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Smart choices for a sustainable district - Belfast Linen Quarter BID


Cities are where 75 per cent of the global population will live by 2050.

Globally, cities have committed to ambitious climate and energy reduction goals. Still, most struggle to bridge the gap between the rhetoric of aspiration and the practical steps that lead to measurable impact.

Districts are the most effective unit of scale to test integrated systems and infrastructure and accelerate sustainability (Source: Smart Sustainable District SSD).

What is the Linen Quarter BID?

The Linen Quarter Business Improvement District (LQ BID) is an independent not for profit company democratically elected in February 2018 and governed by a Board of Directors from local organisations across the Linen Quarter in Belfast to encourage specific improvements. Located behind Belfast City Hall, the Linen Quarter was once the headquarters of Ireland's global linen industry. The company facilitates ongoing and future investments, including various regeneration projects promoting the district and community safety improvements.

In September 2021, LQ BID launched the Linen Quarter as Northern Ireland’s first sustainable district and leader of the collective effort required to tackle the climate crisis. 

LQ BID Sustainable District

The Sustainable District is part of the LQ BID’s vision for a reimagined Linen Quarter with enhanced outdoor areas, added green spaces and more significant investment in improved infrastructure for walking and cycling already underway.

To start this transformation, three main areas of change were previously identified, based on the immediate impact that businesses involved in this regeneration project could have.




To lead sustainable initiatives and create more sustainably-minded organisations, while understanding the commercial benefits of reducing emissions at the same time, several free educational resources, climate change training, membership of accredited green schemes (energy, transport, waste) were offered, in partnership with Business in the Community, Cycling UK, Power NI with Green Energy contracts. 

Examples of support include:

Funded Climate Change Emergency Response training for a cohort of members.

Provided funding for members who wish to promote cycling and become accredited through Cycling UK.

Promoted River Ridge as a preferred supplier to offer members a bespoke, sustainability-focused waste management service.

Promoted Power NI for members who wish to transition to green energy.

Commissioned a green building report on Bedford House, showcased during the RE[ACT] Festival.

Sustainable Initiatives

Summer 2021

In summer 2021, the District was the protagonist of remarkable sustainable transport initiatives. A partnership with Cycling UK was established to urge more businesses across the district to become cycling champions during Bike Week in May. In June, the LQ BID launched the Golden Mile Walking Trail to draw more footfall into the city and consequently support attractions and businesses.

Autumn 2021

As part of the COP26 events in Northern Ireland in November, the LQ BID ran the RE[ACT] festival, a brand new festival aiming to inspire a more sustainable Belfast.

The festival comprised a series of 30 online and in-person events around food waste, fast fashion, and transport.

A new 19-metre parklet on Bedford Street, just outside Pug Ugly’s pub, was announced in October, following on from the success of the Linenhall Street parklet, revealed in July.

Both parklets respond to the contemporary city environment that citizens have come to demand, in line with the most sustainable cities worldwide where creativity and innovation are combined to enhance the use of outdoor public realms.

To further enhance the district, a ballot bin to reduce cigarette litter and planting was installed.

Big Ideas

In line with Belfast City Council's bold vision for 2035, the Regeneration Vision of the district includes some big ideas to allow Belfast to become a truly resilient city, with an urban environment that prioritises walking, cycling and public transport and aspires to become a healthy, liveable and green place for all. These ideas, as explained by Andy Roberts, Urban Design Director at Planit IE, and partner in the regeneration plan, include:

  • Creating the Cultural Hub
  • Developing Ormeau Urban Greenway - Green Linear City Link
  • Southern Gateway - A key tech hub
  • The Quarter - A more liveable place for all, with a range of facilities and social infrastructure

Measuring Sustainability

Although the development of the Sustainable District is still at an early stage after the official launch in September 2021, the LQ BID has already planned and designed a measuring system of the area’s transition towards a sustainable district through an annual survey.  

It will measure progress across hundreds of organisations and help illustrate best practices.

Linen Quarter BID Contacts

Charlotte Irvine

Chris McCracken

Linen Quarter BID - Sustainable District