Beyond the peace lines… (2018)

… exploring the impacts of landscape boundaries and social inclusion in Belfast

Beyond the Peace Lines 2018 © Ian Mell

The project aims to examine whether the historical physical boundaries associated with sectarian segregation in Belfast remain influential in how people engage with and value the city’s landscape. In addition, the project will explore how ethno-cultural norms have led to the creation of invisible borders between and within communities, and how the changing development landscape of the city is addressing existing division.

Belfast is a complex and diverse city. Its urban form has been manipulated over time to house both beautiful landscapes and spaces of community exclusion. The role of parks have been discussed less frequently, yet have been shown to make significant positive impacts on health, well-being and community cohesion.

The ‘Beyond the Peace Lines’ project aims to ask whether parks promote the same level of distinctive community use (and identity) as other parts of Belfast, or whether they are more inclusive and fluid. By assessing where, how and what people use parks for this project helps to try and better understand the value of ‘landscape’ in a contested city.

Applicant: Dr Ian Mell, who leads a multi-discplinary team from the Universities of Manchester, Salford, Brighton and Ulster, UK