Place-Identity and Urban Policy: Sharing Leisure Spaces in the ‘Post-Conflict’ City

Bree T. Hocking, Brendan Sturgeon, John Dixon, Neil Jarman, Dominic Bryan, Jonny Huck, Duncan Whatt, Gemma Davis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Given their liminal position as civic spaces typically surrounded by segregated residential districts, Belfast parks are on the frontlines of the ongoing ‘post-conflict’ policy initiative in Northern Ireland to create more shared spaces but have in some instances proved the thorniest types of civic space to integrate due to the intrusion of sectarian identities and the limits on freedom of movement these territorialisations have precipitated. Drawing on a series of walking interviews with research participants in North Belfast, this chapter explores the role of place-identity in shaping people’s perceptions of and relationship to key urban leisure spaces. To these ends, the chapter first considers the cleavages between the perception of shared space in public parks in Belfast and the lived experience of residents. We then suggest that social divisions have effectively merged the individual and collective dimensions of the place-identity relationship, with profound implications for how people use urban green spaces. Only by addressing this place-identity relationship, then, can policymakers hope to transform segregated socio-spatial dynamics.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDiscsourse of Identity in Liminal Spaces and Places
EditorsRoberta Piazza
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9781351183383
ISBN (Print)9780815395683
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jan 2019


  • conflict
  • place
  • space
  • Northern Ireland
  • shared space


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