The Belfast Victorian Terrace: A Sustainable Approach?

By Keith McAllister and Wayne Hazlett.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

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

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp.175-188. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.319MB).

Keith McAllister

Lecturer in Architecture, Architecture within SPACE, Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast, UK

Keith McAllister is a Chartered Architect and Lecturer in Architecture at Queen’s University Belfast. As the Stage 02 Co-ordinator, he has a deep interest in promoting the design process, an understanding of context and exploration of spatial progression for students in the design studio. In particular, the value of place-making is promoted through study and analysis of existing buildings, urban grain and streetscape. Identity, sustainability and community are integral to all projects. His current research projects include Architecture and Autism, the Terraced House and the promotion of Architecture in the School Classroom. He has practiced architecture in Russia, Italy and the UK.

Wayne Hazlett

Practicing Architect, Enniskillen, UK

Wayne Hazlett is a Chartered Architect and design tutor at Queen’s University Belfast. Having worked for a number of award winning architectural firms he now has his own practice in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. His research current interests include architectural design, design theory and sustainable communities.


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