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The Belfast Agenda

Draft Strategy 2023 - 2027

Published: August 2023



No one could have predicted how much the world would have changed since the publication of our first strategic plan, the Belfast Agenda, in 2017. From a global pandemic to the on-going climate emergency and war in Ukraine, to the Primark fire which closed part of our city centre and the continuing cost of living crisis, we’ve been through a lot together.

Throughout these difficult times, the strength of Community Planning partners has been central to helping us act quickly and effectively in a crisis, creating a sense of challenge and opportunity for both individual organisations and innovating how we work as a collective. The call to action created by these circumstances has forged new approaches and galvanised whole systems change in a number of areas, such as Complex Lives, where we simplify the way we work and create a model where everyone’s experience, skills and energy can be used in a more impactful way. 

Nowhere more than during the pandemic was the power of our networks and our people, particularly partnership working between the statutory agencies and our community and voluntary sector, more apparent. It speaks to the energy and drive of our citizens that in addition to ensuring the safe delivery of critical services, we managed to work together to achieve aspirations such as securing the only UNESCO City of Music designation on the island of Ireland, as well as a UNESCO Learning City Award in 2021 for outstanding progress in providing learning opportunities for residents in Belfast. 

Starting from this strong base, we know that whatever the next four years will bring, together we have both the will and the determination to find a way to bring the ambition that we all share for Belfast in 2035 a tangible step closer.

Together we are committed to achieving ‘inclusive growth’ on a scale that we haven’t before, creating new and better jobs, promoting training and employment opportunities, reducing inequalities and helping alleviate the impact of poverty on those most vulnerable across the city. We are still on a journey, but together we will create the city we know Belfast can be.

Community planning partners 

  • Belfast Chamber
  • Belfast City Council
  • Belfast Health and Social Care Trust
  • Belfast Metropolitan College
  • CBI Northern Ireland
  • Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS)
  • Eastside Partnership
  • Education Authority
  • Forward South Partnership
  • Greater Shankill Partnership
  • Health and Social Care - Strategic Planning and Performance Group
  • Invest NI
  • Libraries NI
  • Northern Ireland Housing Executive
  • Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service
  • Police Service Northern Ireland (PSNI)
  • Public Health Agency
  • Queen's University Belfast
  • South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust
  • Sport NI
  • Tourism NI
  • Ulster University
  • VCSE Sectoral Advisory Panel
  • Visit Belfast
  • West Belfast Partnership - Páirtíocht Feirste Thiar

Continuing the Belfast Conversation​

Our first formal review of Belfast’s community plan, that is required under legislation, has found us in challenging circumstances. However, strengthened by the partnership working which came to the fore during the pandemic and in the spirit of turning crisis into opportunity, the time has proven right to build back better, drive recovery and look at ways to lever change.

To launch the review, we rolled out a “Continuing the Conversation” engagement programme citywide in two phases. The purpose of this was to reengage residents, city partners, stakeholders and organisations in a conversation on the community plan which would ensure their needs and aspirations remained at its core.

In Phase One we sense-checked our Vision, Priorities and Outcomes and you told us that you were happy that these stayed the same.

In Phase Two we looked at our strategic intents, the stretch goals we should use to measure success and the actions we should undertake to get us there. The rich and diverse feedback which we received has been shaped into this revitalised strategy and its accompanying action plans.

The Community Planning Partnership would like to thank every person who attended one of our workshops, contributed to the conversation online or submitted a survey. Your insight has been invaluable in shaping the refreshed Belfast Agenda.

Our vision for Belfast 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 for 2035

Belfast will be a city...

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

Our ambitions

There are many things that we will need to do to make our vision a reality. Our ambition is to drive inclusive, sustainable growth, so that we reduce socio-economic inequalities and create a more environmentally sustainable city. Success will be measured against the following five targets and will require hard work, ingenuity and collaborative commitment by the public, private, community and voluntary sectors, working with the people who have a stake in our city’s future.

By 2035…

  • Our city is home to an additional 66,000 people
  • Our economy supports 46,000 additional jobs
  • 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
  • Our carbon emissions will be reduced by 80 per cent

Enabling change

The next four years will be critical in achieving our 2035 ambitions. To grow our population and create more and better jobs, we must grow our innovation led economy, attract significant infrastructural investment, improve the offer of the city and make it more attractive. We must also make the city more active, reducing the dependency on cars, invest in low carbon infrastructure and change our local economic model to synchronise the education and learning pipelines with the jobs that we need.

Belfast has a strong enabling environment which will drive forward change and be a catalyst for achieving much of our ambitions for the city. Collectively, we will build upon the environment and drive forward the opportunities presented to achieve our vision for Belfast in 2035:

City leadership which is empowered to place-shape local economies and communities

Aligning our collective funding to city outcomes and accessing national and regional funding opportunities.

Maximise use of resources and assets to deliver collaborative gains and outcomes for the city and our people.

Ensuring alignment with the Local Development Plan (LDP) 2035 which will facilitate growth by coordinating public and private investment to encourage development where it can be of most benefit to the wellbeing of the community and environment.

Partnership working maximising the opportunities for all through strong established partnerships including, for example, Community Planning, Belfast Region City Deal and the VCSE Panel.

Accountability – clear accountability for delivery through our city governance. Working together to deliver shared city outcomes and being subject to public accountability.

Call to action

As well as what we aim to deliver through the Belfast Agenda, we look forward to continuing to work together with local, regional and national partners to create momentum and focus on the following key enablers for the city. Our call to action and request from partners is to provide collective leadership and bring focus to delivery.

Devolution of further place-shaping powers such as regeneration to councils.

A Bolder Vision create a more attractive, accessible, safe, vibrant, and reimagined City Centre.

Climate Change Act framework for tackling climate change and roadmap to net zero emissions.

DfC Anti-Poverty Strategy - helping alleviate impact of poverty across the city.

Childcare Strategy- deliver extended, affordable and high-quality provision of early education and care initiatives for families with children aged three to four.

Belfast Region City Deal – unlocking £1billion co-investment to deliver more than 20 transformative projects and programmes, create up to 20,000 new and better jobs and help make the region a global investment destination.

10X Economy – embraces innovation to deliver a ten times better economy which benefits all our people.

High speed rail - investing in a high-speed rail network and service between Belfast and Dublin.

Mental Health Strategy – reform of services, together with the promotion of positive mental health, wellbeing and resilience across society.

Housing retrofit- investing in the energy efficiency of the existing and new homes within the city.

Belfast in numbers

People and communities

  • Capital of NI with a population of 345,418 (over 1.12 million people in the wider Belfast region).
  • Average life expectancy is 75.6 years for men and 80.5 years for women. This is lower than the Northern Ireland average.
  • 86 per cent of residents are satisfied with living in Belfast.
  • 79 per cent believe there is a strong sense of community in their local area.
  • A quarter of all NI voluntary, community and social enterprises are in Belfast.
  • Health inequalities – average life expectancy is 8.2 years lower for women and 11.4 lower for men between the most and least deprived areas of the city.

Our economy

  • ICT businesses have grown by more than a third in the last three years.
  • 24,7100 jobs in the city.
  • 71 per cent of school leavers achieved 5 GCSEs A*- C including English and Maths
  • 58 per cent of school leavers achieved 2+ A-Levels A*-E.
  • Fastest growing creative industries sector in the UK, with over 1,600 companies employing 20,000 people
  • 30 per cent of the region's GDP is generated in Belfast
  • £55,289 GVA per job filled. This represents a 33 per cent increase over 10 years (the UK average is 23%)
  • £1 billion of investment to be delivered across the Belfast City Region over 10 years

Our place

  • 82 miles of bike routes including 24 miles traffic free routes and 12 miles of shared use pathways
  • 58 per cent travel to work by car or van,14 per cent by public transport and 2 per cent by bike
  • Over 70,000 students in further and higher education, training and apprentice schemes
  • 47.2 per cent of people travel to work by car or van, 8.9 per centre by public transport and 2 per centre by bike
  • 44 per cent of all journeys are made by sustainable transport
  • The Local Development Plan growth strategy has identified a need for 31,600 additional homes including 8,000 units in the city centre by 2035.
  • 72 per cent hotel occupancy. This is back to pre-pandemic levels when tourism was worth 417 million
  • £100 million investment in city centre in 2022-2023

Our planet

  • 33,000 properties are at risk from surface water flooding
  • The predicted economic cost of flooding is £16 million per annum
  • 39 per cent of greenhouse gases are emitted from houses. This is set to increase to 50 per cent by 2050
  • There are 800,000 trees in the city, with plans to plant one million trees by 2035
  • Over 211 tonnes of pollutants from the atmosphere and 8,893 tonnes of carbon are removed by trees each year
  • £1.5 billion of investment is required to retrofit 100,000 homes in the city

Compassionate city

  • Six of the 10 most deprived electoral wards in Northern Ireland.
  • 15 per cent are 65 years+. This is set to grow to nearly 20 per cent by 2035
  • 22 per cent of children are growing up in low-income households
  • 42 per cent of the population is 30 years or younger
  • £805 gap in average weekly earnings between highest 10 per cent and lowest 10 per cent of earners
  • 97 physical barriers or peace walls remain
  • 7.1 per cent of the population is non-white

Our focus for the next four years

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

The next section of this document highlights some immediate priorities under each of the themes. To ensure that no-one is left behind, each priority has been considered through the cross-cutting lens of equality, diversity, poverty, and inclusion – which will all remain at the heart of everything we do.

For each of our themes and our priorities, we have set out our strategic intentions, which describe what we want to achieve over the next four years, along with some stretch goals, which we hope will create real progress towards achieving our vision for 2035.


Theme 1: Our people and communities – Making life better for all our residents.

  • Health inequalities
  • Community and neighbourhood regeneration

Theme 2: Our economy – Creating inclusive, innovative and sustainable growth, learning and opportunity.

  • Educational inequalities
  • Jobs and skills
  • Sustainable and inclusive economic growth

Theme 3: Our place – Creating a liveable and connected, vibrant and competitive city.

  • Housing-led regeneration
  • Connectivity, active and sustainable travel
  • Future city centre and wider city regeneration and investment

Theme 4: Our planet – Creating a sustainable, nature-positive city.

  • Re-naturing the city and improving the food system
  • Creating a sustainable circular economy
  • Innovating to Net Zero

Theme 5: Compassionate city - Making Belfast a welcoming, caring, fair and inclusive city – leaving no one behind.

  • Inclusive growth and anti-poverty
  • Children and young people
  • Older people
  • Good relations and shared future

Theme 1: Our people and communities

Making life better for all our residents and communities

Everyone in Belfast deserves to enjoy a good quality of life, regardless of who they are, or where they live. Work under this theme places wellbeing at the heart of our city strategy, with our communities as the lifeblood both in terms of decision-making and helping to ensuring that support gets to the people and places most in need. Partners will harness their collective energy to reinvigorate public service provision locally and deliver impactful neighbourhood improvements with residents. A Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise panel and network has been established to enhance participation and ensure that all delivery remains focused and inclusive.

Two priority areas have been identified

  1. Health inequalities
  2. Community and neighbourhood regeneration

Foundations for success

Our focus will be on helping everyone, but especially those who are most vulnerable, to lead healthier, happier, and more fulfilling lives. We will support, maintain focus and help build momentum behind the following foundational objectives which will enhance our people and communities and significantly contribute to the long-term success of the Belfast Agenda’s vision, outcomes and ambitions.

  • Investing in community assets and facilities
  • Maximising funding opportunities
  • Responding to cost-of-living crisis
  • Enhancing our built heritage
  • Collective action to support vulnerable people
  • Improving mental health and wellbeing
Health inequalities

Why is this a priority for Belfast?

A focus on addressing health inequalities means improving the quality of life and wellbeing for all people in the city. We are committed to addressing health inequalities through collaborative action around physical and mental health, social cohesion, isolation and community vulnerability. Feedback from the co-design and engagement process, has shown that mental health and emotional wellbeing are very important issues across all age groups and sectors of life.

Recent health data shows that life expectancy overall has stopped increasing, inequalities have widened, and for the poorest people life expectancy has declined. Health data also shows the growing need to tackle obesity and increase the levels of physical activity across Belfast, with the need to focus on narrowing the widening inequality gap. Partners will work together to empower people to take control of their personal wellbeing and make better life choices. We will work in partnership to make it easier for people to access support services and develop better working relationships and information-sharing processes so that people aren’t overlooked or fall through the gaps.

Together we will:

  • Help the most vulnerable people, who are impacted by chronic homelessness, to secure and sustain a stable home by addressing and supporting their wider support needs in a joined-up way by continuing to develop and embed the Belfast Complex Lives approach.
  • Promote and improve positive mental health and emotional wellbeing by raising awareness of support and services available locally as well as by taking actions to help people (for example through delivering the Take 5 steps to wellbeing initiative, developing a positive mental health and wellbeing charter and creating mental health champions).
  • Explore and test the use of participatory budgeting as a way of empowering and involving residents in deciding how money is invested – for example in enabling people to ‘move more and eat well to feel better.’
  • Develop a shared understanding of public health challenges associated with weight gain, obesity and physical inactivity and develop a whole-system approach supported by collective actions to address these issues.
  • Continue to support and develop initiatives via the Active Belfast Partnership, aimed at increasing levels of physical activity alongside raising awareness of the benefits of healthier eating habits and choices. 

Measures of success

  • 50 people per year, who are impacted by, or at risk of, chronic homelessness will be supported into more secure and stable living arrangements and assisted with their physical, mental and social health needs.
  • The total number of individuals identified within the chronic homelessness cohort in Belfast will be reduced by 5 per cent per year (baseline to be established).
  • Contribute towards increasing the proportion of residents satisfied with their mental health and emotional wellbeing from 82 per cent to 85 per cent.
  • Reduce the number of people who are overweight or obese and increase physical activity levels (in line with targets set in the new Obesity Prevention Strategy (to be published by the Department of Health). 
Community and neighbourhood regeneration

Why is this a priority for Belfast?

Welcoming, vibrant neighbourhoods attract people to live, work, visit and invest in the city. There is a strong sense of community across Belfast and many of those living in our neighbourhoods have aspirations to improve the areas where they live. To help our people and places achieve their full potential, we must fully understand the needs of each area of the city. To do this, we will engage with and work alongside our citizens, and other key partners within the voluntary, community and social enterprise, statutory and private sectors to develop place-based community plans that will benefit citizens in neighbourhoods across the city. Through this process, we hope to develop a joined-up approach towards neighbourhood regeneration, connecting our people, places and services at a local level through partnership, planning and delivery supported by strong and empowered citizens. 

Together we will:

  • Develop a joined-up approach to neighbourhood regeneration by developing four place-based community plans. These are plans that will aim to benefit different areas of the city. 
  • Develop ways to strengthen civic voice and community participation.
  • Take a strategic approach towards the development and management of neighbourhood assets and facilities, exploring opportunities for community wealth building and asset transfers. 
  • Develop targeted interventions to support those most affected by the cost-of-living crisis.

Measures of success:

  • Four place-based community plans to be developed.
  • The amount of people who are satisfied with their neighbourhood as a place to live to be increased from 86 per cent to 90 per cent by 2027.
  • The amount of people who feel they can influence decisions that affect their local area to be increased from 44 per cent to 50 per cent by 2027. 
  • Community benefits associated with neighbourhood assets, services or investments to be maximised.
  • The amount of people who feel they live in an area where people work together to improve things to be increased from 80 per cent to 85 per cent.
  • At least three community asset transfer projects to be delivered.
  • Increased support to residents, especially the most vulnerable, to respond to the cost-of-living crisis. 

Theme 2: Our economy 

Creating inclusive and sustainable growth, learning and opportunity

A thriving, prosperous economy is our city’s engine for change and critical to turning the outcomes curve in a positive direction. The region’s capital and major population centre, Belfast is the hub for business and employment in Northern Ireland and critical to the economic future of the place we call home.

Creating more and better jobs that are sustainable, provide a career path and are financially rewarding has consistently been raised as a priority by residents and other stakeholders. Through our collaborative efforts, we want to encourage more new businesses to start and to make it easier for existing businesses to grow. That means creating positive role models, helping businesses to develop new products, markets and services and supporting innovation at all levels. The Belfast Region City Deal investments will deliver more than £400 million of investment in the Region’s innovation and digital capabilities, helping to build on recent successes in creating the high value, well-paid jobs that we all want to be available here and now for our next generation.

We will continue to create the right conditions to accelerate inclusive and sustainable growth, learning and opportunity for all our residents. We will focus efforts on the key priority technologies that will drive the economy of the future, such as digital, ICT and creative industries, financial services and FinTech; life and health sciences and MedTech; and advanced manufacturing and engineering.

Three priority areas have been identified: 

  1. Educational inequalities 
  2. Jobs and skills 
  3. Sustainable and inclusive economic growth

Foundations for success

Our focus will be on helping everyone, but especially those who are most vulnerable, to lead healthier, happier, and more fulfilling lives. We will support, maintain focus and help build momentum behind the following foundational objectives which will enhance our economy and significantly contribute to the long-term success of the Belfast Agenda’s vision, outcomes and ambitions. 

  • Investing in skills and employability
  • Creating jobs and opportunity
  • Investing in economic infrastructure
  • Stimulating innovation and growth
  • Supporting key growth sectors
  • Enhancing educational attainment levels
  • Investing in high-speed rail infrastructure
Educational inequalities

Why is this a priority for Belfast?

Educational attainment has a strong impact on individual wellbeing and life opportunities. Every child and young person should be supported in their wellbeing and learning so that they develop the skills and capabilities to fulfil their potential and are supported to make positive future choices. 

We want to develop a ‘whole community’ approach towards education, which is recognised in the Department of Education Expert Panel’s ‘A Fair Start’ report as a key area for addressing educational underachievement. We recognise that educational inequalities persist and need to be prioritised.

Good school attendance affects educational attainment and subsequent life chances. Improved pupil attendance can be achieved by targeting those pupils with attendance less than 85 per cent (defined as chronic absence). We will work in partnership with schools and the third sector to improve attendance levels.

We will support children who have been impacted by the pandemic, live in disadvantaged areas or have special educational needs so that they are able to develop the skills and capabilities they need to fulfil their potential 

Together we will: 

  • Develop collaborative school, family, and community place-based partnerships across the city. 
  • Implement the most appropriate mechanisms to enable children to maximise educational outcomes, with a particular focus on raising attainment of boys. 
  • Provide young people at risk of underachieving at Level 2 (GCSE level) with support to remove barriers to learning. 
  • Address severe-to-chronic pupil absence through a range of measures including engagement, wraparound- and family-support. 
  • Support children who have been impacted by the pandemic, live in disadvantaged areas or have special educational needs so that they are able to develop the skills and capabilities to fulfil their potential 

Measures of success: 

  • The percentage of school leavers progressing into positive destinations (such as employment or further and higher education) to be increased from a baseline of 95 per cent in 2021-22.
  • The gap between girls’ and boys’ attainment of 5+ GCSEs (A*-C) including English and Maths to be reduced from 4.1 ppts in 2018-19.
  • The gap between those entitled to free school meals and those who aren’t to be reduced from a baseline of 35 percentage points in 2018-19 (attainment of 5+ GCSEs (A*-C) including English and maths).
  • The proportion of pupils with less than 85 per cent attendance to be reduced from a baseline of 22 per cent in 2021-22. 
Jobs and skills

Why is this a priority for Belfast?

As a result of a range of both global and local issues, the labour market in Belfast is complex and dynamic. While skills remain a key part of the investment attraction proposition, the city has a disproportionately high number of residents with low skills. The employment rate in Belfast is amongst the lowest in Northern Ireland, as is economic activity. There is also a substantial variation in employment rates and incomes across Belfast, and this can impact negatively on social cohesion.

The projected growth in key sectors – driven by sustained investment in innovation, including critical investments such as those supported through the Belfast Region City Deal – will create new employment opportunities for Belfast residents, while the commitment for Northern Ireland to be net zero by 2050 will generate skills development demand and employment opportunities in new areas. Ongoing advances in new technologies will mean that the future of work will change substantially in the coming years. We need to focus our efforts to developing flexible skills solutions – including an increased priority on lifelong learning. 

Together we will: 

  • Deliver sector-specific employment and upskilling pathways to connect residents with new or better employment opportunities. 
  • Develop inclusive, non-traditional pathways to jobs within growth sectors such as the green, digital and tech sectors. 
  • Develop targeted support for disadvantaged groups and places to ensure inclusivity and address existing imbalance. 
  • Deliver innovation centres of excellence in advanced manufacturing, virtual production, clinical and connected health, artificial intelligence and data analytics.

Measures of success:

  • The proportion of working-age population with no qualifications to be cut from 14 per cent to 12 per cent by 2027. 
  • The working-age economic inactivity rate (excluding students) within the city to be reduced from 23 per cent to 18 per cent. 
  • The employment rate for people living with a disability to be increased from 37 per cent to 43 per cent
  • Investment of more than £200 million to drive innovation in key growth sectors.
Sustainable and inclusive economic growth

Why is this a priority for Belfast?

Belfast faces a number of economic challenges which affect our ability to achieve sustainable and inclusive economic growth. Challenges include lagging productivity, low levels of business start-up, innovation and export. Economic inactivity and high rates of unemployment also persist. These are deep rooted structural issues which have been further exacerbated through COVID-19.

The challenging public finance position also means that we need to focus our collective investment on those things that give us the best chance of tackling these problems and delivering on our ambition. It’s likely that in this context, difficult decisions about where we put our resources will have to be made. Together, we will work to enable local communities and people to own, have a stake in, access and benefit from the wealth generated through our local economy. We will work with businesses to maximise their positive social impact and support local growth, encouraging inclusive practices that provide fair work and decent pay. We will support the creation of more local employment across a larger and more diverse business base that benefits local people. We will also embrace the opportunities created through new technologies and will support businesses to become more sustainable and meet carbon reduction targets. 

Together we will: 

  • Develop a dynamic, responsive support system for entrepreneurs, social enterprises, and small businesses to help them create jobs and improve turnover.
  • Support local and international businesses to grow and become more competitive through a relentless focus on innovation and external sales aligned with the vision for a 10x Economy.
  • Deliver the first phase of Belfast Region City Deal Innovation Challenge Funding.
  • Establish the Belfast Business Promise and engage anchor institutions and the private sector to sign up and embed its practices.
  • Encourage Living Wage accreditation across community planning partners. 
  • Support and stimulate the creation of social value to build community wealth.

Measures of success:

  • The number of new business start-ups to be increased from 1,435 per year to 1,800 by 2027.
  • Improve survival rates of existing businesses from 61 per cent to 70 per cent by 2027 (businesses surviving three years). 
  • Support 75 per cent of Belfast’s Social Enterprises to earn more than 75 per cent of their income from trading revenues by 2030.
  •  ‘First time innovation’ encouraged through supporting 350 companies to complete the Innovation Recognition Assessment.
  • Secure £20m Investment in Belfast through Invest NI’s loan and equity funds Proof of Concept grant fund.
  • Investment of £30m of new Innovation Challenge Funds across the Belfast region to help tackle key economic, environmental and social challenges.
  • 50 organisations to be signed up to the Belfast Business Promise in its first year.
  • The number of jobs paid below the real living wage reduced from 14.7 per cent to 10 per cent or less, by 2027.

Theme 3: Our place

Creating a liveable and connected, vibrant and competitive city

Shaped by challenge and change, Belfast has come a long way. It’s a ‘right-size’ city: big enough for a buzzing city vibe; small enough to feel you belong. It’s a city with loads to do on the doorstep and where you’re never far from nature. Whether it’s the city’s waterfront, rivers and lough, or its parks and green hills Belfast offers a welcoming gateway into the giant adventures that the region has to offer. Perfectly positioned, with both Dublin and London in easy reach, we have done well in recent decades to create an economically dynamic and attractive place to live, work and visit. We’re proud of our investment record, our tech strength, our world-class universities and we’re excited about our inclusive, resilient low-carbon future but there’s still much work to be done. 

With an ambition to attract a further 66,000 residents to the city by 2035 and commitment to working in partnership to ensure that all residents have access to the high-quality, sustainable homes they deserve.

Three priority areas have been identified: 

  1. Housing-led regeneration 
  2. Connectivity, active and sustainable travel 
  3. Future city centre and wider city regeneration and investment

 Foundations for success

Our focus will be on helping everyone, but especially those who are most vulnerable, to lead healthier, happier, and more fulfilling lives. We will support, maintain focus and help build momentum behind the following foundational objectives which will enhance our economy and significantly contribute to the long-term success of the Belfast Agenda’s vision, outcomes and ambitions.

  • Investing in infrastructure and transport
  • Increasing city centre living
  • Enhancing our built heritage
  • City regeneration
  • Investing in innovation and smart districts
  • Investing in tourism infrastructure
Housing led regeneration

Why is this a priority for Belfast?

Through the engagement process, it was highlighted that addressing housing need and driving housing-led regeneration are key to enhancing quality of life. 

While public sector investment in social housing has been sustained in recent years, the rate of output of residential development has not kept pace with demand. As it stands, Belfast and the wider region are recording increasing numbers of households living in housing stress. We have committed to working in partnership to address this urgent issue and ensure that everyone will have access to a high-quality, affordable and sustainable home. 

Unlike many other cities of a similar size, the residential population of Belfast city centre is low. The Ulster University’s relocation to the north of the city centre and growth in purpose-built student accommodation is helping to address this. To achieve real vibrancy, it will be important to facilitate a sustainable mix of people living in the city centre, including families, elderly people and young professionals. 

While our housing targets primarily focus on new builds, it is critical that we strike the right balance between investment in new stock and maintenance of our existing homes, including a need to ensure that homes are energy efficient and resilient to the effects of climate change. It is also important that housing-led regeneration takes into account the need to respect the historic and natural heritage of Belfast, as bestowed in its listed buildings, conservation areas, green spaces and waterside location.

Together we will: 

  • Increase housing supply across all tenures. This will include private homes (both home ownership and private rental), social homes and intermediate homes for rent and sale (such as shared ownership and other intermediate rental arrangements) as they are developed across the council area. 
  • Reduce social housing projections by increasing the provision of social homes through the Social Housing Development Programme. 
  • Increase the number of people living in the city centre across all tenures.

Measures of success:

  • Number of homes to be increased by 6,000 units across all tenures by 2027.
  • At least 20 per cent of residential housing developed to be affordable housing (to include social, intermediate for sale and intermediate for rent properties). 
  • Start developing 400 social homes per year across council area. 
  • Support the delivery of four city centre residential developments.
  • Two place-shaping projects of scale to be completed and reviewed as pilot projects.
Connectivity, active and sustainable travel

Why is this a priority for Belfast?

To thrive, cities must have transportation systems which allow the maximum volume of people to travel, whilst doing the least possible harm to the environment and bringing health benefits for all. 

In 2020, the Zero-Net Carbon Roadmap for Belfast highlighted that transport was responsible for 21 per cent of the city’s carbon emissions.  As the regional capital and central hub of most journeys into and out of Northern Ireland (by land, sea or air), Belfast has a central role to play as an exemplar of active and sustainable transport. 

For residents who need to commute for employment, social, educational and leisure reasons and with a growing student population of almost 50,000, sustainable connectivity across Belfast has a significant bearing on the enjoyment of living, working, and learning there. Likewise, ease of access and sustainable modes of transport are an essential support to our growing visitor economy. Our ambition to attract a further 66,000 more residents to the city will require the development of new housing, which must be heavily influenced by the need to connect people to places in active, accessible, and sustainable ways in the long-term. 

Together we will: 

  • Deliver the Belfast Metropolitan Transport Plan (BMTP) which will provide the strategic framework for bringing forward our climate commitments and support the implementation of a prioritised and modernised public transport system and a network of walking and cycling routes.
  • Deliver the Cycle Network in line with the Belfast Cycle Network Delivery Plan (2022-2031).
  • Extend the options available and actively promote, encourage and enable people to transition to sustainable and active travel choices for everyday journeys. 

Measures of success:

  • The percentage of people who cycle once a week or more to be increased from 17 per cent to 30 per cent by 2027. 
  • The percentage of people who walk or wheel up to five days a week to be increased from 54 per cent to 70 per cent. 
  • 70 public transport journeys per person per year attained by 2030. 
  • 35 million passenger journeys on the Metro and Glider attained in Belfast by 2030. 
  • The proportion of residents who feel welcome and comfortable walking, wheeling, or spending time on the street in their neighbourhood to be increased from 68 per cent to 80 per cent.  
Future city centre and wider city regeneration and investment

Why is this a priority for Belfast?

The Belfast region is compact, with strong relationships between government, universities, colleges and businesses. At the core of delivering growth for the region and for the city, is the need to ensure the success of a culturally vibrant city centre in Belfast. As well as playing an important role as a central hub for commerce, employment and investment, the city centre must be a thriving and inclusive destination for residents and visitors alike, one where everyone feels welcome and everyone feels like they belong. 

Already a magnet for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) we know that there has been significant progress in Belfast but there is more work to do. We need to make the case for a dedicated investment fund to attract new and better sustainable investment in order to support the positive development of the city. We also need to nurture our existing talent and maximise the visitor opportunity to develop wider inclusive economic growth.

Over the next four years we will continue to strengthen and build on our sense of place by accelerating major regeneration schemes. These will seek to deliver inclusive economic, social and environmental benefits, whilst protecting and enhancing access to our built and natural heritage. We will address dereliction in our neighbourhoods, invest in our digital and innovation infrastructure, and position Belfast as a thriving global city with a strong, people-centred city core.

Together we will: 

  • Adopt the second part of the Local Development Plan (LDP), Local Policies Plan, which will guide future investment and development decisions, which will enable the sustainable growth of the city up to 2035. The LDP is guided by an overall vision, which provides the overarching context for ensuring that economic, social and environmental issues are holistically considered to deliver sustainable developments.
  • Implement A Bolder Vision (ABV) Strategy for the advancement of a shared approach to the creation of a more attractive, accessible, safe and vibrant city.
  • Transform the city centre into a dynamic, vibrant and experiential destination, whilst sustaining its current distinctive offering. 
  • Attract more visitors who stay longer and spend more in the local economy. 
  • Bring forward a programme of interventions aimed at facilitating a clean, green, inclusive and safe city centre.
  • Promote and position the city to compete globally to attract inclusive and sustainable investment. 

Measures of success:

  • 30 physical developments, including 2 major city centre schemes to be completed.
  • The Belfast Stories visitor attraction to be progressed on a key regeneration site in the city centre.
  • The number of vacant units within the city centre to be reduced by 5 per cent by 2027 from a current baseline of 23.41 per cent.
  • Delivery mechanisms and commitment for the delivery of up to £50m of ABV projects subject to availability of funding will be agreed.
  • The value of the tourism in Belfast to be increased from £417 million in 2019 to £800 million in 2030.

Theme 4: Our planet

Creating a sustainable, nature-positive city

We are committed to tackling climate change and biodiversity loss head on. This is a global challenge requiring urgent and localised action if we are to mitigate against the immediate risks as well as take collective responsibility for future generations. Belfast can be a place where people and nature thrive together, a place where we can reduce waste and single-use plastics, harness green energy and plant more trees.

The transition to a sustainable city is not just a priority for our citizens but also for our industries. International and indigenous companies need help to reduce their footprint and compete on a global basis. Belfast has a great opportunity to lead the way in providing global green solutions by leveraging our unique market access and international networks to become a hub for low carbon design and manufacture. We believe that Belfast will thrive on all the opportunities in the green economy whilst creating a much cleaner environment.

This theme focuses on three priorities:

  1. Re-naturing the city and improving the food system
  2. Creating a sustainable circular economy 
  3. Innovating to Net Zero

Foundations for success

Our focus will be on restoring, protecting and more sustainably managing our urban ecosystems for the benefit of everyone living, working and visiting Belfast. We’ll put in the foundations for the city to decarbonise in the most cost-effective way and support a pipeline of net zero projects that creates new skills, jobs and prosperity across the region. We’ll assist our green tech sector so that we become a stand-out global hub and testbed for innovating and investing in advanced green solutions for energy, transport and manufacturing.

  • Re-naturing the city
  • Building resilience
  • Leaving no one behind
  • Greening the economy
  • Sustainable urbanisation
Re-naturing the city and improving the food system

Why is this a priority for Belfast?

As a coastal city, Belfast is highly vulnerable to the impacts of rising sea levels and flooding. We need to make sure that our urban spaces are prepared for the effects of climate change such as higher average temperatures, increased flooding, and more extreme weather.

Our natural environment is one of our most important assets and contributes to our prosperity and well-being in many ways. It provides our food and protects our communities from flooding and extreme weather, helping us adapt to the changing climate; and supports our health and quality of life, providing open spaces for exercise, social engagement and improving our well-being. By restoring, protecting and more sustainably managing urban ecosystems, Belfast can become a regenerative city where nature is abundant and accessible to everyone.

Together we will:

  • Increase the number of trees across the city, while building knowledge and stewardship for urban greening that will reduce climate risk such as flooding and the urban heat island effect. Improve biodiversity and provide local solutions for the delivery of sustainable, healthy and affordable food for our citizens.
  • Value our natural ecosystems and nurture and expand these further in areas most needed such as in our inner city, in order to protect and allow urban communities to thrive.
  • Support and shape a city that is learning and building on its existing strengths to become a green, transformed and healthy city - a city that is resilient to the effects of climate change, attractive for green investment and which provides a high quality of urban life for its citizens.
  • Evolve into a city that is more sustainable in how it produces food, embedding good practice at every opportunity

Measures of success:

  • An additional 1,770 homes and businesses to be protected from flood risk by 2027. 
  • 150,000 trees planted by 2027 as part of 1million trees programme.
  • Access increased for all communities to nearby nature in parks, gardens, greenways and other green spaces.
  • A diverse, robust, and sustainable cross-sector food partnership and a long-term food strategy created.
Creating a sustainable circular economy

Why is this a priority for Belfast?

Cities are major contributors to climate change, consuming 78 per cent of the world’s energy and producing more than 60 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions. Belfast is heavily reliant on imported fossil fuels for its energy needs (with 71 per cent of homes using gas and 20 per cent using oil) and on petrol and diesel for virtually all our transport needs. The Belfast Net-Zero Carbon Roadmap highlights buildings and transport as the highest emitting sectors.

We have an aging housing stock and high levels of fuel poverty which have been exacerbated by the energy crisis. Belfast generates over 38,000 tonnes of food waste every year and around 77,709 tCO2eq in atmospheric pollution. Our ambition is to reduce emissions by 66 per cent by 2025 and 80 per cent by 2030 while also creating new jobs and prosperity. Over the next four years, we will double down on our efforts to improve energy efficiency, ramp up the use of renewables and reduce our dependency on oil and gas. We will also move to a more sustainable circular economy that minimises waste and promotes the sustainable use of natural resources.

Together we will:

  • Enable the city to decarbonise at scale by developing a Belfast Local Area Energy Plan and use it to shape and drive investment in decarbonisation measures (for example heat pumps, insulation, solar panels) across the city.
  • Actively promote sustainable circular economy approaches to transform our throwaway economy into one where waste is eliminated, resources are circulated, and nature is restored.
  • Support a Just Transition to Net Zero in Belfast to address the social risks of the transition and enable social opportunities.
  • Increase access to Electric Vehicle Charging infrastructure throughout the city.
  • Improve the energy efficiency of our homes as well as our commercial and public buildings. 
  • Decarbonise the heat supply to buildings in the city

Measures of success:

  • Carbon emissions reduced by 66 per cent by 2025.
  • A pipeline of net zero projects developed across the city.
  • Support the installation of at least 800 electric vehicle charging devices for public use by 2027.
  • A Heat Network project for Belfast City Centre to be developed.
  • At least three community energy schemes to be supported to implementation stage.
  • Energy savings of at least 15 per cent to be achieved from housing, commercial and public buildings.
Innovating to net zero

Why is this a priority for Belfast?

The scale of the challenge to reach net zero ambitions is vast for all cities and will require new ways of working and new technology to achieve. However, Belfast benefits from a deep industrial and engineering capability, world class universities and substantial investments through Belfast Region City Deals. We also possess the natural assets and resources to achieve our goals. Developing and mobilising green tech solutions will enable us to progress our own ambitions at pace whilst also creating a global testbed in advanced green solutions. As our track record of delivery demonstrates, Belfast is a city where innovation thrives.

  • Create a net zero park to design and demonstrate green technology to act as an exemplar for the rest of the city and region.
  • Develop a stable supply of green energy to the Net Zero Park and surrounding lands to support the industrial cluster
  • Grow and participate in the green economy creating new and better jobs by accelerating the transition to low carbon manufacturing.
  • Support the production of sustainable forms of transport, supporting low carbon innovation in transport solutions.

Measures of success:

  • Provision of affordable green energy utilising our assets and natural resources.
  • Develop and implement green innovative technology to advance net zero ambitions working across government, academia and industry.
  • Funding to mobilise and scale net zero projects to be sourced and secured.

Theme 5: Compassionate city 

Making Belfast a welcoming, caring, fair and inclusive city – leaving no one behind

As a compassionate city, we recognise the complexity and diversity of our people, and we are determined to make things better for everyone. We acknowledge that there are structural inequalities, such as gender, race, age and disability which we need to address. We also acknowledge that there are long-standing issues of multiple deprivation and access to services that shape our lives, experience and opportunities. On top of this, how we live and work has changed in the last few years, particularly with regard to new technology and digital skills. While technology has helped us connect and create new opportunities, it has also highlighted a digital divide where many feel excluded, often due to lack of access to equipment, skill, or confidence.

Our cross-cutting themes will help to ensure that the most vulnerable people in our society have a genuine sense of belonging and have an equal opportunity to realise the full potential that Belfast’s economic, cultural and social prospects have to offer. As a compassionate city, it will be vital to build on the innovation, expertise and assets which already exist within our communities. We will continue to develop pathways connecting and engaging everyone, particularly those harder to reach population cohorts. Working collaboratively, through specific actions and through our overall approach to programmes and projects we are committed to ensuring that no one is left behind.

All our priorities and action plans have been created through the lens of inclusive growth and anti-poverty, children and young people, older people and inclusion. 

Four cross-cutting priority areas have been identified: 

  1. Inclusive growth and anti-poverty 
  2. Good relations and shared future
  3. Older people
  4. Younger people

Foundations for success

Our focus will be on helping everyone, but especially those who are most vulnerable, to lead healthier, happier, and more fulfilling lives. We will support, maintain focus and help build momentum behind the following foundational objectives which will enhance our city and our people and significantly contribute to the long-term success of the Belfast Agenda’s vision, outcomes and ambitions. 

  • Creating a city for everyone
  • Age-Friendly Belfast
  • Creating a welcoming city
  • Celebrating our cultural diversity
  • Belfast City of Learning
  • Creating a socially connected city
  • Improving the wellbeing of our children and young people
Inclusive growth and anti-poverty

Why is this a priority for Belfast?

We know that Belfast’s economic growth has not been felt by everyone, with some people and communities experiencing high levels of deprivation, unemployment, economic inactivity, and exclusion. Recent global impacts, including COVID19 and the cost-of-living crisis, have exacerbated the city’s social and economic disparities. To realise the ambitions of the Belfast Agenda requires a renewed focus on inclusive growth and addressing poverty.

We recognise that achieving inclusive economic growth is complex. It’s not just about jobs and employment levels. It’s also about tackling poverty and addressing inequalities in the city, in key areas such as health, housing, education, digital technology, and infrastructure, creating vibrant communities where people have the opportunity and aspiration to succeed. It involves creating a culture of lifelong learning, including digital literacy, which will enable people to fulfil their potential and encourage access and participation. We will continue to harness the city-wide collaborative effort to build more inclusion, resilience and sustainability into how our city works. We will also leverage our employment, procurement and investment powers to support our economic and social ambitions.

Together we will: 

  • Develop and deliver an Inclusive Growth Toolkit to encourage organisations to embed more inclusive practices across the city, using tools such as the Belfast Business Promise and social value procurement.
  • Work with central government to accelerate the NI anti-poverty strategy.
  • Develop strategic and co-ordinated approaches to address the adverse impacts of poverty, including food insecurity, fuel poverty and the digital divide.
  • Expand our efforts to build community wealth, to redirect and retain wealth into local communities and the local economy, and place greater control and benefits with local people. 
  • Develop Belfast’s status as a learning city, fostering a culture of lifelong learning.

 Measures of success:

  • The proportion of people who agree that everyone benefits from a thriving and prosperous city to increase from 50 per cent to 70+ per cent by 2027.
  • Apply inclusive growth practices and encourage city stakeholders to adopt Inclusive Growth tools. 
  • The proportion of people living in relative poverty to be reduced from 18 per cent (before housing costs).
  • The proportion of children (0-15 years) growing up in poverty to be reduced from 22 per cent to 18 per cent (at least 3,000 children).
  • A Belfast Anchors Network established to increase the percentage of ‘anchor institutions’ procurement spend in the local Belfast economy. 
Good relations and shared future

Why is this a priority for Belfast?

Becoming a more inclusive and respectful city is a foundation for building a better Belfast.

Addressing the legacy of the conflict and division remains critical to improving economic and social wellbeing in the city, and as Belfast continues to grow, 'shared and inclusive' is much broader than the two ‘traditional’ communities – nationalist and unionist. How we welcome and support new, and minority ethnic communities will determine whether Belfast is a diverse and vibrant city where all people can live in peace, as equals.

Over the past five years, the number of displaced people has increased globally, and whilst not large, the asylum seeking and refugee population is growing in Northern Ireland, with the majority accommodated in the greater Belfast area. Refugees and asylum seekers represent some of the most vulnerable people in our society and they often find themselves settling in areas with the highest levels of multiple deprivation, causing further stress to communities who themselves are still recovering from division and conflict.

Together we will: 

  • Develop an inclusive Belfast Intervention Plan to address inequalities and support the inclusion and integration of all including ethnic minorities. Some examples include the development and delivery of racial equality, shared education and cultural inclusion programmes and activities.
  • Co-design and implement the Local Community Peace Plus Action Plan across the theme of building peaceful and thriving communities. 

Measures of success:

  • The proportion of people who agree that Belfast is a welcoming, safe, fair and inclusive city for all to be increased from 81 per cent to 85 per cent by 2027.
  • The proportion of people who agree that, in their local area, people from different backgrounds (religious and political) get on well together to beincreased from 61 per cent to 70 per cent +. 
  • The proportion of people who report that, in their local area, people from different ethnic backgrounds get on well together to be increase from 62 per cent to 70 per cent +.
Older people

Why is this a priority for Belfast?

We want Belfast to be a great place to grow older. To do this, we need to plan for an increasing aging population in a way that ensures our older people can continue to live happier, healthier and more connected lives.

Belfast is a member of the World Health Organisation’s Global Network of Age Friendly Cities, which commits us to continually improving to meet the diverse needs of our older adults. We want to ensure the needs of older people are considered and that older peoples’ voices and lived experiences are understood across all our priorities, and where necessary, that steps are taken to improve their quality of life.

Over the next four years we will continue to enhance and support the delivery of the Age Friendly action plan. We will focus on supporting those specific groups of older people who are more vulnerable to losing social connections, or whose physical activity levels are below what is recommended for good health and wellbeing and who face additional challenges in keeping strong and active.

Together we will: 

  • Ensure Belfast is an Age Friendly City and work with the Healthy Ageing Strategic Partnership (HASP) to deliver the Age Friendly Belfast Plan (2023 – 27).
  • Develop and deliver targeted interventions for older people (who are most in need) to help them live more active and socially connected lives.

Measures of success

  • The percentage of older people who feel lonely to be reduced from 26.8 per cent to 25 per cent by 2027.
  • 600 to 800 older people (most in need) to be supported through the delivery of targeted interventions to improve their activity levels, help them feel more connected and less lonely and reduce their functional limitations.
  • Percentage of older people satisfied with their mental or emotional wellbeing to be increased from 79 per cent to 82 per cent .
Children and young people

Why is this a priority for Belfast?

We want all our children and young people to have the best start in life. Research has shown that early intervention and early years support provide the crucial building blocks towards enabling positive outcomes at an individual, societal and economic level. 

Looking at the Belfast Agenda through the lens of children and young people will help us to future proof the development of our city. Empowering children and young people to have a say in the decisions that affect their lives will be critical if we are to achieve a sustainable, inclusive and child-friendly place to live. 

Together we will: 

  • Design and deliver a seamless early intervention development pathway for children in their early years (aged 8 and under) so that they realise their potential to develop and thrive.
  • Develop better ways to listen and enable the voices of children and young people to make a positive contribution through early involvement and participation in future policies, services, decisions and actions that affect their lives. 

Measures of success:

  • Promote the pathway and implement a jointly resourced delivery model for children in their early years (aged 8 and under).
  • Provide more opportunities for enhanced collaboration and co-ordination amongst youth engagement fora in order to inform and influence community planning in Belfast.
  • The percentage of young people (16 – 24) who agree that they are able to have a say on how services are run, what the priorities are or where investment is needed will increase from 32.6 per cent to 45 per cent by 2027.

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

Making it happen

The Belfast Agenda represents a hugely ambitious body of work for the city that will require the active, coordinated 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.

Whilst our journey together over past four years has been significant, it is recognised there is further enabling work to be done by all partners to make the Agenda a reality.

This includes:

  • agreement on refreshed governance structures that support co-design, provide clear representation support co-design, provide clear representation and accountability
  • 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 and challenges facing the city and its communities; and
  • enhanced citizen engagement that will enable the Belfast Agenda to be progressed and refreshed on a regular, collaborative basis with our citizens.

As we move to more detailed planning and delivery we need to think locally as well. We want to find better ways to work at a 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 the strategic direction for the city’s future. We have set five ambitious targets to achieve by 2035 and identified 48 population indicators to help track our long-term progress to achieving our five outcomes for the city. Together, they provide a sense of whether our city is heading in the right direction and improving the lives of local people.

To measure our success in 2027, we have set challenging targets associated with the successful delivery of immediate priority actions. These are the collective responsibility of the partnership.

We will develop a robust monitoring and reporting framework, to help track our performance against all these measures and ensure regular reporting.

The value of the framework lies in ensuring that the ongoing implementation of delivery plans is responsive to the changing needs of the city and its communities.

Our population indicators

We have identified the following 48 population indicators that will help us track our long-term progress to achieving our five outcomes for the city.

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

  • City productivity levels
  • Investment into Belfast
  • Total number of businesses in Belfast
  • Total number of business start-ups
  • Proportion of the population living in absolute and relative poverty (before housing costs)
  • Total number of jobs in Belfast
  • Proportion of working-age population in Belfast who are employed
  • Working age employment rate by deprivation
  • Economic inactivity rate (excluding students)
  • Average earnings
  • Total spend by external visitors
  • Supply of housing
  • Number of households in housing stress

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

  • Air quality 
  • Percentage of household waste that is reused, recycled or composted
  • Percentage of all journeys made by walking, cycling or public transport
  • Visitor numbers
  • Engagement in culture and arts activities
  • Number of miles of cycle lanes, footways and footpaths
  • Proportion of energy efficient homes 
  • Satisfaction with Belfast as a place to live 
  • Carbon emissions

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

  • Volunteering
  • Self-efficacy
  • Life expectancy at birth
  • Gap in life expectancy by deprivation
  • Babies born at a low birth weight
  • Preventable deaths
  • Proportion of the population of adults who are overweight or obese
  • Proportion of the population of children who are overweight or obese
  • Proportion of population who smoke
  • Proportion of adults drinking above the weekly limits 
  • Proportion of people who rank themselves as having high levels of wellbeing 
  • Proportion of adults who meet CMO’s guidelines for physical activity per week
  • Number of people in treatment for problem drug and/or alcohol misuse

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

  • Proportion of working age population who have attained Level 4 or above
  • Proportion of school-leavers achieving Level 2 or above, including English and Maths
  • Gap between per cent of school leavers entitled to free school meals achieving at least Level 2, including English and Maths, and their peers
  • Proportion of school-leavers entering employment, education or training
  • Proportion of pupils with less than 85 per cent school attendance rates
  • Proportion of working age population with no qualifications 

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

  • Number of victims of any crime
  • Number of hate-motivated crimes
  • Proportion of people who feel safe
  • Number of anti-social behaviour incidents
  • Number of people who agree that people from different backgrounds get on well together
  • Proportion of population who believe their cultural identity is respected by society
  • Proportion of young people who think that local facilities are shared and open to all
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