To help the building of new low-carbon housing, recent years have seen the widespread demolition of Victorian housing in UK cities. In this regard, Belfast is no different from its counterparts on the British mainland, where Compulsory Purchase Orders force people to sell and vacate their terraced homes to make way for newly constructed ‘sustainable’ housing.
The global economic downturn has temporarily slowed down this process leaving many Belfast terraces now blocked up awaiting future demolition. This stay of execution is an unlikely but welcome opportunity to review and assess the true value to owner, streetscape and city of this important and common house-type. Important questions need to be asked. Should sound Victorian terraces be demolished? What is the genuine cost of demolition and replacement in terms of community and environment?
With reference to case studies in a Belfast context, the argument will be made that new is not necessarily better, that the existing Victorian terrace is an important and valuable resource and one that, with intelligent intervention, offers a genuinely sustainable alternative to new-build housing.
|Keywords:||Development & Sustainability, Sustainable Housing, Community Identity, Urban Settlement|
Lecturer in Architecture, Architecture within SPACE, Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast, UK
Practicing Architect, Enniskillen, UK
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