Slugger O'Toole

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#Belfast2020: What horses should Belfast hitch its future to?

Thu 22 November 2012, 2:50pm

Katheryn Torney’s excellent interviews in the Irish Times today asks some searching questions about the past.

Daniel Jewesbury’s remarks are particularly revealing where he notes that over the last ten years “we have spent a lot of time hitching ourselves to the wrong horses.”

In part, I suspect this is an inevitable downside to the post conflict society where there is little agreement over the longer term destination of the local population. And not least, though not exclusively, the political destination.

Add to that the likelihood of increased competition for rapidly diminishing public resources and the need to start casting a view much further ahead than the next two or three budgetary cycles (which may spread the bad news more evenly and fairly than before) becomes more than just another interesting exercise.

So without getting into cumbersome details, what wagons should Belfast consider hitching itself to?

Don’t forget tomorrow’s #DigitalLunch. We’ll have guests from a range of active Belfast life. You can join in by posting questions on social media with the hashtag #Belfast2020. Or comment live on YouTube where we will be broadcasting live.

Tomorrow’s #DigitalLunch is in partnership with Artemis in advance of a short seminar in the Long Gallery in Stormont.

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Comments (4)

  1. Nevin (profile) says:

    “we have spent a lot of time hitching ourselves to the wrong horses.” – Daniel Jewesbury

    I’ve just listened to a 5-minute piece on Vimeo video by Daniel Jewesbury where the phrase “I had no idea” is repeated over and over and over …..

    I certainly have no idea which ‘right horses’ he’s referring to – or indeed the point of that video. It’s a bit like the ‘action points’ of a Departmental Board masquerading as minutes; they are almost information free.

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  2. Mick Fealty (profile) says:

    That’s rather misleading Nev. He did not mention the ‘right horses’, I did.

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  3. aquifer (profile) says:

    Tricky one this. When economies are very open it is hard to get investment to stick, but maybe we need to make better flypaper.

    Investment comes attached to people, so how to get the right people to stick around long enough to get some ideas together? If we create sectoral conferences exhibitions and meeting places Irish entrepreneurs can attend and collaborate cheaper than the rest. Universities can be great, but does it really take years of attendance in one place to impart knowledge when the world is just a click or two air tickets away?

    People may be working effectively for 40 hours a week, but do we keep the other 128 in economic aspic?

    What skills are NOT easily spread on the web?

    Sounds like the soft stuff, people skills, and stuff that needs tuition and practice, like languages music or computer software.

    How many Chinese people do we need in one place before they stop getting homesick?

    We have plenty of land, and too much residential accommodation. We have a good building industry with spare capacity, so should we have them build some computer training suites, conference centres, world class night clubs?

    Courtship is a sticky business too.

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  4. Belfast was once an economic powerhouse for the heavy industries which was an enormous achievement given the lack of resources apart from the great people. Many of the USA cities which declined from industrial might, in the so-called rustbelt, have managed to “reinvent” themselves so there are a lot of models to emulate.

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