Like a lot of quickly growing cities, Brussels has too much traffic and not quite enough public space. Residents are more likely to sit in a car than in a park.
A new project called Vélo m2 aims to use a cargo bike to lure people outside. The modular bike will transform into things like a mobile cinema, a waffle cart, and a mini fab lab, creating a square meter-sized temporary park that can travel the city.
“When more people are living in the same area, people are living in smaller homes, so they need outdoor space–but that space is occupied for the moment by cars,” explains Yannick Schandene of Soft Revolution, a Brussels-based art collective working on the project along with another collective called Urban Foxes. “We are a car-driven city, and most of the big places are also for parking, so kids have difficulty to find places to play, and old people can’t rest on a bench.”
Using a simple, low-cost cargo bike (from yet another art collective, Copenhagen’s N55), the team will create an ongoing series of attachments that can pop on the back. One coming module is a DJ booth that will transmit a signal by radio, so anyone in the park can listen to a live DJ set while they run or sit nearby.
The project will start with a projector that can screen outdoor movies at night, followed by a waffle cart that reminds locals what a Brussels-style waffle is like (the classic “Belgian waffle” is actually from elsewhere). Everything is chosen to help people better enjoy the existing outdoor space. “We want to bring fun stuff to all public spaces, so people can enjoy even the smallest part more,” says Schandene.
“We also want to open the debate for less cars in the city,” he adds. “Brussels is one of the most congested cities in Europe. The traffic is horrible and people have to be aware that other ways of traveling are possible.” The project is currently crowdfunding on the site Growfunding.