Forum for an alternative Belfast

Summer School 2009 – The Missing City

The Missing City Map

(downloadable pdf below)

Launched by Belfast Lord Mayor Naomi Long in the City Hall, 21st January 2010 This map charts the vacant sites of central Belfast in 2009* – what it shows is a shrinking city, a city that had 470,000 people in 1950 and now has a population of 270,000 – the city population is projected to shrink further. 

 Why is so much space sitting empty despite 15 years of building boom? Why is there no central and coherent plan to rebuild the city? 

In a sense, our destructive road infrastructure created and encouraged the commuter traffic of 100,000 people who once lived in the city. Policies continue to encourage the outward expansion of the city region whilst its population actually reduces, losing the mass of people needed to sustain a truly active city. 

 We should remember that in 1960 all twelve arterial routes in this city connected seamlessly with lively commercial activity into the city centre – now we have a road infrastructure that creates a doughnut of sterile space that is frightening and unpleasant to traverse. 

 These were choices – choices that most successful European cites did not make. That many cities have reconsidered with new more critical reconstruction.We now have new choices and opportunities. 

It was compiled over a week in August 2009 by a Summer School of over 50 dedicated graduates and professionals.


ISBN 978–1–907577–00–0

This is based upon Crown Copyright and is reproduced with the permission of LPS under delegated authority from the Controller of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, © Crown copyright and database rights 2009 MOU203

missing city map download (large 4Mb)