Transformative Health & Regeneration Initiatives (for Vibrancy, Equality, and Sustainability)


Dates: Wednesday 16th & Thursday 17th June 2021

Belfast.THRI(VES) is a 6-month pilot partnership between Ulster University [Urban Research Lab] and Belfast City Council, to inform how Belfast’s public spaces can more effectively and inclusively contribute to the liveability of the city and the wellbeing of its inhabitants.

Join us for a free online Webinar on 16th June, featuring four international speakers hosted by Dr Wendy Austin, MBE; and a 17th June Symposium featuring Belfast-focused panel discussions and next generation planning researchers.

Over both days, we will share and explore lessons on balancing the needs of people, business, and public services to transform city spaces into more connected, inclusive, liveable, and sustainable places. Speakers and panels will bring together academic, business, Government and community voices to collectively address common social, economic, and public health challenges to reshape and reopen public spaces in transformative ways; and to examine the types of evidence needed to support liveable city policy, planning, and design initiatives.

All events are funded through Belfast City Council via the Department for Communities Covid-19 Recovery Revitalisation Programme, and the Department for Infrastructure.

16th June 2021, 6.00pm – 8.00pm GMT +1 : International Lessons on Urban Health and Wellbeing

Host and Facilitator: Dr Wendy Austin, MBE, Journalist and Broadcaster

6.00pm: Welcome, Host Introduction, and Launch

6.20pm: THRI(VES), Dr Saul M Golden RIBA, Lecturer in Architecture and Spatial Design, Ulster University

6.30-7.30pm: Keynote speakers (15-minute presentations each).

  • Dr Gina Lovasi, Co-Director, Urban Health Collaborative, Dornsife Associate Professor of Urban Health, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Drexel University, Philadelphia, USA:

Leveraging data, research, education, and partnerships to improve health in cities.

  • Rick Mohler FAIA, Co-Chair, Seattle Planning Commission; Associate Professor of Architecture, University of Washington; Seattle, USA:

Lessons from The Seattle Street Sink and Stay Healthy Streets Initiative.

  • Frith Walker, Head of Placemaking, Panuku Development Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland), NZ:

Why public space matters: Auckland’s Public-Private Partnerships and Place-led Approach to Urban Development

  • Pagan-Lilley Phillips, Programme Manager, Public Practice, Access and Inclusion Advocate, London, UK:

Planning for the Public Good: Advocacy and Action to Build Local Council Capacity and Drive Forward Better Shared Urban Futures

7.30pm: Discussion and Q&A with Speakers, Facilitated by Dr Wendy Austin, MBE;

7.50-8.00pm: Evening Session Close; Dr Saul M Golden; Dr Wendy Austin, MBE


17th June 2021, 9.00am – 12.30pm and 1.00pm – 3.00pm GMT +1: A Belfast View to Healthy Futures + Next Generation Research on Healthy City Futures

Session 1: 9am-12.30pm GMT+1 A Belfast View

Host: Dr Saul M Golden

9am: Welcome back, Keynote Speakers, followed by THRI(VES) Belfast Panel Introductions

Cathy Reynolds, Director of City Regeneration & Development, Belfast City Council: Future City Centre Programme – reimagining and revitalising our city centre spaces and places.

Liz Loughran, Director of Transport Policy, Department for Infrastructure: Active Travel & Partnership Working

10.00-10.40: Liveable cities: Where is the evidence and how should we use it?

Chair: Professor Gerry Leavey, Director Bamford Centre for Mental Health & Wellbeing

  • Administrative Data Research NI, Elizabeth Nelson, Public Engagement, Comms & Impact Mgr;
  • Belfast City Centre Management, David Scott, Project Manager;
  • Belfast Healthy Cities, Joan Devlin, Chief Executive;
  • Mental Health Foundation, Shari McDaid, Head of Evidence and Impact for Scotland and NI;
  • Ulster University, Kieran Carlin, Phd Researcher.

10.45-11.25: Public voices & public places: Engagement for vibrancy and equality

Chair: Professor Duncan Morrow, Director of Community Engagement, Ulster University

  • AGENI, Mandy Wilson, Head of Health & Wellbeing;
  • Belfast Charitable Society-Clifton House, Paula Reynolds, CEO;
  • Bryson CARE-Migrant Help, Lilian Vellem, Senior Client Advisor;
  • Inclusive Mobility and Transport Advisory Committee (IMTAC), Michael Lorimer, Director;
  • NI Women’s European Platform, Jonna Monaghan, Director.

11.30-12.10: Balancing private investment & public interest in sustainable healthy places.

Chair: Dr Gavan Rafferty, RTPI, Lecturer in Spatial Planning & Development, Ulster University 

  • Belfast Chamber of Commerce, Simon Hamilton, Chief Executive;
  • Department for Infrastructure, Catherine McKinney, Senior Planning Officer
  • Linen Quarter Business Improvement District (BID), Christopher McCracken, Managing Director;
  • Ulster University Youth Forum, Andrew Holmes, Student Representative;
  • Urban Scale Interventions, Mura Quigley, Associate Director.

12.10pm: Session 1 Overview and Research Next Steps; Session Close. Dr Saul M Golden

Session 2: 1.00 – 3.00pm GMT+1 Next Generation Capacity Builders

Host: Dr Gavan Rafferty RTPI, Lecturer in Spatial Planning & Development, Ulster University

1.00–1.45pm: Keynote Speaker and Q&A Session

Keynote: Erin Donaldson, MRTPI, Planning Women of Influence 2021; Founding member of Women in Planning Network NI.

1.50pm: MSc Planning, Regeneration, and Development Research Presentations

Facilitator: Dr Linda McElduff, Lecturer in Planning, Course Director MSc Planning, Regeneration and Development, Ulster University

  • Jonah Carty: Regeneration and community-stakeholder engagement for greater liveability.
  • Niamh McDevitt: Why walking matters: A review of walkability assessment tools in Northern Ireland
  • Niall Carr: Smart Cities and privacy challenges – managing safer places
  • Lauren Coulter: River walkways: Impacts of blue-infrastructure on individual health & wellbeing 

2.40pm: Panel Discussion and Q&A with Speakers and Respondents, Facilitated by Dr Linda McElduff

Professor Janet Askew, RTPI, Consultant Town Planner, Past-President RTPI 2015

Susannah Boyce, MSc PRD, UPLAN (Ulster University Society of Planning Students)

2.55pm: Event Close, Thank you. THRI(VES) Research Partnership Team


THRI(VES) Partnership Team:

Dr Saul M Golden, Principal Investigator, Lecturer in Architecture & Spatial Design, Ulster University

Dr Gavan Rafferty, Co-Investigator, Lecturer in Spatial Planning & Development, Ulster University

Professor Gerry Leavey, Co-Investigator, Director, Bamford Institute for Mental Health and Wellbeing

Dr Callie Persic, Belfast City Council, Connectivity Programme Lead, City Regeneration and Development

Niamh Mulrine, Belfast City Council, Project Officer, City Regeneration and Development


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