Connswater Community Greenway Wins Great Place Award

Connswater Community Greenway (CCG) was voted as the best place in the UK and Ireland at the 2020 Urbanism Awards. The CCG fought off strong competition from fellow finalists Old Market Square in Nottingham and Seaburn in Sunderland. Michele Bryans, EastSide Greenways Manager collected the award at a ceremony in London.

The award is one of five given out each year by The Academy of Urbanism, a network of built environment experts from across Europe. They recognise Britain and Ireland’s best place, street, neighbourhood and town, as well as Europe’s best city. Voted on by its members, the Academy judges against a number of social, economic and environmental factors, including good governance and commercial success.

The theme of this year’s Urbanism Awards is ‘inclusivity’ and welcomed nominations from places that illustrate the power of good urbanism to bring people together.

Lead Assessor, Francis Newton, commended the Greenway for joining communities together. “The project has joined communities together that had been divided for many years. Historically the area would have been politically dominated by one community but as the project developed the partnership matured and reached out to other communities encouraging them to take up residence. Although this represents a small percentage, in Northern Ireland this is a move in the right direction. Importantly, the project has also opened areas that were previously inaccessible and often perceived as ‘no-go’. But new inclusive and politically neutral spaces have bought communities together. As a project, Connswater has successfully overcome historic divisions. It is a model and exemplar of community integration and represents a highly inclusive project both in its delivery and legacy”

Strong community leadership and great sense of civic pride have been apparent throughout the delivery of the project. The local community continue on a daily basis to deliver the wellbeing agenda. The management and animation of the Greenway now focuses on health and wellbeing, environments, education and tourism mainly by coordinating volunteering programmes. The Greenway project has been widely recognised for the positive regeneration outcomes in relation to health, volunteering and reducing anti-social behaviour

David Rudlin, chair of the Academy, said: “While it may have started life as a flood defence scheme the greenway in Connswater has created a high quality area of public realm that has really brought communities together. What is so extraordinary is the way that all of this has been majored from such humble ingredients”. 

Past winners of The Great Place award include Brunswick Centre in London, Granary Square in London and Viking Triangle in Waterford, Ireland.