Civil Enterprise in the Built Environment
An Exhibition-Publication-Event Series in 2006 supported by the University of Ulster and the National Lottery through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland's Special Initiative for Architecture and the Built Environment.
Belfast's slow transition from 'troubled' city to 'lived' city is underway. However, the impact of thirty years of civil conflict continues to be felt as much in the current development of the city as it was during times of strife. Governance structures remain highly centralised and locally unaccountable; the development of civil society is inhibited by persistent sectarianism; and the economic life of the region continues to be distorted by state subvention and paramilitary intervention. These conditions are reflected in the formation of the built environment, where large state and corporate actors dominate development, where security mindsets produce fragmented spatial arrangements, and where 'cultural clientelism' opposes the integration of urban institutions and resources. 'Building Initiative' opposes this politics of identity with a politics of place. In collaboration with partners in the construction industry, government, and civil society, it is developing a series of governance, design, cultural, and procurement proposals that range in scale and scope, with the aim of opening up paths of initiative for civil enterprise to reclaim its pivotal role in shaping the city.