South Belfast Strategic Regeneration Framework

12 December 2008 | blog, cities, frameworks, neighbourhood, strategy, working with communities

A team led by Hyder Consulting was appointed by the South Belfast Partnership (SBP) to undertake the development of a Strategic Regeneration Framework (SRF) for South Belfast. The Hyder Team included the following practices:

  • Kevin McGovern – Strategy Development
  • Colin Stutt Consulting – Project Economist
  • Drew Mackie Associates / Full Circle – Community and Stakeholder Consultation.
  • WMUD – Urban Design

This Framework was one of five being developed for Belfast as a whole, and forms an important foundation to the development of an overarching strategy for the city. The Regeneration Framework is intended to address several key strands of public policy and intervention which, when combined, will provide a practical and multi-faceted strategic platform for clear and integrated decision-making about future investment, local service delivery, economic development, employment creation and physical regeneration.

Quality of life

Any regeneration initiative has to consider the impact that the layers of policy,
investment and direct action have on the quality of life of those directly and in-directly
affected by the decisions of their community, agencies and government departments. It
is now an over-used phrase, but “joined-up thinking and action”, however it is formally
or informally organised, is the key to successful regeneration.
It cannot be ignored that there are conflicts to be resolved, resources to be found and
many different competing needs to be met. However, unless renewal strategies can be
seen to be targeted, resource-led and soundly based in the real challenges faced by
local people, communities will continue to feel ignored and disenfranchised. A
regeneration strategy must not be seen to be another stage in a continual cycle, but a
real means by which permanent changes can be made.

In the study area, there are already a number of local strategies and initiatives in place
or being developed. The SRF must therefore provide a structure in which these plans
will fit as part of the wider thinking, and against which emerging strategies, initiatives
and projects can be evaluated. Regeneration which is based on a string of individual
“quick fix” projects or community action plans developed in isolation, can lack the long term
vision and support that a wider strategy can provide.

The aim of this strategy was to:

  • improve the quality of life, social and economic opportunities for the residents of South Belfast
  • provide a strategic context for the transformation of local neighbourhoods, public spaces, retail and other commercial areas etc, where needed
  • provide a strategic context for the improvement and enhancement of the range of public services in the area and, in particular, how they can be provided in a more co-ordinated manner
  • guide public and private investment in a ten-year partnership delivery plan
  • identify and support existing measures which contribute to the wider strategic plan and vision
  • assist in the evaluation of future initiatives and to help to prioritise current plans and projects

Willie Miller, the founder and principal of WMUD, died on 12th January 2021 after a short illness. Willie was a much-loved husband and father and had a huge circle of friends  and professional colleagues. He was a multi-talented urban designer whose work had a major impact on hundreds of cities, towns and neighbourhoods throughout the UK and over the past 25 years. He also worked in Ireland, the Channel Islands and the USA.

Ines Triebel has been with WMUD since 2005, and she will continue the practice, drawing on her skills as a planner and designer. Ines has worked on place strategies, masterplans, policy guidance, regeneration and development frameworks, and the design of public realm and streetscape projects. She has extensive experience of working with communities, including charrettes.

WMUD will continue its long-standing strategic partnerships with Benton Scott-Simmons, Nick Wright Planning, Kevin Murray Associates, icecream architecture, yellow book and others. Please direct inquiries to Ines at [email protected] or contact any of the practices named above.