Scheldt Quays project wins “green city” prize


Antwerp’s Scheldekaaien project wins Flemish government prize for green urban development

Project reels in award for urban renewal along Antwerp's waterfront

The government of Flanders has awarded the prize for outstanding green urban development to Antwerp’s Scheldekaaien, or Scheldt Quays project. The Scheldekaaien, an ambitious 20-year-programme of urban renewal along the city’s waterfront, was chosen out of nine Groen in de Stad (GidS) initiatives to promote green, liveable space in cities.

The jury singled out the Scheldekaaien as a “carefully considered and bold combination of ecology and recreation.” The prize includes a subsidy of €250,000.

The Scheldekaaien development involves the redesign of a former industrial zone along the Scheldt quayside and the creation of the new 15-hectare Droogdokken park. The jury admired several components of the project, including the creation of a natural river bank along the Scheldt waterfront with mud flats and tidal marshes.

The also jury praised the Antwerp project for its combination of ecological and recreational functions, which provides a unique way to connect with the river and its particular vegetation and wildlife. The park has given the city an important new green lung and a new public space for recreation, public events and open-air activities, the jury said.    

The GidS competition was launched by Joke Schauvliege, Flemish minister for the environment and culture. It forms part of the Flanders in Action plan, which has set the target of developing Flanders as a green and dynamic urban region by 2020. “We cannot realise our ambition ... on our own,” Schauvliege said. “It is for that reason that we are stimulating and supporting all the organisations involved in the development of urban green spaces.”

Four smaller projects also won subsidies of €50,000 each: the Winge Valley in Rotselaar (Flemish Brabant), the Sint-Anna Park in Maldegem (East Flanders), the Sint-Walburga Park in Veurne (West Flanders) and the town centre of Vorselaar (Antwerp province).

The Scheldekaaien project will now be the Flemish candidate for next year’s international LivCom Award for management of local environments.