Welcome to Saint-Gilles' is an ongoing project where students of the MAD Faculty (Belgium), together with students coming from three other schools of the Meuse–Rhine Euregion (a territory spanning Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany), i.e. Hogeschool Zuyd (Maastricht, NL), Saint Luc (Liège, B) and La Cambre Brussels (B). The project started in 2011, when the schools started to work together in order to enhance social cohesion within the neighbourhood of Saint-Gilles in the city of Liège (Belgium). Field research carried out uncovered several challenges: a lack of communication and social cohesion among inhabitants and other local actors, a sense of fatalism and nostalgia, the absence of local associations, of an overall community and area identity, the widespread presence of vacant shops and squatted houses as well as a general feeling of a lack of initiatives or positive perspectives regarding the future. Yet what probably characterises Saint-Gilles the most is the unusually large amount of students (the majority) compared to the local inhabitants living in the neighbourhood. The cause of this is to be retraced to the remarkably large amount of schools in the city of Liège, which all moved into the area almost at the same time (in the 50's) for economic and social reasons. Since then students are often seen by the neighbourhood as a nuisance or a threat even, as their presence had a monoculture of local entrepreneurship and 64 services as a consequence. Local shops - grocery shops, artisans, small-scale activities -slowly disappeared. Just a small amount of them were replaced, and often by very similar kind of activities, such as cafés, take- away and shops focussed on students as a presumed homogenous target group. Main street devolved into a half desert, and the neighbourhood started to become perceived as unsafe and became more or less left to its own destiny. Nevertheless, field research also pointed out that there were many resources in the neighbourhood from which to start to sow seeds of positive change. There were stories, skills, time, energy and a will to change, and most importantly, many enthusiastic, warm, curious and generous people.

Ageing in Belgium: Welcome to Saint Gilles

V. Tassinari
2015-01-01

Abstract

Welcome to Saint-Gilles' is an ongoing project where students of the MAD Faculty (Belgium), together with students coming from three other schools of the Meuse–Rhine Euregion (a territory spanning Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany), i.e. Hogeschool Zuyd (Maastricht, NL), Saint Luc (Liège, B) and La Cambre Brussels (B). The project started in 2011, when the schools started to work together in order to enhance social cohesion within the neighbourhood of Saint-Gilles in the city of Liège (Belgium). Field research carried out uncovered several challenges: a lack of communication and social cohesion among inhabitants and other local actors, a sense of fatalism and nostalgia, the absence of local associations, of an overall community and area identity, the widespread presence of vacant shops and squatted houses as well as a general feeling of a lack of initiatives or positive perspectives regarding the future. Yet what probably characterises Saint-Gilles the most is the unusually large amount of students (the majority) compared to the local inhabitants living in the neighbourhood. The cause of this is to be retraced to the remarkably large amount of schools in the city of Liège, which all moved into the area almost at the same time (in the 50's) for economic and social reasons. Since then students are often seen by the neighbourhood as a nuisance or a threat even, as their presence had a monoculture of local entrepreneurship and 64 services as a consequence. Local shops - grocery shops, artisans, small-scale activities -slowly disappeared. Just a small amount of them were replaced, and often by very similar kind of activities, such as cafés, take- away and shops focussed on students as a presumed homogenous target group. Main street devolved into a half desert, and the neighbourhood started to become perceived as unsafe and became more or less left to its own destiny. Nevertheless, field research also pointed out that there were many resources in the neighbourhood from which to start to sow seeds of positive change. There were stories, skills, time, energy and a will to change, and most importantly, many enthusiastic, warm, curious and generous people.
Ageing, Ingenuity and Design.
978-988-12325-6-4
Inclusive design, design for social innovation, collaboration, elderly
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11311/1221532
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