Page 1


Verkavelingswijken krijgen het vandaag zwaar te verduren. Volgens sommigen is de dichtheid er veel te laag. Het woningaanbod te monotoon. De openbare ruimte te schraal. De ecologische voetafdruk te hoog. De bewoners te eenvormig. Enzoverder. Het project VERKAVELINGSVERHALEN onderzoekt of de werkelijkheid wel zo simpel is; door de levenswandel van bewoners in kaart te brengen, de ontstaansgeschiedenis van deze wijken te reconstrueren, en mogelijke toekomsten te verbeelden. Deze bundel bevat 26 verkavelingsverhalen opgesteld door studenten van het seminarie stedenbouw van de opleiding architectuur van de Universiteit Hasselt. De helft van deze verhalen zijn gebaseerd op feiten, de andere helft is door de studenten ontworpen. Maar beiden zijn even inspirerend.


Unknown to the residents, the area was once of great economical importance to Hasselt and Zonhoven. The almost endlessly ongoing struggle for this valuable land has left some historical elements which are now endangered, such as the Gebanne-Groezenstraat, which defined the border. These elements can be the backbone of an extension of the bicycle network of Limburg, connecting Hasselt to Bokrijk. DORIEN ROUMANS AND CHRISTOPHE TRUYERS

Restoring the accessibility

This proposed bicycle path acts as a visual historical reference to the former border in the heath landsconflict. The Cellebroedersvijvers, once so close but yet so far, are hereby opened up to finally bring the nature to the local residents. The path connects areas which were once separated, now offering an alternative way to commute between Hasselt, Genk and today’s regional economical hub: the Corda Campus. DORIEN ROUMANS AND CHRISTOPHE TRUYERS

Cultivating fruit in your neighbourhood

When making a walk through the area, existing green structures are easily noticed. These structures differ from district to district and grant each single one its own identity. Despite their differences, these four ‘districts’ have one thing in common: underused green spaces. By strengthening and heavily improving these spaces and structures through the introduction of fruit trees and hedges, a link was created between the living areas. This link, combined with the start-up of pop-up stores which sell these fruits, creates a complementary economic system to the existing railroad in the north and the Albert Canal in the south. By extending this newly created link into the business district, this area will play a leading role in the maintenance of the fruit trees... and the exploitation of the pop-up stores. ROBBE DE GEYNDT AND JEROEN LAMBER

Strengthening & improving existing structures

Recent research shows that the younger generation has different demands with regard to their front yard than older generations. This younger generation does not really care about having their own, private yard and maintaining it throughout the year anymore. Instead they are leaning more towards enjoyable public space, accessible to a larger number of people. Creating such spaces will bring along multiple benefits regarding not only themselves but also the community. In the Banneux district, several enterprising inhabitants started an interesting project. In cooperation with a local business, they started growing their own fruits in their yards. Together, the inhabitants and the local business, are responsible for the maintenance of trees and the harvest of the fruits. Both parties are profiting from this experiment and are already making agreements about further collaboration. They hope other people will soon also start seeing the benefits of cultivating fruit in their front yards and that more will join the experiment. ROBBE DE GEYNDT AND JEROEN LAMBER

Connecting the neighborhood

In Hasselt a group of neighbors didn’t like the size of their small gardens and noticed a lot of underused spaces in their neighborhood. After analyzing their environment they came up with three typologies of underuse. The first one: ‘public spaces’. These exist of playgrounds and grass fields but are most of the time empty because children or pedestrians never use them. The second typology is ’pathways’. These are paths in between gardens which they never use and, after some time, started looking abandoned. As a reaction the inhabitants started setting up walls and hedges to avoid them. The third and last typology: ’empty plots’. These are simply the building lots which are waiting for a buyer. After locating all the underused spaces, they’ve come up with a plan to solve the underuse and at the same time stimulate social bonding in the neighborhood. XIM DAMS AND VALÉRIE DUPONT

A social structure of shared streets and allotment gardens

The group of neighbors liked the idea of growing food on those empty plots to solve the problem of underuse. After some of them agreed to join forces, they started a small-scale allotment garden. The kitchen gardens encourage new social life, people started sharing flavors and ideas, it quickly transformed into a project involving the whole community. Everybody could take part to his or her liking, the investment of the school and church enabled a steady work. The city decided to give grants for this realization. Later, experts redesigned the streets to link the church to the school and to secure the pedestrians. A system of residential streets with restrictions to slow down traffic were introduced to function as a new structure for the neighborhood. This new structure gave new life to the public spaces and the pathways. In time, some kitchen gardens, on empty plots, will disappear because they will have to make room for new developments. With that in mind the group planned three bigger plots which can stay an allotment garden and become the scenery for neighborhood parties. XIM DAMS AND VALÉRIE DUPONT

Stepwise development along the Genkersteenweg

When you drive on the Genkersteenweg, from Hasselt to Genk, you will notice a lot of commercial boxes along the way. However there are also people living along this road. The mix of functions is experienced by the inhabitants as a strength, but there’s untapped potential in the way these two can work together. The current organisation of the commercial boxes is a thorn in the eye: a huge problem of front- versus backsides is present. There is a lot of under usage along the Genkersteenweg, mainly due to the typology of the buildings. In this area there are plenty barriers parallel with the Genkersteenweg: for example the difference in height and the canal. Inhabitants explained that there is a good network of pathways in the neighbourhood, which they often use, but it does not connect well to the centre of Hasselt. WANNES BOONEN AND LOTTE WILLEMS

Stepwise development along the Genkersteenweg

To take care of the under-usage along the Genkersteenweg, designers gave the region more structure and quality by setting up some urban principles. Expanding the network of paths for slow traffic, they make green links from the canal, trough the company part to the living area and the allotments. The green links improve the permeability of the region and break the barriers. As a reaction to the inefficient use of space of the companies, they will provide a mix of use on the ground level, but also on the roofs there are lots of possibilities. So a mix of functions, multiple usage and a green environment are the central concepts in the design. There is also a junction with other planning initiatives: there is a connections with the path to Bokrijk, local urban farming can be implemented on the roofs and the trees can be maintained by a local fruit company. The project on the Genkersteenweg can be the link between these initiatives. WANNES BOONEN AND LOTTE WILLEMS

The family that walks every day from Diepenbeek to Hasselt and Genk

Mathieu Deckers and his wife Maria love walking. Each week they go to Hasselt and Genk by foot, or bike, to visit family or go shopping. This appears to be an exception in Diepenbeek. With no walking or cycling paths on either side of the road, the car is the main mode of transport. Still they have discovered a way to reach both cities throughout the beautiful nature. In the back of their garden there is a little path, which leads them through a green inner area to the Demer or the valley of the Stiemerbeek. These can be followed to respectively Hasselt and Genk. Both paths still encounter some roads with a lot of cars, which they see as an important drawback for this neighborhood. They managed to make the best of it, still wishing for an improvement. BART HOUBEN AND KATRIEN SCHEPERS

The neighborhood made out of water and trees

This neighborhood used to be an area where trees and water were interwoven, together creating something which appears to look like a carpet. Taking this specific pattern into consideration we’ve come to a new way of reviving the old structures to give this neighborhood a specific atmosphere. Trees were added to accentuate the pattern and waterways were built to stimulate the draining. This system ensures to purify the polluted water and brings back old habitats. By cutting some roads, we stress the importance of recreation and vulnerable road users. Car users therefore are secondary to bikers and pedestrians. In this way it’s easy to discover the area crossing only few roads and hardly meeting any houses. BART HOUBEN AND KATRIEN SCHEPERS

The kitchen store without clients

In the Nieuwstraat (N76) in Diepenbeek lies a kitchen store. The location, next to a busy road, seems like an ideal place to start a store, but the interview with the store manager proves the opposite. There are only 54 visitors a year. In spite of the beautiful showroom, the big parking and the good accessibility. That isn’t exactly a good business. People apparently prefer to go directly to the main workshop of the store, located in Kuringen. Nevertheless the owner wants to keep the kitchen store open, clients or not. ROBIN PRICKAERTS AND DIMITRI VOORDECKERS

The productive neighborhood park

Can housing, small companies and nature be combined within one neighborhood and create an added value for all? The main idea is to create a circular economy binding the existing houses to the small businesses in their neighborhood. To create this economy, an element is added within the empty inner areas of the building blocks: the greenhouses. These greenhouses use the carbon dioxide of the companies for the growth of vegetables and flowers. This results in reduction of CO2-emission of the companies. New stores can pop up for the selling of these products to the inhabitants. At the same time, due solar influence, the greenhouses produce a certain amount of solar warmth. The warmth can be stored in a underground aquifer and can be exchanged with the surrounding houses by a collective heat control system. The irrigation system of the greenhouses connects to the existing irrigation system of the neighborhood and makes up for a unique landscape of ponds and creeks. ROBIN PRICKAERTS AND DIMITRI VOORDECKERS

The garage owner and his two sisters

You wouldn’t say it when you pass by, but in this quiet street, behind this house lies a car garage, hidden in –what looks like- a garden shed. And this in the middle of a residential subdivision. But the neighbors do not complain. Or they don’t dare to complain, because they are the sisters of the garage owner. But still there is a problem. One of the sisters wants to move. And because she is afraid that no-one will be interested in buying her house as long as cars are being repaired next door, she has asked her brother to continue his business somewhere else. And this is way the garage owner is moving to an industrial area. And why the street will turn even more quiet. NIELS MENTEN AND JOY GODFREY

The noisy company and the residential neighborhood

It’s a known fact that local businesses and convenience stores aren’t doing great in residential subdivisions. Most of them retreat to a more busy, urban environment or to an industrial area. Luckily, there are still some entrepreneurs fighting this relocation-trend. Though, some can’t hold off the pressure for a long time anymore. A design-team came up with two building-types inspired by the oldest local mix of living and working, namely the farm. The first type one is for the companies producing noise. They get to retreat into the empty building block, so they won’t bother anyone. The second type is for businesses that have too few space. By combining three houses, and backing-up the middle one, a large collective front space is created which all can profit from. NIELS MENTEN AND JOY GODFREY

The farmer who is caught in a residential subdivision

The neighborhood of Rooierheide feels like a labyrinth of building blocks. From the outside, all of these blocks look similar, but now and then, the blocks open up and you can catch a glimpse from what happens inside. And this can be very surprising. In one such blocks lies, for instance, the unique nature area of the Dauteweijers, inhabited by the rare species of the Treefrog. Next to this nature area lies a farm. During a coincidental conversation with the farmer, it becomes clear that in spite of the open and unique character of the inner area, she feels very isolated as a farmer. Her cows can graze here and her corn can grow, but there is hardly any one passing by. On top of this, the nature area has plans to expand. And because they are surrounded by houses, she is afraid that she will have to move. NOEL GUSTAVI AND LIZE KELCHTERMANS

The residential farm

Somewhere behind the narrow streets of Rooierheide lies the nature farm. It is a farm with cows and crops, but also a nature area with Treefrogs and buffalos, an orchard with local fruit species, an animal farm with ostriches and rabbits, a heaven for agro tourists, a biogas plant, and so on. In other words, it offers a symbiotic relationship with its surrounding through ecosystem services while at the same time remains to be a public open space. NOEL GUSTAVI AND LIZE KELCHTERMANS

The intricus fabilosus

In an everyday street, in the garden of an everyday house, grows the ‘intricus fabilosus’. It is a very rare plant species, of whom everyone thought it was extent. “A really exceptional situation”, tells biologist Sven Devischer, “certainly because this work is the result of the endless patience of one man, who created behind his house a true Garden of Eden with the most beautiful plants”. If the owner could decide, the story wouldn’t end here. For he is dreaming to be able to rent an extra piece of land from the municipality to build even more greenhouses. LINSE HEYLIGHEN EN THOMAS MEERS

On wadi’s and informal vegetable gardens

Just as the greenhouse-guy and this wife tune their garden to the green area behind their house, so can this green area be tuned to the surrounding houses. The proposal is to construct a water-structure at the edge of the gardens. By using wadi’s and bigger waterbasins, the water infiltration is slower and the chance for flooding decreases. Next to the water-structure comes a public path, for people to walk with their grandchildren and meet with their neighbors. In the heart of the green area come recreational functions which are now lying in the surrounding open landscape (often without a permission). In this way, the green area can become a social place where people can grow vegetables together or train their dogs. LINSE HEYLIGHEN EN THOMAS MEERS

Re-use of underused gardens hindered by strict regulations

Many of the large gardens in Boxbergheide initially used for food gardening and livestock became over the years underused. Some inhabitants consider the garden maintenance a concern. And despite the fact that inhabitants make plans for their parcels, many are hindered by the strict building codes of the district. As a result the existing parcels with large gardens aren’t used to their full potential and even get degraded. Conny and her family feel themselves limited by the severe regulations on house extensions. And in her opinion, the lack of possibilities to use the gardens in a more efficient way has a rather bad influence on many aspects in the vicinity. She even wonders if it affects social contact between the inhabitants of Boxbergheide. Conny says that she doesn’t even know all of the people who live in her street. There is no sense of unity in the neighbourhood. ALEXANDER BREPOELS AND BART VANMUYSEN

Neighbourhood purifies grey water in shared inner garden

To counter the degradation of the large gardens, new semi-public spaces are created which reconnect the people of Boxbergheide. Those new shared spaces situated in the back of the huge parcels include a water purification system, so called “constructed wetlands�. This system treats the rain and grey water of the neighbouring houses and gives them clean tap water in return. Along the purification system, there are terraces, playgrounds and petting zoos which offer new meeting points for the surrounding inhabitants. This new shared garden is maintained by a social project that is based in one of the villas. In return they get some land to keep livestock. This project stimulates the self-sustainability of the neighbourhood in many aspects. It has proven to be a valuable solution to the early lack of sense of unity and the neglected gardens. ALEXANDER BREPOELS AND BART VANMUYSEN

Bar manager finds everything in walking distance

"But wh Can Box offer the of life?"

Eva Juhasz (60) lives above the bar ‘Boxberg’ with her husband and son (24). She has been managing this bar since she was 15 years old and her whole life takes place here. She almost never uses a car because she finds all essential things in her own street. In the morning, before opening the bar, Eva goes to the local SPAR shop, the newsagent or the barber. Her best friend lives across the street. And the soccer club of which she is the president is located in her backyard. However, with retirement coming closer, she is worried. Eva really hopes she can stay here in this district and maintain the same quality of life after leaving her job. RIEN CLEUREN AND MATHIAS VANKRIEKELSVENNE


hat if I'm older? xbergheide still e same quality "

Living, Working and groceries

To respond to the increasing demand of local elderly care services in Boxbergheide, the central axis is converted into a combination of squares and a park. Within this new configuration the former linear axis is densified. On the squares living, working, services and shopping is combined and densified. Between those squares a residential park offers a new public green space with small residential units. These units are provided with care facilities for elderly. As such elderly from Boxbergheide are given opportunity to stay in their district and to enjoy all the needed facilities in the near surroundings of their home. RIEN CLEUREN AND MATHIAS VANKRIEKELSVENNE

Old couple receives customized care at home

Greta (83) and Ludo (85) live in Boxbergheide for 58 years now. They like living here though they witnessed major changes within the suburb. More and more young families moved into the neighbourhood. Greta and Ludo regret that social contact with these families is difficult. Unlike the former inhabitants, the new ones don’t like to have a quick chat in the street. The only place where they can talk to people of their age is in the local supermarket, which they visit once a week. Because of their age Greta and Ludo can no longer do what they did before, such as walking in the surrounding forests and cycling to Genk. Most of the time they stay at home. There they receive customized personal care. A nurse comes by every day, their oldest son mows the grass once a week and every Sunday the whole family comes to visit. RUBEN GEUDENS AND MARIJN DEGERICKX

HEIGHT-HEATH TRAIL in Boxbergheide attracts many cyclists and walkers

The city of Genk has launched a new project in Boxbergheide, which is called the ‘height-heath trail’. The former heathland is recovered on the steep topography between Kempisch plateau and Demer valley. A trail for walkers and cyclists is provided along this slope, cutting through the district and connecting surrounding sites, such as C-Mine, Bokrijk and De Maten with each other. Several recreation points on the trail are a good place for a quick stop, such as a petting zoo, a watch tower that guarantees a beautiful view on the surroundings and a small amphitheatre for outdoor performances. Water basins collect rainwater from streets and roofs of adjacent neighbourhoods, which then is drained into the nearest streams in a natural way. Importance is also attached to the concerns of the residents. Therefore collective allotment gardens are integrated into the project, which brings youth and elderly better together. RUBEN GEUDENS AND MARIJN DEGERICKX

Elderly woman finds all she needs in Boxbergheide

Maria Beckers (72) lives in Boxbergheide for five years now. She moved in with her new husband, who has lived in the district for all his life. Everything they need is within manageable distance, so whenever possible, they take the opportunity to go by bicycle. Only when the weather conditions are too bad, they will go by car together. She really enjoys to cycle in Boxbergheide, but also the beautiful nature and the history of Bokrijk can enchant her sometimes. According to Maria, the open spaces are of big importance, both for the district and for the inhabitants. In her opinion, all different kind of people take advantage of it, such as youth movements, elderly people and so on. It gives a particular identity to Boxbergheide and it would be a shame to let it disappear. ZANDER RUTTEN AND MICHELLE VROLIX

Planting trees in Boxbergheide to reinvent the garden city

The municipality of Genk recently started planting trees along the streets and in front gardens. The idea came from two architects who want the district to revive with different cycle routes and a renewed image of the garden city. The wooded streets connect the green spaces within the district as well as the nature reserves around it. Great importance is attached to the social and ecological aspect of the project. Ten routes are distinguished in the district and have each their own type of planting. Every ten year the trees of a route are cut. This is accompanied by an annual neighbourhood event. The wood is transformed to woodchips and is used to heat the schools in Boxbergheide. At the same time the children learn about sustainable energy. With this project the municipality of Genk hopes to create both a beautiful neighbourhood and awareness to evolve to more sustainable living environments. ZANDER RUTTEN AND MICHELLE VROLIX


Oswald Devisch, Barabara Roosen en Marijn van de Weijer


Wannes Boonen, Alexander Brepoels, Rien Cleuren, Xim Dams, Marijn Degerickx, Robbe De Geyndt, ValĂŠrie Dupont, Ruben Geudens, Joy Godfrey Emmanuel, Noel Gustavi, Linse Heylighen, Bart Houben, Lize Kelchtermans, Jeroen Lamber, Thomas Meers, Niels Menten, Robin Prickaerts, Dorien Roumans, Zander Rutten, Katrien Schepers, Christophe Truyers, Mathias Vankriekelsvenne, Bart Vanmuysen, Dimitri Voordeckers, Michelle Vrolix, Lotte Willems

Grafische vormgeving

Niek Kosten

Foto p.1

Marijn van de Weijer


Universiteit Hasselt, 2015


verkavelingen, verduurzamen, vlaanderen


verkavelingen, verduurzamen, vlaanderen