By Northern Ireland Housing Executive
The new social housing stock designed and built by the NIHE was an undoubted improvement on what preceded it. Mackel remarks in his Troubles Archive Essay that “many of the houses built in that new build housing stock programme provide pleasant homes and were built to high technical standards in the brick built aesthetic of the city”; however, he goes on to observe, “but many are surrounded by walls and defensible spaces which provide little permeability or connection with neighbouring clusters of housing.”
The pattern of many housing developments like this, during the Troubles period, has been dictated, in part, by the need to secure communities and make them easier to patrol.
Communities are not highly mobile in Belfast. This is a feature of a divided society. So those families which lived in the old deteriorating housing of working class areas like Short Strand required a development that would enable them to remain in the same space, comforted by a sense that they were safer in familiar streets.
Photograph by Brian Morrison
Close to the River Lagan where it emerges into Belfast Lough.
Name of Architect
Northern Ireland Housing Executive
Residential housing development
The housing development demonstrates a “defensible space” type of residential planning. All the living rooms of the houses look inward onto the shared-surface courtyard. Brett said that the design layout “reflects the problems inherent in a Catholic enclave housing development situated within a predominantly Protestant part of East Belfast but also the constraints of adjacent heavy industry, a bus station and busy traffic routes”.