Street Space maps: North Street Castle Street

Research output: Other contribution


StreetSpace is a research and teaching project at Queen's University Belfast, led by Dr Agustina Martire, with the collaboration of scholars from architecture, planning, history, geography, sociology and sound. StreetSpace seeks to understand the significance of superdiverse streets, by analysing their physical, historical and experiential aspects. It explores streets that risk losing their distinctive identities, while seeking to understand and value their diversity and complexity. This multidisciplinary and international project aims to provide an alternative way of planning, preserving and developing streets.
The workshops were held in August 2015 (North Street) and November 2016 (Castle Street). These streets complied with the following criteria: proximity to the city centre; mixed uses; risk of dereliction, redevelopment or demolition, and a significant history for those who inhabit or use them. There was also reliable information in the archives in terms of maps, photographs and street directories, so that an analytical historical research could be carried out for them to be compared.
The North Street workshop was organised rather instinctively, out of interest in the area and the recognition of the value of that very significant street in Belfast City Centre, at risk of major redevelopment and demolition. First, the basic physical characteristics of streets were mapped in plan based in OS maps of the area. The workshop was held over two days. A series of scholars were invited to talk about their own methods for analysing streets: Keith Lilley talked about urban morphology and the use of maps to understand the history of a place; Kieran Connell talked about an ethnographic approach to photography of streets in 1960s Britain; James Hennessey spoke about the approach of his urban design practice to street analysis and design; Conor McCafferty talked about sound mapping of streets.
This led to the organisation of 4 groups: historical geography, sound, photography and urban design.
The Castle Street workshop was more structured and built up on ideas of the previous workshop. This time James Hennessey talked about the meanings of language in streets and in the minds of their users, venturing into ethnographic methods to understand the significance of streets; Conor McCafferty spoke about his PhD work on sound and the city; and James Davis talked about the evolution of streets in history and memory in Belfast. This led to four groups of analysis: history, sound, aspirations and perceptions.
In both workshops, for two days the groups worked on the maps, using a range of documentary and visual sources such as historic maps, images and newspaper material, to better understand the ways in which these spaces have been understood, used and negotiated in the past. Photography on site and recordings were used to understand the visual and auditory qualities of the spaces. And finally, interviews and surveys were done to help us understand the current importance of streets for people. Through the interdisciplinary workshops we will be able to determine a very precise set of questions that can be asked about streets, which will address issues of tangible and intangible heritage, uses and meanings of streets
Original languageEnglish
TypeStreetSpace maps
Media of outputmap booklet
PublisherQueen's Architecture Press
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 05 May 2017


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