22-30 Hopefield Avenue
Belfast, BT15 5AP
02890 994 226
Connected Belfast: Mundane Mobilities and Access to the City
With this Project we examine how the nature and quality of the built environment in our city grants its citizens access to the resources of common public space - services, jobs, leisure, and education. Do Belfast’s streets, roads, junctions, pavements allow us to use and enjoy the city? Do they enable or prevent us from walking or cycling? How easy is it to get to places without access to a private car? How do our movements in the city depend on our age, gender, social class or physical (dis)ability?
We believe that in order to be sustainable, inclusive and just, a city has to be well connected and to afford free and equal mobility to its residents. In reality, however, all cities limit or enable the mobility of different social groups in different ways. For instance, surface car parks, roads and urban motorways can have adverse barrier effects on ‘deprived’ inner city neighbourhoods, mothers of young children, or on young people who rely exclusively on walking in the city, but allow motorised access to the centre for more affluent commuters. These inequalities constitute mobility injustice.
Our research focuses on the combined effects of physical spatial connectivity, the mundane experiences of movement of inner city residents, and the cultural context that shapes how people read everyday spaces. We ask how the different ways in which we move (walking, cycling, traveling by car or bus) shape differently who we are in relation to the places we move through, and to ‘others’ in them?
The research is a collaboration between citizens, architects, designers, planners, and sociologists and employs a combination of interdisciplinary research methods – mobile, visual and mapping – that enable analyses of movement, embodiment and spatial change, and make sociologically-informed recommendations to promote the design of accessible and inclusive urban spaces.