Restoring the city’s identity
The historic inner city of Mechelen suffers greatly from heavy car traffic and parking. Squares are used as car parks, which has a detrimental effect on the spatial quality and identity of the city. For hygienic reasons, the historical canals were covered at the beginning of the 20th century. The human scale of the streets and squares became disproportionate to the adjoining buildings. OKRA has been playing an important role in improving the spatial quality of the city centre of Mechelen for fifteen years, with a series of projects to make the city centre traffic-free and the public space more attractive for people to stay.
The project Centrumimpuls Mechelen consists of a series of redevelopment projects, including the Melaan, the Sint Katelijnestraat (radial street), the Korenmarkt (square), the Lange Schipstraat (residential street), the Zelestraat (street and canal), Sint Libertus, Donkerlei, the Rik Wouterstuin (pocket park) and the Vlietenmuseum (exhibition space).
Green and blue city
By reconstructing the Oude Melaan and other streams and canals, OKRA brought back the relationship between size and scale in the cityscape. The streams restore the historic character of the inner city, buffer rainwater, provide cooling in summer and are a valuable addition to the quality of life and experience in the inner city. These and other projects contribute to transforming a city with a dilapidated public domain into a green-blue and activity-friendly city of the future, with lots of character, meeting spaces and quality of life.