On the waterfront: neoliberal urbanism and the politics of public benefit

Philip Boland, John Bronte, Jenny Muir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Citations (Scopus)
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This paper responds to the empirical and conceptual challenges concerning public benefit. In an era of neoliberal urbanism the waterfront has become a focal point of planning intervention; however, this raises important political issues concerning the distributional consequences of redeveloping large tracts of derelict land and dilapidated property. The central line of inquiry concerns what benefits, for whom and where emerge on the waterfront under neoliberal urbanism? In grounding the empiricism we focus on the neoliberal planning of Belfast's waterfront through a detailed discussion of Laganside (1989–2007) and Titanic Quarter (2001–present). Despite major transformation in Belfast city centre and on the waterfront, plus the ongoing peace process, the imprints of volatile identity politics and severe social deprivation are entrenched in other areas of the city. Given this, Belfast provides a unique and instructive case to critically explore the socio-spatialities of public benefit in a neoliberalised, politicised and polarised urban landscape. More broadly our research talks to ongoing debates on the conceptual merit and practical utility of public benefit as a central organising principle for spatial planning.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-127
Number of pages11
Early online date06 Sep 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017

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  • Student Theses

    Problematising the public interest as a tool of neoliberal urban planning

    Author: Bronte, J., Dec 2020

    Supervisor: Fox-Rogers, L. (Supervisor) & McKay, S. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy

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