Public space – past lessons and future strategies
in Civic identity and public space
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The municipal elite of Victorian and Edwardian Belfast, like their counterparts in other growing cities, sought to cope with the rapidly expanding industrial city for which they were responsible by promoting a sense of civic pride, and by developing a new policy of open but conditional access to public space. Both strategies were partly undermined, in the case of Belfast, by a pervasive religious and political sectionalism. Today policy makers pursue parallel goals, in the context of new ideas of human rights and the acceptance of diversity. Attempts to promote a shared civic identity have had some success, but the long-term future remains unclear. The alternative would be partition, continuing to close off the realisation in Belfast of the full potential of modern urban living.

Civic identity and public space

Belfast since 1780


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