Enacting Citizenship in an Urban Borderland: the Case of Maximilian Park in Brussels

Racha Daher, Viviana d'Auria


This paper explores the relationship between asylum seekers and Maximilian Park, a contested site in Brussels in terms of unresolved conflicts around migration, refugees and borders. By tracing the park’s evolution as part of the North Quarter, and understanding the various transient trajectories that characterize this urban area, the paper will probe into the interaction between “full” and “temporary” citizens. Through spatial synthesis and mapping, the paper will first unpack the urban history of the North Quarter as part of the arrival infrastructure of the European capital. The connections between groups with varying degrees of vulnerability who claim spaces with more or less legitimacy will be explored through two main sources complementing ethnographic analysis. Firstly, narratives developed by the local press will be used as a means to unfold the main perspectives when dealing with the complex topic of migration and public space; secondly, the on-line organization of a key civil society organization active in the support of migrants will be interrogated. Building on the notion of “non-citizen citizenship” the authors will conclude by critically reflecting on what form the extension of rights could take to help craft a revised form of citizenship based on the politics of presence in the city.


urban borderland; non-citizen citizenship; Maximilian Park


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DOI: 10.6092/issn.2612-0496/8517


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