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Future Cities: Shaping Europe from the bottom up

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The 2016 edition of EUobserver's Regions & Cities magazine looks at the cities of the future in Europe. While the EU is grappling with challenging problems - Brexit, migration, the economy, terrorism, to name a few - many European cities are reinventing themselves and tackling these problems in their own way.

These are just some of

These are just some of the simple measures that should be taken to revitalise a city full of creative talent that is being held back by antiquated rules, disjointed government, and overbearing bureaucracy. EU OFFICIALS TO PAY BELGIAN TAXES on the authorities - whether Belgian dysfunctionality or the fact that the capital is divided into 19 If the capital is to thrive it also needs the active participation of locals, over half of whom were born abroad or to foreign parents. in the city they should also be allowed to vote in elections for the Brussels regional government. Likewise, it is only fair that the tens of thousands of enforcement and disregard for urban planning - is easy to criticise. BRUSSELS IS A WORLD-CLASS CITY But despite its faults, Brussels is a world-class city. Its centre is compact, beautiful, and packed with curiosities, arresting street art, and some of the Its neighbourhoods are stuffed with art nouveau gems, beech forests, and effortlessly hip hangouts like the Parvis St Gilles. Photo: Lisbeth Kirk

Culture. Photo: Lisbeth Kirk beer, chocolate, and cooking on the planet. It has It also remains one of the most affordable capital and transport connections. It is within two hours of Paris, London and - and gives easy access to the historic cities of Ghent, Bruges, Antwerp, and Leuven as well as the rolling hills of the Ardennes. Photo: EUobserver The historic centre has been spruced up. The areas revitalised after landmark buildings were rescued and galleries are sprouting up near the once derelict canal area. To be fair to Brussels, it is also a city that is getting better, not worse. Even the EU district - an urban desert that is an embarrassment to Brussels, Belgium, and Europe - is slowly improving with new bars, hotels and public spaces. This is not to say that Brussels can rest on its laurels. can transform themselves by building new tramlines, banning cars from large chunks of the centre, and creating spectacular new public spaces in the process, Brussels can too. FUTURE CITIES OCTOBER 2016 — 37

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