Climate district Mechelse Vesten

Client: Flemish Government in collaboration with the City of Mechelen
Team: Ingenium (expertise heat network), Atelier Horizon (urban planning advice), Levuur (participation), Metha Advocaten (legal advice), Bureau Bouwtechniek (expertise building renovation)
Location: Mechelen
Timing: February 2021 - July 2022
Status: study phase

Research & development I Technical advice

Research project into the possibilities of energy-efficient renovation of co-owned apartment buildings around the inner ring road of Mechelen, combined with research into a heat network and a participation track

Climate districts
The Climate District Mechelse Vesten is part of the Climate Districts projects, an initiative of the Department of the Environment and the Flemish Government Architect's Team, united in LABO RUIMTE and in collaboration with the Flemish Energy and Climate Agency. 

The initiative supports local authorities by providing specific expertise (design-related, energetic, legal, financial, participative, etc.) for the creation of a sustainable development strategy for a neighbourhood. 

Two long-term ambitions of the Flemish government, the energy transition and a high-quality core strengthening and densification, are the stake of this research project:

  • the feasibility of developing a heat network along the Vesten, a city-wide infrastructure,  
  • the targeted collective renovation of apartment buildings.  

These two complementary dynamics create transformation opportunities on various scales and with different focuses.

In order to create sufficient support for the technical and spatial strategies within this transition assignment, the associations of Co-owners of the apartment buildings along the city ring will be deployed.


  • Technical-innovative, focusing on a district development plan for a heat network along the city ring. Is a heat network linked to an urban renewal project along the Vesten feasible and interesting? This combines very technical input, related to heat demand and supply, but also looks at the Vesten as an urban zone with room for renewal and innovation: a future climate-proof part of the city.  
  • Operational framework for collective energetic renovation of apartment buildings, with a very specific focus on two cases. The two cases will be representative of part of the apartment buildings along the Vesten and will thus help to provide insights on a larger scale.  
  • Participation and co-creation: stakeholder analysis, support creation and coalition building are the man focus. Various types of workshops and focus discussions will facilitate customised involvement. 

Bureau Bouwtechniek is responsible for the research into the collective renovation of apartment buildings and carries out an in-depth study of the types of apartment buildings around the Mechelse Vesten. On the basis of this general investigation into the various typologies and a call issued by the City of Mechelen, a longlist of ten buildings is compiled.

Team BB: ir. arch. Arno Van Hulle