A Titanic misrepresentation of architectural and spatial specificity

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


This paper examines the critical juncture between architecture, planning and community, through the case study of east Belfast, Northern Ireland, and its historic associations with the great ship Titanic. Reportedly second only to Coca-Cola in global recognition, brand-Titanic has been affirmed by community, corporate and public interests to regenerate the built environment of Belfast. However, this paper hypothesises that the supremacy of the Titanic brand serves to obscure the authentic condition of culture and space in east Belfast. The paper posits a condition of 're-place', where cultural narratives have been rewritten at the expense of architectural and spatial specificity. This is most evident where the ambitions of strategic redevelopment policy frameworks have embraced the private-sector 'Titanic Quarter' urban regeneration scheme as the catalyst for inner-city renewal. Through observations, fieldwork, interviews, policy review and spatial analysis, this paper critiques a particularly pragmatic application of the neoliberal regeneration model that appropriates the celebrity of brand-Titanic whilst failing to bridge the related frontier between architectural and planning strategy, and urban renewal needs. The paper concludes by challenging an almost subliminal acceptance of this state of affairs, illustrating an ‘Orwellian’ profusion of brand-Titanic and its unchallenged and continued re-placement of urban space in Belfast.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages52
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 13 Sept 2013
EventAnnual UK-Ireland Planning Research Conference -
Duration: 13 Sept 2013 → …


ConferenceAnnual UK-Ireland Planning Research Conference
Period13/09/13 → …


  • Belfast
  • the Troubles
  • post-Conflict
  • Neoliberal
  • Regeneration
  • Branding


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