City of the Future

Urban Design Competition

Over the summer of 2022, Take Back The City launched a trailblazing competition, inviting architects and urban planners from all over the world to design a unique, climate-resilient community at the Mackie's site — the largest vacant publicly-owned site in Belfast, in the area of highest housing need.

We asked designers to imagine how this site could be transformed to help communities respond to the cost of living, housing and climate crises in line with a set of principles developed by homeless families. The response was outstanding. The final shortlisted designs are profiled below.

A panel of judges was convened in April/May 2023, and the winning entry has been announced. See here or more details.

The shortlist

To browse the shortlisted Mackie's masterplans, click on the images below. We've received hundreds of comments and votes for favourite designs and the jury has deliberated. See the winning design here.

  • Mahmoud Farouk Gaber Gaber Sherif
    (310 votes)
    Mahmoud Farouk Gaber Gaber Sherif
  • QARQ
    (294 votes)
  • Studio Idir
    (167 votes)
    Studio Idir
  • OutGrow
    (119 votes)
  • Matthew Lloyd Architects
    (84 votes)
    Matthew Lloyd Architects
  • Earth Shilpkar Studio
    (79 votes)
    Earth Shilpkar Studio
  • Adjaye Associates
    (45 votes)
    Adjaye Associates
  • Karakusevic Carson Architects
    (32 votes)
    Karakusevic Carson Architects
  • Empathy Urban Planning
    (25 votes)
    Empathy Urban Planning
  • Brown and Storey Architects
    (24 votes)
    Brown and Storey Architects
  • Studio DuB
    (16 votes)
    Studio DuB
Take Back the City logo The Take Back the City coalition was formed in 2020 to develop sustainable solutions to Belfast’s housing crisis. We are families in housing need supported by experts in architecture, urban planning, housing policy, technology, communications, permaculture, human rights and equality.
Supported by
Oak Foundation logo PPR logo Queens University Belfast logo Town and Country Planning Association logo