Menem has before it an opportunity that can become an engine of change: the widening of the river as it passes through the town to allow the movement of bigger barges. This intervention, even if it will certainly be going to affect a significant number of homes and change the relationship between the city and the river, can also be the trigger that allows the city to address other essential changes.
Given the need to define a roadmap to respond strategically to these changes, a reflection leading to the drafting of a master plan is undertaken.
The work is not intended to address at once all the problems of the city, but rather to identify those urban systems whose impact potential is bigger, choosing the target areas among those with added transforming capacity and defining the actions that permit, within a reasonable time frame, generating changes that positively impact the generation of further transformations.
The change thus generated will always be necessarily biased, but it will allow to put in place the essential mechanisms to establish transformative dynamics that will lead to the necessary critical mass that ensures that the process reaches cruising speed.
Six strategic structures on which to base actions are identified:
- · The fortifications of Vauban, which is the most notable example of its assets.
- · The former branch of the river today know as Oude Leielaan plays a structuring role that allows bringing into contact some existing facilities and several urban fragments.
- · The dual natural system constituted by the river and the forested areas on both sides of the centre.
- · The string of green spaces that connect the city to outlying areas.
- · The commercial axis linking the main square with the French town of Halluin is one of its most important economic engines.
- · Mobility, characterized by indiscriminate use of the car which can reach any point of the urban fabric and has a high number of parking spaces.
And eleven sites on which intervene on a priority basis are selected. Some of them have enormous potential as renewed public spaces. This applies to the docks along the river or even the new bridge to be built on it, which can become a new central hub of the city. It is also the case of the Barakkenpark, the Avontuurlijk Park or the Lauwe Brug. And to a lesser extent, the space in Donkerstraat.
In the latter, the public space is combined with housing, which is the central component of the development of the Fournier plot and this, in turn, is sometimes combined with offices, as it happens in the surroundings of the railway station.
Others are used to resolve issues such as mobility (Rite, also the surroundings of the station) or to promote the development of the commercial activity of the central axis.
The work done is the result of a process that has involved extensive technical, academic, political and civic participation. It is not intended to solve all the problems Menen must deal with, but draws a roadmap that we hope will allow to get progressively closer and without delay to her aspirations.