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New York Developer Weighs in on Mackie's Consultation

Martin Dunn, CEO of Dunn Development Corp, visits Belfast and the Mackie's site

New York City developer Martin Dunn, CEO of Dunn Development Corp, has been in Belfast this week to meet with families in housing need and housing agencies to provide expert opinion on how a climate resilient community could be delivered at the Mackie’s site between North and West Belfast.

Speaking at meetings and events hosted by the Take Back the City Coalition, Dunn gave an overview of how he has delivered over 3,000 units of affordable housing in New York City. He talked about lessons learned which can be applied in Belfast to inform the local response to the housing, cost of living and climate crises - to plan for an inclusive, integrated, multicultural and sustainable future for Belfast, rooted in the human rights and equality obligations of the Good Friday Agreement.

The Take Back The City Coalition has been leading a public consultation on 11 designs submitted by architects as part of an international competition to develop the Mackie’s site - located in an area of long-standing under-investment, housing inequality and poverty. The plans have been developed by international architects based on criteria set by families in housing need after many years of frustration campaigning for homes in the city.

Seán Mac Bradaigh, Assistant Director – Programmes, Participation and the Practice of Rights, said: “The consultation has been extremely successful and the response overwhelmingly positive. In just over four weeks more than 300 locals - residents, officials and elected representatives - have attended in person at public events. The online platform we have developed enables public engagement like never before and has had over 3,000 visits. The plans submitted to the competition by international architects have been downloaded 970 times with over 300 comments and 1,024 votes so far."

Martin Dunn on a platform speaking at an event in Belfast

“Having Martin Dunn in Belfast to present case studies on how he has successfully navigated similar obstacles to those we face to deliver new communities with homes, jobs and services in New York, has added weight to the public consultation. It has given the families we support the validation they deserve and the impetus to push forward to deliver on this ambitious and necessary project."

We are keen to work with local government officials and elected representatives to develop these innovations and support them to deliver on their obligations to the people of Belfast.

“We have thousands of people working locally to solve the housing crisis, yet we are turning out such small numbers of homes every year. Belfast City Council estimates a need for homes for 66,000 new residents in the city of the future. Where will they live? Everyone accepts that business as usual is failing now but new ideas are in short supply. The hybrid process we have developed blends the lived experience of families in housing need with local and international experts to create designs and tech solutions fit for the future. It is a deeply democratic and effective way of facilitating public engagement. We are keen to work with local government officials and elected representatives to develop these innovations and support them to deliver on their obligations to the people of Belfast.”

“The winning design will form a masterplan for Mackie’s which will be submitted to those in office for approval. With 11 world class designs to choose from, we have options for the site now like never before and we would encourage everyone to get involved in the conversation to help shape this exciting project.”

The public is being urged to join the conversation and view and comment on the designs.

Take Back the City logo The Take Back the City coalition was formed in 2021 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
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