Putting the working class in their place? Redevelopment and territory in the new Belfast - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Putting the working class in their place? Redevelopment and territory in the new Belfast

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  1. Putting the working class in their place? Redevelopment and territory in the new Belfast Jenny Muir Housing Studies Association conference Cardiff 15th - 17th April

  2. Contents Initial thoughts and questions for a new research project: • Northern Ireland since the 1998 Good Friday/ Belfast Agreement • Two paradigms - the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ Northern Ireland • Neoliberalism and Northern Ireland • Two Belfast case studies: Crumlin Road Gaol/ Girdwood Barracks and Titanic Quarter • Observations from the case studies • Conclusions

  3. Northern Ireland since the 1998 Good Friday/ Belfast Agreement (1) • Governance: • GFA - Power-sharing Assembly, four main parties in government • GFA - Provision for all-Ireland referendum on reunification • GFA - North – South Ministerial Council; British – Irish Council; locks NI into wider institutional relationships • Assembly suspended October 2002 – May 2007 BUT devolved structures continued under ‘Direct Rule’ Ministers • St Andrews Agreement (2006): • Support for policing and the courts from all parties; Executive responsibility • Assembly restored May 2007 with DUP/ Sinn Féin main parties • Review of Public Administration: • Councils will be reduced from 26 to 11; health, education & library service bodies being rationalised; housing affected marginally; community planning for councils

  4. Northern Ireland since the 1998 GoodFriday/ Belfast Agreement (2) • Economic issues: • GDP p.c. increases:1.8% in 1998; 3.0% 2007; predicted -1.5% 2009 (UK overall predicted -3.0%) • Unemployment: 8.1% in 1998; 3.8% 2007; Nov 2008 – Jan 2009: 5.7% (UK average 6.5%) • Costs of segregation have been up to £1.5bn • Reinvestment & Reform Initiative (PFI for infrastructure); • Rates revaluation; attempt to introduce water rates (now omitted from Barnett Formula) • Social issues: • Residential segregation and separate education still widespread • Residual conflict in ‘interface’ areas • Poverty higher than rest of UK • Fringe paramilitary activity still evident

  5. Northern Ireland: two paradigms

  6. 2008 Programme for Government: illustration of priorities

  7. Is Northern Ireland becoming more neoliberal? • Characteristics of neoliberalism: • Deregulation of economic transactions • Private finance, privatisation • Commodification and primacy of market mechanisms • Use of market proxies in the state sector • International policy transfer • State intervention ‘rolled back’ to focus on support for capital • ‘Rolling out’ new forms of governance and social control • Welfare costs transferred to the individual and to ‘communities’ • The ‘new’ NI paradigm: • More of 2,3,5,6,7,8 – but also directly elected regional Assembly • A different neoliberalism? Convergence with rest of UK?

  8. Case study 1: Crumlin Road Gaol/ Girdwood Barracks site

  9. Crumlin Girdwood timeline • 1996: Crumlin Road Gaol closed • 2001: Belfast Regeneration Office economic appraisal - gaol site only • 2002: Dunlop Report in response to Holy Cross events: • Proposal for a ‘large scale physical regeneration project… any potential development should be created and maintained as neutral space’ (p.83) • Wider feasibility study proposed, but not including the Barracks • North Belfast Community Action Unit established • 2003: Gaol ownership transferred to OFMDFM as part of Reinvestment and Reform Initiative (PFI); 2005 feasibility study • 2005: Barracks closure announced and site acquired by DSD 2006 • 2006: (Direct Rule) Ministerial Advice Panel established; consultation • 2007: draft Masterplan – consultation continues, no agreement on housing; Gaol refurbishment proceeding separately • 2008: Residents’ Jury held by Participation and Practice of Rights Project

  10. Crumlin/ Girdwood summary • 27 acre site • New shared ‘heartspace’ in the centre of the site (community hub) • Leisure facilities • Gaol site: refurbishment, museum, hotel – tourism link to privately owned Courthouse • New facilities for local hospital and school • New access road (contentious) • Mixed tenure housing (contentious) • 3 other major development sites • Cost £231m; add £68m if no housing for sale in phase 1

  11. Crumlin Girdwood issues • Draft Masterplan 2007 – no progress early 2009 except Gaol refurbishment, supported by all • Redevelopment is in the most deprived and divided part of Belfast but needs to attract private investment • Site is owned by two government departments and the nearby Courthouse by a private developer - school and hospital redevelopments funded and planned separately • No agreement on housing – Protestants want none; Catholics want social housing; draft Masterplan suggests mixed tenure housing • Mixed tenure housing seen as proxy for ‘mixed’ housing – impractical given the area • Access road potential to create new interface

  12. Case study 2: Titanic Quarter

  13. Titanic Quarter location (2)

  14. Titanic Quarter timeline • 1990: Site development potential first identified • 2000: Odyssey Arena opened – Millennium Project • 2000: Site renamed Titanic Quarter • 2001: Work starts on site preparation and Masterplan • 2002: Lease signed for Science Park • 2003: Outline planning application submitted for Phase 1 • 2005: Site lease bought by Harcourt Developments from Fred Olsen shipping co. – freehold owned by Belfast Harbour Commissioners • 2005: Masterplan and Development Framework issued • 2006: Planning permission granted for phase 1 residential and office • 2007: Construction begins on phase 1; outline permission granted for phase 2 which includes social housing • 2009: Construction begins on Signature Project

  15. Titanic Quarter summary • Phase 1: • 475 apartments & marina • Gateway office building • Belfast Metropolitan College • New Public Records Office • Phase 2 (outline): • Titanic Signature project (for 2012 anniversary) • Approx. 2000 apartments including 15% social/ affordable housing • Leisure & industrial park • Small-scale retail • Hotel • Private funding and public agency investment

  16. Titanic Quarter issues • Credit crunch and economic crisis: • Fall in value of Phase 1 flats bought off plan • Finding office tenants • Cash flow • (Part) Solution: public investment brought forward – Signature Project, Public Records office, college • Community links: • Previously industrial site – no ‘community’ to consult • Links with East Belfast Partnership and Belfast Titanic Society • Social housing: • Will raise question of territory – TQ prefer LCHO

  17. Observations from the case studies • (Re)Presenting and commodifying history as key part of each development, with public support • Territorial issues: • Crumlin/ Girdwood – is ‘shared space’ realistic in such a divided area? – perhaps yes without housing, but there is housing need • Titanic Quarter – shared space taken for granted • Shared space may be gained at the expense of excluding those who need social housing • Role of public sector more substantial than plans suggest: • Crumlin/ Girdwood: PFI for gaol redevelopment; hospital, school • TQ: Signature project, college (PFI), Public Records Office

  18. Conclusions • Northern Ireland has changed considerably since the 1998 Good Friday Agreement • Some aspects of the ‘new’ Northern Ireland have public support e.g. policing - but there is no new hegemonic direction overall and the NI Assembly has been slow to respond to the economic downturn • Urban regeneration case studies are appropriate to examine this phenomenon because they are: • Complex urban environments undergoing rapid change • Often with dedicated governance structures • Usually with high level of community involvement • It appears likely that the new paradigm will create new territorial divisions by class, to add to continuing working class sectarian divisions