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‘Trickling-Up’ Instead of ‘Trickling-Down’: Community Regeneration at Titanic Quarter, Belfast

Part 2 Dissertation 2019
Clare Smyth
Ulster University | UK
"This dissertation aims to assess the development of Titanic Quarter (TQ) Belfast as an example of neoliberal regeneration and seeks to evaluate its success through the application of basic neoliberal principles.

Although TQ represents a resounding tourism success it is difficult to establish clear ‘trickle down’ benefits for either pre-existing or new community development within the quarter. The 2009 Memorandum of Understanding signed by Belfast City Council and TQ Limited outlined shared project aims and objectives. Three relate directly to neoliberal theory. Through analysis of these objectives and material gained from interviews with key constituents this paper aims to gauge the extent to which neoliberal regeneration has occurred.

Data analysis reveals government involvement has prohibited true neoliberal practice. Additionally, many of the connections and linkages required to support a sustainable community have not yet materialized. Furthermore, most of the ‘trickle-down’ benefits predicted by neoliberal regeneration have been replaced by benefits driven by a ‘trickle-up’ mechanism. This is in opposition to neoliberal theory. While many of the project’s failings have been attributed to adverse economic conditions this dissertation questions if the notion of community benefit is truly compatible with private investment and whether quid-pro-quo is achievable through ecognised neoliberal principles.

Clare Smyth

David Coyles
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