The Urban Villages Initiative was showcased to an international audience at an event in Belfast this week.
The event, held at the Ormeau Baths, was an opportunity to present projects from the £65 million investment to delegates from the Build Peace conference. The conference is taking place in Ulster University and brings together around 250 activists, academics and policy makers from all over the world to discuss innovation in peacebuilding and conflict transformation.
The Urban Villages Initiative is a headline action within the NI Executive’s Together Building a United Community (TBUC) strategy and is overseen by the Executive Office. It is designed to improve good relations and areas where there has been a history of deprivation and community tension.
The initiative brings together the Executive Office, local government and community and voluntary groups and has seen success in delivering a number of projects specific to each area.
The five Urban Villages are The Bogside, Fountain and Bishop Street in Derry-Londonderry, Ardoyne and greater Ballysillan, Colin, the lower part of the Newtownards Road and Sandy Row, Donegall Pass and the Markets.
Dr Mark Browne, Director, Strategic of Policy Equality and Good Relations said:
“We are delighted to be supporting the Build Peace 2018 International Conference. It is fantastic to see so many international delegates here in Belfast and a privilege to be able to tell them about the Executive’s Good Relations Strategy, ‘Together: Building a United Community’ (T:buc).
We showcased the Urban Villages Initiative at the event. This is a £65 million investment by the Executive in areas where there has previously been a history of deprivation and community tension. Through a combination of community and capital projects this programme is clearly impacting good relations by fostering positive community identity, building community capacity and impacting the physical environment.”
Kate Mytty, Build Up Associate and MIT Visiting Lecturer added:
"As part of the Build Peace 2018 conference, we hosted an evening panel and discussion session to bring together international delegates and representatives from Belfast. A number of projects from Urban Villages that work to build greater connection were highlighted that embody the conference’s theme of building peace by re-imagining prosperity.”