Learning from Brussels – L’Échappée
We crossed the city to go from Uccle to Laeken on Thursday (Dec.8, 2016) to meet Matthieu Lietaert, a political science researcher and filmmaker, and one of the brains behind the cohousing project L’Échappée. Matthieu lets us in and we sit at his living room to learn about the long process that made this utopia possible.
This project was developed by a group of citizens who dreamed of an alternative housing project in Brussels which could answer to their spacial needs, social aspects, environmental concerns, but, above all, to the economic capacities of each one. No developers were involved in this project. After 6 years the cohousing building is almost finished and the families are moving in. There are 18 units occupied by an heterogeneous mix of ages and lifestyles. 28 adults ranging from 29 to 62 years old and 15 children from 0 to 18 years old shows that multigenerational mix. The project was inspired by the urban ecovillages of Denmark, Sweden and Holland, where there are mutual spaces along with the individual units. This is “where life can take shape” since those mutual spaces allow residents to socialize and cooperate. With this model in mind, the core of L’Échappeé is a communal professional kitchen that can host all the residents. The motto is “mutualization without obligation”.