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The Ormeau Parklet: a test model to expand public space

The Ormeau Parklet is a trial placemaking project to test how Belfast can creatively redesign public spaces. Belfast Buildings Trust, Queen’s University Belfast, OGU Architects, MMAS Architects, the Department for Infrastructure, Belfast City Council, and four local hospitality businesses, are partnering on the project.

The partners have launched it as a test model to expand public space for Belfast’s people and businesses; to look at public space in a different way; to support social distancing during Covid-19 and improve people’s experiences of the Ormeau Road.

Parklets are a popular way to reshape problematic spaces into places that people want to occupy because they can be implemented rapidly and reversibly. The Ormeau Parklet has temporarily turned a number of on-street parking spaces into flexible outdoor space.

The project, a first for Northern Ireland, champions quality design at its heart and the hope is that the Ormeau Parklet model will build evidence for other potential placemaking projects throughout the city and in other locations across Northern Ireland.

Joanne Corr, Chair of Belfast Buildings Trust, said: “Belfast Buildings Trust works to make Belfast’s authentic buildings and places relevant for the City’s people. Through our Successful Belfast initiative, we explore new ways of involving people in doing that. We believe that Belfast’s people and places deserve quality and we’re willing to take risks to achieve that. The reaction to the Ormeau Parklet already shows what’s possible when civic partnerships are willing to work in new ways that combine civic and community action, creative design practice, and research.”

Co-design and a collaborative approach from the project partners, local businesses and residents ensured the trial project's success.