AGORA – From Belval to Rodange, AGORA anticipated the development of the South
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From Belval to Rodange, AGORA anticipated the development of the South

While Belval has been the priority since 2000 and AGORA is now involved in the former Esch-Schifflange site, the company has also conducted exploratory studies on the Lentille and Crassier (slag heap) Terres Rouges sites, the Rodange Foundry and the Crassier d'Ehlerange. Today, these sites are beginning to develop in accordance with AGORA's forecasts, under the auspices of the State or private companies. Overview.

Conducted by the Luxembourg government and ArcelorMittal in 1997, three years before the creation of AGORA, the AGIPLAN study identified a development potential on ten or so sites totalling 650 hectares of industrial wasteland. An area five times bigger than Belval's. A huge territory to reinvent. AGORA has been working on this issue since 2002, more specifically on the sites of La Lentille and Crassier Terres Rouges, the Rodange Foundry and the Crassier d'Ehlerange.

The Future of La Lentille Terres Rouges

At the beginning of the 2000s AGORA had began to imagine a charter that “mirrored Belval”. In collaboration with the architecture firm Paradoxe de Lyon and urban planners Thierry Saunier, Jim Clemes and M. Toellner, AGORA's study was to design a mixed urban project. A cross-border extension had even been envisaged from the slag heap adjacent to La Lentille over Luxembourg and French territories.

This project, now limited to upgrading La Lentille, is being taken over by the IKO Group. It proposes a vision very close to the one developed by AGORA, geared towards the eco-responsible development of a neighbourhood with a human dimension. "A new sustainable, innovative and exemplary neighbourhood" which aims to highlight the principles of social diversity, upgraded industrial heritage, abundant green spaces, soft mobility and social experimentation.

Moving towards re-use of the Rodange Foundry

For the former Rodange Foundry, AGORA, in collaboration with architects Hannes Dubach and Urs Kohlbrenner, had undertaken an exploratory study to analyse the feasibility of a mixed activity zone at the meeting point of the three borders of the European Development Pole (Belgium, France, Luxembourg). The first analyses had thus confirmed the possibility of this 12-hectare plot of land being reborn in the form of commercial zoning.

On the strength of this expertise of AGORA, the site was studied by the Chemins de fer luxembourgeois [Luxembourg Railways] (CFL). The objective for the transport company is to set up a new storage and maintenance centre in addition to the Howald centre.

The new vocation of the Crassier Ehlerange

The Ehlerange slag heap, with a substantial size of 30 hectares, had also been envisioned, in AGORA's exploratory studies, as a mixed-use zone and space for high-tech activities.

The interest aroused by the availability of large zones that could potentially be developed to accommodate new activities has attracted the attention of the Ministry of the Economy, which has acquired them with a view to their future development. The Crassier d'Ehlerange will thus be able to position itself as a complement to Belval to host the innovative activities generated by the results of university research and public research centres.

The south is slowly changing. In Belval, AGORA signalled the start of renewal. Thanks to the early investigations of the development company, old wastelands are preparing for renewal.

This is also the case of the former Esch-Schifflange site, in which AGORA has been particularly involved since 2017. In a few years' time, the now sleepy site will become a brand new urban ecodistrict with the urban design entrusted by AGORA to the Danish firm Cobe. The project is based on a district on a human scale. A considerable challenge to be met on this former steel site operated by ArcelorMittal from 1871 to 2012.

The signal for reconquest has also crossed the border. In France, the public land agency of Lorraine is orchestrating its urban development project "Alzette-Belval 2015". An ambitious and long-term programme which, already under way, provides for the construction of 10,000 housing units over 20 years. An opportunity to look across the border and anticipate common developments. As far back as 2003 this was already the recommendation of AGORA in its study on the Crassier Terre Rouge.

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