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‘Branding Brussels as the captial of Europe?’ Exploring alternative ways of imaging the city

donderdag, 18 oktober, 2007 - 16:00
Campus: Brussels Humanities, Sciences & Engineering campus
Faculteit: Science and Bio-engineering Sciences
Reinoud Magosse

In 2008 it will be exactly 50 years ago that the European institutions settled down in Brussels. Meanwhile it became clear that this presence has not been a complete success story. Apart from the difficult integration of the EU institutions in the city, Brussels has become associated with the technocratic and bureaucratic Europe. The city is often presented as the emanation of the ‘European Moloch’.

In 2001, the former president of the European Commission Romano Prodi and the Belgian prime minister Guy Verhofstadt launched a debate around the issue of ‘Brussels capital of Europe’. Reinoud Magosse, attached to the research group COSMOPOLIS, City, Culture & Society, launched the idea to make of Brussels ‘something more than the seat of the EU- institutions’, as a case to analyze the role of ‘the imaginary’ in urban development. Based on four different perspectives on the integration of Europe in Brussels, he develops an integrated approach to investigate the way in which different registers of real and imagined are linked in processes of urban development. The study encompasses an analysis of the image of Brussels in the European press, an analysis of the development of the European Quarter, the first large-scale survey among European civil servants and their relation with the city and finally the conclusions drawn from four panel-sessions with opinion makers about the European future of Brussels. Through this research Magosse develops insights and proposals about the importance of the imaginary in an urban project for Brussels and for the construction of ‘Brussels as a legitimate capital of Europe’.