Belfast City of the future design competition launched with 10k prize

‘We want to build a sustainable city, without walls, where every child has a home’

By Claire Cartmill
Tuesday, 31st May 2022, 10:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 31st May 2022, 10:46 am
Mohammed Osman, Tawsul Mohammed, Marissa McMahon and Laura Ryan of Take Back the City coalition launch the Take Back the City Design Competition on the Mackies site in Belfast
Mohammed Osman, Tawsul Mohammed, Marissa McMahon and Laura Ryan of Take Back the City coalition launch the Take Back the City Design Competition on the Mackies site in Belfast

Take Back the City Coalition is launching an international competition for businesses, architects, planners and urban design consultants to submit a design to transform Belfast’s largest publicly owned site.

With the potential for 950 gentle density homes in the area of highest social housing need in Belfast, entrants are being encouraged to submit design concepts to help transform the site formerly occupied by Mackies, once one of West Belfast’s largest employers.

Plans for the 25 acre vacant site will be judged by a panel of local and international experts. Following a period of community engagement, the winner of the £10,000 prize will be announced in October 2022 and will have the opportunity to take their design to master-plan stage.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Marissa McMahon of the Take Back the City Coalition, said: “Take Back the City is led by families in housing need. We are trail-blazing a community led process to build a better Belfast. We want to build a sustainable city, without walls, where every child has a home. Our coalition is supported by experts in housing development, technology, communications, permaculture, housing policy, planning, human rights and equality. We are looking for an individual or organisation with the design skills to bring our vision to life.”

A first of its kind for Northern Ireland, this project is located on a historical interface, in a society emerging from conflict, where walls have separated communities for generations. The Take Back the City coalition is particularly interested in receiving entries which demonstrate innovative solutions to overcome the divisive architecture and politics of Belfast by creating communities which deliver on the principles of equality and human rights enshrined in the Good Friday Agreement, the cornerstone of the fragile Northern Ireland peace process.

Submissions can include novel or innovative methods including short films, technical drawings or other formats. The designs will be judged on the six principles of development which have been developed by Take Back The City through a participative community engagement process. The six principles are: a healthy place to live; adapting to the challenges of a changing climate; an inclusive community; co-creation in design; local employment and skills; self-management and autonomy.

Entrants will be invited to the ‘City of the Future’ event at the Innovation Factory on the Mackies site on August 10 and 11 and all entries will be displayed on the www.takebackthecity.ie web platform, as part of a community engagement process. The closing date for all submissions will be September 30 2022 with winners announced in October 2022.

To enter, please complete the entry form available at https://www.nlb.ie/blog/2022-05-the-city-of-the-future-an-urban-design-competition

This competition has been funded by Oak Foundation.