Place de Mexico plein | Molenbeek, Brussels (be) | 2023

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A little square – Mexico Plein –  offers one of the few opportunities to propose a decompression space in this high density neighborhood of Molenbeek – Le Quartier Maritime. At the same time, this square finds itself in the crossroads of the daily life of very different social groups. Adding to that it is also a  space of passage for many every day. This situation and the generalized rooted idea that centralized public policies don’t accommodate the actual needs and wants of the people, puts us in a very particular situation. We arrive on the streets just after the “Good Move” action. This action rearranged the traffic fluxes during summer and generated a complex and polemic local political situation with quite some social upheaval. Our common approach of discussing while doing became “difficult” for the neighborhood to peacefully interact with and launched us into a slower mediation process. After some meetings with the neighborhood comité a new direct intervention week was set in the calendar. Lots of discussions about introducing or not  public seating in this square highly used by drug dealers took place and followed through the whole intervention. It is still an ongoing issue. Through the whole process we followed a compromise methodology that works upon consentment rather than consensus. And so, a garden, a forest, a jungle, was planted by collective open planting actions on the dynamic wooden islands. A pavement painting was done to bring continuity to the space cut by the different traffic roads. In the end this project is the reflection of the possible compromises between the different  neighborhood groups  and its users. Interviews, spontaneous conversations, children workshops and formal gatherings were all brassed together in the final result. It talks about more ludic and colorful public spaces, spaces that are made – also – for the children.

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