StreetSpace is a research and teaching project at Queen's University Belfast, led by Dr Agustina Martire, lecturer in Architecture.
The project investigates the significance of local mixed streets through their urban form, histories and experiences. It challenges the accepted urban analysis of built environment disciplines by establishing links with other disciplines involved in the study of the urban environment. The project also seeks to enable the dialogue between academia, policy and the public thorough the organisation of local workshops.
Mixed use streets are complex entities that connect diverse areas of the city. They have evolved slowly through history, but can be radically transformed by redevelopment. Scholars value their plurality, diversity and authenticity; while urban designers and planners value their physical aspects, often overlooking the social construct of the people who use them. On the other hand, policy makers look for the social, economical and political value of mixed use streets. To be able to bridge this gap between academia, practice and policy we need to understand all these values. So, how can we study streets beyond the usual tools of built environment professionals? StreetSpace seeks to understand the significance of mixed use streets, by analysing their physical, historical and experiential aspects. It explores streets with a rich mix of uses, with complex histories and especially those that risk losing their distinctive identities. This multidisciplinary and international project aims to provide and alternative way of planning and developing mixed use streets.
The project began in 2011 with the graphic analysis of streets in plan and section. Now it has evolved to include different types of analysis coming from disciplines as diverse as sociology, history, geography, sound, art, as well as architecture and urban design. The street section project workshops were held in Belfast, Buenos Aires, Edinburgh and Kilkenny. This exercise has enhanced local student’s understanding of the role of streets in the urban landscape while building a critical mass of examples to inform the analysis. The more complex interdisciplinary workshop has been carried out in Belfast (2015/16/17/18), London (2017) and Naples (2017), highlighting diversity, sensory experiences, hidden histories, a cultural audit and other new perspectives to understand and potentially occupy the city with start up and pop up interventions. The workshop will take place in October 2018 in Ljubljana and other cities in the future.
The wider StreetSpace project is also underway through an interdisciplinary reading group and taught modules in the Masters in Architecture.
Videos workshops and symposium: