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Ottignies-Louvain-La-Neuve

Ottignies-Louvain-La-Neuve is a city with 30,000 residents and located 30 kilometres south of Brussels in the Wallon region of Belgium. The city consists of two separate towns, Ottignies which has a long history in the region and the recently built town Louvain-La-Neuve. The part of the city which forms part of the SURE project is Louvain-La-Neuve (LLN) which is a new town built in the 1960s and 1970s to accommodate the Universite Catholique de Louvain. The land on which LLN was built belongs to the university and with that most of the residential and commercial property of the town. In addition to most of the land and property in the town belonging to a university, LLN is also unusual in that it was designed as a pedestrian city. The city centre is car-free and the residential areas providing accommodation for families are also designed to keep the impact of vehicle traffic to a minimum. A large science park, 350 retail outlets and the university provide over 12,000 jobs, and a large number of these jobs are taken by people who live outside LLN. Attractive residential areas, extensive parklands and lakes together with its wide range of services make LLN an attractive place to live. The car-free city centre attracts many shoppers and families with small children, particularly at weekends. Out of the 18,500 residents who live in LLN, 8,500 are students. The total student population is 21,000 and together with university staff and employees working for international companies on the science park the community of LLN is very diverse, consisting of 128 nationalities.

The target area is defined by the pedestrianised Rue des Wallons which runs for about 600 metres through the central area of LNN between the railway station and the Place des Sciences. In its hay day the Rue des Wallons was the main thoroughfare of the town centre. Visitors in particular were drawn through the Rue des Wallons because of the location of car parks around the periphery of the town centre. This was a bustling area of LNN all year round, but particularly during the summer months with regular events and fairs drawing visitors in large numbers to the squares and shops along the Rue des Wallons.

The physical fabric of the Rue des Wallons shows evidence of heavy use over several decades. Buildings and pavements require repair or maintenance and public spaces show signs associated with a lack of investment. Although most retail units are let, they serve the less lucrative end of the market. There is a high turnover of retailers and a subsequent reluctance by them to invest in public amenities to make the area more attractive.

There is a clear consensus amongst members of the LSG that the LAP needs to be used to generate a strategic direction capable of galvanising the diverging interests into a joint action plan.

One of the main challenges is the current lack of vision about the future function of the target area for LLN.
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Implementation of integrated socio-economic regeneration strategies which build on local strengths and opportunities. This will be achieved by...
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