Conférence / Architecture / Urbanism


Salle (gare)

Rue des Ursulines 25
1000 Bruxelles

Avec des rapports d'Amsterdam, d'Anvers, de Hong Kong, de Montréal et de Taipei, le livre ‘Red Light City’ révèle que chaque red light district est différent. La question est: “Quelle est l'importance du travail sexuel pour l'architecture de la ville, en particulier dans les red light districts qui sont désignés pour le renouvellement urbain?”

Conférence par Tsaiher Cheng (Auteur Red Light City) avec contributions de Bernadina Borra (Urban planner, Spontaneous City International, content editeur du livre), Magaly Rodriguez Garcia (Pofesseur d'histoire, KU Leuven)  Maarten Loopmans (Prof Geographie à KU Leuven, contributing author Red Light City), Manual Aalbers (Contributant auteur du livre, Prof Geographie at KU Leuven) + les photos du livre prises par  Roel Backaert seront projetées dans le bar.



EN : With reports from Amsterdam, Antwerp, Hong Kong, Montreal and Taipei – the book Red Light City reveals that every red light district is different. The question is: What is the significance of sex work for the architecture of the city, particularly in red light districts which are designated for urban renewal?

(Red Light City,  The Architecture Observer, 2016)


 Through out history, red light districts have arisen as integral parts of cities, they shape the heart of the city, but hold a precarious position. Today in a lot countries around the world they are confronted with topdown urban planning of gentrification – usually met with resistance from red light districts to remain still active. Urban planners and politicians are committed to promote an ‘attractive’ city, something red light districts defy since they are considered as the least safe and predictable parts of cities. Urban renewal of red light districts is intertwined with socio-economics and real estate dynamics entailing a complex process of legal frameworks towards sex industry.

 This complicated situation poses questions such as: What is the significance and impact of urban design for the relationship between sex work and the city, particularly in red light districts which are designated for urban renewal? What are the consequences for urban development of the city? How should urban planners deal with red light districts that dominate inner cities, even more so when prostitution doesn’t officially exist? What can different cities learn from each other’s experience in the urban renewal process of the red light districts?

 Red Light City (The Architecture Observer, 2016) has been successfully launched in Amsterdam in September 2016 in the Pakhuis de Zwijger and at the Future+ Academy in Shengzhen, China, in 2017. This time, we are presenting it in the Recyclart at Brussels, to generate urban debates on this important issue for the city.

 The book event will take place as a discussion evening in the Recylart. Discussion participants include Tsaiher Cheng (Main author Red Light City, partner<> , Amsterdam), Bernadina Borra (Co-founder, Spontaneous City International, content editor of Red Light City) ,  Maarten Loopmans (Associate Professor in Geography at KU Leuven, contributing author Red Light City), Manuel Aalbers (Associate Professor in Geography at KU Leuven, Contributing author of Red Light City), Roel Backaert (Photographer, Photographer Red Light City), Magaly Rodriguez Garcia (Associate Professor in History, KU Leuven)

 Tsaiher Cheng<> will provide an outline of the urban situation of red light districts in five different cities as she has researched for Red Light City, namely Hong Kong, Taipei, Montreal, Antwerp and Amsterdam. With reports from these five cities, she will compare the similar phenomena red light districts have to deal with: the impact on the city’s urban form, its spatial organization and distribution. She will also talk about the differences between the cities in dealing with red light districts, determined by local policies considering prostitution and the cultural and historical contexts sex workers are working in. Maarten Loopmans and Manuel Aalbers will explain in detain the urban renewal experince in Antwerp’s and Amsterdam’s Red Light District and opens up discussion topics especially crtical to the Western European context. Avoiding a normative approach towards prostitution, this evening will be about the profound impact red light districts have on cities and city life, materialized in the inner parts of cities, which are designated for urban renewal.

 Bernadina Borra will open the event and moderate the evening. Magaly Rodriguez Garcia is invited to respond to the book and to enter a panel discussion and a discussion with the audience afterwards.

 Photos featured in the book of the different red light districts in the five centralized cities by photographer Roel Backaert will be displayed during the event.


The book will be available for purchase during book event at the lobby for € 25-.

19:30 Bar ouvert
Conference en anglais - 3€

20:00 Welcome by Bernardina Borra
20:10 Red Light City by Tsaiher Cheng
20:30 Amsterdam & Antwerp by Manuel Aalbers and Maarten Loopmans
20:45 Panel discussion with Magaly Rodriguez Garcia
21:15 Discussion with audiences
21:45 Drinks at the bar.

 + EXPO Photo

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