Let’s start with some numbers:
Région de Bruxelles-Capitale
Let that sink in for a minute.
966 different opinions based on language, political color, ideology, residence, business interest and any permutation of those.
It’s a miracle anything gets done in this city in the first place.
But 19 mayors on 1.1Mio inhabitants is not so bad at all… Flanders has more mayors per 1.1Mio inhabitants. And Wallonia even more. So what’s the problem? …
… we hear opponents say when we bring up the multitude of politicians in Brussels.
True. But the number of mayors per 1.1Mio inhabitants is not the issue here. The issue is relative proximity.
The communes in Flanders and Wallonia cover greater areas and their centres are farther apart. In other words, their relative proximity is low.
This is radically different in the Brussels Capital Region.
Our communes are literally glued together. There is no inhabited space between. They are so glued together that residential streets sometimes span up to 4 different communes, parks can have an invisible border running right through them and even building blocks (and buildings) can be divided between several communes.
This creates a very strong inter-dependency, and results in the infamous examples where residents cannot park on the other side of the street, the police station across may not be yours, road markings stop halfway the street, etc.
(we’re not even putting the regional jurisdiction into the equation here… The inter-communal spiderweb is bad enough already).
We all know this, but take a moment and look at the map below. This is how close we are to our neighbouring communes. And as with all situations where close neighbours are involved: we cannot simply do whatever we like, or simply refuse to do something because we dislike it.
However, the Brussels governance structure allows for exactly that. Governance-by-obstruction is a widely adopted strategy here.
In a world where reality changes radically every 6 months or so, inertia is no longer acceptable. We are hopelessly stuck in the 20th century and we blame old politics for that.
Embrace the communes but change governance
We think Brussels must be drastically simplified. We also think this can be done without abolishing the communes. Every big city has its districts and so do we. Unifying Brussels is by no means an attempt to dissolve the uniqueness of each of them.
Unifying Brussels is about changing governance, while preserving the characteristics of her communes.
Our well-known map of Brussels. Click on each administration marker to see the governmental break-down per commune.