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Tuesday, 21 September 2010

My PLACE: Arthur Acheson

In a new series, we ask practitioners, experts and enthusiasts for their take on Northern Ireland's built environment - where are we now, how did we get here, and where are going?

Arthur, you have recently been appointed chair of MAG - what is your vision for Northern Ireland?

NORTHERN IRELAND SHOULD...

1. Just do it - we built great ships here when feasibility studies and economic appraisals would have shown that we had no chance of success.

2. Keep flexible - we are still small enough to take risks.  Commercial companies see us as a great place to experiment before launching programmes across the wider region – if it works here then they know it will work elsewhere.  We must learn from this and try things out ourselves.  I have found people willing to live and work in ways they would not have imagined – the first penthouses ever in Northern Ireland were the most expensive in the block – and the first to sell.  We could have monthly Culture Nights in Belfast for 47 years for the price of new paving in the city centre – and have new paving out of the profits.

3. Keep seeing the bigger picture – there is a world out there where huge numbers of people are living in conditions of poverty which are not imaginable in Northern Ireland.

5. Stop taking ourselves so seriously – nobody else does.

4. There is no number 4 because that would be too orderly

and... nobody listens to me anyway!

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Arthur reminds us that his response is a personal statement and does not necessarily represent the views of the MAG or his position as Chair.

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Related: Download the MAG's Raising Expectations report from the PLACE website - MAG - Raising Expectations [PDF, 420KB]

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