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A green car-free oasis in the centre of Antwerp

‘Het Groen Kwartier’ or The Green Quarter offers 8 hectares of car-free living in the centre of Antwerp. It is a neighbourhood that has all the assets of the city while located in a green historic park. Where the park becomes a garden. This urban transformation of a former military hospital in Antwerp demonstrates how the city of Antwerp is tackling densification and urban renewal.

The name Groen Kwartier refers to the old Military Hospital Antwerp on the Marialei, where Belgian soldiers were cared for in the Haringrode district in Antwerp. With its stately buildings and centrally located chapel, the Groen Kwartier is within walking distance of Zurenborg district, city center and station.

The large site was empty for a long time, since it was no longer used by the military, but was transformed from 2010 thanks to a public-private partnership into Het Groen Kwartier, a new residential area for 400 families. It has been car-free since 2010. Public parking spaces and private underground parking garages are only accessible on the outside of the neighbourhood. The first residents moved in in January 2011.

The historic main buildings of the military hospital, the barracks, the boiler room and the chapel were beautifully renovated into a modern district that breathes history. In May 2018, Groen Kwartier won the Real Estate Society Award for Best Residential Development.

During the Child in the City International Seminar: Children in the sustainable city delegates will have the opportunity to explore this city development. This site has become a new neighbourhood in the middle of the city with private and social housing. Moreover, it is a nice place for families with children.

The Child in the City International Seminar takes place in Antwerp, Belgium 20-21 May. Register for the seminar here and see all the field trips options available during this seminar.

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Author: Julia Zvobgo

Julia Zvobgo is a Cultural Anthropologist. She is also the Community Manager and Events Manager of Child in the City.

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