A Fresh Look at Community Engagement and Regeneration: Toward Good Practice and Innovative Policy in Northern Ireland

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In this evidence-based policy briefing, Golden and Dawe addresses public-private and statutory planning consultation processes that impact on the quality of shared spaces in urban areas across Northern Ireland. The Fresh Start Agreement set out three key aims for public consultation and engagement: To enhance decision-making; to improve the acceptability of decisions reached; to build capacity internally and externally for improved relationships and stakeholder input to political processes. This briefing argues that these aims remain relevant to current policy debates as a framework to foster more effective public/stakeholder engagement on larger regeneration initiatives. Golden and Dawe examine planning and public engagement policies along with proposed exemplar strategies for good practice and innovative on-the-ground approaches to community engagement for urban renewal. The research is underpinned by data gathered by the authors between 2012 and 2018, from field-work, live events, and anonymous survey feedback from public-private stakeholder. The findings derive from research analysis and the outcomes of a 2016 Higher Education Innovation Funding (HEIF) Symposium under the report name, organised by the authors through the Belfast School of Architecture and Urban Research Lab, which brought academics together with statutory and third sector representatives to appraise tools and processes that inform development policy for all stakeholders concerned with urban and rural regeneration across Northern Ireland.
The briefing report provides needed and relevant insight into deliberations on policy and skills capacity to addresses consultation fatigue through good decision-making practice and more effective policy implementation. Outcomes include an appraisal of models and tools that can inform policy to better articulate community need for regeneration projects, and to better integrate government and other agencies in community engagement and planning processes that currently fail to engage the public effectively in development decision making that shapes Northern Ireland’s social and physical environment. The author's set out perceived shortcomings in public engagement (i.e. local neighbourhood consultation) processes for major public/private regeneration projects that fall within Northern Ireland Assembly remits, through the Executive Office and Ministerial Departments including Infrastructure; Economy; and Communities and argue that public engagement objectives, as set out in the Fresh Start Agreement of 2015, remain relevant to policy decision-making through a re-examination to inform best practice. The findings include Golden and Dawe's proposals for a range of more active tools for gathering public information in major projects that can also be more effective to planners, policy-makers, developers, and communities – resulting in better quality data, and better value for money in terms of public-private expenditure on such processes. The briefing document illustrates and sets out the findings, including how more effective engagement can better inform models of urban investment for liveable urban places for all communities across Northern Ireland.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 31 Jan 2018
EventNorthern Ireland Assembly Knowledge Exchange Seminar Series: USING ADMINISTRATIVE DATA TO INFORM POLICY - Northern Ireland Assembly, Stormont, Northern Ireland
Duration: 31 Jan 2018 → …


OtherNorthern Ireland Assembly Knowledge Exchange Seminar Series: USING ADMINISTRATIVE DATA TO INFORM POLICY
Period31/01/18 → …


  • regeneration
  • community engagement
  • planning policy
  • Northern Ireland
  • architectural practice
  • urban research
  • critical agency
  • Shared space
  • Fresh Start Agreement
  • Stormont


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