In an experiment designed to change the perspective of citizens on the urban environment and expand on the relationship between residents and their cities, Lab of Troy turned 22 city streets in Belgium into green public places. For a period of ten weeks traffic was diverted and residents were encouraged to sit with friends or family in newly created ‘parks’ where they could play with their kids and enjoy the summer air.
With the application of astro turf and picnic tables, Ghent was transformed from a traffic jam into a community space with a party atmosphere. Providing residents with a sample of what a relaxing environment a sustainable future can provide with the addition of areas of green, the pop-up parks proved a welcome addition to the neighbourhood.
For most of the year the streets of Ghent are high traffic areas, providing little opportunity for residents to gather safely. The Living Street experiment however encouraged locals to take time out for themselves and their family to enjoy their city in a different way, making the most of the summer weather by connecting with neighbours and friends.
Originally started in 2013, the annual Living Streets experiment has expanded every year, serving to illustrate the challenges cities face with regard to reimagining themselves with more public space and less cars. It is the aim of Lab of Troy that the success of these campaigns will encourage entrenched cities to envision more sustainable systems of public spaces, and incorporate more pedestrian walkways, bike lanes, parks and public transport into their future city planning.