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The Belfast Urban Motorway: Engineering, Ambition and Social Conflict Paperback – 31 Jan 2014


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Product details

  • Paperback: 233 pages
  • Publisher: Colourpoint Books (31 Jan 2014)
  • ISBN-10: 1780730470
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780730479
  • Product Dimensions: 25.8 x 20.8 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 228,814 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Alan Meban on 3 Mar 2014
Format: Paperback
Wesley Johnston's new book The Belfast Urban Motorway looks back at the economic, engineering political and social forces that shaped the major transport decisions in Belfast and beyond over the last sixty years.

Imagine an elevated three-lane motorway encircling Belfast city centre. A mini-M25 taking through-traffic off the inner-city streets, serving all parts of the city equally? Imagine the noise and pollution from an above ground ring-road, severing communities with its concrete and tarmac. A monument to the victory of private over public transport?

The book explains how four civil engineers travelled to cities in the US in 1963 to validate their vision of an elevated motorway for Belfast, and follows the process over the next fifty years through inquiries, changes of planning policy, phased construction and extensions. It's fascinating to see how communities started to take action and lobby more effectively at the same time as the rule of cars waned and a more balanced private/public transport strategy came to the fore.

The 230 page book dips into the DRD archives and others which remain, and is richly illustrated with hundreds of photographs, maps and diagrams showing how the evolution of road schemes in Belfast (and beyond).

The class dimension - gentrification - is examined. Less than a third of poorer households in 1966 Belfast owned a car. Yet their houses and amenities were being pulled down to make way for the largely middle class commuters at the expense - for a long time - of any investment in public transport.

The maps and diagrams bring the history and engineering to life.
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If you are as sad as me and live in Belfast you will love this book. So probably a small readership!
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