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Leuven Belgium2021-06-02T11:00:18+02:00

Leuven, Belgium

The City

Leuven is a centrally positioned city both within Belgium and Europe. It is a historical city with a rich cultural heritage, known for its high-ranking university and Belgian beer. Leuven has become a dynamic international community, with over 170 nationalities and many students living in the city centre. The city was recently elected as the European Capital of Innovation and offers several opportunities for co-creation.

The pilot

The pilot area for the VARCITIES project is a former hospital site in the medieval centre of the city. This fully built area will be transformed into a green district, where riverbanks will be re-opened and the connection between the city centre and the river landscape will be re-established.
The area will become a multifunctional neighbourhood with different housing typologies, economical functions like hotels, shops, restaurants and cafés and co-working spaces. Cultural attractions like the new performing arts hall for the city and a museum site on the history and future of health care will be the heart of this area.

VARCITIES will finance and develop five different actions:

  • Riverside mobile urban living room for cultural activities (an intervention that will revitalise and make the public space along the re-opened river Dijle-branch more attractive).
  • Sensors for health & water measurements (small weather stations will gather data to measure the exposure of citizens to climatic conditions and water quality).
  • Health trail with the “moving Bench”, therapeutic sensory garden for elderly people (an innovative concept offering a complete exercise package thus contributing to an integral, smart, local health, sports and exercise policy).
  • IoT infrastructure (screens) for smart lighting and noise: a solution enabling connectivity, smart lighting, communication & interaction for measuring usage of the site.
  • Mobility-sensors: measure the pedestrian and bike flows – sensors on bikes for measuring air quality/noise, and intelligent cameras that distinguish and analyse pedestrian & bikers on the site. Sensors that track broader trajectories of bikers & pedestrians will be implemented to address the following challenges: air quality, urban regeneration, public health and well-being.

The future city vision

Leuven is a city that addresses challenges in an innovative and pioneering way. The goal is to work in a collaborative way in order to become a smart, healthy and sustainable city and society. This also includes the improvement of the urban environment and the promotion of better health and well-being for the citizens. The pilot area of VARCITIES project will foster recreational activities, relaxation and social interaction, more physical activity, as well as improved air quality.  

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