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Harvard Graduate School of Design to explore post-Brexit NW

15 November 2018

Derry City and Strabane District Council in Northern Ireland and Donegal County Council in the Republic of Ireland announced a new research project—led by Gareth Doherty, Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD)—to investigate how the cross-border city-region of Ireland Northwest can be shaped in light of the economic, political, and social realities of Brexit.

The cross-border city-region, located in the north west of the island in the counties of Derry, Donegal, and Tyrone, includes Derry City as the fourth largest urban area on the island of Ireland, and presents a population of approximately 350,000.

Integrated within the teaching of the Department of Landscape Architecture at the Harvard GSD and engaging with faculty across the university, the project ‘Atlas for a City-Region: Imagining the post-Brexit Landscapes of the Irish Northwest’ will ask how landscape can be an agent in the shaping of the cross-border city-region, from towns and villages through to the region itself.  This exciting research will assist the Councils in their ambitions to realize the potential of Ireland Northwest as a centre for growth and prosperity and a great place to live in, to work in and to invest in.

Mayor of Donegal County Council Cllr. Seamus O’Domhnaill said: “This is a unique project and having Harvard University Graduate School of Design working with us will bring new and exciting perspectives and insight to the process. We are ambitious for our region and this project allows us to not only create a vision that will shape the lives of people living in the region for generations to come but it will give us the framework and the tools that will allow us to maximise the potential that exists.”

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Cllr John Boyle said: “We are hugely excited to be working with the Harvard Graduate School of Design on this exciting project that will allow us to develop a landscape and research project for our region that is in keeping with our objectives and ambitions set out in our Strategic Growth Plan to maximise opportunities and address the challenges that will come from Brexit.”

Including a landscape architecture studio, co-taught with Niall Kirkwood, GSD Professor of Landscape Architecture and Technology, and a course on Design Anthropology, this multi-scalar project will demonstrate how the post-conflict Northern Irish landscapes can adapt to post-Brexit conditions, and how landscape architecture can be instrumental in shaping not just the physical landscape but the new political landscape too.