Project news
A Place to Be-Come Seraing, Belgium
Modifier 06 July 2021
by City of Seraing

Shops and services in Seraing: what do inhabitants and users want?

City of serainf survey map
A Place to Be-Come project aims to improve citizen’s quality of life in the center of Seraing by relying on a participatory process. The objective is to highlight the district’s specificities and potentials in terms of socio-economic development and to identify functions and activities that meet the needs of current and future population. As part of this process, a general public survey was conducted by the University of Liège (LEMA) concerning services supplies and shops in the area. The 660 responses allowed us to identify expectations of users. The results will then be discussed with economic and social actors in order to reflect on actions to be implemented so that the district development remains beneficial to current inhabitants.

660 respondents to the survey: 28% live in the district, 42% live in Seraing, 28% live outside Seraing

This survey highlited two types of profiles: respondents who live in the district and whose average age is 37 years, and users from outside the district with an average of 40 years old. Professional fields most represented by respondents living in the district are: administration, health, commerce and social work; whereas respondents from outside the district work mainly in the field of administration, and to a lesser extent in education and social work. Out of respondents working in the central district, 18% also live there; 42% live elsewhere in Seraing and 40% do not live in Seraing. A large proportion of jobs in the district are therefore held by workers from outside Seraing. 

Graphic 1: Professional profile
Graphic 1: Professional profile

Proximity, price and quality are the main criteria of choice for consumption

The survey shows that majority of respondents are not very or fairly satisfied with the commercial offer in the district. 
The majority of district residents are more satisfied than the external users. However, the longer respondents have lived in the neighborhood, the less satisfied they are. This could indicate a certain nostalgia for the ‘old Seraing city’ at time when there were more small shops and local services. 
For the vast majority of local residents, proximity is the first priority (32%), followed by price (27%) and product/service quality (19%). For outside users, proximity remains a priority (27%), followed by quality (22%), contrary to residents who give priority to price.

Personal equipment (ready-to-wear) and organic stores mainly in demand

Most of respondents living in the neighborhood would like to find more clothing stores in the neighborhood (26%), unlike outside users who are more interested in organic stores (21%). Other requests are relatively similar for both populations: restaurants and bookstores/multimedia. 
The services that are most lacking are culture and sports.

Regarding desired services, responses from neighborhood residents and outside users are quite similar. They would like to find more services related to culture (34% of respondents), but also sports and urban agriculture (both at 20%)

A workshop to target needs that differ within the central district

After this survey, a workshop was held with some of the survey respondents. As the neighborhoods within this area are very different, the needs of the consumer vary as well. Participants indicated where they would like to see different types of shops and services appear in the neighborhood.

Participants primarily placed retail and commercial services around a central vertical axis extending from Kuborn Square to Morchamps Park.

Much of the retail and services were requested along Cockerill Street (culture, sports, restaurants, organic stores, clothing stores...).

Nevertheless, many services and businesses are also desired in the neighborhoods within the urban area: urban agriculture and sports spaces around Morchamps Park, cultural spaces and restaurants in Molinay, clothing stores around the esplanade de l'Avenir and in Molinay. 

A participation and citizen consultation process

This survey is part of a more global approach to the project, led by LEMA. An urban planning process was launched at the beginning of the project through exploratory walks in the district with citizens and local associations. These urban walks allowed the inhabitants to express themselves on their territories and to start a reflection on ways to improve it. Two urban planning workshops will be organized this month of July with citizens in order to continue this reflection.

The first part of the economic approach consisted of a general public survey in order to understand socio-economic characteristics of people frequenting the neighborhood, to evaluate the level of satisfaction with current commercial offer and to identify specific users expectations. These results will lead us to work with operational actors of Seraing and propose concrete actions to develop the district.

The results of these steps will lead to the realization of a guide of recommendations which will be transmitted to local authorities. This orientation and reference tool will present the process put in place, results of different steps and resulting recommendations. Its objective is to feed current and future reflections on district development strategy.