The Institute of Spatial and Environmental Planning
School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering

Grounds, Andrew

Neoliberal Urbanization? Actual realities and the development of the Cathedral Quarter Belfast.



School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering
Queen's University Belfast
Level 3
David Keir Building
Stranmillis Road
Belfast BT9 5AG
Northern Ireland


+44 (0)2890 974254


Current Research

My research uses the development of a local cultural district, the Cathedral Quarter, as a lens to critically examine the ‘roll out’ of neoliberal urban regeneration policies in Belfast. The overarching aim of the research is not simply to reiterate the abundant critiques of such neoliberal urban regeneration policies, but rather to identify the implications they pose for arrangements of urban governance and the wider development of Belfast as a post-industrial and post-conflict city. Using a mixed methods approach comprising of semi-structured interviews, surveys, secondary analysis and participant observation my research explores how, where and when such neoliberal urban regeneration policies in the Cathedral Quarter have been created, and who exactly have benefited from their implementation. The research also examines the prolonged and seemingly unrelenting ideological influence of neoliberalism in configuring urban regeneration policies, despite the persistence of scepticism, challenge and resistance from grassroots organizations, political activists, critical scholars and radical practitioners alike. Finally my research examines to what degree neoliberal urban regeneration policies are travelling globally across different cities. By drawing attention to their impact on certain cultural districts like the Cathedral Quarter it hopes to demonstrate that despite such ‘mobile’ tendencies, there are still opportunities for local stakeholders to actively participate and influence the urban regeneration process.

Supervisors Dr. brendan Murtagh & Dr. Geraint Ellis