Forum for an alternative Belfast

Battenburg Cake

Working on Berry Street and Bank Square designs drew to our attention the lack of connection between the Cathedral Quarter and the similar South West Quarter around Castle Street and Fountain Lane. Key links like Berry Street, Garfield Street and North Street Arcade have been lost and must be restored as a priority for the health of the city.

Both areas retain their historic grain, along with the independent sector and art uses. These areas do not need regeneration so much as care and good management. We coloured these areas a shade of pink, and the other diagonal quarters in yellow for mainstream retail – it brought to mind a Battenburg cake, diagonal quadrants mutually supporting each other. Berry Street was the strawberry jam.

The idea emerged for the City of Quarters conference in 2010. The Battenburg is the core and a new university campus to the North sets up an education relationship with Queen’s in the South. What is vital is that all sections of the city are linked with walkable connections. If the city neighbourhoods are the cherries, then the humble cocktail stick is the key link – as demonstrated by the Divis Link and 6 Links projects.