“It’s Just Not That Simple:” Territory and Politics at Girdwood Park

Document Type

Student Research Paper

Date of Creation

Spring 2011

Department 1

Center for Global Education


This report is the outcome of a month long study of space and territory in North Belfast. Data was obtained by way of qualitative methods using focused interviews and mapping, within theoretical frameworks from sociology and human geography. Segregation, space, and demographic change are explored as factors of localized territorial conflict. This theory is applied to the Crumlin Road Gaol and Girdwood Barracks regeneration project in North Belfast, where the contentious issue of housing on the site has stalled other development. The research finds that these factors do play a role in the project and also seeks to explore the Girdwood project’s relationship to the current political climate in Northern Ireland, particularly the peace process. Recommendations for further research include the future of the project and other aspects including economics or the practicalities of cross-community relationships.

This paper was written for the Ireland: Transformation of Social and Political Conflict program.