Make.Brussels, a call for projects to kick-start life back into Brussels

On Monday 4th April, Atrium.Brussels – the regional agency for commerce – launched Make.Brussels, an ambitious and audacious call for projects that, at its core, puts Brussels’ citizen to the test by asking them to come up with meaningful projects for the downtown district’s 10 retail clusters. Following four phases – submit, vote, prototype and make – a total of 10 projects will be selected, winning 30,000 euros each to see their project through.

MAKE BRUSSELS GREAT AGAIN

When a city is down, it falls on its people to spruce it back up. At least that’s what atrium.brussels, the regional agency for commerce, is banking on in its latest bid to reinforce the positive image and commercial attractiveness of Brussels’ downtown district. Indeed, following recent attacks, lockdowns, pedestrian inaugurations and tunnel shutdowns, the historically dynamic centre has seen its fortunes wane of late, its economic output brought to a near standstill due to flat visiting figures. All that is about to change for the better though. Through a savvy mix of crowdsourcing, crowd-voting and sizeable award money, Make.Brussels draws upon the Region’s creative and cultural communities to bring the groove back to the central district’s 10 retail clusters – Dansaert, Neuve, Sainte-Catherine, Saint-Jacques, Sablon, Mont des Arts, Marolles, Notre-Dame-aux-Neiges, Grand Place et Midi-Lemonnier – and, you’ve guessed it, make Brussels great again.

Through a savvy mix of crowdsourcing, crowd-voting and sizeable award money, Make.Brussels draws upon the Region’s creative and cultural communities to bring the groove back to the central district and, you’ve guessed it, make Brussels great again.

SUBMIT (From 4th April to 5th May)

Audaciously named Make.Brussels, the campaign calls for creatives of all walks of life – architects, designers, entrepreneurs, event organisers, party promoters, app developers, foodies, artists, curators and the likes – to think of and submit project proposals that will serve to bring the people – and their wallets – back downtown. An exhibition of 21 things to do and see in Brussels before you die, for instance. Or a 3-day festival showcasing nothing but local fare – from the food served to the music lined up. Or a bicycle repair and rental shop. Or a smartphone application listing and geo-localising all the parking spaces in and around Brussels. Or a program of neighbourly guided tours that take visitors on food discovery trails. You get the idea. Anything goes, really, as long as the projects proposed serve Brussels’ downtown district and answer one basic questions: how can we make locals love their downtown again? Potential project leaders have until 5th May to submit their idea on the Make.Brussels website, www.make.brussels.

The campaign calls for creatives of all walks of life to think of and submit project proposals that will serve to bring the people – and their wallets – back downtown.

VOTE (From 9th to 20th May)

Ideas and the projects they propose are only as good as the people they serve though and, without the people, the projects fall flat. Which is why Make.Brussels’ second phase involves Brussels’ citizens getting to know the projects proposed better by visiting its website, and voting for their preferred one by 20th May. Indeed, each and every project submitted to the campaign’s crowd-voting platform will get a dedicated page where they’ll have the opportunity to present their idea in full, and encourage people to vote for it. This is the bottoms-up phase of the initiative, one which relies exclusively on the public opinion in order to select the first 30 projects that will get invited to a creative marathon on 28th and 29th May for the chance to prototype their idea.

Each and every project submitted to the campaign’s crowd-voting platform will get a dedicated page where they’ll have the opportunity to present their idea in full, and encourage people to vote for it.

PROTOTYPE (From 27th to 28th May)

Having ideas and brainstorming is all well and fine, but what about actually making sure the best, most pertinent of them become reality? Over a two-day period end of May, the 30 projects selected by the public in the visit and vote phase will be invited to participate in the creative marathon to get their proposals and concepts challenged by teams of dedicated coaches. With the objective of seeing each project through to conception stage, the event will, in the end, serve to make a final selection of 10 winning projects that will be awarded 30,000 euros each, with the prize money then used to bring their idea to life – and make a real dent in the city’s current hardship. Taking place in the heart of Brussels, the creative marathon will be open to the public and will conclude with a closing night of local only concerts organised by The Word Magazine, Belgium’s leading neighbourhood life, music and art media.

Make.Brussels aims to contribute towards the re-energisation of Brussels’ downtown district.

TURN A NEGATIVE INTO A POSITIVE

At its core, what Make.Brussels seeks to achieve is to contribute towards the re-energisation of Brussels’ downtown district. To find ways for the people, all of the city’s users, to engage with its commercial arteries and reinforce their identities. And to ensure that what was without a doubt a trying and testing time for Brussels isn’t just that – a dark period in its history – and is used to better its prospects. Time has come to turn a negative into a positive.