The Urban Development Corporation (SAU) is finalising preparations for the second edition of the temporary park ‘Summer at Josaphat’, to be held in July, August and September on the site of the former Josaphat marshalling yard (see below for the programme). It will occupy a larger space than last year, this time with two entrances. There will also be more activities.
On 7 July 2020, in order to give people in Brussels some new places to relax outdoors, the Government of the Brussels-Capital Region announced the ‘activation of temporary occupation programmes on the strategic sites of the Urban Development Corporation’, with priority being accorded to the Josaphat site. Within weeks, the SAU had organised the opening of a temporary park on the site of the former Josaphat marshalling yard; ‘Summer at Josaphat’ was held in August, September and October 2020.
As Minister-President Rudi Vervoort explained: ‘Given the interest that this operation attracted among its target audience last year, especially over sunny weekends of course, the Region and the SAU have decided to repeat the operation, working with the municipalities of Evere and Schaerbeek. Although the public health measures are gradually being loosened, the positive experience of Summer at Josaphat – and of the many similar initiatives throughout the Region during the summer of 2020 – has reinforced the Brussels Region’s desire to create places where its inhabitants can enjoy some time outside and socialise, and more particularly to give them access to more green spaces, in line with the plans for the major urban projects under development such as Josaphat, Usquare.brussels and mediapark.brussels. Events since spring 2020 have confirmed that the regional government had got this right, long before the pandemic, by developing urban projects offering new local green spaces for the many people living in Brussels who have neither a garden nor a terrace due to the significant increase in pressure on existing green spaces. From July to September, Summer at Josaphat will therefore once again allow the public to access the site of the former marshalling yard to walk, relax in the sunshine, picnic, enjoy a drink, engage in sports, participate in creative activities, and so on. This will be possible in a calm, friendly setting in which people of all ages will be welcome, in the areas delimited for the purpose and in compliance with the current Covid-19 public health rules.’
Gilles Delforge, director of the SAU, pointed out: ‘This year, partly in response to the suggestions collected last year, Summer at Josaphat will have two entrances: one located at 152 Avenue Latinis in Schaerbeek like last year, and a new one on Rue Auguste De Boeck, near Evere railway station. This will make it easier for local residents to go for walks on the site. The area of the temporary park will increase from 25,000 to 32,000 m2. Once again this year, the SAU will make some minor adaptations to create the park. These will include direct access from Evere via a ramp for pedestrians and bicycles, a walking path crossing from one entrance to the other, various temporary facilities for sporting or leisure activities, a picnic area, and an area for a bar and food trucks. The adaptations, facilities and activity programme have been designed in consultation with the municipalities and various regional bodies, including Brussels Environment. We have appointed a service provider specialising in sustainable events, Yellow Events, to take care of the day-to-day running and management of the site and keep it clean and safe. As before, Summer at Josaphat will be different from the temporary occupation programmes implemented by the SAU on other sites (including See U on the Usquare.brussels site and MolenWest at the Gare de l’Ouest railway station). But the essential point is the same: to use the land holdings of the Region and the SAU to contribute to the development of social cohesion in the areas where the land is located.’
Cécile Jodogne, the acting mayor of Schaerbeek, said: ‘After a very difficult year, the people of Brussels want to come together and renew their connection with public spaces and some less familiar locations. Summer at Josaphat, which was a great success in its first edition, is returning. We’re delighted about this, because the municipality of Schaerbeek has also set up an important scheme for citizens throughout the holidays in its public spaces and in Josaphat Park, which adjoins the old marshalling yard. The two schemes should be able to link up very nicely. Summer at Josaphat is also an opportunity to visit this space, this area of the city which is now the subject of wide-ranging debate before the future urban development programme is finalised. We’re planning tours, relaxation and leisure activities, meetings and discussions.’
Ridouane Chahid, the acting mayor of Evere: ‘I’m delighted that, for this second edition, there will be a new entrance to this temporary park from our municipality. In the part of the park that lies in Evere, there will be a relaxation area and solarium which will be the starting point for a pleasant nature walk.’
The Summer at Josaphat 2021 activity programme
Yellow Events, the service provider appointed by the SAU to manage and run Summer at Josaphat 2021 in July, August and September, has some experience of organising sustainable events, including in Schaerbeek. It will ensure that all visitors and all non-profit organisations that are interested can take advantage of the site.
The site will be accessible free of charge, from 9 am to 9 pm every day, and the activities will also be free for all.
The following areas will be set up for activities at all times during opening hours: picnic areas at the entrances; solarium; pétanque area; court for beach volleyball and other beach sports (beach tennis, beach badminton, footvolley); street workout equipment; a small skatepark; and a multipurpose stage with seating.
The SAU’s service provider will also run an activity programme:
- Tuesdays: yoga.
- Thursdays: keep fit.
- Wednesday afternoons and weekends: creative activities provided by the non-profit organisation Patrimoine à Roulettes.
- themed weekends, with inclusive themes for young and old alike: furniture, decoration and games made from recycled materials; creative workshops using soil; creative workshops on the theme of water; books; plant art, etc.
- two of the weekends will be devoted to the co-creation of facilities for the temporary park.
- small acoustic concerts and shows, without amplification; details to be specified.