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Enabling community participation


1. to pilot local planning, in partnership with cross-community interests in the deeply segregated and disadvantaged North Belfast area, stretching from Mount Vernon through to Skegoneill, Tigers Bay, Newington, New Lodge, and Cliftonville. This would involve the project, supported by a team of 60 post graduate students with expertise in regeneration and urban design, working with the local communities for an intensive period, of two months each year over the three years, to develop strategic proposals for regeneration in ways that:

(a)  extend capacity among local community agencies for local planning;

(b)  build relationships of trust and collaboration within and among the communities within a framework of mutual development;

(c)  optimize opportunity for shared space and services;

(d)  increase the economy of scale and scope for a more sustainable development by extending the geography of focus; and

(e)  connect local areas more to each other and to wider sub-regional planning;

2. to use the pilot local area action planning in this project and best practice from elsewhere to illustrate how building positive relations at local level through mutual planning can achieve cross- community benefit in: (a) shared space and services; (b) tackling divided housing and labour markets that restrict the economy of scale and scope for sustainable development; and in (c) addressing the limitations of exclusive forms of community that can not only create sectarian and racist obstruction to full citizenship, but also barriers to equal access on the basis of gender, age, and disability;     

3. using the evidence based on this pilot, to explore with the key stakeholders involved in the ‘transition’ how such forms of local planning can be strategically linked into the community and spatial planning processes, thereby lending it more authority. In essence, this is designed to test how a new planning system, in collaboration with local people, can drill down to local level and address issues of division, segregation, concentrated deprivation, and inequality of access based on gender, ethnicity, age, or disability.  

Contact Information

  • Queen's University Belfast
  • School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering
  • David Keir Building
  • Stranmillis Road
  • BT9 5AG
  • 028 9097 5427

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