Scrapping Brussels’ 19 municipalities most popular citizen idea

Summary

Residents taking part in a forum gathering ideas to make Brussels a better place found more than 400 people submitting suggestions to minister Sven Gatz

Concrete proposals to follow

Flemish minister Sven Gatz’s citizens’ cabinet for Brussels has reached the deadline for the submission of ideas, and members are scheduled to gather again on 6 May to make a final selection from the ideas submitted to make Brussels a better place.

Gatz, the minister in charge of Flanders’ interests in the capital, had already convened citizens’ cabinets for two of his other portfolios: youth and culture. As in those cases, the Brussels cabinet started with an online forum, which allowed anyone to post their ideas for making Brussels a better place.

The forum attracted more than 430 participants, 62% of them from Brussels, the rest from elsewhere in Flanders. Independent consultants then select 150 of the participants for a day-long session in parliament, where the ideas are discussed.

The most popular idea submitted was making the Brussels region one single entity rather than 19 municipalities. In second place is improving the air quality in the capital. Other issues raised include mobility, late-hour trains and making the royal domain in Laken a public park.

Gatz promises to take account of the results of the parliamentary session. “You can’t set up a citizens’ cabinet and then say thanks but no thanks,” he said. “On 6 May we will come up with 10 to 20 concrete proposals. Every six months we will keep the participants up to date on our progress.”

Photo courtesy Sven Gatz

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