Walking the Streets: No More Motorways for Belfast

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This article explores how the spatial qualities and diversity of one of Belfast’s main arteries, North Street/Peter’s Hill, was transformed by urban planning decisions throughout the twentieth century. It looks specifically at how a car-dominated planning system contributed to the deterioration of the street fabric. Predicated on ideas of plot-based urbanism, the analysis of historic maps and plans points to the ways in which the function and dimensions of the buildings have contributed to the vibrancy of North Street/Peter’s Hill and how the more recent transformation of those functions and dimensions damaged these streets. The article acknowledges that streets are made of the social and cultural context in which they exist, while their form and function is instrumental to their embedded public life.