In conversation at the Black Box, Belfast, July 03 2022.
Agustina, Mal, and Mark speak on the specific conditions of urban planning in Belfast Northern Ireland through their research and histories with Sailortown, following a screening of ‘not only the earth we share’ by Sol Archer in the Docs Ireland Film Festival.
Sailortown was a large working class neighbourhood between the city centre and the docks, which housed thousands of families whose fathers, mothers, and often children worked in the docks, in shipping, and in the factories around the harbour. In the 1960s Sailortown was demolished to extend a still incomplete motorway interchange into the centre of Belfast, a process which is now happening again with further expulsions, and which is reflected in the development of former industrial and heritage quarters of the city.
Agustina Martire is an urbanist and architect from Argentina, and senior lecturer in Architecture at Queen's University Belfast specialised in the study of everyday streets, their fabric, histories and experiences.
Mal O’Hara is a Northern Irish politician who has been the Leader of the Green Party Northern Ireland since August 2022, and was Deputy Leader of the Green Party from 2019 to 2022. Mals parents were both born, raised, and employed in Sailortown before its destruction, and have been key figures in the decades long struggle to bring housing back into the area, and to protect the Sailortown community identity. Mal O'Hara has been a prominent campaigner for clean air, rent controls and climate action.
Mark Hackett is an architect and urban critic, who has been active in community organisation for progressive development in Belfast throughout his career, Marks architectural projects can be seen at https://hackettarchitects.com/