Your space or mine?

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Last night I attended an exhibition launch for a project called “your space or mine?”, in which the organisers ask:

  • Do current urban renewal and development models offer hope of shared and integrated futures for interface communities?
  • What role can interface communities have in determining their future development?
  • What role do architects have in any of this?

The exhibition has its roots in a request by an interface community group to place community interest first in proposals for a key river-front site close to the Brandywell/Fountain interface in Derry/Londonderry:

Funded by the European Union Peace 2.1 programme, through the Northern Ireland Community Relations Council, this exhibition has its roots in a request by an interface community group to place community interest first in proposals for a key river-front site close to the Brandywell/Fountain interface in Derry/Londonderry.

The resulting project involved Derry City Council, DSD, statutory and private development agents and included poetry sessions, art workshops, guerrilla gardening and temporary urban transformations in determining community ambition.

While proposing creative ways to discover and release locked-in social, cultural and financial capital in contested spaces, project recommendations also direct these valuable resources towards sustainable and shared futures for interface communities.

Michael McQueen (Lecturer, School of Architecture and Design, University of Ulster) describes this as “a co-influence approach to shared future urban environments in interface communities”, and he explained the process of the project at the exhibition launch (video above).

I see linkages with some of the work that my organisation, the Northern Ireland Foundation, is doing. I had a pleasant conversation with Michael, and hope we can work together for mutual benefit.

The exhibition will be on show from 5-14 February 2009, at PLACE, The Architecture and Built Environment Centre for Northern Ireland, 40 Fountain Street, Belfast.

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