Multifunctional City District Sustainability

Transformation of Brussel's Heysel Plateau into multifunctional city district

NEO Brussels Masterplan prescribes the redevelopment of the Heysel plateau, one of the most strategic locations in the Brussels Metropole Region. The design for NEO Brussels aims to strengthen the significance of the Heysel, and to define it within a framework for sustainable development. This is the first masterplan for Heysel since the 1958 World's Fair. As such a strong vision is required, one which integrates Brussels, Belgium and Europe in one place.

The Heysel area already plays a significant social, cultural and economic role for the whole of Belgium and far beyond. After the city centre, the Heysel is the second major city centrality in t...

  • Brussels, Belgium
  • City of Brussels
  • 2010 - Ongoing
  • Ongoing
  • 68 ha area redevelopment Former World Expo 1958 with Atomium, Brussels Expo and National Stadium Mixed urban program, including an international conference centre, regional shopping centre, culture, leisure, a park and housing
  • Masterplan
  • Arup, Amsterdam
  • Fakton, Rotterdam
  • NEO Brussels aims for a vision of urban redevelopment that is integrated from different perspectives. It reinforces the international image and establishes a meeting place for people. It creates a new gateway into Brussels, a ‘transferium’ between public and private transport with key urban functions. The site, approximately 27.5 ha. in size, will develop into a mixed urban program, including an international conference center, a regional shopping center, leisure functions, housing, and a park.

    NEO Brussels functions also as a park, creating a powerful green space of more than 10 hectares that creates interior connections through the site, making it accessible to all visitors and residents. This green structure offers great potentials for sport, for cycling and for walking. Above all, NEO is a 'Grand Projet' with the structure of a rich history, using architecture and public spaces to reflect the optimism and future-focus of the world fair. 

  • NEO plans to turn the Heysel into a real multi-functional district where quality of life, economic appeal and international dynamism will be the driving forces of development. The project includes a strong strategy for sustainable development in mobility, energy and water. It aims to be exemplary in terms of architecture and sustainable development in all areas. 

  • The most modern techniques will be systematically prioritized. 

    • New constructions that meet the latest low-emission standards, designed to help extend their lifecycle. 
    • Economical use of energy, materials and water and their reuse. 
    • Permeability of the entire site thanks to hydro-absorbent surfaces. 
    • Layout of the Plateau to promote soft mobility links on the site. 
    • Exemplary Shopping District, used as a reference of best practices on the matter. 
    • Local generation of 20% of energy needs. 
    • Rainwater collection and recycling. 
    • Creation of ecological links to promote the movement of species between green spaces. 
    • Integration of the sports infrastructure into a new park layout. 
    • Protection of large trees.

    The quality of life is at the heart of the NEO project: 

    • Urban densification to address demographic needs and the proportion of green space (one third of the area, or 21 hectares) 
    • Mixed functions 
    • Creation of facilities for residents such as crèches, sports facilities, spaces for cultural and artistic activities, etc. 
    • Increased space for pedestrians and cyclists thanks to the gradual elimination of most surface car parks and the implementation of an urban layout to encourage the development of pedestrian and cycling paths. 

  • NEO will be one of the pillars of the international prestige and appeal of Brussels. 

    The strength of the NEO project lies in particular in the fact that the Heysel Plateau already welcomes more than 5,000,000 visitors per year, thanks in particular to the Atomium, Brussels Expo, Mini Europe and Kinepolis. NEO is keen to provide new urban functions (convention centre, business district, housing, green spaces, etc.) and to support existing infrastructures and create synergies between them. 

    At least 250 hotel rooms are planned so as to give this economic revitalization an added boost. They will help improve the accommodation of the public of the Convention Centre and Brussels Expo as well as tourists. The hotel and catering offer will be reinforced near the business district and opposite the Atomium, as well as along the dwellings that border the new park. 

    Some 3,000 direct jobs will be created for the business district alone (+/- 2,400 FTEs). The development, implementation and operation of the entire project will create several thousand jobs. The project is moreover part of a broader dynamic of tourism development on a regional and international scale as the main job creation vehicle in Brussels. 

    NEO’s business model entails investing the flows generated by the provision of land to create high-quality infrastructure and facilities and public spaces.