Antwerp only Belgian city to present itself at the World Cities Summit 2021 in Singapore

World Cities Summit

In June, the biennial World Cities Summit (WCS) was digitally held in Singapore. This year Antwerp was a prominent guest at this exclusive event, where cities present their sustainability projects to the rest of the world. Antwerp was the only Belgian city to present itself in a 30 minute video in cooperation with Flanders. The main role was for The Big Link, a unique project that came about through an intense process of co-creation.


Better quality of life

Antwerp and Flanders presented The Big Link to the general public in October 2019. The project cleared up the air above Antwerp. The many mobility problems in and around the city had been causing persistent conflicts for decades. The heavy traffic on the Antwerp Ring was also threatening the quality of life of Antwerp citizens. The Big Link means an significant change for the city. The construction of 7 Ring Parks and a cycle bridge across the Scheldt will ensure better air quality and better mobility. Thanks to the covering of the Ring Road, Antwerp is also bringing residential areas closer together. The parks are an upgrade in living space for the people of Antwerp, while they also make the city more resilient to climate change.


Co-creation is key

What’s the story of The Big Link? For this, we have to go back to 2015. That's when Alexander D'Hooghe was appointed as intendant of a project that had to improve the quality of life around the Antwerp ring road. Because the city had been standing still - literally and figuratively - for many years. Alexander D'Hooghe was the first person to succeed in bringing all parties around the table and forging unity between the city, the port, the Flemish government and the most important citizens' movements. This unity was sealed in the Treaty for the Future.

This Treaty is based upon 5 actions:

  • decisions are always taken in close collaboration between governmental bodies, experts and civil movements;
  • only 50% of traffic in the functional urban area is car traffic;
  • installing a Northern link for port traffic further away from the city;
  • completing the City Ring road entirely;
  • covering of the Ring road, resulting in The Big Link.

The Big Link symbolizes a new wind that blows through the city of Antwerp and the region of Flanders. A wind of co-creation, environmental sustainability, less traffic and more quality of life.   


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