The city of Genk faces today a reorientation of its economic activities creating new urban dynamics. It is difficult to predict how this evolution will be translated in terms of urban space. So it has become even more important to define a clear framework in which these dynamic forces can take place. Within this context, BUUR has been asked to provide a spatial vision on the city of Genk. Majorly determined by its industrial history, the city displays multiple logics and has become over time an inconsistent archipelago. As an alternative, BUUR introduces the concept of a stained glass window, in which otherness is tolerated and reinforced; the leaden frame, having its own structure and experience, brings all the parts together around a shared story. To reach this goal, BUUR starts from a fresh perspective on the city, in which city and landscape are closely interconnected.
The extensive open space areas in the inner-city present huge potential to reinforce the city’s green grid. BUUR defines several spatial strategies allowing integrating these areas into the network, as well as interconnecting them with the larger peripheral green spaces and the urban tissue itself.
The urban tissue of Genk can be described as an archipelago of small areas with their own identities. BUUR defines spatial strategies to cluster these neighbourhoods into a larger entity with a stronger identity, but without giving up the quality of the individual parts.
Genk can be read as a superposition of three different road networks supporting each a specific programme: the ladder network of regional roads, the radio-centric network of urban roads and the different neighbourhood roads with their specific grid or stamp structure. The vision bundles spatial strategies that reinforce and differentiate the existing network, and creates space for new forms of mobility.