Released in 2001
Residents comment on their experience of participating in urban regeneration of their neighbourhood.
French with English subtitles
St Josse, a densely populated inner city area of Brussels with large immigrant communities and high social deprivation was being regenerated. Residents were invited to participate in the “District Contract” scheme whose remit was to renovate a building for community use and to improve the small, busy square of Place Houwaert which was, until then, little more than a traffic island.
In this film, made two years after Call Me Josse residents who were involved in the participation reflect on the limitations and failures of the participatory process and suggest ways it could have been improved.
The residents had become disillusioned and most had given up having any meaningful or positive role in the process, suspecting that the real decisions had already been made in the town hall. By interviewing each member of the group at length and then asking them all to meet to discuss the editorial content the process of making this film brought the participants together again and re-galvanised and re-energised their group. Though they had sat in meetings together for years watching the unedited video was, in a way, the first time they had all listened to each other’s motivations and hopes.
This film, therefore, is not only a critical record of that participation but an empowering tool of the process.