Belfast City Council’s Supporting Vibrant Business Destination programme is a partnership between the Belfast City Council and the Department for Communities. The scheme is designed to support urban regeneration and community development to strengthen the competitiveness of our urban businesses and to enable the delivery of projects that encourage people to live, work, visit and invest in local areas as more vibrant local business destinations.
MMAS and OGU Architects were appointed to provide design support and maximise the benefit of the funding programme. This accounted to a total of 10 significant arterial routes in Belfast.
Each arterial route required strategic thinking and site specific observations to identify strengths, weaknesses and opportunities. Our intention throughout each of the arterial routes was to build upon the character, authenticity and heritage of each street. In order to help businesses thrive, the grant funding was used to help activate the street and enhance vibrancy for improved pedestrian experience and generate footfall.
Consultation with the Department For Infrastructure was heavily part of the process. This was a significant part of the process to identify and reclaim road space for pedestrians to help create safer and more vibrant spaces.
In some cases, locations for street art were strategically identified to provide definition to neglected spaces. For example, the alley in the above is a well used pathway often used by children and local residents but currently gives a poor perception of an unsafe and unwelcoming passage. Street art in this instance helped to lift the space and bring a brighter and more engaging pedestrian pathway.
The needs for each arterial route differed. Some required more temporary interventions such as markets for local traders to increase their social presence. MMAS and OGU Architects in this scenario had identified opportunities to temporarily transform a car dominated part of the streetscape into a people centred public space as a driver of footfall.
As a result of the Vibrant Business Destinations grant scheme, MMAS were appointed by Cavehill Traders Association and Cregagh Road Traders Acssociation to design and deliver streetworks improvement schemes.