Tivoli GreenCity -the first sustainable neighbourhood in Brussels

Brussels, Belgium Environment and Resource efficiency



Tivoli GreenCity aims to create a harmonious connection between the existing dense housing district of Laeken and the industrial zone of the Port of Brussels by the requalification of an urban wasteland located at the interface of these two areas. At this pivotal location, a new mixed-use district is developing in functional and social dialogue between housing and economic activities.The economic strand of the project was inaugurated in April 2016 with the opening of the Greenbizz pole.

Issues tackled

The project has ambitious objectives in terms of environmental protection: reduction of energy consumption, biodiversity, production of green energy, rational management of water, awareness raising and citizen participation. These objectives will be included in the charter of the sustainable Tivoli GreenCity district, signed by the inhabitants of the district. These are sometimes restrictive objectives, but they guarantee a better environment and sources of savings for users.

All buildings meet the “passive PEB 2015” criteria and the equivalent of 35% of housing will be “zero energy”. In order to integrate the existing heritage, the Belgacom building will be renovated and will play the role of anchoring the new district in the old one. This decision stems from both the concern to preserve this architectural heritage, to contribute to the integration of the new sustainable Tivoli GreenCity district into its urban environment and to reduce the environmental footprint of the project.

The accommodations are compact and through (efficient natural ventilation). The day rooms, living room, kitchen, terrace, have a direct functional relationship and the orientation of the accommodation ensures the best sunlight in the living spaces. The circulation cores of the buildings make the most of natural light, which reduces the electricity demands for the common areas.

Biodiversity, and in particular the “green structure”, is a fundamental element of the neighborhood. Various situations are used to install on the site (public and private spaces), more than twenty specific biotopes, both at ground level and on the facades and on the roofs of buildings. The five island interiors are designed as so many evolving biodiversity laboratories managed by the inhabitants. It is on this “green” framework that all parts of the project are based and it is this which allows both overall consistency and optimum biodiversity.

Selective sorting and composting, linked to the objective of reducing waste volumes, are part of the civic actions that the residents and traders of the new district will be invited to take. Close collaboration with Bruxelles-Propreté has made it possible to have a system for sorting and collecting household waste in underground containers located in public spaces.

In terms of hydraulic control, the project aims to reduce city water consumption through domestic use of rainwater and recycling of grey water. Devices to reduce water consumption (taps, shower heads, flushing toilets) are also planned. The project also aims to reduce the amount of water discharged into the sewer through landscaping and the choice of materials that promote the slowing down, absorption, evaporation and infiltration of water.

Rainwater and grey water management systems are integrated into the site’s landscaping: green and storage roofs, green facades, storm basins, bio-purification and infiltration valleys, plants that consume large amounts of water, cisterns, permeable materials..

Energy production

  • The district is served by a district heating network, from an ultra-efficient centralized boiler room supplied with gas located in the basement of lot 2. The central boiler room provides the hot water necessary for heating and heating needs. domestic hot water for all housing in the new district. For better comfort for residents, this collective system is regulated individually, per housing unit.
  • Energy production is supplemented by the installation of photovoltaic panels on the roofs of buildings in all lots. The electricity produced by these panels is used in the common areas of buildings.
  • These energy production facilities will be insured and managed, for a period of 10 years, by a third-party investor who will guarantee a consumption cost lower than the official statistical cost. At the end of this period, the facilities will become the property of all residents of the neighborhood.
  • A green roof, contributing to biodiversity, thermal insulation and rainwater retention, is installed on all buildings, even under photovoltaic panels. Irrigation details and planting choices are specifically designed to ensure sustainability. In each of the lots are planned two roof gardens.


Social space

An educational space, an information and initiative center, strategically located on the mall, will aim to raise awareness and participation of residents (old and new) in the sustainability of the neighborhood and will focus on the coordination of various projects. In each of the lots are provided, for the use of the residents of the lot:

  • two roof gardens, one of which is accessible by lift to people with reduced mobility (PRM);
  • an indoor island garden;
  • a collective laundry room supplied by green electricity from photovoltaic panels and by rainwater tanks.

An experimental greenhouse is installed on the top floor of the highest building, at the corner of the park. The manager of the greenhouse will be able to accommodate the inhabitants or other interested parties, and will support the inhabitants in the management of the vegetable gardens on all the roofs.

Actors involved

  • Citydev Brussels
  • SLRB (Federation on municipal Housing Companies of the Brussels-Capital Region)

Actions carried out

  • Construction of passive homes
  • Installation of green roof everywhere
  • Creation of an experimental greenhouse
  • Creation of an educational space, an information centre and a collective laundry
  • Installation of photovoltaic panels on the roofs of buildings in all lots
  • Installation of rainwater and grey water management systems
  • Creating selective sorting and composting space
  • Creation of roof gardens


  • 397 housing units
  • 271 subsidized housing
  • 126 social housing (managed by Foyal Lakenbekois, Member of SLRB)
  • 2 nurseries for more than 100 children
  • 770 m² commercial surfaces
  • 10,000 m²public spaces
  • 3 New roads
  • 2,000 m² Green spaces
  • 1,000 m² Promenades
  • more than 650 bicycle parking spaces, of which more than 580 are for private use
  • underground car parks with a total capacity of 291 places


Why it works

The implementation was possible thanks to the public actors that were willing to develop a new sustainable district in terms of construction techniques and energy savings as well as citizen participation. Future inhabitants will subscribe to a Charter aimed at taking into account sustainable objectives.

The main challenge has been to integrate into a dense and mixed urban context. Added to this is the desire to ensure a social mix in the new neighbourhood by all the partners.



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