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The streets, alleyways and plazas of the historic Old Town, which appear on UNESCO's list of world heritage sites, are among the oldest in our capital. This is why the City feels it is crucial to realise the area's full potential.
This redevelopment project includes the creation of spaces that are large, welcoming, and easily accessible to all. The streets and plazas will flow seamlessly into one another, creating a coherent backdrop to better highlight the city's historic architecture and high quality open spaces, and enhancing the Old Town's appeal to tourists and shoppers.
These measures will improve quality of life for local residents and visitors, and will help make visual and physical connections between various spaces with differing functions. Thus, the function and aesthetic of the Old Town's open spaces will be closer to those they enjoyed in the past, before the changes in infrastructure resulting from the invention of the motorcar.
Development and accessibility
The project to redevelop the Old Town also takes account of the various functions of its public spaces. Terraces, plazas, courtyards and building access will be clearly defined and highlighted. Barriers and street furniture will separate the various spaces, while maintaining visual coherence. The addition of clusters of trees in strategic places will complete the project.
This will also help neutralise the changes in elevation in this part of the capital. The goal is to create as much flat ground as possible while guaranteeing pedestrians' safety. This levelling will increase the appeal of the streets in the Old Town, as it will make them more accessible. Parents with baby carriages, people in wheelchairs and the elderly will all be able to get around easily, making the Old Town accessible to as many people as possible.
In order to minimise the inconvenience caused by infrastructure works, the City is grouping various individual technical projects into a single work site. The redevelopment of the Old Town gives the municipal authorities an opportunity to improve and/or replace sewers, water and gas mains, as well as dry utility networks such as electricity, telecommunications and public lighting.
This work has been planned in close collaboration with the Service Circulation (Traffic Department) in order to find the best compromise between construction progress and accessibility for local residents.
Choice of paving
The new paving will cover places that are currently covered in tarmac or that have a multitude of different kinds of road surfaces. Areas that are currently paved will, for the most part, be preserved. The paving slabs collected in this way will be used for future repairs.
A single kind of stone will be used. The same material – a beige granite – will be used throughout the city centre. This stone has already been tested on Rue de l'Eau, where a full-scale sample was used during infrastructure work performed in 2009 and 2010.
The paving stones used are cut into elongated rectangular parallelepideds. Lengths vary between 40 and 80 cm, and widths between 10 and 20 cm. The paving slabs are 15 cm thick, and they are installed perpendicular to the roadway. This range of different sizes helps create a visual appearance that is closer to that of the city's old paving stones. As a result, although the stones appear uniform, a carefully selected mix of different size paving slabs results in a combination of shades and light reflection that gives depth to the whole.
Where urban development or infrastructure works are set to take place in an area of significant historical importance at the heart of the capital, it is essential to conduct preventative excavation to determine whether any archaeological remains are present on site. Studying these pieces of our past helps us to learn more about the history of Luxembourg City, and ensures we have access to quality documentation about our heritage.
For this reason, Luxembourg City works together closely with the National Archaeological Research Centre (Centre national de recherche archéologique). As the construction works progress, archaeologists will be given access to each section for a defined period of time. Only once this set period is over will the construction teams begin to carry out the actual infrastructure work. One of the benefits of working in this way is that the schedule is set in advance. This allows us to create the ideal timetable for the works while respecting the importance of our historical heritage.
Project duration and phases
The work to redevelop the Old Town began in September 2014 with various initial phases, and will be continued over several years.
The first phase focused on Rue Sigefroi and was completed in 2016.
Since then, the second phase has begun, focusing on Rue de l'Eau and Rue du Rost. The work in this area will be completed in autumn 2017.