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Putting the working class in their place? Redevelopment and territory in the new Belfast Jenny Muir Housing Studies Association conference Cardiff 15 th - 17 th April Contents Initial thoughts and questions for a new research project:

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putting the working class in their place redevelopment and territory in the new belfast

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

Jenny Muir

Housing Studies Association conference

Cardiff

15th - 17th April

contents
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
northern ireland since the 1998 good friday belfast agreement 1
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
northern ireland since the 1998 good friday belfast agreement 2
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
is northern ireland becoming more neoliberal
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?
crumlin girdwood timeline
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
crumlin girdwood summary
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
crumlin girdwood issues
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
titanic quarter timeline
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
titanic quarter summary
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
titanic quarter issues
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
observations from the case studies
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
conclusions
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