ABSTRACT

This chapter looks into the sociopolitical landscape of contemporary Northern Ireland following the Good Friday Agreement and its subsequent implications on spatial planning, urban design, and the architecture of public spaces, both in its cities and in rural areas. It highlights political, administrative, and governance structures and decision-making procedures, and it reflects on the complexity of the spatial manifestation of conditions of post-conflict division and the manner in which the notion of ‘shareness’ has been at the centre of changing patterns of living. The chapter also offers a reading of the historic layers of ideological polarisation that make up the urban and rural built fabric in Ireland, tracing the urban layers of Belfast as an industrial city and economic powerhouse of the North, including its iconic early 20th-century buildings, spaces, and political institutions.