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Spatiality of Identity Conflict in Belfast: Historical Considerations

Whilst the arrival of town and country planning ‘proper’ in Northern Ireland is commonly taken to accord with the appointment of Professor Robert Matthew in 1960 to prepare a Belfast Regional Survey and Plan (Greer and Jess, 1987: 105), something of the essence of spatial planning in Belfast is lost if historical links to ethnic identity-constitution are not given central attention. It is difficult to disagree with the view expressed by the historian A.T.Q. Stewart that:

topography is the key to the Ulster conflict. Unless you know exactly who lives

where and why, much of it does not make sense (Stewart, 1989: 56).