Living Streets

Living Streets is a project that redefines public space in Ghent by temporarily closing a street (partially or completely) to auto traffic.

Imagine that you could temporarily transform your street into a beautiful green meeting place for the neighbourhood… That is what a living street is all about!

What is a living street?

Living Streets is an initiative that reclaims and redefines public space. By temporarily closing a street (partially or completely) to auto traffic or by taking over the public domain. This way, pop-up living spaces are created for local residents.

Who initiates a living street?

A living street comes at the request of the residents. It’s an open collaboration between them and community organizations, Ghent city services and everyone involved. The residents consult and work together with the city services to discuss what the possibilities and opportunities are.

Who determines the layout of the living street?

Residents decide. Nothing is mandatory! Together, they can brainstorm for ideas and then roll up their sleeves, set up barbecues, place benches, tables and flower pots, set up create cosy meeting and living places or play grounds for the kids and so much more. The City of Ghent supports and supervises the entire process, ensures the necessary permits and makes street furniture and signaling available among other things. During the entire period of the Living street, the residents are fully responsible for the organization, the activities, the maintenance and so on.

What are the benefits of a living street?

  • The concept brings people together, residents get to know each other better.
  • It’s an impulse for dialogue and dynamics between neighbours.
  • It strengthens the cohesion and solidarity of everyone in the street. As a result, loneliness and social isolation may decrease.
  • People get the opportunity to temporarily redesign their immediate living environment.
  • Residents who don’t have a garden can still get outside and organize outdoor activities close to their homes.

The city of Ghent also profits from the living streets:

  • The project makes sensitive topics visible and negotiable such as poverty, mobility, urban depopulation and gentrification. It’s the first step to facing and tackling these issues.
  • Living streets are an ideal platform to experiment with alternative and green infrastructures, new forms of urban transport and mobility, remote parking and so on.

Get inspired by our talk with City Hangers.