This research project investigated how the phenomena of Belfast’s Urban Bonfires, could be re-imagined in a less sectarian and environmentally threatening form.
What form of public space or utility could be based around the activities of gathering, storing and periodically burning selected urban waste as a way of managing the environmental issues of pollution and dumping associated with bonfires? The incorporation of a recycling centre into a defined public space capable of hosting large public fires would address these issues. Other public activities such as car boot sales or garage markets could develop around recycling. A space designed for an audience to gather around a large fire could also be suitable for other outdoor events such as theatre, cinema, or concerts. Allowing these locations to be used as public spaces on a more ongoing basis could potentially make them more inclusive. Could Belfast develop its own unique public space typology?
These questions were investigated through workshops with participants form Environmental, Social Sciences, Community Representative, Government Agency, Artistic and Architectural backgrounds, and resulted in the development of a prototypical model for a bonfire-recycling centre.