Cathedral Quarter Belfast: Public Regeneration Strategies

Saul Golden, Patricia Freedman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This original research assesses Strategic Development in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter (CQ), a historically significant conservation area becoming a vibrant mixed commercial, cultural, arts, and community-use district. The article, in English with Italian translation, was written with contributions from co-author Patricia Freedman of the Cathedral Quarter Steering Committee (CQSC) and published by internationally recognized Italian journal of urbanism, Urbanistica, as part of a special thematic issue: “The Urban Regeneration in Belfast in Europe that Looks Ahead.” Urbanistica awarded Belfast its prestigious European Development Award for 2011 and the special issue highlights projects featured in an exhibit about Belfast during Venice Biennale 2010. In 2011, Exhibit curators invited a shortlist of written submissions to Urbanistica, whose scientific committee selected this article for publication following peer-review. The article examines Cathedral Quarter’s five-year development plan, set within the micro-level of Belfast’s regeneration policies and against wider international debates about how post-industrial cities address long-term regeneration challenges. CQSC invited the author to undertake this review based upon his prior published scholarship on cultural and retail quarters for Belfast’s 2010 City of Quarters Conference. It connects with the author’s related PhD, in progress separately, contributing to pilot studies about how design professionals and lay-people might collaborate to better influence the quality of existing and new public space in inner city development. The author’s research illustrates how Belfast’s previous regeneration policies did not adequately protect the quality of public space, leading to a loss of important parts of the city’s streetscape and sustainable economic and cultural vitality. For professionals and policy-makers, the published version deliberately focuses on the research findings more than discussing the methodology, which combined international urban design precedents, primary documents, and interview data. The conclusions give several recommendations for CQ to better manage its future, arguing for more participatory street-focused approaches to urban development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-45
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - Dec 2011


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