The Great Transformation

agenda 18 Mar '24
Accelerating the energy transition in existing urban neighbourhoods and village centres
Every local government will develop and set out an action plan in the coming years to make all homes in its territory emission-free by 2050. But what are the concrete projects, support and policies to achieve this transition? How can governments, businesses, citizens and organisations work together? That is what we are looking for! From a dozen innovative Living Labs in Flanders, Brussels and the Netherlands, we identify a series of prototypical projects to effectively accelerate energy transition in existing urban neighbourhoods and village centres. Linking a BEO field under a sports field to renovation of surrounding houses. Or a public building as a starting point for an energy community in a building block. These are just two examples of types of breakthrough projects that are applicable in many cities and villages. The strength of these projects is that they work on five innovation fronts: the policy, social, financial, legal and technical/technological. This conference offers a perspective and a set of practical building blocks that local policymakers, entrepreneurs or citizens' initiatives can use in their own neighbourhood. Programmed by Architecture Workroom Brussels and VITO Nexus, as partners of The Great Transformation 2020-2030. [b][b]Full programme and tickets[/b]:[/b] [[ GUIDE TO ACCELERATE THE ENERGY TRANSITION IN EXISTING URBAN NEIGHBOURHOODS AND VILLAGE CENTRES]]
agenda 18 Mar '24
Future-driven learning and working spaces
[b]Do you want to co-construct how we learn and work in 2050? Then come to Leuven City Hall on Monday 18 March and lay the foundation stone for your future-oriented learning and working environment together with other innovators from Leuven and Flanders.  [/b] Many professional sectors are facing major changes. Not only technological innovation will have a major impact on how we will learn and work in the future, but social innovation is also taking place in many places in Flanders. We need new ways of learning and working to meet the societal challenges with new talent and new jobs.  [b]13:00 - 14:00 Guided tour: Future Fusion expo and studio (incl. lunch) [/b] During this lunch-meeting in the beautiful setting of Leuven's historic town hall, there will be the opportunity to visit the Future Fusion expo, which is the result of a 'take-over' by a group of Leuven's young people as a result of the [[ Future Generations Lab]], the first experiment of studio operation in the town hall, in the framework of Flanders Technology & Innovation. There will also be an explanation of the operation of the studio, which will occupy the second floor of the town hall until the end of 2024. [b]14:00 - 15:45 Presentations and debate: Future-driven learning and working environments[/b] We invite very diverse initiatives that are currently doing innovative work in the field of learning and working environments. All over Flanders, new places of innovation are emerging, which put the debate about the transitions in our society at the centre and provide space for new forms of learning and working on the one hand, and new forms of collaboration and practices on the other.  The Studio in Leuven City Hall is such a social design space. The Studio would like to test the model of its activities and organisational structure and of the workshop space against the insights of other innovative learning and working spaces. This will create a network of innovative initiatives that together will help prepare Flanders for the future. [b]14:00 - 14:15 welcome and introduction  [/b] [b]14:15 - 15:00 presentations of future-oriented learning and working practices [/b] - Evi Swinnen, Timelab, Ghent  - Tom Michiels, Maakleerplek, Leuven  - Melle Smets, House of the Future, Rotterdam   - Jeanne Astrup-Chauvaux, Floating University Berlin (ENG)  15:00 - 15:45 roundtable discussion (in English)  Towards more future-driven learning and working spaces  - Jeanne Astrup-Chauvaux, Floating University Berlin  - Evi Swinnen, Timelab, Ghent  - Martha Delagrange, Future Generations Lab, Leuven  - Lalynn Wadera, Deputy Mayor of Education and Economy, Leuven  - Lore Baeyens, coordinator studio, intendant LECH2030 and SOM, Leuven Moderated by Roeland Dudal, Architecture Workroom Brussels. A closed workshop session will also take place in the morning of Monday 18 March. In the [b]'Workshop: the studio as societal design space'[/b], we will explore the lessons learned from the first months of the studio's operation. How do we work together in this symbolic place? What are the different roles in the process and in the collaboration? What types of space and what resources do we need? What programming supports the studio's goals? And how does the studio fulfil its role for the different networks and for Leuven's entire society? 

Ambitious objectives are more than abstract points on the horizon. Every house, every street, every neighbourhood and every landscape is important. The Great Transformation

The Great Transformation 2020–2030 is an independent learning environment, incubator and public programme. Enterprising citizens, governments, businesses, financiers, scientists and organisations work on actual breakthroughs and achievements. Using design and the power of the imagination, we are forming coalitions and formulating strategic sites that can be achieved between now and 2030. The Great Transformation is a non-profit and future-oriented initiative by a growing and diverse group of actors possessing different expertise and occupying a range of social positions: economists, designers, sociologists, administrators, policymakers, financiers, transition experts, consultants, entrepreneurs, marketers, project developers, and many more.

project works on actual Future Places. If we can develop them in many locations simultaneously, they will constitute the greatest transformation project of our time and we will succeed in the necessary transition of our living environment. Can we bundle our strengths to replicate change?

Discover the mission of The Great Transformation

Action Plan

For each strategic site we collect the insights and breakthroughs developed by local initiators, entrepreneurs, researchers and policymakers. We bundle this expertise, puzzle out the stubborn challenge and formulate an agenda for follow-up steps. We do this through calls for practices and projects, workshops and walks, and present the resulting insights in the display cases and library of strategies.
We stand on the shoulders of existing knowledge and practice. A core group decides to work on this site and collaborate with stakeholders to triumph over the stubborn challenge. We formulate and visualise concepts for future places. We outline and underpin a scenario, forge the necessary coalition and build the required practice and capacity.
By learning from existing initiatives and practices, we gather knowledge in the form of Building Blocks that feed and reinforce current and new projects. We jointly initiate and design the necessary acceleration strategies to subsequently implement the transformations on the ground.
Learning environments arise from existing and new practices for each transition theme. We exchange knowledge and establish learning networks of actors around Building Sites that collectively result in Future Places.
By learning from each other, we can accelerate and replicate. This is achieved through adapting policy frameworks, financing resources and laws and regulations. To do so, we set up Investment Programmes and increase awareness among the general public to work on the greatest transformation project of our time.

A Future Place

The strategic projects for our society that we can develop in many places between now and 2030 to simultaneously strengthen flourishing ecosystems, economic chains and local well-being and prosperity. We start from a common indignation and a shared commitment to one or more themes and translate them into a project proposal.

is the workspace around a strategic site where opportunities for change are hammered out. Future Places inspire and enthral, they make the future real and tangible. They invite you to participate in elaborating a positive scenario for change.

Discover all Future Places

Future Places

Food Land

Healthy food production in a climate-resilient landscape.

Food Land

Energy Districts

Towards the collective renovation of our housing stock.

Energy Districts

Climate Streets

Liveable, safe and healthy streets.

Climate Streets

We are creating a repository of Building Blocks

By mapping innovative practices, we pool insights and refine strategies that can be replicated. The Building Blocks form the necessary ingredients for the realisation of the various Future Places.

: an online platform full of insights and expertise gathered from the most diverse sources. This means we do not need to start from scratch each time, but build on what is already available. The online platform is a constantly growing tool for interdisciplinary cross-fertilisation.

Discover the map with all the Building Blocks

Building Blocks

We approach the social and spatial challenges from eye level. For and with those involved in the implementation, and for whom it matters. Only when we combine all the individual forces, averse to the issues of the day and individual interests, can we all make progress. Everyone's contribution matters.


videoupdate: 31.03.21

Portraits: #1 Rony

CSA farmer Ronny reveals how the Community Supported Agriculture model already guarantees his income at the beginning of the harvest season – his private customers pay a membership fee and jointly bear the risks. However, rocketing land prices in the outskirts of the city represent a significant obstacle for new farmers, regardless of the earnings model.
videoupdate: 31.03.21

Portraits: #4 Kurt

Livestock farmer Kurt has succeeded in establishing a number of win-win partnerships with nature organisations and fruit growers in the area, based on a vision that farming practices are part of a multilayered landscape.
videoupdate: 31.03.21

Portraits: #3 Yannick

Cultureghem stands for a fundamental social approach to food for urban dwellers, based on a simple key principle: access to healthy and affordable food for all. Under Yannick’s leadership the organisation contributes to a vibrant public space in one of the most densely populated neighbourhoods of Brussels.
videoupdate: 31.03.21

Portraits: #2 Bernadette

A group of local residents in the Ghent district of Rabot won their battle against the construction of a car park in their area and set up a communal garden on the site instead. The inner area containing 24 kitchen gardens now forms a green space for neighbourhood encounters, explains Bernadette, catalyst behind the project.
videoupdate: 18.05.21

Portraits: #7 Koen

The Rolling Climate Fund provides low-threshold loans to citizens so they can make their homes energy efficient in a single process. Economist Koen explains that because monthly savings on energy bills are higher than the repayments, a comfortable home is also within reach for people on a lower income.
Portraits: #6 Sophie
videoupdate: 18.05.21

Portraits: #6 Sophie

Sophie is a Hero for Zero: she advocates for zero road fatalities and serious casualties in the streets of Brussels. It not only involves road safety, but also laying claim to the public space. To create a city that prioritises soft road users and social life above the flow of vehicles.
videoupdate: 18.05.21

Portraits: #8 Koen

Commons Lab is an Antwerp citizen initiative set up in 2018, involving shared use without ownership, but with proper agreements. A common, Koen says, which started with a communal rain barrel - but now has a portfolio that extends to the city level.
videoupdate: 18.05.21

Portraits: #5 Els

Solar panels and local green energy for any budget, big or small. In Sint Amandsberg, near Ghent, the Buurzame Stroom city programme makes it possible for Els and her fellow residents to benefit too - without boosting gentrification.
videoupdate: 02.06.21

Portraits: #9 Simon

Electrician Simon takes a practical look at the energy problem. What is needed to heat a home sustainably? He highlights the challenge that lies ahead of us to make society energy-neutral on a large scale. His conclusion: the right individual choices make a difference, but even more important is that those choices are made as soon as possible and by as many people as possible at the same time.
videoupdate: 09.06.21

Portraits: #10 Lieven

The fact that the green spaces in the city, such as at the foot of trees in the street, have to be neatly and professionally maintained is something that few people think about. Lieven provides an insight into the impact of the greening of streets on the management activities of the Parks Department - and the way in which citizens can enjoy this 'self-evident process’.
videoupdate: 14.10.21

Portraits: #12 Luc

videoupdate: 14.10.21

Portraits: #11 Nena

videoupdate: 14.10.21

Portraits: #13 Marie

videoupdate: 18.01.22

Portraits: #14 Roel

videoupdate: 18.01.22

Portraits: #15 Hanne