Take Back the City Design Competition 2022

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Take Back the City Design Competition 2022

Take Back the City Design Competition 2022 now is over!

Take Back the City Design Competition 2022: Take Back the City Coalition is launching an international competition for architects, planners and urban design consultants to submit their strategic urban design for an inclusive and sustainable community on the 25-acre former Mackie’s site in Belfast.

Short description

The Take Back the City coalition is launching a competition open to all architects, planners and urban designers to present their vision for an inclusive and climate-friendly Belfast.

Take Back the City (TBTC) was formed in 2021 to advance the case for building sustainable homes and communities on publicly owned land in Belfast as a way of tackling the housing crisis and climate emergency. With the potential for 950 gentle density homes in the area of highest social housing need in Belfast, entrants are being encouraged to submit design concepts to help transform the site formerly occupied by Mackies, once one of West Belfast’s largest employers.

Marissa McMahon of the Take Back the City Coalition said: “Take Back the City is led by families in housing need. We are trail-blazing a community led process to build a better Belfast. We want to build a sustainable city, without walls, where every child has a home. Our coalition is supported by experts in housing development, technology, communications, permaculture, housing policy, planning, human rights and equality. We are looking for an individual or organisation with the design skills to bring our vision to life.” A first of its kind for Northern Ireland, this project is located on a historical interface, in a society emerging from conflict, where walls have separated communities for generations. The Take Back the City coalition is particularly interested in receiving entries which demonstrate innovative solutions to overcome the divisive architecture and politics of Belfast by creating communities which deliver on the principles of equality and human rights enshrined in the Good Friday Agreement, the cornerstone of the fragile Northern Ireland peace process.

Submissions can include novel or innovative methods including short films, technical drawings or other formats. The designs will be judged on the six principles of development which have been developed by Take Back The City through a participative community engagement process. The six principles are: a healthy place to live; adapting to the challenges of a changing climate; an inclusive community; co-creation in design; local employment and skills; self-management and autonomy.

Plans for the 25 acre vacant site will be judged by a panel of local and international experts. Judges will select 5 shorlisted entries which will be announced and showcased at the international expo ‘City of the Future’ event at the Innovation Factory that will be held on the Mackies site on 10 and 11 August 2022 and also all entries will be displayed on the www.takebackthecity.ie web platform, as part of a community engagement.

The winners will be announced in October 2022.

Who may enter?

The Take Back the City coalition invites architect, planner or urban design consultant to participate in its design competition for ‘The City of the Future.’


The winning entry will receive a £10,000 prize as well as the opportunity to take their design concepts forward to masterplan stage.

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