Metzeschmelz fir dech! Where heritage meets urban innovation

7 Min Read

Located in an area steeped in Esch-Schifflange’s mining heritage, a collaborative dynamic is shaping the future of Metzeschmelz, a formerly industrial area, set to transform into a lively district. This dialogue, shaped by open and spontaneous questions, unites Yves Biwer, AGORA’s project coordinator, with five committed and inquisitive young minds. Together, they explore, envision and conceptualise the metamorphosis of a wasteland into an exemplary neighbourhood characterised by modernity and a harmonious coexistence. Their conversation explores the crucial themes of reinvention, sustainability, urban mobility, community living and the relationship between innovation and green spaces. This is a story about creating a neighbourhood where every subject discussed is echoed in AGORA’s ambitious plans.

An industrial heritage reinvented for tomorrow

A neighbourhood is not just born of the land it occupies, it is a reflection of a history, a culture and an era. Metzeschmelz, with its roots deeply anchored in the Luxembourg industrial era, is like an open book of the past. But while the Metzeschmelz district boasts a rich industrial heritage, it eschews any sense of outdatedness and embraces a vision of urban life that is in tune with contemporary social and environmental issues. Yves Biwer, a key force behind this revival, tells us more: “It’s not just a question of safeguarding, it’s about rebirth, transforming what already exists to provide future generations with a heritage that tells our shared story.”Rafael, 19, captures the essence of this, saying: “It’s vital to safeguard our industrial heritage, which is a fundamental part of our country’s history.” Miley, 14, with her fresh eyes, is already imagining the contrasts: “Being able to touch walls that have stood the test of time and thinking that we’re going to add our own stamp to them is incredible.”

After 140 years of steelmaking, the site of one of Luxembourg’s steelworks is about to write a new page in its history.

A green neighbourhood focused on sustainable development

Sustainability is not an option but the foundation of all modern creation. At Metzeschmelz, this is reflected in a commitment to the environment through a green infrastructure and sustainable practices. “Sustainability is not a concept but an everyday practice at Metzeschmelz,” insists Yves Biwer, as he explains plans to incorporate renewable energy and smart resource management. Zoé, 15, speaking for a young generation with a strong, vibrant ecological conscience, adds: “It’s obvious that plants play a major role in improving air quality. However, it’s important to ensure that our environment is not limited to just bushes, but that it also includes plenty of fruit trees or generally flowering trees. That would encourage the plants to thrive naturally. Rafael adds his perspective: “Every green space we preserve or create is one step closer to a cleaner, more liveable Luxembourg for us all.”

Image 3D AGORA transformation friches en quartiers urbains

Rethinking urban mobility

In the Metzeschmelz vision, urban mobility is being redefined to prioritise people and the environment. We are focusing on integrating soft mobility into the very heart of the neighbourhood, to create a space where getting around is both pleasant and safe. Metzeschmelz is set to revolutionise urban mobility, making it safer and more enjoyable. “We are giving priority to pedestrians and cyclists,” says Yves Biwer, envisaging a neighbourhood where streets are meeting places rather than transit areas. Mandy, 16, eager to explore these spaces, is already envisioning “roads where cars are only visitors, not residents.” Rafael exemplifies a new dynamic focused on transformation: “A neighbourhood where our electric bikes become our faithful sidekicks to get us from A to B, without noise pollution or car pollution.”

Social cohesion and inclusion

A community’s strength lies in its ability to welcome and value the diversity of its members. Diversity and inclusion are the beating heart of Metzeschmelz. Yves Biwer presents a living space designed to encourage interaction and mutual support: “We want our neighbourhood to be a mosaic of cultures, where everyone has their place and contributes to the richness of the community,” Andrea, 18, enthusiastically looks forward: “In a country as multicultural as Luxembourg, you have to encourage events to emerge naturally where different cultures are given the freedom to meet and interact, fostering rewarding exchanges between residents and visitors who aren’t necessarily fluent in Luxembourgish, and allowing them to open up to new traditions.” Mandy shares this enthusiasm: “It’s in these small everyday moments, at a local market or a community workshop, that you’ll see Metzeschmelz’s true spirit.”

Nature as a source of innovation

Green spaces are not just places to relax; they are also drivers of health, education and innovation. Metzeschmelz sees nature as partner and muse, inspiring new environmentally-friendly technologies. Metzeschmelz’s commitment to green innovation runs deep. “We are considering roof gardens, water recovery systems and solar energy to bring our spaces to life,” explains Yves Biwer. Zoé dreams of abundant green spaces: “It would be a good idea to create community gardens on rooftops, taking advantage of optimal sunlight. Plants would thrive there more. It would also be a good idea to plant kitchen gardens on the roofs of schools and colleges. This would teach the pupils how to grow plants and be self-sufficient.” Miley, meanwhile, sees the green spaces as the beating heart of Metzeschmelz: “These gardens and parks aren’t just for relaxing. This is where we’ll meet, exchange ideas and grow up together. They’re essential, they’re our future.” Miley’s vision is aligned with the idea that greenery is not simply decorative, but active in forming social bonds and environmental education.

By weaving the perspectives of both Yves Biwer and the younger generation into Metzeschmelz’s story, this dialogue spotlights a shared vision of a future where innovation and heritage coexist. Together, they outline the contours of a neighborhood that celebrates diversity and advocates lasting harmony. It’s a vision of an urban space where community and the environment are the cornerstones of every street, every home, every life.

Share This Article