What do Conservation Areas protect? Historic Shopping Streets under threat: The case of North Street

  • Anna Skoura (Advisor)

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk


Historic shopping streets are an important part of a city's cultural heritage. The buildings that line them, the places formed within their streetscape and the people using them create a fragile ecosystem that is an integral part of the historic urban landscape. In the last 50 years, historic shopping streets around the UK, even within Conservation Areas, have been subjected to cycles of development and redevelopment. This process has rendered them increasingly homogenous, stripping them off their particular character and identity. Although change is an inevitable and welcomed process within the urban landscape, the way in which change is managed can have a serious impact in safeguarding cultural heritage within the historic urban landscape.

My research aims to understand and map the special cultural heritage qualities of historic shopping streets and question whether the legislative tools available are adequate to safeguard them. Going beyond traditional approaches arguing for the conservation of the built fabric alone, I am particularly interested in the relationship between the historic built fabric and the types of uses and interactions that take place within the buildings and on the street. The focus of this presentation is to address the level of protection granted to historic shopping streets within Conservation Areas through the UK and Northern Irish planning system, using the case of North Street in Belfast’s city centre.
Period01 Apr 2018
Event title'So What? Making Research Public'
Event typeSeminar
LocationBelfast, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionLocal