Over the past few years, Charleroi has embarked resolutely on a policy of economic redeployment and urban restructuring. The city center is currently the site of an impressive phase of renovation and expansion. In this context, an Urban Distribution Centre (UDC) of 2000m² was created outside of the city. Heavy vehicles can drop the goods there, before being redistributed by light electric or less polluting vehicles to the stores.
One of the main ideas of the project is to provide a flexible structural and architectural design to create a building that can evolve in the longterm. Located on the site of the former railway West station, the building is situated close to the Charleroi ring road.
The problems of mobility in city centers are more and more striking; Charleroi does not escape the rule. Charleroi undergoes an extremely strong automobile pressure due to important motorway infrastructures. In this context, the city has just adopted a plan encouraging residents to use ecological means of transport (subway, bus, bike) and hence reduce the pollution. The pedestrian areas are also going to see an important growth with the development of telescopic borders in numerous districts of the city center. The period is thus convenient to the implementation of a tool to limit deliveries in the city center by means of heavy, cumbersome and polluting ways of transportation by as much as possible.
The innovation lies both in the constructed infrastructure and in the possibilities offered to the storekeepers and other users of the Urban Distribution Center to modify their practices in a commercial or environmental purpose. Indeed, solutions are at the moment at hand to evolve towards the digital world and the e-commerce.
As a result of the creation of the Urban Distribution Center, there has been a decrease in the congestion of public roads. Moreover, mobility and air quality in the city have been improved. Although the project is still in its starting blocks, it’s expected that some 20 jobs will be created by 2020. Also the emissions of harmful CO² linked to transport of goods will decrease by 38.2% by the same year.
This article is part of a series about the finalists of the RegioStars Awards 2016 edition; if you would like to read about the other finalist projects you can follow these links: FOODMET, Wroclaw Intelligent Transport System, Gdansk’s Lower Town district, Alley of Change.
Sources: RegioStars Awards 2016, The Urban Distribution Center project