ARAU was founded in 1969, against the background of "Brusselisation" and the exodus of the city's residents to the surrounding area. The main debate of the day then, which is still current today, was how to defend and promote Brussels as an inhabited city with a good standard of living for its residents. This led ARAU to protest against major demolition projects on the one hand and, on the other hand, to draw up counter-proposals to renovate the city's buildings and improve the living conditions of its residents.
Through its consciousness-raising and information activities among the city's residents, ARAU provides them with the tools required to follow the city's urban development. These activities include the publication of analyses and studies, the organisation of conferences and workshops, the issuing of press releases and the organisation of guided tours.
ARAU was a pioneer in organising guided tours of Brussels in 1977, which aim to show the value of the city and its unique features, to develop a critical view of redevelopments and to ensure the preservation and maintenance of its heritage buildings. In the years since 1977, ARAU has built up a wide range of guided tours which are offered both in an annual programme for individuals, and in specially adapted tours for groups.