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Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Connecting Places Mini Series: Bicycling Belfast: Part 3: Belfast - a bicycle city in the making?

In this series, Connecting Places, we explore the spaces, places and sustainable transport systems in Belfast and beyond, with an aim to generate critical debate on the design of our towns and cities.
Series curated by Aaron Coulter 

For previous posts from this series click here

Part 3: Belfast - A cycling city in the making?
‘Belfast is a city for cyclists; it has all the advantages of cycling in Amsterdam but without the swarms of other bicycles. This Victorian city, steeped in culture and industrial heritage, is just waiting to be discovered by bike.' 
Source: Go to Belfast 

In part 3 of Bicycling Belfast we will be investigating the city’s current cycling infrastructure to find out how close to reality this statement is. Is Belfast really a city for cyclists, or is the comparison to Amsterdam just a bit too far fetched?

Belfast - a city for cyclists?
(Credit: Aaron Coulter)

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Connecting Places Mini Series: Bicycling Belfast: Part 2: An International Perspective

In this series, Connecting Places, we explore the spaces, places and sustainable transport systems in Belfast and beyond, with an aim to generate critical debate on the design of our towns and cities.
Series curated by Aaron Coulter

For previous posts from this series click here 

Part 2: An International Perspective

Broadly speaking, cycling cities can be split into two categories - ‘traditional’ cycling cities such as Copenhagen and Amsterdam and then those who have recently taken up the challenge to improve cycling conditions such as New York, London and Dublin (among many others). In this article we will be asking ‘What can Belfast learn from these cities?’

Copenhagen
(Credit: Blue Granola)

Monday, 27 February 2012

Connecting Places Mini Series: Bicycling Belfast: Part 1: Debunking the Myth

In this series, Connecting Places, we explore the spaces, places and sustainable transport systems in Belfast and beyond, with an aim to generate critical debate on the design of our towns and cities.
Series curated by Aaron Coulter

For background info on Bicycling Belfast click here.

Part 1: Debunking the Myth
“As a result of varying levels of congestion, topography and land-use, a blanket citywide approach to providing a cycle network is unlikely to be appropriate in Belfast.” 
Bicycling Belfast
(Credit: Aaron Coulter)
In a country where 65% of all trips taken are under 5 miles in distance, and in a city where up to 70% of inhabitants in some inner city areas do not have access to a car, can we really say that cycling should have no significant future in Belfast? What if we take an more analytical approach to the somewhat subjective claims put forward by DRD? Does Belfast have what it takes to become a ‘cycling city’, or are there too many obstacles in the way? 


Friday, 24 February 2012

Connecting Places Mini Series: Bicycling Belfast

In this series, Connecting Places, we explore the spaces, places and sustainable transport systems in Belfast and beyond, with an aim to generate critical debate on the design of our towns and cities.
Series curated by Aaron Coulter

Bicycling Belfast: Prelude



Cycling accounts for 0.6% of trips in NI
(Credit: Aaron Coulter)


In recent years there has been a renewed interest from major cities throughout the world in diversifying transportation choices in an effort to reduce dependancy on the private car and improve quality of life for their citizens. These initiatives are often characterised with a rebalancing of capital expenditure priorities in order to accommodate higher levels of spending on more sustainable forms of transport, including walking, cycling, and public transit schemes.

However, despite over a decade of policy initiatives aimed at reducing car dependency in Northern Ireland, transport budgets here are still overwhelmingly in favour of the private car. In 2010 the then Minister for Regional Development, Conor Murphy, not only dedicated 62% of the overall transport budget to the car, a total of £250,000,000, but also cut Belfast’s cycling budget by 98% to £8,000 (Belfast Telegraph). Given this, it is unsurprising that Belfast is currently rated the 3rd most congested city in the United Kingdom and ranks within the top ten most congested cities in Europe.

It is in within this context, and as part of an ongoing process of generating debate on sustainable transport in Northern Ireland through the Connecting Places series, that throughout next week a mini series titled ‘Bicycling Belfast’ will investigate the potential of increasing cycling’s modal share in the city.

Join us next week on the PLACE blog and follow the conversation with Aaron on Twitter #bicyclingbelfast

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

The Past in the Present: Titanic Quarter's Journey

In this series, The Past in the Present, we explore how the historic urban character of a city can be part of a dynamic and continually evolving contemporary society, with an aim to spark debate on the topic of conservation and heritage in our cities and further afield.

Series curated by Ailish Killilea and Anna Skoura.

We are living in the year of the Centennial anniversary of Titanic, since it departed Belfast on its maiden voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. The following article explores some the Titanic's history, how some of the heritage buildings are put to use today and the future development for Queen's Island.


S.S. Titanic, April 1912. (picture via The Modern History Blog)

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

QUB ARCSOC Lecture: David Saxby 24th Feb 11am

Radical Incremental Change
- David Saxby of Architecture Zero Zero 
- Friday 24th February 11am
- Ashby Building, Stranmillis - Room 006 Level 4

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Current volunteering opportunities at PLACE

Photo by Robin Cordiner.

Here at PLACE, our volunteer team are involved every day, in all sorts of ways: greeting visitors, setting up exhibitions, researching and writing for the blog and much more. We want to encourage more people of all ages to get involved with the organisation, and to help us develop our projects across Northern Ireland.

We have a number of current opportunities:

Cardboard Cities at Belfast Children's Festival
We're excited to be working with the Children's Festival again this year. Using freestanding pieces built from cardboard and adding their own extra features, visitors of all ages can adapt and rebuild the city as often as they wish.

When? Venue setup 2nd - 8th March; Event daily 9th - 16th March; Take-down 19th- 20th March
What would I be doing? Helping prepare the venue, and facilitating the workshop during the Festival.
Location: Belfast
Other info: Expenses paid. Training involved.
Interested? Email conor[at]placeni.org with Cardboard Cities in the subject line.
Deadline: 25th Feb, 5pm

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somewhereto_ volunteers
PLACE is the NI Regional Coordinator for somewhereto_, a project finding spaces across the UK for 16-25 year olds. somewhereto_ has been funded by Legacy Trust UK, creating a lasting impact from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games by funding ideas and local talent to inspire creativity across the UK. Our volunteer scheme is open to 16-25 year olds across NI.


When? Places available immediately, continuing throughout Summer 2012.
What would I be doing? Helping other 16-25 year olds who need to find space. Networking and promotion. Day-to-day support.
Location: Centrally in Belfast but also other locations across NI.
Other info: Open to ages 16-25 only. Expenses paid. Personal development reward scheme.
Interested? Email conor[at]placeni.org with somewhereto_ in the subject line.
Deadline: Rolling

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PLACE Blog Team
The PLACE Blog team investigate urban issues near to their heart. We are looking for more dedicated, enthusiastic and insightful people to investigate their urban environment and its systems. Whether you're a budding reporter, photographer or film-maker - or just someone who's passionate about architecture, urban design or rural design - we want to hear from you.

When? Flexible dates and times. Long term and short term projects available.
What would I be doing? Producing blog posts with support from PLACE staff alongside other members of the blog team.
Location: Centrally in Belfast but also other locations across NI.
Other info: Expenses paid. Some training available
Interested? Email conor[at]placeni.org with Blog Team in the subject line.
Deadline: Rolling

If you have any questions, contact us.

Friday, 10 February 2012

somewhereto_ Share your Vision: A Retrospective

A piece of student work that featured in the presentation.
Last Saturday PLACE held its first student participation event called Share your Vision. The day began with some light refreshments and a brief presentation by some of the PLACE interns and volunteers (Anna Skoura, Gary Potter & Ailish Killilea), giving some insight into the workings of PLACE and some of their own work.

Students participating discussed some of their own projects and interests in the built environment and design. Also present was Mr. Arthur Acheson, of Boyd Partnership and Chair of the Ministerial Advisory Group, who encouraged debate on design and addressed design concerns in Belfast and Northern Ireland. This informal debate led to some interesting thinking and many intriguing discussions.

Share your Vision aims to:
  • provide a platform where student projects can be viewed by the wider public
  • promote discussion about the built environment
  • to offer the PLACE Blog as an outlet for new ideas

Due to the success of the event and PLACE's desire to encourage student discussion on architecture and the built environment, there will be another Share your Vision event coming soon...watch this space.

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PLACE is the Northern Ireland Regional Coordinator for somewhereto_, a nationwide project to help young people find the space they need to do the things they love within sport, culture and the arts. Run by Livity, in partnership with Channel 4, the project is funded by Legacy Trust UK, an independent charity set up to help build a lasting cultural and sporting legacy from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games across the UK.

Do you need somewhereto_ do the things you love? Get in touch with us...

Tweet us: @somewhereto_NI
Phone: 028 9023 2524

Thursday, 9 February 2012

The Past in the Present: A Bright Future for Carlisle Memorial Church

In this series, The Past in the Present, we explore how the historic urban character of a city can be part of a dynamic and continually evolving contemporary society, with an aim to spark debate on the topic of conservation and heritage in our cities and further afield.

Series curated by Ailish Killilea and Anna Skoura.

Carlisle Memorial Church Belfast. (Photo by Belfast Telegraph)
Carlisle Memorial Church has featured on our blog series before as one of three buildings in Northern Ireland on the World Monument Watch List (featured on the list in 2010), and it is now set to continue its lineage with repairs of up to £400,000. 

As featured in the Belfast Telegraph today,Alex Attwood, Environment Minister, pledged £400,000 to restore this iconic Belfast building, situated at Carlisle Circus, North Belfast. 

When making the announcement, Attwood said: “Carlisle Memorial Methodist Church is one of Belfast’s best known listed buildings and is a hugely important landmark at the entrance to West and North Belfast from the city centre.

Carlisle Memorial Methodist Church serves as a sober reminder of the city's architectural legacy and its troubled past. The church was designed in Gothic Revival style by the prominent architect, W. H. Lynn, and opened its doors to the public in 1875. The church that was once home to the largest Methodist congregations in Belfast ceased to be used as a place of worship in 1982, a consequence of the declining congregation and its location at a major interface between Catholic and Protestant populations.

Inside Carlisle Church. (Photo by Archiseek) 
The church has been lying derelict for close to thirty years and has suffered extensive physical degradation as a result. Despite its religious associations, the building is now perceived as neutral territory in a deeply polarized area and holds symbolic potential for North Belfast in particular, and for the city as a whole. This public perception and the church’s interface location lend credence to renewed proposals for the adaptive reuse of this shared heritage resource. Such a project would foster significant civic engagement with stakeholder communities and deepen the successes of the Northern Irish peace process.

Attwood also added: “This funding will help secure its future and, following its conservation and regeneration, will be a great opportunity to both revitalize and provide a significant economic boost for the area. What I and DOE is about, is making Northern Ireland a better place to live, work and invest and this will certainly help to do that."

A spokesman for Belfast Building Preservation Trust said: “Belfast Buildings Preservation Trust is delighted to receive this support from the Department of the Environment. Carlisle Memorial Church was Watch Listed by the World Monuments Fund in 2010 as one of the 100 most endangered historic buildings in the world."

“While it is not economically feasible to save every historic building, it is vital that we do as much as we can to preserve our rich past for future generations. Carlisle memorial is a jewel in our historical crown and after it’s conservation, it will have a great beneficial impact for the economy, tourism and for health and well being", said Minister Attwood.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Keith Williams lecture at QUB


QUB Arcsoc host Keith Williams for a talk at the Peter Frogatt Centre (room 02/018) on Thursday 9th February at 6pm. All welcome - £5 entry for non-Arcsoc members.

QUB Street Society 2012 - call for submissions

Click the flyer above to enlarge.

Friday, 3 February 2012

FAB Intern Lab

The Forum for Alternative Belfast are seeking 5 interns to help deliver their projects in the city.

"We intend that for four weeks there will be paid work to assist in a proposed winter school in mid March. As opportunities arise we would propose that other work could be paid on a project basis."

Closing date Monday 13th Feb. Click the flyer below to enlarge (flyer updated 8th Feb).


Thursday, 2 February 2012

Good Contemporary Design in Historic Churches


In this series, The Past in the Present, we explore how the historic urban character of a city can be part of a dynamic and continually evolving contemporary society, with an aim to spark debate on the topic of conservation and heritage in our cities and further afield.

Series curated by Ailish Killilea and Anna Skoura.

 
 Photo by Bob in thechive.com
 A discussion on how to achieve high quality contemporary design in historic contexts is held in London, on the 28th of February.

Crispin Truman and Peter Aiers of The Churches Conservation Trust will talk about their work bringing new use to historic churches at risk. They will provide case studies and examples of the churches they care for and how they work with local communities to bring them alive again. They will also talk about their wide range of projects and events to promote tourism, volunteering, education, arts and community use.  

Heather Hilburn, CEO of Shape East will discuss the design support that they are providing to create a cultural hub in a church and its surrounding town square.

Some information about the presenters: 
Crispin Truman joined The Churches Conservation Trust as Chief Executive in 2003. Crispin is a trustee of Heritage Alliance and chairs the national Heritage Open Days committee. He led the setting up of a new European network, Future Religious Heritage, which he now chairs.  Crispin is also a trustee of The Building Exploratory; a secondary school governor in Hackney; and was formerly trustee of mental health charity Rethink and chair of the London Cycling Campaign.

Joining the Trust in 2007 Peter Aiers has a specific role to find sustainable solutions to complex urban churches within the Trust as well as running the Regeneration Taskforce to enable more community involvement in the care and maintenance of our wonderful portfolio.

Heather Hilburn has an extensive background in architecture and commercial development and has worked in the UK's built environment industry for over 15 years. She has successfully delivered landmark Arts, Education and Leisure projects across Europe. She is a Trustee of London Spitalfield's City Farm, sits on the RIBA Building Futures Advisory Panel, as well as on the committee for Cambridge University Entrepreneurs, as Director for Social Enterprise.
The event is hosted by the Architecture Centre Network

For more information click here: link