The barracks of Ixelles and Etterbeek, including those which are home to Usquare, are set in a dense urban fabric at the intersection of a number of particularly lively districts and at the heart of the Brussels Region’s largest student district, due to the proximity of various key student facilities.
The student presence is particularly strong in Ixelles, where the two largest university campuses in Brussels are located: Solbosch and La Plaine, linked to ULB and VUB respectively. Ixelles also features the Place Flagey district, which is home to the ULB-La Cambre Faculty of Architecture, plus three university colleges (Institut libre Marie Haps, IESSID and ERG). The higher education institutions of Ixelles account for nearly 30,000 students, and an estimated 12,000 students live in the municipality of Ixelles, 88% of them in student housing (i.e. not with their parents). This accommodation represents more than a quarter of all student housing in Brussels, and is concentrated around the campuses. Most of it consists of joint tenancies, studios or rooms in university residences.
As well as student housing, the Solbosch and La Plaine campuses and the districts around Ixelles cemetery, Place Flagey and Etterbeek railway station offer a range of services, sporting, cultural and other facilities and commercial outlets, including eateries popular with students, as well as a lively nightlife scene.
The districts around the barracks site are mixed but mostly inhabited by a young population of students and workers, with few long-term households.
The barracks in which Usquare is located are bordered by two major traffic routes (Boulevard Général Jacques and Avenue de la Couronne), and are close to a multimodal transport node (rail, bus and tram) and within reasonable distance of a number of urban centres: Flagey, Ixelles cemetery, La Chasse and the Solbosch and La Plaine campuses. This situation, at the crossroads of key mobility and public transport routes and within striking distance of urban centres, makes it a space of intensive transport flows with significant development potential. This is due in particular to its location at the intersection of several public transport lines (tram lines 94, 25 and 7; bus routes 71, 95; rail lines S4/5/8/9/81 and IC 16/17/18/27). As a result, it is already passed through by large numbers of students, who are major users of public transport.