This thesis project analyses and contextualises the text ‘Life Between Buildings’ by Jan Gehl into a city wide framework for Belfast and a masterplan within Inner East Belfast. An in-depth analysis of the city concluded a need for improvement of its public space and a resolve for social divisions which are evident in the city. Through the culmination of the research and the analysis of Gehl’s text, this project became focused around the integration of communities through the means of public space.
The city wide framework strives to create contact across the city through a public space network and a series of macro, meso and micro contact strategies for neighbourhoods. The network primarily focuses on how the pedestrian moves around the city, integrating public transport and infrastructure into the network. The aim of the framework is to create integration between communities who are divided by physical and social boundaries, as well as steer the city towards a more sustainable future.
The masterplan site is situated in Inner East Belfast with the Short Strand Peace Line running along one of the edges. The site proposes a challenge for integration as well as an opportunity to establish the public space network to connect East Belfast to the City Centre. The masterplan is designed around a hierarchy of public space. There are two primary spaces which are supported by a series of secondary and tertiary spaces. One of these spaces is the peace line park. The peace line park sits along the peace line and seeks to open up physical and social divisions across the contested interface. This area is explored in more detail, creating a precedent of how contested spaces could become opportunities for community engagement and integration.