Spring 2020 IIII
The landscape of northern Luxembourg is very distinctive with stretches of water interspersed by forests, fields, and pastures. High plateaus alternate with steep slopes creating a diverse landscape. Only ten percent of the land is urbanised with the remaining 90 percent split between forestry (44 percent) and agricultural land at 46 percent. Around 7,800 people make a living off the land through either forestry, small-scale farming (mainly cattle pasture).
The main centre of urbanisation is Ettelbruck, and although the plans for Luxembourgish “de- centralisation” have been in works for many years and the city is a part of a new “Nordstad” inter- communal masterplan, it still serves as a pit-stop for Luxembourg City. Current planning lacks understanding of the region and instead focuses on the ever-increasing housing demand created by the capital while treating the northern development merely as its extension. There is a real need for a distance focused approach in planning for the region, including all infrastructure, transport as well as governance. The undeveloped plains separating the rare urban fabric (which lacks services and planning) deepen disparity between the ‘north’ and the rest of the country. Currently, the planning decisions are made on two levels only, with no real acknowledgement of the region as a whole and the inter-communal socio-ecological factors. The way forward calls for connectivity, for more harmonious growth and a better understanding of regions potential and character.
Each one of previously isolated settlements will be linked via a new transport service with four activation points along the rail. These will serve as points of developments for new agricultural initiatives allowing each one of the new ‘loops’ to create a self-sufficient process of food production. The new connections to centres of Ettelbruck and Diekirch will allow for a more balanced buildout throughout the region while encouraging economic growth around food industry.