The Belfast city center is fractured, divided by motorways, parking lots, empty buildings, and big box stores. Its 19th-century heyday put it on the international map of textile production, which transformed and enriched its built structure. This tight architectural fabric was slowly destroyed in the 1940s by the Blitz, in the 1970s by road plans and “the troubles” and in the 1990s by large retail buildings. Few pedestrian streets traverse Belfast, and among them, most are recently-developed conduits for the passage of shoppers from one chain store to the next.Within this seemingly bleak urban landscape, there remain a few areas that offer a richer, more architecturally and socially diverse, more memory-laden conception of public space. Current redevelopment plans, however, threaten the mere existence of these few remaining historic streets in Belfast.This reality inspired the current project of one of the Masters in Architecture design units at Queen’s University Belfast. Our team (led by urban designer Michael Corr and myself) has been exploring North Street, one of the main arteries in Belfast City Center. Although North Street has a reputation for being run-down, derelict, and in need of redevelopment, it is one of the few intact 19th-century streets left in the area, and as such is worthy of study as an example of public space that is not strictly synonymous with commercial space.
|Specialist publication||Public Books|
|Publication status||Published - 14 Jan 2016|
- Urban culture
- urban design
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities(all)