Imagine … imagine if things were different … imagine if local people had more of a say … imagine if we managed to take this moment of global upheaval and use it to build something truly better. Imagine if creativity was right at the heart of that change.

We thoroughly enjoyed the challenge set by Imagine Belfast last week to imagine something better for Belfast. Here’s the three ideas we submitted. We had a few more, but these were our faves.

 

Big Belfast Bubble Bash

Bubbles are a thing of fragile beauty.

When this is all over, we need a new day of celebration. A day of fun and frivolity for everyone. A new tradition that belongs to us all. A day to celebrate our resilience and fragility. 

To remember our “bubbles” – those around us who held us together during difficult times.

A day bursting with exuberance.

There will be bubbles. Lots of bubbles. Bubble guns,  bubble gum, Zorbing on Royal Avenue, bubble cannons, bubble football. We will race each other up the Lagan in a bubble. Bubble sculpture, bubble painting and foam parties. Bubble-tea and bubble-baths.

We will share our thought bubbles,

And make speech bubbles.

This becomes an annual celebration, with bubbly!

 

Sound is important.

Cities should bustle, hum and buzz. In the same way that planners make decisions about how a city looks, they should think about how it sounds.

The democratic burble of community noise has been drowned out by buskers and preachers with cheap battery powered speakers, ‘Yeeeeeows’ from bar-bikes, more speakers on the outside of businesses and of course traffic.

Regulation has failed to keep pace with the accessibility of amplification.

I want a city centre where we connect and not just consume, where everyone’s voices become a choir of society not a series of amplified solos.

 

Why is it so wrong to loiter? 

Not doing anything in particular isn’t a threat. It’s just not commercial.

Our city centre should simply be a great place to hang out, relax. That’s what draws people in and keeps them there. But it doesn’t need to be packaged up and branded as an ‘experience’.

What would the city feel like if everywhere selling us something were closed and every public space – both inside and outside – were free and open to everyone?

Are we brave enough to find out what that looks like? Maybe even just for one day?

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