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Belfast Urban Childhoods Masterplan: bringing families back to the city

Author(s): ARUP

Cities are becoming less inclusive for children. The youngest in society – our future citizens – have been increasingly side-lined, leaving us with city centres and suburbs that can restrict the freedom of children and potentially expose them to health and development risks.

With 35% of Belfast’s population aged 25 or under, Belfast City Council recognised the need to design for the youngest in the population and place them at the heart of city planning. With support from the Resilient Cities Network (R-Cities), and working closely with Belfast City Council, Arup developed a framework and design strategy that creates a more healthy, inclusive and child-friendly city centre in Belfast.

The vision and design strategy work together to address the resilience challenges facing the city. These include the prevalence of car use, climate change, air pollution, drop in footfall and a lack of housing in the core of the city centre to support economic recovery and sustainable development. The design strategy incorporates a range of physical interventions that aim to promote connectivity through placemaking and active travel schemes, in addition to the retrofit of existing urban landscapes to bring people back to Belfast’s city centre.

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