What makes Brussels unique? How segregated is the city compared to others? A debate between philosopher and sociologist Bleri Lleshi and urban designer David Dooghe.


Maria Tarantino's documentary Our City is a kaleidoscopic portrait of the multicultural metropolis Brussels. Following the premiere of the film in a Brussels arthouse, a short debate between philosopher and sociologist Bleri Lleshi and urban designer David Dooghe took place. Here, Brussels was compared with Rotterdam on the subject of segregation, just a week after the Paris attacks.

In both cities the problem of segregation is felt strongly. The debate focused on the youngsters, as this was a common field of knowledge for both speakers and an important part of the film.

From his experience as a member of the several youth councils during the Rotterdam year of Youth in 2009 and working for Rotterdamse Nieuwe several years after this, Dooghe has noticed a change in Rotterdam on how the youngsters are being looked at. It is undeniable that the city has still a long way to go, but what has changed is that the view on youngsters has become broader and therefore more realistic. There is not one type of youngster as there is not one type of elderly.

Currently, in Rotterdam the municipality as well as non-profit organisations provide services for those youngsters who need help in order to be save and secure. But luckily in Rotterdam, it does not stop there and increasingly organisations and social entrepreneurs step up in order to help youngsters who have plans, ideas and just need that little push to get started. Networks are formed, between youngsters themselves, as well as between more established firms and youngsters from the streets. Although these entrepreneurs have different talents and interests, the different groups always find common ground due to their love for the city and the overall entrepreneurial atmosphere in the city.