A commune of swanky neighborhoods
Which neighborhood is considered the wealthiest in the entire Brussels-Capital Region? The answer is, Le Vivier d’Oie which registered an average income of €65,723 per tax return in 2015. It is located in Uccle which boasts a number of exceptionally affluent neighborhoods including Montjoie-Langeveld, Fort Jaco, and the Observatory.
Known as a residential commune for well-to-do families, Uccle is positioned in the southern section of Brussels. With an area of 22.91 square kilometers, it is one of the region’s largest and greenest communes. Nearly one-fifth of Brussels’ public green space is found in Uccle. Aside from over 500 hectares of the Sonian Forest, the commune also covers the Plateau Avijl, the Kauwberg, the Plateau Engeland, and several other natural and semi-natural green spaces.
Uccle has a population of 82,307 with less than one third originating from other countries. The French represent the majority of Uccle’s foreign population, followed by the Italians, the Portuguese, and the Spaniards. With considerably low birth rates, Uccle is one of the Brussels communes with an ageing population. The average age among the Uccleois is 41.7 years old while one fifth of them is above 64 years of age.
The socio-economic profile of Uccle’s inhabitants ranges from middle class to very well-off. A large proportion of the working population is self-employed. The commune records a median income of €22,215 which is 16 percent higher than the regional average. The health, social welfare, and education sectors are the major sources of internal employment.
In politics, Uccle is the traditional domain of liberals. After winning an absolute majority in the 2012 communal elections, the Reformist Movement (MR) formed a coalition with the Democratic, Federalist, Independent party (DéFI) and the Humanist Democratic Center (cdH). Ecolo-Groen and the Socialist Party (PS) ended up in the opposition. In 2017, corruption allegations over the Kazakhgate affair led to the resignation of elected mayor Armand De Decker who was then replaced by Boris Dilliès.
Under the outgoing legislature, crime in Uccle has reportedly dropped by 30 percent since 2012 with the help of a newly created crime patrol and the installation of surveillance cameras. The commune acquired an old building for the purpose of setting up a new administrative center. As for neighborhood projects, several schools and sports centers were renovated and additional storm drains were installed.
The communal leadership still faces challenges with regards to managing the communal debt and the accumulation of expenses over the new administration building project which may cost as much as 30 million euros. Residents have also complained of an increase in real estate tax and lack of initiatives to promote soft mobility.
Will Uccle remain a liberal stronghold in the next six years? That’s all up to the Ucclois. This year’s communal elections will once again see MR coming up against rivals from DéFI, cdH, PS, and the Ecolo-Groen tandem.