Interdesign Belgium 1975

Urban Traffic on a Human Scale, Bruges (Belgium)

6-20 July 1975

Twenty-seven designers from across the globe joined to participate in this Interdesign. The participants divided themselves into five groups, to study various aspects urban traffic.


Traffic Systems Organisation

After intensive briefings with experts from the city, a proposal for a traffic policy was drawn up and developed in three stages with the aim of preserving and improving the quality of life in Bruges. This analysis summarised the objectives and the means for developing the limitations of traffic in the city centre, the creation of pedestrian zones for people and spontaneous city activity, as well as the rationalisation and development of public transport

Charts illustrated the lack of rapport between the density of public transport compared with passenger flow, and ultimately highlighting the changes that were needed. At the time, cars occupied 76,000 square metres of the city centre, while only 6,400 square metres were for citizens. The creation of a pedestrian zone would therefore on be conceived within the framework of a master plan for traffic organisation and the basis for planning a “bikeway” was already in existence.

The Vehicle Design Group

This group developed its research along three lines: a re-developed public transport system, a series of highly imaginative private vehicles, and a small-scale pedestrian assistance equipment which would make walking or shopping in town much more pleasant.

The Urban Facilities Group

Creative skills were focused on pedestrian areas that were deemed “lifeless” and in need of “resuscitation”. Some of the suggestions were a new structure and equipment for three key sites in Bruges, the re-planning of the station area, a bus shelter and shelter accessories such as benches, tourist maps, litterbin, telephone, flower tubs etc.

Visual Communication Group

This group projected what Bruges would be like in ten years time (in 1985) if changes were not made to the rising tide of traffic. Some of the suggestions made were a “cleaning operation” to rid Bruges of the visual pollution, a house style that gave the city its own identity through lettering, colours and uniformity, bicycle parks, and bicycle racks camouflaged as cars.

The Participation Group

Ways of involving the community in decision-making regarding city life as a whole were examined. Through direct contact with citizens, a questionnaire and meetings with members of lobby revealed that the public wanted its voice to be heard.