Town Planning Review

Beyond the peace lines: conceptualising representations of parks as inclusionary spaces in Belfast, Northern Ireland

Town Planning Review (2019), 90, (2), 195–218.


Belfast is a city of extremes in terms of its political, historical, cultural and urban development. Due to political unrest its spatial form has been subject to extensive redevelopment and to the imposition of defensive architecture. Within this narrative, parks have been overlooked; less evidence is available as to whether public spaces, and specifically parks, can be repositioned as spaces of inclusivity and communal interaction. To examine whether parks can facilitate a greater sense of community and identity, this paper employs a novel conceptualisation using the theoretical framing of Foucault, Lefebvre, Lynch and Newman to examine how representations of physical space influence the behaviour, use and value of parks. It further evaluates how each can be applied to our understanding of the value of parks, using Belfast as a case study.

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Author details

Mell, Ian