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Your future city, Belfast's Community Plan

The Belfast Agenda

Published in 2017

Contents

This is the Belfast Agenda. This is our joint commitment to work side by side for the good of everyone in Belfast.


Foreword from Belfast City Council Party Group Leaders

The Belfast Agenda is our city’s first community plan, created by a strong partnership led by Belfast City Council. It identifies the work that we will all focus on to unleash the energy and ability that exists in our people and communities.

We are ambitious and inclusive. We have come together to set stretching goals that will create a better quality of life for all. We want sustainable success for the city and we want to make sure this success reaches everyone who lives here.

Defining the Belfast Agenda has been a co-operative effort. We are grateful to people across the city for sharing with us their views of the challenges and opportunities we face, and for telling us about the Belfast they want to live and work in. The Belfast we want to create.

Councillor Tim Attwood
SDLP

Councillor Billy Hutchinson
PUP

Alderman David Browne
UUP

Councillor Michael Long
APNI

Councillor Jim McVeigh
SF

Councillor Lee Reynolds
DUP

This is a plan for us all. For each of our diverse and talented communities, and for the many people beyond our boundaries who depend on our city’s success.

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Foreword from Belfast’s Statutory Community Planning Partners

Over the past two years we have been asking residents in Belfast to tell us what kind of city they want for the future and what things we should be focusing on now to make this happen.

People told us that they want a city that provides a high quality of life for everyone who lives here and for the city to be a great place to work, study, visit or set up and grow a business.

The Belfast Agenda has been produced by a partnership of organisations involved in delivering services across our city. It is ambitious and dynamic and will drive our emerging action plans for Belfast over the years to come. As partners we have committed to work together, with Belfast communities, to improve our city and ensure its long-term success.

Belfast City Council
Tourism Northern Ireland
Belfast Health and Social Care Trust
South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust
Libraries NI
Public Health Agency
Education Authority
Police Service of Northern Ireland
Council for Catholic Maintained Schools
Sport NI
Housing Executive
Invest Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service
Health and Social Care Board

The Belfast opportunity

Imagine yourself in 2035.

  • What are your hopes for you and your family?
  • What kind of Belfast do you want to live in?

These are the questions we asked you.

  • You told us Belfast is already a place of optimism and ambition.
  • You told us Belfast is a place where we take care of each other; a place that celebrates diversity. You told us you want to make sure no-one in Belfast is left behind.
  • You are proud of Belfast’s natural and built environment. You told us Belfast should take care of its beautiful places - now and for future generations.
  • You told us about Belfast’s place in the world’s story, its vibrant cultural life and its unrelenting energy. You told us you want Belfast to be outward-looking and confident on the world stage.
  • You said you wanted a city where everyone has a good start in life, a good education and a good job – where everyone has safe, good quality places to live, work, play and learn, where people get on with each other.

We have listened to what you want Belfast to be like in 2035 and the Belfast Agenda is our ambitious plan to make your hopes and dreams real.

The Belfast Agenda recognises and builds on our city’s achievements. Our success in economic growth is making a vital contribution to the wider Northern Ireland economy.

We are a major employer of people living in and outside the city. Our higher and further education institutions and industries are important contributors to research and development, skills and trade.

The city has been transformed through physical and cultural regeneration. In recent years over £2 billion has been invested in cultural facilities, retail, leisure and housing. Our revitalised city centre, with its events and facilities, is evidence of the many positive changes that have already taken place.

We want people to come to Belfast, to live, to work, to study and to experience our city. We have real talent and creativity, and we have never been shy of hard work. Now is the time for us to unleash that energy once again to secure our future.

However, we recognise that there are still things that get in the way of all our people benefiting from our city’s success – barriers to employment, poor connectivity between our neighbourhoods, improving good relations and inequalities. We want to ensure everyone has the best possible chance in life to access opportunities and fulfil their potential.

Our commitment is that Belfast should be a city re-imagined in which no-one is left behind.

This is our time to be ambitious. This is our Belfast Agenda.

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Belfast Agenda - impact summary

By 2035, Belfast will be a city:

  • where everyone benefits from a thriving and prosperous economy
  • that is safe, fair and inclusive for all
  • that is vibrant, attractive, connected and environmentally sustainable
  • where everyone experiences good health and wellbeing
  • where everyone fulfils their potential

Our ambitions for 2035

We want to deliver the following bold ambitions:

  • Our economy supports 46,000 additional jobs.
  • Our city is home to an additional 66,000 people.
  • There will be a 33 per cent reduction in the life expectancy gap between the most and least deprived neighbourhoods.
  • Every young person leaving school has a destination that fulfils their potential.

Priorities 2017-2021

Growing the economy

  • 15,000 new jobs
  • Securing £5 billion investment in the next 10 years
  • Secure a significant Belfast region city deal
  • Increase the value of out-of-state tourism to £500 million
  • Create innovation, research and skills hubs

Living here

  • £1 billion investment in neighbourhood assets
  • European Capital of Culture 2023
  • £1million to drive social innovation
  • Increased social and affordable housing
  • £105 million new leisure estate
  • Improved health – integrated support for early years and families

City development

  • 5 per cent increase in rates base as a result of growth and development
  • Improved connectivity:
    Belfast Transport Hub
    Belfast Rapid Transit
    Leading class digital infrastructure
    York Street Interchange
  • Further world class visitor attraction
  • 1.5 million sq feet Grade A office space
  • 15 per cent increase in use of sustainable transport

Working and learning

  • Economic inactivity less than 23 per cent
  • Less than 10 per cent working age people with no qualifications
  • More than 82 per cent working age population with level 2 qualifications and above
  • Large scale skills and employability programme
  • Reduce attainment gap to less than 28 per cent
  • 98 per cent school leavers in employment, education or training

Inclusive growth

Leaving no one behind

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Our vision for Belfast in 2035

Belfast will be a city re-imagined and resurgent. A great place to live and work for everyone. Beautiful, well connected and culturally vibrant, it will be a sustainable city shared and loved by all its citizens, free from the legacy of conflict. A compassionate city offering opportunities for everyone. A confident and successful city energising a dynamic and prosperous city region. A magnet for talent and business and admired around the world. A city people dream to visit.

Our outcomes

The five things people want by 2035:

Vision for 2035

  • where everyone benefits from a thriving and prosperous economy
  • that is a welcoming, safe, fair and inclusive for all
  • where everyone fulfils their potential
  • where everyone experiences good health and wellbeing
  • that is vibrant, attractive, connected and environmentally sustainable

Our outcomes

Everyone in Belfast benefits from a thriving and prosperous economy

By 2035, Belfast will have a diverse and growing economy and a bigger and more competitive business base, capable of attracting increased visitors and investment. It will provide high levels of employment, supported by a skilled workforce and the city will create wealth that can be enjoyed by all.

Population indicators

1.1 City productivity levels

1.2 Investment into Belfast

1.3 City competitiveness

1.4 The total number of businesses in Belfast

1.5 The number of business start-ups

1.6 The proportion of the population living in absolute and relative poverty (before housing costs)

1.7 The total number of jobs in Belfast

1.8 The proportion of working-age population in Belfast who are employed

1.9 Working age employment rate by deprivation

1.10 Economic inactivity rate (excluding students)

1.11 Average earnings

1.12 Total spend by external visitors

1.13 Supply of housing

Belfast is a welcoming, safe, fair and inclusive city for all

By 2035, Belfast will be a place where everyone will continue to feel welcome and safe and will be treated fairly with equality and respect in a shared city that values diversity and encourages civic participation.

Population indicators

2.1 Number of victims of any crime

2.2 Number of hate-motivated crimes

2.3 Proportion of people who feel safe

2.4 Number of anti-social behaviour incidents

2.5 Number of physical barriers at interface sites

2.6 The number of people who agree that people from different backgrounds get on well together

2.7 Proportion of population who believe their cultural identity is respected by society

2.8 Proportion of young people who think that local facilities are shared and open to all

Everyone in Belfast fulfils their potential

By 2035, everyone will be supported and enabled to reach their full potential to succeed and make a positive contribution to city life. Everyone will have access to information, education, training and lifelong learning and can access jobs and opportunities to actively participate in all areas of life.

Population indicators

3.1 Proportion of working age population who have attained Level 2 or above

3.2 Proportion of working age population who have attained Level 4 or above

3.3 Proportion of school-leavers achieving level 2 or above including English and Maths

3.4 Gap between percentage of school-leavers entitled to free school meals achieving at least Level 2, including English and Maths, and their peers

3.5 Proportion of care-leavers who aged 19 are in employment, education or training

3.6 Proportion of school-leavers entering employment, education or training

3.7 School attendance rates

3.8 Participation in arts activities

3.9 Participation in sport

3.10 Volunteering

3.11 Self-efficacy

Everyone in Belfast experiences good health and wellbeing

By 2035, everyone will live a healthy lifestyle and will experience the best possible physical health and emotional wellbeing. Health inequalities will be reduced and those who suffer from poor health will receive the care and support they need in a compassionate city.

Population indicators

4.1 Life expectancy at birth

4.2 Gap in life expectancy by deprivation

4.3 Proportion of babies born at a low birth weight

4.4 Preventable deaths

4.5 Proportion of the population of adults or children who are obese

4.6 Proportion of population who smoke

4.7 Proportion of adults drinking above sensible drinking guidelines

4.8 Proportion of people who rank themselves as having high levels of wellbeing

4.9 Proportion of adults who undertake at least 150 minutes of physical exercise per week

4.10 Number of households in housing stress

4.11 Proportion of population living in decent homes

Belfast is a vibrant, attractive, connected and environmentally sustainable city

By 2035, everyone will enjoy attractive, well-serviced, clean neighbourhoods and a thriving city centre equipped with a range of facilities, activities and things to do. It will be a city that will encourage walking, cycling and the use of public transport, as well as recycling waste and improving energy efficiency. It will be a city where the natural and built beauty of Belfast, linked to its hills, parks, rivers, lough, fine buildings and public space is well protected and can be enjoyed by everyone.

Population indicators

5.1 Air quality

5.2 Percentage of household waste that is reused, recycled or composted

5.3 Percentage of all journeys which are made by walking, cycling or public transport

5.4 Visitor numbers

5.5 Engagement in culture and arts activities

5.6 Number of miles of cycle lanes, footways and footpaths

5.7 Proportion of homes that are energy-efficient

5.8 Satisfaction with Belfast as a place to live

Our community plan takes an outcomes based approach. This means we are focusing on things that will significantly improve the quality of life and wellbeing of all residents and those who want to work, study, visit or set up in business here. We want everyone in the city to experience these outcomes whatever their age, where ever they live, and whatever their circumstances.

These outcomes are deliberately aspirational and we know that delivering them will require a long-term commitment from all partners. Many of the issues we need to address are complex and longstanding; however, these shared outcomes provide a strong motivation to bring partners together and to fire the ambitions of our people. We believe they will provide the energy and enthusiasm to drive the Agenda forward and we intend to make steady progress towards all of them over the next 18 years.

Our ambitions

There are many things that we will need to do to make our vision a reality. Our ambition is to drive growth to reduce inequalities. Success will depend on hard work, ingenuity and collaborative commitment by all the organisations and people with a stake in our city’s future.

To help us realise our vision and improve outcomes, we have set four bold ambitions to be achieved by 2035. We recognise that these are challenging but we believe that they will create a sense of urgency and encourage innovation, new thinking and greater collaboration.

We know that the best route to an improved quality of life for most people is through having a good job. So we are committed to growing the number of jobs in the city and provide support for residents to take advantage of these.

Our goal is that, by 2035 our urban economy will support 46,000 additional jobs.

We know from the experience of other economically successful cities that increasing the number of jobs results in a growing population. Belfast’s population has decreased from 416,679 in 1971 to 339,579 in 2017 with neighbouring towns and cities increasing in population. This has subsequently meant an increase in commuting levels with approximately 92,000 people commuting to Belfast on a daily basis. We want to encourage more people to both live and work in the city, directly contributing to its success, vibrancy and sustainability.

Therefore we believe that by 2035, our city will be home to an additional 66,000 people. This will include people who would previously have left to find work, graduates we will attract back and people who want to live as well as work here. We hope that this growth will continue in the even longer term, and will explore how the city can grow towards 500,000 people by 2050 to keep pace with competitor cities.

We know that we will need to shape our city to ensure that this can happen in a sustainable way and that is the purpose of Belfast’s new Local Development Plan which will be delivered alongside the Belfast Agenda and will shape the physical future of the city – including housing, roads and other infrastructure.

Of course, economic and population growth on its own is not enough. These are a means to an end to help us reduce inequalities and create opportunities for all.

So we have set ourselves two further bold ambitions - that every young person leaving school has a destination that fulfils their potential. And that we reduce the current significant gap in life expectancy between our most and least deprived neighbourhoods.

We know that the world is constantly changing and we will continually keep our ambitions under review as we move through the global and European changes before us.

By 2035

  • Our economy supports 46,000 additional jobs.
  • Our city is home to an additional 66,000 people.
  • There will be a 33 per cent reduction in the life expectancy gap between the most and least deprived neighbourhoods.
  • Every young person leaving school has a destination that fulfils their potential.

Belfast now

Our people

Belfast is the capital of Northern Ireland with a population of 339,579.

We are one of the youngest cities in Europe - young people up to the age of 21, make up nearly a third of our population, while a fifth of the city is under 15 years old.

Our older population is growing – today 15 per cent of the population is 65 and older, by 2035 this will grow to nearly a fifth (20 per cent).

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Growing the economy

Working population
Belfast has the largest potential workforce in Northern Ireland (66 per cent of its population or 223,119 people are of working age).

Productivity
The city drives regional productivity with its workforce generating £35,023 Gross Value Added per head. In 2015, Belfast experienced the strongest growth in GVA per head of any UK city which increased by 4.7 per cent.

Growth sectors
Belfast’s knowledge economy is growing fast. Its creative industries sector is expanding, with 1,646 businesses supporting total employment of 11,545 jobs. We are a world leader in cyber security through organisations such as the Centre For Secure Information Technologies.

International reputation
Over 70 per cent of our universities’ research activity is considered world leading or internationally excellent.

Business start-ups
Belfast has the highest business birth rate (11 per cent) in the region but struggles when compared to places like Manchester (19 per cent), Birmingham (20 per cent), Leeds (15 per cent) or Bristol (15 per cent).

Tourism expenditure
In 2016, expenditure from overnight trips contributed £334 million to the economy and supported 18,607 jobs. Out-of-state visitors accounted for £279 million.

Further and higher education
QUB is in the top one per cent of global universities, ranked eighth in the UK for research intensity and ninth in the world for international research collaboration. UU is one of the top 10 entrepreneurial universities in the UK. Belfast Metropolitan College is one of the largest FHE colleges in the UK, driving enterprise and employability.

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Living here

Quality of life
The city has a thriving cultural and social scene, high quality sporting facilities and many excellent examples of natural and built heritage. It has been ranked in the top five cities in the UK for having the best quality of life. Engagement in arts and cultural activity in Belfast stands at 85 per cent, while 32 per cent directly participate in arts activities.

Open space
Belfast has an abundance of open space - more than any other urban area in the UK - including parks, playing fields, greenways as well as the River Lagan and Belfast Hills.

Voluntary and community sectors
Belfast has vibrant community and voluntary sectors. Over one quarter of all the voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations in Northern Ireland are in Belfast.

Life expectancy
Average life expectancy in Belfast for both males (75.9 years) and females (81.1 years) is lower than the Northern Ireland averages.

Deprivation
Eight of the 10 most deprived wards in Northern Ireland are in Belfast. Thirty nine per cent of children and 22 per cent of people aged 60 and over are affected by income deprivation.

Health inequalities
People are living longer but there is a difference (5.6 years for females and 9.2 years for men) between the most deprived areas and the least deprived in the city.

Housing stress
In 2015, nearly 7,000 people were in housing stress.

Housing structure
One quarter (25 per cent) of houses in Belfast are socially rented, whist 52 per cent are owner-occupied.

Interfaces
Despite good progress in community relations the city still has 63 physical barriers at interface sites.

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Belfast now

City development

Tourist visitors
Belfast supports a growing tourism industry with over 1.5 million overnight trips to the city, including 1 million from out-of-state visitors. In 2016, Titanic Belfast was named as the world’s number one tourist attraction.

Business visitors
Between 2014 and 2016, there were an estimated average of 215,000 business trips to Belfast per year.

Connectivity
There are two airports within 30 minutes of the city centre, which deal with nearly eight million passengers each year. During 2015, Belfast Harbour handled over 23 million tonnes of goods and 1.4 million passengers, representing 70 per cent of Northern Ireland’s and 20 per cent of the entire island’s seaborne trade.

Sustainable transport
Over half of the working population (58 per cent) travel to work by car or van; 14 per cent by public transport; and only 2 per cent by bike. Belfast has 82 miles of bike routes, including 24 miles of traffic free routes and 12 miles of shared use pathways.

Connectivity (digital)
Almost 100 per cent of households and businesses have access to high speed broadband.

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Working and learning

Schools
In 2016-2017, Belfast had 67,695 children enrolled in 219 schools.

Universities
The city’s three universities have over 50,000 students, whilst the Belfast Metropolitan College serves 37,000 students each year. Every year Northern Ireland exports approximately 35 per cent of its higher education students.

Jobs
Belfast’s economy supports over 220,000 jobs, 93 per cent of which are in the services sector. Almost one third of all jobs (31 per cent) are in the public sector.

Skills
A successful education system for many: 68 per cent (2,511) of school-leavers went on to further or higher education. One third (34 per cent) of the working age population has a university degree or higher. However, 14 per cent of the working age population have no qualifications.

Qualifications
Sixty two per cent of school-leavers in 2015-2016 achieved at least 5 GCSEs grades A Star to C (or equivalent), including English and Maths – less than the region’s average of 68 per cent.

Educational inequalities
Forty two per cent of young people entitled to free school meals achieve five GCSEs grade A Star to C, including English and Maths as compared to 74 per cent of those who are not.

Long-term unemployed
Five per cent of the working-age population are claiming an unemployment-related benefit (10,852 people). Nearly two fifths of these (39 per cent) were long-term unemployed.

Belfast as a regional driver

Economic driver
Belfast’s economy supports nearly a third (30 per cent) of all jobs in Northern Ireland. The city contributes to over a quarter (28 per cent) to the region’s productivity.

The city region
The functional economic area, including Lisburn and Castlereagh, Ards and North Down, Antrim and Newtownabbey, Mid and East Antrim, and Newry, Mourne and Down has over one million people, and contributes around two thirds of regional GVA.

Foreign Direct Investment
Outside London, Northern Ireland is the leading UK region for attracting inward investment. This success has been across a range of knowledge intensive sectors. In particular Belfast is the world’s top destination city for financial services technology investments.

Competitiveness
Both the Belfast region and Northern Ireland lag behind the UK in productivity as measured by GVA per job.

Knowledge economy
Northern Ireland is the second-fastest growing knowledge economy in the UK. Sixty per cent of Northern Ireland’s knowledge economy businesses are in Belfast.

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Inclusive growth

Leaving no one behind

Our focus for the next four years: 2017–2021

Our vision and outcomes are long-term and are intended to improve the lives of everyone in Belfast, but to achieve them we have identified a number of priorities for the next four years that we will act on right away.

To address the long term challenges facing people in Belfast such as health and educational inequalities, the need for good relations, ensuring people feel safe and have good living conditions, we believe we need to focus on improving our economy and ensuring the benefits are felt by everyone.

By addressing the issues of poverty, economic inactivity, unemployment and underemployment we can help improve the wider outcomes for people in Belfast – we call this inclusive growth.

Inclusive growth is about more and better jobs; improving living standards and earnings; offering in-work progression and challenging barriers to employment such as childcare, transport and training.

As it is about improving life chances, it is something that no one organisation or sector can deliver alone; we must do it together.

It is also about making sure that people have the best life chances and best living experience no matter where they are born or live in Belfast. It is about addressing the longterm societal inequalities such as health, educational attainment and well-being.

Throughout our conversations and in the feedback to our consultation, some issues consistently emerged as key to making progress on inclusive growth:

  • Remove barriers to employment, particularly for those furthest from opportunity
  • Tackle inter-generational inequality through, for example, working towards an effective child-care strategy and early years interventions that give every child the best start in life
  • Boost attainment levels at all stages of life, in particular ensuring that educational inequalities are addressed and people have the skills they need for the jobs of the future
  • Utilise any potential city-region growth deal to invest in skills and maximise the benefit of infrastructure investment to create jobs, improve skills and drive inclusive growth. Ensure that interventions will have a specific focus on most deprived areas
  • Promote and build a labour market that provides sustainable employment and pays a living wage addressing the need for entry level jobs as well as highly skilled jobs
  • Address and mitigate poverty and issues such as affordable housing

The next section highlights some immediate priorities, under the headings:

All of these have been considered within the context of inclusive growth. For each priority, we have proposed some stretch goals and work streams which we hope will create real progress towards achieving our vision for 2035.

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Growing the economy

A competitive city region economy that creates opportunities for all

Together, we will:

  • create employment and opportunity
  • attract investment into Belfast
  • foster business growth in Belfast
  • strengthen business relationships and make it easy to do business
  • maximise the impact of the city region
  • increase tourism spend
  • reduce economic inequalities

Why this is a priority for Belfast

A thriving and prosperous economy is the engine of change for our city and the critical contributor to all of the outcomes that we wish to achieve.

As the region’s capital city, its major population centre and the hub for business and employment, Belfast is critical to Northern Ireland’s economic future.

Growing a diverse and inclusive economy is our main priority. Creating more and better jobs that are sustainable, rewarding, provide a career path and are financially rewarding has consistently been the major concern raised by residents and other stakeholders.

The economic growth and prosperity of Belfast extends well beyond the city. Almost half of those employed in Belfast travel from outside the council boundary. While there is uncertainty with the United Kingdom exiting the European Union and wider global economic pressures, Belfast does not face these challenges alone. Business will continue as the city and region adapt to meet the new challenges, locally and internationally. That is why the success of the city region, as well as Belfast, is at the heart of this agenda.

Belfast already has a proven track record in successfully attracting foreign investment. The city continues to offer favourable economic conditions, including competitive labour costs, a pool of skilled graduates and a growing international reputation as a venue for major events and a leading tourist destination.

Global trends tell us of the importance of growth in new sectors, including financial technologies, cybersecurity, film and animation, connected health, green tech and the circular economy. Our long-term agenda includes plans for these shifts, as well as for growing the already successful service sectors including finance and IT, tourism, hospitality, culture, arts and sports.

We need to ensure that the Belfast city region continues to give Northern Ireland this competitive edge. Other cities have secured growth deals to give them the skills and infrastructure they need for jobs and investment. We want the same and are working towards a significant Belfast region city deal package that will give us the transport infrastructure, tourism product and skills needed to keep our city relevant in a rapidly changing world.

To build on our strengths and prepare for the future, there are systemic issues in the city that need to be addressed by all partners. For example, the city continues to suffer from high economic inactivity and relatively low rates of business start-up. And while in some parts of the city we have high skill levels, in other parts many people don’t have the skills they need to succeed.

There is still a substantial fiscal deficit, demonstrating that the city needs higher levels of productivity. We have an imbalance between the size of our private and public sectors.

As a result, Belfast has shown only limited improvement in its competitiveness in the past five years when compared to 40 other European cities. To be competitive at an international level, Belfast needs to tackle these underlying and inter-connected issues with innovative and collective action.

Rebalancing the economy by encouraging private sector investment is essential for generating sustainable growth, increasing productivity and creating diverse and well paid jobs.

Central to this is removing barriers to employment including improving skills and employability levels. It is important that as many people as possible benefit from growth and the city’s success.

We need to be a connected and cohesive city that extends its influence well beyond its boundaries and delivers for the local population - a balanced and sustainable programme of inclusive economic growth is required.

Our goals and work streams for growing the economy

A strong economy is at the heart of inclusive growth. It will create the opportunities that people and communities need to fulfil their potential. In a rapidly changing world we need to maintain our city’s competitive advantage so that the industries of the future continue to choose Belfast to locate. Central to this are good infrastructure and connections, excellent skills, centres of research excellence such as we find in our universities and further education colleges.

We need an entire city region that plays to its combined and unique strengths, supporting export growth, attracting visitors and creating the conditions for businesses to grow and flourish. We have created a number of stretch goals and projects which will help us secure £5 billion in investment over the next ten years.

Stretch goals

Together, by 2021, we will:

1. create 15,000 new jobs

2. attract over £1 billion in private sector investment including Foreign Direct Investment

3. create 4,000 business start-ups

4. increase the value of out-of-state tourism to £500 million

5. welcome 1.9 million overnight stays in tourist accommodation per year

6. secure a significant Belfast region city deal at a scale equivalent to other comparable cities

Work streams

Develop and deliver an integrated, sustainable approach to economic growth and investment which supports an inclusive economy

We want solid, partnership-based delivery of economic growth for the city and the city region. We will establish a Belfast Economic Growth Forum with the Northern Ireland Executive to drive forward the achievement of our economic growth goals and develop joint solutions to shared challenges.

This partnership will create an effective economic framework for Belfast and the city region, which supports and complements the Executive’s strategy for economic growth. It will build a coherent and evidence-based approach to improving city competitiveness, job creation, increased exports and support for businesses, and increasing tourism in a way that creates opportunities for all those who live, work, visit and study in the city.

It will deliver long term strategies for key growth sectors, including retail, hotel, office development, financial, tech and creative industries, as well as export-led strategies to support business growth. In addition we will deliver an enterprise framework to co-ordinate entrepreneurial activity at a grass-roots level, contributing to inclusive growth.

Work locally to drive inclusive growth and tackle challenges to economic equality

We will work with communities, the private sector and public agencies to build on the opportunities and challenges presented by our growing urban economy to tackle issues of poverty, inequality and exclusion.

Over the coming years Belfast’s economy will continue to undergo radical change driven by rapid technological advances, continued globalisation and the out-workings of national policies, in particular, Welfare Reform. Evidence from the past decade has demonstrated that the impact of such changes is unlikely to be experienced in the same way across communities and can contribute to growing inequalities. Without pro-active, integrated interventions, these inequalities are likely to widen further in our city – with negative social consequences.

City partners will develop an ‘inclusive growth’ programme to establish an integrated suite of policies, projects and measures to maximise the positive social impact of economic and physical infrastructure investments and to help mitigate the negative consequences of change. The programme will seek to understand in detail the unique barriers that different groups and communities face as they seek to participate in, and benefit from, the economic life of the city.

Building on this evidence the programme’s strands will include: working together to maximise the effect of social and physical infrastructure investments; working with existing employers and anchor institutions to maximise their significant contribution to the city economy; identifying and supporting opportunities for residents to enter the workforce by providing accessible routes into employment; offering a coherent progression pathway through the labour market; addressing barriers to services and benefits; growing the city’s social economy; and building a measure of inclusive growth that we can monitor progress.

Drive city region sustainable growth through a Belfast region city deal

We want to see a Growth Deal for the Belfast city region. By this we mean a long-term approach to investment in infrastructure, key business sectors, regeneration schemes, tourism product and skills.

This will ensure that the city and Northern Ireland as a whole can improve productivity and competitiveness, take advantage of the opportunities that reduced corporation tax will create and also deal with many of the deep seated social and economic issues in the city region.

Along with the Northern Ireland Executive, we will explore new financial mechanisms and models to enable better use of budgets by NI Departments, public bodies and councils to facilitate economic growth and the implementation of agreed priority schemes.

We will exploit the financial tools available to both central and local government to invest in capital schemes which can unlock major investment and development opportunities.

We will ensure that the growth delivered by a Belfast region city deal is as inclusive as possible. We will focus, not just on infrastructure, but ensure this investment creates jobs in our local labour markets.

We will prioritise skills and innovation and ensure the competitive advantage offered by our world class universities is maintained and strengthened. We will create innovation, research and skills hubs to drive growth.

Build the city’s position as a magnet for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)

Partners including the council and Invest NI will work together to attract and support investment in the city. We will build on Belfast’s success in attracting FDI and deliver a market-facing strategy to ensure Belfast maintains its position as a business and investor friendly city.

We will provide co-ordinated investment support which will include practical assistance and signposting to a network of professional and other services to support new and existing businesses, investors and developers keen to invest here. This will include a new City Investment Advice and Concierge Service which will welcome and help to embed new businesses, investors and developers into Belfast with the aim of creating further expansion and developing long-term relationships between business and the city. We will continue to invest in the infrastructure, connectivity and attractiveness of the city to accommodate and encourage investment, aligned to the city’s Local Development Plan.

Maximise the city’s connections worldwide to drive growth

We will work with city partners to deliver a new International Relations Framework to maximise the city’s new and existing international connection to attract international students and drive trade, investment and tourism and to encourage cultural and other linkages. Belfast’s international credentials will be enhanced by positioning itself as a global city through its joint bid for European Capital of Culture 2023 designation.

Given the likely changes in the economic environment post the UK’s exit from the European Union we will further develop our working relationships with the cities of London and Dublin for the mutual benefit of our businesses and citizens.

Create a resilient city

As part of the 100 Resilient Cities programme, founded by the Rockefeller Foundation, we will appoint a Belfast Commissioner for Resilience who will work with partners to develop a strategy to take a targeted approach to addressing those issues which pose the greatest risk to the city and its economy.

Make Belfast a great place to do business and supporting entrepreneurs and business starts

We are committed to delivering a comprehensive suite of programmes that supports local entrepreneurs, those who want to start new businesses, existing businesses that wish to grow and export, and those foreign-owned businesses that may choose to invest and grow in the city. Designed in partnership with the business sector we will offer tailored and enhanced support as well as developing new models to incentivise and accelerate businesses to start, grow and increase in competitiveness. We will ensure city services, such as planning, work collaboratively to meet the needs of people and businesses.

We will develop the business eco-system in the city to create a supportive business and investment environment. This will enhance a growing city innovation and knowledge economy as well as making it easier for businesses to access the support they need by developing and branding a cohesive continuum of support. This will increase Belfast’s reputation as a place to create and grow successful businesses.

Provide sector specific support

As part of our work to support local businesses we will provide sector specific support and nurture businesses in the burgeoning creative and digital sector.

We will work with our established centres of excellence to implement key strategies towards long-term sustainability such as the Regional Cyber Security Strategy. We will form strategic partnership agreements to ensure specific tailored interventions are flexible to meet the specific needs of high growth potential businesses. We will support local businesses to avail of local supply chains and procurement opportunities contributing to local social and economic regeneration.

We’ve invested in a new Innovation Factory that not only connects new social and economic regeneration with local communities but also joins other innovation hubs to enhance a growing city innovation and knowledge economy.

Harness innovation to drive city growth

Information technologies and data science are powerful engines for the future economic growth of Belfast. Partners will work with our local universities, digital small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and the third sector (non-government organisations such as voluntary and community groups) to design and deliver a Smart Belfast framework. This will build the foundations required to generate innovative solutions to address major city challenges while also supporting our local SME sector to develop world-class products. A challenge fund being delivered by Belfast City Council and Invest NI will help support this.

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Living here

Great place to live, good houses, excellent local facilities and open spaces, healthy and safe neighbourhoods

Together, we will:

  • improve neighbourhoods
  • improve the city living experience
  • improve good relations
  • reduce life inequalities
  • enable active, healthy and empowered citizens
  • provide fit-for-purpose city services
  • support and care for people who face multiple challenges
  • support our younger and older people

Why this is a priority for Belfast

Belfast must provide the opportunity for all of its residents to lead healthy, engaged and fulfilling lives as part of vibrant, growing, welcoming and sustainable communities and neighbourhoods.

A thriving and healthy Belfast enables and empowers its residents to reach their full potential at every stage of life. It means providing the opportunity to lead a fulfilling life whether this is through employment, education, volunteering, learning for fun, sports or participating in the arts, culture, and heritage.

For many people, Belfast offers a high quality of life. It is a culturally rich city, playing host to a wide range of festivals and arts, music, sports and cultural events in which many of our citizens are actively engaged throughout the year.

Most of our residents are living longer, healthier lives. People over 60 already make up one fifth of our population and this is forecast to increase dramatically to over one third by 2050. Older people have told us that “Belfast is already a good place to grow old”. As a member of the World Health Organisation’s Global Network of Age-friendly Cities, we must continue to improve our services and structures to meet the diverse needs of an ageing population. The city relies heavily on the contribution older people make to their families, their communities and the economy.

But the city is also a place of young people, who make up nearly a third of the population of Belfast, making our city one of the youngest in Europe. The city’s Youth Forum, informed by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, works to ensure the voice of young people is heard in how the city is run and how its future is shaped. The city also has a substantial and vibrant third sector infrastructure, working to safeguard and support the interests of children and young people.

However, for many individuals, and across a significant number of neighbourhoods, the city is not performing well. Eight of the ten most deprived wards in Northern Ireland are in Belfast. This has a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of our residents. Suicide rates in the 10 per cent most deprived areas are almost five times higher than those in the 10 per cent least deprived. Similarly, the gap in life expectancy between the 10 per cent most and least deprived areas of Northern Ireland is approximately 10.7 years for males and 7.7 years for females.

Working with our partners through the delivery of the ‘Making Life Better’ strategy is an important opportunity to make progress in addressing many of these inequalities and achieving improved wellbeing outcomes for the people of Belfast.

Housing is an important factor in creating sustainable, safe and cohesive communities. We will therefore be working together to maximise the benefits of housing investment in the city ensuring affordable and safe housing is a priority.

We are committed to making Belfast a place that is compassionate, safe and welcoming to everyone. We need to continue to work hard, maximising the impact of the NI Executive’s 'Together: Building a United Community' strategy to continue to transform our city into one shared by all. When we asked people across Belfast how satisfied they were with Belfast as a place to live, 92 per cent answered the question positively.

However, many of our citizens continue to live parallel lives with some communities still separated by physical barriers. It is no coincidence that the poorest neighbourhoods in Belfast continue to be those located in and around interfaces and flash point areas.

There has been significant partnership work over the years to ensure that people in Belfast feel safe and are safe. Overall crime and most types of crime in Belfast have decreased over the last ten years. We will continue to work through our Policing and Community Safety Partnerships to ensure that local communities are safe and free from the fear of crime.

Building relationships across communities is central to achieving our vision for Belfast. In recent years, the population of Belfast has changed substantially.

We’ve welcomed new people from other countries who have made Belfast their home. This diversity has enriched our culture and contributed to our prosperity.

Working through our Shared City Partnership and within our individual organisations, we will build upon and refocus our collective work to deal with the issues of division and segregation that directly impact on individual life opportunities and the ability of organisations to deliver effective public services.

Our goals and work streams for living here

Our city services are key to ensuring inclusive growth. We must deliver services differently, in a more integrated way that is focused on the needs of people and helps them participate fully in the life of the city. We will draw on the best examples of innovation to establish transformative ways of working that encourage communities, individuals and partners to design and deliver better services. We want to learn from these and then make them part of our day-to-day delivery.

Stretch goals

Together, by 2021, we will:

1. deliver £1 billion of physical investment in our neighbourhoods

2. deliver 1,800 social housing units and agree a city target for affordable housing

3. roll out £105 million in new leisure provision

4. invest £1 million in communities to drive social innovation

5. increase the proportion of young people from Belfast who think that local facilities are shared and open to all

6. invest £25 million in health improvement initiatives (in addition to investment in health and social care services in general) to make progress towards our 2035 ambition to reduce the life expectancy gap between the most and least deprived neighbourhoods

7. invest £4million in the prevention of suicide and self-harm

8. improve how safe people feel within our neighbourhoods

9. support communities to make progress towards reducing the number of physical barriers at interface sites

10. make a successful bid with Derry City and Strabane District Council to be European Capital of Culture 2023

Work streams

Design an integrated, inter-agency approach to neighbourhood regeneration and maximise the impact of local assets and investment

Partners will work together to integrate services on the ground in a way that is responsive to what makes a difference to local people in the area.

We will work with communities to design innovative area-based interventions that maximise the potential of existing programmes, assets and investments by partners and look at ways of turning areas of dereliction into positive assets for neighbourhoods and communities.

Partners across the city are investing in important community assets, while communities themselves are bringing forward and executing investment projects.

Creating physical assets is not enough, however, they must in turn deliver outcomes for local people.

Agencies need to work together to maximise the benefits of local assets and where possible use them as a means of making services more integrated and accessible. There are a number of programmes seeking to improve community assets as a driver for regeneration, including the council’s Local Investment and Belfast Investment Funds, and Northern Ireland Executive programmes such as the Social Investment Fund, Urban Villages and Building Successful Communities.

It is important that we take a strategic overview to ensure that interventions are planned and managed in a way that maximises their benefit to local people. In the years ahead community planning partners will be building houses, schools, health-care assets, new leisure centres and many other assets. The Belfast Agenda provides an opportunity to plan these better together, providing better services, saving money and achieving better outcomes for local people.

Planning for housing to meet the needs of everyone

Housing is a key issue in creating sustainable communities. People have told us that affordable and safe housing is fundamental to the quality of life of our residents. In 2017, there were over 7,322 people in housing stress in the city. The Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) is a key community planning partner and social housing has an important role to play in creating the type of city we want Belfast to be in the future. We will therefore be working together to maximise the benefits of housing investment in the city, increasing the tenure mix, growing the population of the city centre and helping to create sustainable, safe and cohesive communities. The Local Development Plan Preferred Options Papers includes an aim that a percentage of all new homes in larger developments will be affordable housing. We will work together to ensure the issue of affordable housing that meets the needs of all communities and generations is addressed.

Design and deliver a fully integrated, inter-agency approach to early intervention, including early years support and family programmes

Building on the work already done by the Executive and partners (for example, the Children and Young People’s Strategic Partnership, Sure Start and the health trusts) we will work together to ensure we see the whole picture of a child’s development so that they have the continual support they need to reach their potential.

We will encourage a focus on support for families in the city through an integrated family early intervention programme. Our aim is for an integrated service provision to support families facing challenges, maximising the impact of facilities such as the city’s ten Family Support Hubs.

Deliver a city and neighbourhood Community Safety programme

Ensuring neighbourhoods are safe remains a key priority for everyone in Belfast and strong partnership working has meant that we have good foundations on which to build.

We will continue to work with the Belfast Policing and Community Safety Partnerships to deliver an integrated programme of work to improve all aspects of community safety across the city, including hate crime, anti-social behaviour and domestic abuse.

Supporting children and young people to fulfil their potential

Young people make up a third of the population of Belfast, making our city one of the youngest in Europe. It is vital that their vision shapes the future and we deliver our services accordingly.

Partners will work to support an integrated approach to improve outcomes for all children and young people. This will include ensuring young people are listened to and valued and can confidently shape their own futures. We are committed to making sure that young people are empowered, safe, happy, achieving at each stage of life and able to play their part in their city and communities.

Ensure an age-friendly Belfast

By the middle of this century it is estimated that more than a third of Belfast’s population will be over 60 years old. We need to plan effectively to ensure the needs of people in the city are met. Older people have expressed the need for a particular focus on addressing social isolation, access to suitable housing and poverty.

As a member of the World Health Organisation’s Global Network of Age-friendly Cities, we will work with the Healthy Ageing Strategic Partnership to deliver the Age friendly Belfast Plan that informs future partner service design and planning.

We will work together to ensure that the needs of older people are taken into consideration during service development and we will maximise the benefit of older people’s experience.

Design and deliver Belfast City Good Relations, Shared Space, Peace IV and Interfaces programmes

We will work with the Shared City Partnership to deliver an integrated plan to improve good relations, develop a sustainable, transferable and scalable approach to management and promotion of shared spaces, while creating leadership and networking opportunities. We will seek to develop an Interfaces Programme as well as securing Peace IV funding to deliver a wide range of programmes. Partners will also work with the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) and others to address segregated housing issues through the NIHE Community Cohesion Strategy and the Northern Ireland Executive’s Together: Building a United Community Strategy, facilitating growth of sustainable shared neighbourhood estates where possible.

There are opportunities to promote development of shared sites and facilities that provide safe access for all of the community and have potential to foster greater levels of social integration.

Deliver an integrated cultural and arts strategy

Culture and arts make a vital contribution to the city helping to improve quality of life, drive the economy and make Belfast a shared, welcoming and proud city. Belfast gets a strong return on funding of arts and heritage, returning approximately £8 for the city for every £1 of our investment. This investment helps engage with over 170,000 participants, reach audiences of four million and provide around 8,000 employment opportunities for artists each year.

We will deliver a four-year action plan that will celebrate Belfast’s distinctive culture by inspiring communities, attracting audiences and strengthening the sector. This plan will support increased access to arts and heritage, providing opportunities for participation in activities, events and festivals. We will harness the diversity of our city as a strength in our cultural offer.

Bid for European Capital of Culture 2023

To celebrate and build on Belfast’s distinct culture, heritage and arts, and to maximise its role in regenerating, energising and showcasing our city, we will bid for European Capital of Culture 2023, along with Derry City and Strabane District Council. This joint city approach is a real opportunity to support people to connect with each other and to cement the role of our cities and the region across Europe and the world. We will build on our city’s assets and our action plan by developing a joint cultural programme that delivers on the city’s priorities and marks the city’s transformation physically, socially, economically and culturally culminating in a year-long programme of events in 2023.

Design and deliver an integrated city programme for health, to address health inequalities, including enhancing mental wellbeing and reducing social isolation

We will work, through the Belfast Strategic Partnership, to ensure the design and delivery of programmes that maximise the impact of the regional Making Life Better Strategy within Belfast. This will address aspects of physical health, including healthy eating, physical activity, active travel and mental wellbeing, particularly issues of social cohesion, community vulnerability and isolation. Feedback has shown that mental health and emotional wellbeing are very important issues for our residents especially amongst our younger people.

We will maximise the benefits of our membership of the World Health Organisation’s Healthy Cities Network to improve health in the city, to support those in poor health and to consider how we might improve end of life care. We will also look for opportunities to maximise the health impact of Belfast’s leisure transformation programme, encourage greater participation in sports, deliver the Growing Communities Strategy and address food poverty, health and nutrition.

Maximise the benefit of our natural and built environment

Residents have told us that the city’s landscape setting and natural environment are some of Belfast’s key strengths and we need to work strategically to ensure that we maximise the benefit of our open and green spaces, our river and hills to achieve better health and wellbeing outcomes. We will work with our partners to deliver an Open Spaces Strategy, taking forward Heritage Lottery Fund applications and exploring potential for delivery of a Neighbourhood Attractiveness programme for Belfast to tackle dereliction. We will also seek to take a sustainable approach to protecting and improving the city’s natural and built environment. We will seek to strike an appropriate balance between protecting the local distinctiveness of our built heritage and allowing for high quality innovative development. Examples of our approach will include delivery of the city’s Biodiversity Action Plan, Air Quality Action Plans, new Local Development Plan and considering neighbourhood dimensions to the Belfast Resilience Programme.

Use social innovation to unlock service transformation

City partners will explore how to transform and improve the way we plan and deliver services at both the city and local level. We will test and adopt new socially innovative tools and techniques at neighbourhood level.

We want to find better ways of working at the local level, particularly in exploring how we can work with residents and partners, to co-design and deliver more effective solutions that can be adopted at scale across the city.

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City development

Connected, well-planned with the right infrastructure to succeed

Together, we will:

  • promote and position the city to compete
  • develop the city’s infrastructure and improve connectivity locally, nationally and internationally
  •  drive the physical and cultural regeneration of the city centre
  • deliver key strategic physical projects and policies
  • attract more tourists
  • protect and enhance our environment and built heritage
  •  develop an effective Local Development Plan

Why this is a priority for Belfast

Belfast is at the heart of a metropolitan area with strong ambition. The transfer of planning powers means that city partners can shape the city to deliver the outcomes in the Belfast Agenda. We can now shape spaces and places in our city in order to ensure sustainable growth.

Belfast has many natural and historical advantages that it can call upon to support growth. However, there are still gaps in its key infrastructure which must be addressed if the city is to grow.

The city centre is key to creating the economic growth we need. Belfast has done well in recent decades to create an economically dynamic and attractive city centre. It has, however, some way to go in comparison to other European cities of comparable size.

We want to increase the number of people living, working and investing in the city centre. We want to better connect the city centre and the communities that surround it.

A strong city core needs the right mix of offices, retail, hotels, tourist attractions, creative industries, universities and colleges, housing and social infrastructure. Only by getting this mix right and increasing the number of commercial premises and homes can it drive community regeneration by increasing the rates base that can be used for wider investment.

Connectivity is vital, Belfast is the transport and logistical hub for the entire region. Our port is the second largest on the island of Ireland, handling 23 million tonnes of goods and over 1 million passengers each year. George Best Belfast City Airport and Belfast International Airport carried over seven million passengers between them in 2015. The Executive’s ambitions to improve air connectivity to Northern Ireland will support Belfast’s aims to grow the economy, increase Foreign Direct Investment and visitor numbers. Infrastructure, particularly transport infrastructure, is vital to connecting our communities to opportunities for jobs and to each other. We must ensure that community infrastructure, such as schools, housing, transport, health and leisure facilities and parks and open spaces are planned in a cohesive way to allow people to get the most from them.

Belfast has a large ‘Travel to Work’ area with just under half of its workforce travelling from other areas. Over half of the working population of Belfast rely on the car for this journey, with only 14 per cent opting for public transport. Notwithstanding recent investment in public transport there continues to be only a relatively small growth in passenger numbers using public transport.

Digital connectivity is improving; nearly 100 per cent of households and businesses in Belfast have access to optical fibre broadband. The city is rolling out free City Wi-Fi and is part of a project providing the fastest connection from North America to Europe.

Water, sewage and energy infrastructure are in need of significant investment.

Belfast’s household recycling levels have made significant progress and over 40 per cent of domestic waste is now recycled. However, much reusable and economically useful material is still being lost to landfill and a figure of 70 per cent should be possible. The circular economy is an under-exploited opportunity that has the potential to support jobs and business growth.

Our goals and work streams for city development

The right kind of development makes our city competitive and connects people to opportunity, driving inclusive growth. It is essential that local people feel the benefits of regeneration. We need to create the conditions for growth, with resilient infrastructure that can support the city’s development and get people where they need to go. We also need to build on Belfast’s distinctive sense of place and ensure the world knows what the city has to offer in order to attract investment, tourists and talent.

Stretch goals

Together, by 2021, we will:

1. grow the city’s rates base by 5 per cent, through an increased number of residential and commercial developments
2. create 1.5 million square feet of Grade A office accommodation
3. create a minimum of 3,000 new hotel bed spaces
4. increase the use of sustainable transport by 15 per cent
5. reduce the level of household waste going to landfill to 35 per cent
6. increase the percentage of residents satisfied with the city living experience

Work streams

Create the Belfast Local Development Plan

Alongside this community plan, we’re also creating a new Local Development Plan, which will set out how the council area should develop and what it will look like in the years to come. This includes consideration of the city centre boundary.

The Local Development Plan will be vital to the delivery of the outcomes in the Belfast Agenda as it will provide a 15-year planning framework to support economic and social outcomes in the city, while providing the delivery of sustainable development.

It will facilitate growth by coordinating public and private investment by encouraging development where it can be of most benefit to the wellbeing of the community and allocate sufficient land to meet the needs of the city.

Importantly, it will provide an opportunity for all stakeholders, including the public, to have a say about where and how development should take place.

You can read about the Local Development Plan.

Create a partnership and plan for sustainable urban infrastructure

Infrastructure planning for the Belfast city region needs to be taken forward in a strategic and integrated way, not on a project by project basis. We will establish a new Strategic Infrastructure Group which will identify key infrastructure investment needs and work with the Northern Ireland Executive to shape the NI Investment Strategy.

A modern, secure digital infrastructure is particularly important for a thriving city – it is not only a precondition for future competitiveness but provides the necessary connectivity for business growth and the innovative delivery of public services. We will work with partners on the deployment of accessible ultrafast broadband connectivity, 5G communications and Internet of Things networks and will put in place a city digital strategy to maximise the opportunities that these investments represent.

Develop an integrated and sustainable city transport plan

We will maximise the opportunities of the £150 million Belfast Transport Hub and Rapid Transport System (Phase II). We will promote the development of sustainable transport and address under-use of public transport, particularly in relation to commuter patterns and work to promote active travel. We will work in partnership to progress key transport infrastructure, including the York Street Interchange. We will develop a comprehensive solution to city centre parking. To support walking and cycling as sustainable modes of transport we will work to improve the city’s pedestrian routes and cycling infrastructure and build on the Belfast Bike Scheme.

Deliver city regeneration and investment projects

We are committed to encouraging city centre living and creating a vibrant, well-connected environment for people to enjoy. The City Centre Regeneration and Investment Strategy already stands as an example of our shared ambition - jointly adopted by the council and the Department for Communities. We will work to maximise the benefit of key city infrastructure projects such as York Street Interchange, Belfast Transport Hub (Phase II), Living With Water sewage and water infrastructure, improved digital connectivity towards an ultra fast city, Grade A office space, a major visitor attraction, hotels and frameworks to regenerate our city centre and surrounding areas, as well as a new central library, university and health infrastructure.

Increase the supply of mixed tenure housing

Housing development and management can have a positive effect on the economy, supporting the construction industry, increasing demand for goods and services and supporting jobs. It also plays a vital role in growing the city’s population. Social housing is an important aspect of this.

In 2016-2017 NIHE spent almost £112 million in Belfast. As a statutory partner, the NIHE is committed to maximising the positive impact of housing investment in the local economy and its regenerative impact on local communities. This will include the use of social investment finance to support opportunities for social enterprise.

The NIHE will continue to invest in local communities by managing the Social Housing Development Programme, to deliver new affordable housing for communities, to promote mixed tenure development, and transfer assets to local communities (Community Asset Transfer).

Build citywide commitment to Belfast place positioning

A strong sense of place and a clear statement of what the city has to offer is critical to attracting investment, tourism and talent. City partners will support and deliver a common shared Belfast narrative and implementation plan, including a city ambassador programme and city marketing strategy, to ensure international reach and to help attract investment, tourism and talent.

Deliver the integrated tourism strategy

We will work with partners to support a range of aligned and mutually supportive work streams in order to deliver on the ambition of increasing the value of tourism.

The strategy builds on Belfast’s unique appeal and story, its character, its culture and its people. We will do this through maximising the offer of our natural and built heritage; by investment to attract leisure and business tourists and attracting, nurturing and retaining creative talent.

Develop a further world-class visitor attraction

The scoping, financing, design and delivery of a world-class city centre visitor attraction will have huge benefits for Belfast. There is clear evidence that the city tourism offer would be transformed by a substantial new attraction in the city centre to complement the existing tourism and cultural offerings such as Titanic Belfast.

Establish a Belfast sustainable development framework

We’re committed to sustainable development. This means making the necessary decisions to realise our vision for economic growth, maximising wellbeing and protecting the environment, without affecting the ability of future generations to do the same. In support of regional sustainable development objectives, we will work with partners in the city and in government departments to develop a Belfast framework that supports sustainable economic success, particularly in addressing constraints relating to energy, transport and city water infrastructure.

Manage resources and waste

Successful cities manage the impact of growth and ensure that it does not limit the quality of life of future generations. This includes reducing our consumption of non-renewable resources and minimising and managing waste effectively. We will develop a strategy which will ensure waste is managed effectively and develop a circular economy action plan to increase skills, jobs and growth, including maximising the benefits of the Cleantech Hub at Giant’s Park.

Develop a city energy programme

We will work with partners to better manage energy usage across the city’s public estate. We will build opportunities with all partners, including the private sector and local communities, to encourage investment and deployment of renewable sources in order to make the city more attractive to investors and to tackle fuel poverty.

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Working and learning

Making sure people have the right skills for the future

Together, we will:

  • address educational inequalities and increase skills attainment
  • address barriers to employment at a structural and personal level
  • enhance and increase the skill levels of our residents and attract and retain even more skilled people
  • match people and skills to opportunities across Belfast
  • reduce poverty and economic inactivity

Why this is a priority for Belfast

Having a good job is important to people in Belfast and is key to ensuring we reduce economic inequality. That is why removing barriers to employment for local people is a key focus of the Belfast Agenda and our approach to economic growth.

Belfast is a vibrant 21st century city of enormous talent and a major contributor to our region’s growing and important knowledge and creative industries. Belfast now supports over 210,000 jobs with 56 per cent of these taken by people who commute from surrounding areas. The city is home to Queen’s University Belfast, Ulster University, the Open University and Belfast Metropolitan College, which between them have over 75,000 full and part-time students.

According to 2011 census figures, 28 per cent of our working age resident population hold a university degree equivalent or higher. Recent work undertaken by the Centre for Cities reported that whilst Belfast was ranked fifteenth in the UK for having a highly skilled population, it ranked second highest in terms of the share of the population having no formal qualifications. This has significant implications for the economic success of the city and the region. Skill levels in Belfast have a significant impact on regional competitiveness and in terms of attainment levels some of the highest levels of educational inequality in the region exist in the city.

Despite the relatively strong growth of the city economy, there is still a very marked polarisation of those who are well qualified and those who have no qualifications or who are low skilled.14 per cent of the total working age population in Belfast had no qualifications in 2016, according to the Labour Force Survey. Only 3.1 per cent of those aged 16 years and over are self-employed. This is significantly lower than the 7.5 per cent figure for Northern Ireland. This is also lower than in other UK cities such as Liverpool (10.8 per cent), Manchester (14.4 per cent), Newcastle (11.7 per cent), Leeds (12.1 per cent), and Sheffield (10.7 per cent)

Economic inactivity is high compared with other cities and to the NI average. The longer a person is out of work, the harder it becomes for them to find a way back into the labour market. Part-time underemployment - working part-time hours but wanting to work more - is a particular problem for women and young people.

There are structural and personal barriers to employment that we need to address if we are to take on the challenges facing people in our most deprived communities. For example, access to affordable childcare is essential - with average weekly childcare costs equating to 58 per cent of the median wage at skill level 1. The NI Executive’s new Childcare Strategy will have an important role to play in addressing this.

This is a key issue for lone parents and low income families. Structural issues, such as conditions related to welfare benefits, are known to have an impact. Health is also a major barrier and the main reason for people leaving the labour market, reinforcing the very inter-related nature of the outcomes in the Belfast Agenda. The council and its partners will therefore work together with the Northern Ireland Executive to find ways to overcome these barriers.

Evidence emerging from the work of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the RSA’s Inclusive Growth Commission demonstrates a strong relationship between education and skills inequalities and poverty within society. This is an inter-generational challenge which needs a fresh approach. Through our Employability and Skills Framework we will try to connect people to real and good jobs - ensuring they are job ready; upskilling and providing a pathway to employment and in-work career progression. Our proposed Belfast region city deal will include a bid for significant investment in skills for the whole city region.

We will work with the city’s anchor institutions - those larger organisations with an historic investment in the city’s long-term success - to better leverage their economic power as employers, suppliers and contractors to build a resilient mutually supportive city economy.

In partnership we will develop new placed-based models which enable the widest range of people to participate fully in, and benefit from, economic growth. We will seek to better match the education and skill attainment levels amongst our resident population with the future business needs of key growth sectors and thereby better connecting people to employment opportunities.

Our goals and work streams for working and learning

Our skills base is vital to competitiveness, productivity, inclusiveness and growth. For people in Belfast to achieve their potential we need to take a more integrated approach to learning and skills.

Economic destiny is often shaped by the earliest years of life and we must work together to ensure that children are ‘school ready’ and that, as they progress, they have the life skills they need to get a job and progress in life.

Learning continues throughout life, both formally and informally, and our plans will address the need to ensure access to skills development throughout life.

Stretch goals

Together, by 2021, we will:

  1. reduce the working age population economic inactivity rate to less than 23 per cent
  2. reduce the proportion of the working age population with no qualifications to less than 10 per cent
  3. increase the proportion of the working age population with Level 2 qualifications and above to more than 82 per cent
  4. increase the proportion of the working age population with Level 4 qualifications and above from 34 per cent to 38 per cent or higher
  5. increase the percentage of school-leavers entering employment, education or training from 94 per cent to 98 per cent
  6.  reduce the gap in educational attainment between those entitled to free school meals and those who aren’t, from 32 percentage points to 28 percentage points or less (Level 2 or above, including English and Maths)
  7.  widen participation in further and higher education and attract and retain more students locally and internationally.

Work streams

Deliver an integrated approach to employment and skills

To create higher levels of business growth, employment and income for our communities, we need to realise the potential of Belfast’s people and remove barriers to employment including child care, transport, skills and training. Taking an intelligence and employment-led approach we will further develop the Belfast Employability and Skills Framework, establishing an Employment and Skills Board to take this work forward.

Deliver a ‘Belfast Employability Pathway Model’

Partners will work together to design and deliver a Belfast Employability Pathway. This will be a scalable integrated whole life programme that will support those furthest from the labour market through to employment. We will work with employers to identify, plan and prepare for emerging job opportunities and to create effective pathways to employment.

Devolve funding to the city region for the delivery of a large scale skills and employability programme

Partners will work with the Northern Ireland Executive to co-design the policy framework for improving skills and employability (building on the scalable learning from the Belfast Employability Pathway). We will seek devolved powers and funding for skills and employment support driven by outcomes-led local commissioning.

Deliver an integrated city programme to address educational inequalities

Partners will work to build stronger links between schools, families and local communities. Building on the Education Authority’s Strategic Area Plan ‘Providing Pathways’, they will focus on addressing numeracy and literacy issues, particularly during the transition period between primary and post-primary education. We will support the vital links between schools, libraries, families, local communities and employers.

Partners will come together when new schools are being developed in order to deliver a more holistic and integrated package within a new build that would address educational, health, parental and family issues within the community.

Maximise the benefits of our higher and further education offer

We have world class further and higher educational institutions who are investing significantly in our city to drive growth and improve quality of life. We will work to support a globally competitive FE/HE sector and to maximise their positive impact on the city and society, and support them in attracting international and local students and world class staff.

We will maximise the benefits of our further and higher education institutions by linking the courses on offer with employment opportunities in the city and the wider region and work with businesses to ensure skills match demand.

Our universities and Belfast Met are committed to widening participation as well as tackling inequality. We will work in partnership to harness their knowledge in areas such as data analytics and other branches of research to solve city problems, drive growth and reduce inequalities.

Establish a city pledge for our young people and a commitment to being a learning city

We will establish a pledge that commits the city to developing coherent pathways for education, training and employment for our young people.

We will support joint programmes of work to promote learning for all ages as part of Belfast’s commitment to being a learning city. This will include both formal and informal training and will encourage lifelong and community learning through, for example, further and higher education facilities, libraries, community centres and faith groups.

We will develop the city’s status as a learning city by becoming a member of the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning Global Network of Learning Cities.

Leverage the power of Belfast’s anchor institutions and city partners

We will design and deliver a programme of work with the city’s anchor institutions and other city partners to leverage their economic power as employers, suppliers and contractors to build a resilient mutually supportive city economy. There are particular opportunities to harness the collective procurement power of the public sector to deliver on wider social outcomes. Our partners in higher education will also seek to widen participation and create opportunity for first degree entrants from lower socioeconomic groups.

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How we developed the Belfast Agenda

How we’ve got here - the story so far.

We’ve been building towards the Belfast Agenda over the past two years and more. In advance of Local Government Reform in 2015, we were preparing for our duty to lead a community planning process in the city, learning and building new approaches to make a difference for the city and its people.

Since then we’ve been engaging with stakeholders and communities across the city, to begin to create a shared vision and plan for Belfast, the Belfast Agenda. Over this time many of our partners have also been engaging and consulting across our city on many of the themes, issues, priorities and areas of work that have emerged during this process.

The Belfast Conversation

A key element of the development of the Belfast Agenda was a series of citywide facilitated public workshops, online questionnaires and social media interaction. This was known as the Belfast Conversation and helped to create the vision, aspirations, and outcomes in the Belfast Agenda.

Data and evidence

We’ve been drawing on a wealth of information and data about Belfast, its opportunities and the challenges local people face. We’ve been working with local universities and other experts to make sure that our plan is based on firm foundations. This evidence is used throughout this document to help explain why our priorities have been chosen.

Public consultation

The conversation continued as we formally consulted on the draft Belfast Agenda in late 2016. Over an 18-week period, through consultation briefing events, workshops, social media activity and an online consultation questionnaire, we tested whether we had captured accurately what people across the city had told us they wanted for the future through the Belfast Conversation. We engaged directly with over 700 people and received over 240 written responses. Over 90 responses were received from children and young people, many as a result of the Belfast Youth Forum proactively engaging with their peers in school. An overwhelming number of which were positive about the plan’s direction and priorities.

Some respondents suggested improvements to the document and we have considered each of these in this final version.

It is not possible to capture in one document everything we need to do and all of the ideas we received as part of the consultation process. We will continue to work with partners and communities to produce further implementation plans to make sure innovative and creative solutions are found to the challenges we face.

Publication of the final Belfast Agenda

The final version of the Belfast Agenda was published with its supporting documents in autumn 2017. The supporting documents include:

  • Belfast Agenda technical document
  • an Equality Impact Assessment
  • a Strategic Environmental Assessment
  • a Habitats Regulation Assessment
  • a Rural Needs Impact Assessment

How to stay involved

The Belfast Agenda is a plan for everyone in Belfast and if you want to keep up to date with future developments and find information or opportunities to be involved, visit Community planning for information and sign up to receive email updates.

Some of the key milestones in our journey so far

Summer 2014
City residents’ survey

November 2014-February 2015
Understanding existing priorities and city issues with partners

April 2015
Local Government Reform and Community planning duty takes effect

Spring-Summer 2015
The Belfast Conversation: wide programme of public engagement across the city, public events and online feedback.

Autumn-Winter 2015
Identifying city outcomes and testing the draft framework with partners.

Spring-Autumn 2016
Drafting the plan with partners.

Winter 2016-Spring 2017
Public consultation on the draft Belfast Agenda.

Summer 2017
Belfast Agenda revised and partners agree final version.

Autumn 2017
Publication of the final Belfast Agenda and supporting documents.
Work streams begin implementation.

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Making it happen

The Belfast Agenda represents a hugely ambitious body of work for the city that will require the active, co-ordinated participation of many organisations and individuals across many sectors.

It will require new thinking in terms of collaborative planning, financing, data collection, performance management and programme delivery at the city and neighbourhood levels. It will necessitate the adoption of the latest innovations in smart technologies and data analytics.

Ensuring deep linkages with the delivery mechanisms for the Programme for Government will be a critical success factor. The council and its partners will look for complementary opportunities for both plans, not only in terms of resourcing and programme delivery, but also in relation to measurement and shared learning.

The council has significant experience in delivering multi-agency programmes and will draw on this expertise in the development of a supporting governance and delivery infrastructure for the Belfast Agenda. But it is recognised that there is substantial enabling work to be done by all partners to make the agenda a reality.

This includes:

  • agreement on governance structures that provide clear representation and accountability
  • light touch, responsive decision-making mechanisms at both a senior strategic level and at a programme management level
  • collective performance management
  • arrangements - that provide shared understanding of impact and the effectiveness of delivery mechanisms for organisations to share evidence, research, and practice to inform decision-making
  • a shared means of working together to test new approaches to ‘intractable’ issues

In this, its first ever iteration, the Belfast Agenda is setting a city level strategic direction and associated work streams. As we move to more detailed planning and delivery we need to think locally as well.

Further work will be required to design enhanced mechanisms for area-based planning and delivery which will draw upon existing good practice and the geographically based initiatives of partner organisations.

We want to find better ways of working at the local level - particularly in exploring how we can work with residents and partners to co-design and deliver more effective solutions that can be adopted at scale across the city.

Measuring success

The Belfast Agenda sets a city level strategic direction for the future of the city including a number of work streams to deliver shorter term priorities. In order to measure success, a robust monitoring and evaluation framework will be developed as part of the implementation process. This framework will facilitate consistent approaches to data collection, analysis and evaluation and will add to the existing evidence base that has been created to date.

While research, monitoring and evaluation can inform policy and strategy development, its real value lies in ensuring that ongoing delivery is responsive to changing needs and environments.

The framework consist of population indicators, which are outcome focussed and therefore have a longer term emphasis. The stretch goals identify medium-term targets that are associated with the successful implementation of the vision and immediate priorities. As an overarching strategy for the city, the Belfast Agenda contains a number of synergies with the Programme for Government and a number of regional strategies. The monitoring processes will also involve a degree of alignment meaning that we will be able to work with partners in the Executive to make progress to achieve better outcomes for local people.

It is essential to note that monitoring is an ongoing process that will be subject to change as new priorities emerge or further data is developed. As partners, we will explore links to inequalities associated with section 75 categories and local area levels. It is therefore anticipated that indicators may be updated during the life cycle of this community plan.

Further and more detailed information on the monitoring and evaluation framework consisting of stretch goals and population indicators can be found in the Belfast Agenda Technical Report.

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Belfast’s community planning partners

Belfast’s statutory community planning partners

  • Belfast City Council
  • Belfast Health and Social Care Trust
  • Council for Catholic Maintained Schools
  • Education Authority
  • Health and Social Care Board
  • Invest NI
  • Libraries NI
  • Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service
  • Northern Ireland Housing Executive
  • Police Service of Northern Ireland
  • Public Health Agency
  • South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust
  • Sport NI
  • Tourism NI

Northern Ireland Government departments

  • The Executive Office
  • Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs
  • Department for Communities
  • Department for the Economy
  • Department of Education
  • Department of Finance
  • Department of Health
  • Department for Infrastructure
  • Department of Justice

A wide range of organisations and individuals from across Belfast have contributed to the development of this document over the past 18 months through the Belfast Conversation and other forums. This has included representatives from our further and higher education institutions, the business community and the voluntary and community sector.

We recognise that the agenda is the continuation of a conversation about the priorities that will ensure better outcomes for the people of Belfast and that it builds on the positive work of many partnerships and agencies in Belfast over the last number of decades.

Our shared values

Our agenda has been influenced by a set of shared values that have shaped its design and will inform its delivery.

  • A focus on outcomes for people
  • Equality and Good Relations
  • Sustainable development and respect for our environment
  • Innovative, people-centred design and delivery
  • Partnerships for collaborative gain
  • Inclusiveness, care and compassion
  • Resilience for the future
  • Decisions driven by evidence

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Appendix 1: Linking population indicators to outcomes

We have identified a number of population indicators, aimed at tracking the progress of our outcomes over the long-term. In this appendix we’ve linked them to each of our five outcome statements. Together they give us a sense of whether our city is heading in the right direction.

The Programme for Government has set a similar framework of indicators for Northern Ireland. The Belfast Community Planning Partners acknowledge the interdependencies between the Belfast Agenda and the Programme for Government. Our shared outcomes and indicators will help ensure closer working to improve the lives of local people. Responding to feedback, and in line with the Programme for Government measurement annexes, we have produced an accompanying technical report which provides more details on the data that we will use to measure our collective progress. This report will also facilitate ongoing monitoring and ensure that each indicator is now measurable in a very open and transparent way.

In future, when partners are co-designing programmes they will want to consider how their work can help move these indicators in the right direction.

1. Everyone in Belfast benefits from a thriving and prosperous economy

People have told us they want to see a city where:

  • There is a strong and resilient economy characterised by a greater number of local businesses selling a greater value of products or services into external markets, and supported by sustainable, effective and efficient city planning for the future.
  • Innovation, collaboration, social enterprise, entrepreneurship and new business start-ups are encouraged and supported. Businesses are attracted to locate and remain in Belfast due to its unique selling points, while local SMEs grow and become more competitive.
  • The city is a hub for specialist industries including Digital and Creative Technologies, Financial and Professional Services, International Tourism and Renewables; the city centre thrives with vibrant retail, leisure, and tourism sectors.
  • There is a wide range of employment opportunities (across professional, high and lower skilled jobs) – a good job is available for everyone who can work; all jobs pay at least a living wage. Social clauses are built in to how business works so that local people benefit.
  • Everyone has access to opportunities to develop the right skills to gain employment and a fulfilling career.
  • Belfast attracts and retains a highly skilled workforce matched to current and future market needs. Young people are ready for work.
  • Poverty is addressed so that everyone can access and afford decent housing, heating and food. No child lives in poverty.

1. Population indicators

1.1 City productivity levels
1.2 Investment into Belfast
1.3 City competitiveness
1.4 The total number of businesses in Belfast
1.5 The number of business start-ups
1.6 The proportion of the population living in absolute and relative poverty (before housing costs)
1.7 The total number of jobs in Belfast
1.8 The proportion of working-age population in Belfast who are employed
1.9 Working age employment rate by deprivation
1.10 Economic inactivity rate (excluding students)
1.11 Average earnings
1.12 Total spend by external visitors
1.13 Supply of housing

2. Belfast is a welcoming, safe, fair and inclusive city for all

People have told us they want to see a city where:

  • People get on well together and enjoy living in a shared city and neighbourhoods where people respect each other and value diversity regardless of differing backgrounds or beliefs, and are able to confidently express their identity.
  • Belfast is a peaceful and safe place to live, work and visit with low levels of crime. People feel safe in all areas in the city.
  • Belfast is known as a welcoming city and enjoys a strong positive image locally and internationally. It is the destination of choice – a place where people want to live, work, study and visit; a key gateway to Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland.
  • People are caring and responsible - there is a strong sense of pride and belonging to the city; all people feel valued are treated fairly with compassion.
  • People and communities are empowered to shape their lives and the future of the city – all people are able to participate meaningfully in civic life.
  • People have access to efficient and effective services that meet their needs; Strong leadership across the political, statutory, business, voluntary and community sector arenas ensure the city works together to make Belfast a better place.

2. Population indicators

2.1 Number of victims of any crime
2.2 Number of hate-motivated crimes
2.3 Proportion of people who feel safe
2.4 Number of anti-social behaviour incidents
2.5 Number of physical barriers at interface sites
2.6 The number of people who agree that people from different backgrounds get on well together
2.7 Proportion of population who believe their cultural identity is respected by society
2.8 Proportion of young people who think that local facilities are shared and open to all

3. Everyone in Belfast fulfils their potential

People have told us they want to see a city where:

  • Belfast is a world class learning city where everyone has access to opportunities to develop and enhance their life skills and participate in learning throughout life; people’s aspirations are fostered, supported and achieved.
  • Young people have an equal chance to excel by being supported in learning and achievement at home, in their community, and at school through access to high quality education, teaching and support services.
  • There is a focus on early years support, enjoyment of play, life-long learning and early intervention.
  • People’s lives are enriched through opportunities to participate in cultural and heritage events, arts and sports.
  • People are involved in volunteering, developing in a strong sense of community and a passionate and engaged community sector.

3. Population indicators

3.1 Proportion of working age population who have attained Level 2 or above
3.2 Proportion of working age population who have attained Level 4 or above
3.3 Proportion of school-leavers achieving at level 2 or above including English and Maths
3.4 Gap between percentage of school leavers entitled to free school meals achieving at least Level 2, including English and maths, and their peers
3.5 Proportion of care-leavers who aged 19 are in employment, education or training
3.6 Proportion of school-leavers entering employment, education or training
3.7 School attendance rates
3.8 Participation in arts activities
3.9 Participation in sport
3.10 Volunteering
3.11 Self-efficacy

4. Everyone in Belfast experiences good health and wellbeing

People have told us they want to see a city where:

  • People have healthy and responsible attitudes and behaviours especially towards food, smoking, alcohol and drugs.
  • People are physically active, benefiting from living in healthy homes and neighbourhoods with access to open and green spaces and a range of leisure and sporting opportunities.
  • People experience supportive social interaction with friends, family, neighbours and communities. People have access to an inclusive range of culture, leisure and arts based activities.
  • People experience good mental health and are emotionally strong and resilient with a sense of fulfilment, feeling in control of their lives and with hope for the future.
  • People have access to a range of early intervention and prevention support services; children and young people receive the best start in life, while older and vulnerable people are able to live independently for as long as possible.
  • People have timely access to high quality health, social care, and housing support services when they need them.

4. Population indicators

4.1 Life expectancy at birth
4.2 Gap in life expectancy by deprivation
4.3 Proportion of babies born at a low birth weight
4.4 Preventable deaths
4.5 Proportion of the population of adults and/or children who are obese
4.6 Proportion of population who smoke
4.7 Proportion of adults drinking above sensible drinking guidelines
4.8 Proportion of people who rank themselves as having high levels of wellbeing
4.9 Proportion of adults who undertake at least 150 minutes of physical exercise per week
4.10 Number of households in housing stress
4.11 Proportion of population living in decent homes

5. Belfast is a vibrant, attractive, connected and environmentally sustainable city

People have told us they want to see a city where:

  • People enjoy the city’s natural beauty through good access to well cared for and bio-diverse rivers, hills, parks and green open spaces.
  • The city has an attractive built environment that is well maintained and free from dereliction. It retains its character and values its strong maritime and industrial heritage, while building a city for the future.
  • People have access to a good, wide range of social, arts and leisure facilities such as shops, bars, restaurants, events, cultural venues and outdoor activities, at times that suit people’s lifestyles.  The city centre thrives with a vibrant mix of retail, leisure, tourist and residential opportunities.
  • People live in attractive and clean neighbourhoods that provide a good range of services and facilities. They have access to good quality housing (across a wide mix of tenures) that’s affordable, energy efficient and sustainable in areas where they want to live.
  • The city looks after its environment for future generations - a low carbon and sustainable city that manages waste and natural resources responsibly and which takes advantage of new technologies. A city that is resilient to environmental and climate change.
  • Belfast is the destination of choice for tourists from key markets including the Republic of Ireland, international and domestic markets and is easily accessible.
  • People can cheaply and conveniently get around the city of Belfast via quality cycling and pedestrian networks; good, reliable public transport; and an efficient and easy to navigate road network. Belfast is a city accessible for people with disabilities to get around easily.

5. Population indicators

5.1 Air quality
5.2 Percentage of household waste that is reused, recycled or composted
5.3 Percentage of all journeys which are made by walking, cycling or public transport
5.4 Visitor numbers
5.5 Engagement in culture and arts activities
5.6 Number of miles of cycle lanes, footways and footpaths
5.7 Proportion of homes that are energy efficient
5.8 Satisfaction with Belfast as a place to live


Data development

The city also needs a number of new ways of measuring progress towards our outcomes. Partners have also agreed to work together to create some new measures including:

  • A Belfast Inclusive Growth Monitor Scorecard
  • Skills barometer measure – the gap between current and future skill needs
  • A measure for social enterprise
  • A measure of city innovation
  • A respect index
  • A liveability index
  • Access to and quality of open space
  • Trust and confidence in public service
  • Children at an appropriate stage of development in their immediate pre-school year
  • A better jobs index
  • Mental health and emotional wellbeing
  • Access to ultrafast broadband
  • Biodiversity
  • Social mobility
  • Average journey time on key transport corridors
  • International reputation
  • Healthy life expectancy
  • Renewable energy consumption
  • Visitor satisfaction
  • Housing affordability

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