makes use of modern techniques and energy installations. In the future the building will be linked energetically to surrounding developments (housing, urban farm, other productive activities).

•The Urban Farming on the rooftop is a pilot project with a combination of roof garden, greenhouses and aquaponie (including a direct link to a restaurant). The Urban Farm is developed according to an economic model, and will be one of the largest in Europe (4,000 square meters).

•ABATTOIR chooses in a resolute way to preserve existing productive activities and to develop new economic activities in an urban context in the city center, in harmony with housing and services. This approach is very different from the traditional real estate approach, replacing productive activities by residential functions.

Innovation has been applied in

The innovation is an inspiration for the private and public sector, and creates a positive dynamic in the neighborhood:

•The project motivated ABATTOIR to develop a long term vision for its site and to reflect on the connection with the community, resulting in the so called master plan Abattoir 2020. A private company, acting as an urban developer, is revolutionary and inspires other private companies, such as real estate developers and productive companies.

•The master plan has given ABATTOIR a great credibility towards the authorities responsible for urban planning. As a direct result the master plan has been integrated in different public planning processes such as the sustainable development plan of the Commune of Anderlecht (local level), “le Plan Guide” and the “Canal Master Plan”, both drawn up by the Brussels Region.

•The master plan allows ABATTOIR to frame future developments (including the ERDF project 2014 – 2020, called MANUFAKTURE) within a long term vision, with a positive impact on the neighborhood. There’s lot of communication around the ABATTOIR projects, because of communication initiatives undertaken by ABATTOIR, but also because the example is amazingly inspiring for public and private actors.

Globally we can say that communication is done largely through the following channels:

•New media: ABATTOIR is very active on new media (website, Facebook, Twitter);

•Dissemination of information through information meetings, leaflets, radio and television spots, organizing press conferences and so forth.;

•Active networking within the economic (VOKA, BECI, Atrium, Port Sud) and socio-cultural field (Cultureghem, Forum Abattoir);

•Thanks to an open attitude and the specificity of the ongoing projects, ABATTOIR attracts a lot of attention from the institutional, political and academic world, both nationally and internationally.

Obstacles and Solutions for Innovation

The original planning had to be adapted for the following reasons:

•Abattoir decided first to draw up a master plan prior to the realization of the FOODMET in order to create a proper framework for the development of the ERDF project.

•The first project was completely remodeled because of financial reasons: soil examination showed that the soil was contaminated, leading to very high costs related to important digging works, which was the case in the first version of the FOODMET project.

After taking these two steps the project advanced well, thanks also to an efficient cooperation from the ERDF administration, and permanent coordination of the project with all necessary, public and private, stakeholders.

Outcomes and Assessments

Following outcomes were achieved:

•The preservation and creation of SMEs and employment: the FOODMET accommodate 17 meat traders and about 25 shops for fruit and vegetables or other food products; In addition, there is also employment creation on the roof and in the restaurant and bistro;

•Saving energy (mainly cooling) with new techniques (including monitoring) and collective production of energy;

•Creating a link between European funding mechanisms and small business owners and entrepreneurs: with respect for the "De Minimis" rules, the ERDF funding is passed on to the merchants by means of a rent reduction during a period of 20 years;

•Opportunities to create synergies between economic activities and (for example) residential activities (a project with housing, adjacent to the FOODMET has yet to be realized);

•An inclusive development approach:

•ABATTOIR opens itself up to its surroundings and is closely involved in various economic and socio-cultural activities in the neighborhood;

•The association Cultureghem focuses its activities strongly on local residents and creates diversified links with the population of Brussels;

•The economic activities on the site are easily accessible and create job opportunities for everyone, especially the market activities (easy entry into the profession); the site employs about 700 FTEs, with the majority of the jobs filled in workers with immigrant background but anchorage (residence, family ties) in the neighborhood.

Methods Applied

•Collective and efficient energy production (cooling) and distribution.

•Individual and digital registration of energy consumption (water, cooling, electricity) connected to the Global Building Management System in order to reduce energy consumption and to inform merchants.

•Use of digital media to inform visitors: the ABATTOIR market attracts more than 100,000 visitors each weekend; accessible information canals reach many people.

•ABATTOIR is very active on social media (for example, Facebook, Twitter) in order to inform and communicate, not only on a local level, but moreover in order to have access to an international public.

•Create visibility for the Rooftop Farm in the market in order to communicate to a large, urban and mixed public about knew sustainable, production methods.