NY students to address conference

A group of students from the school of architecture at the City College of New York will be presenting a novel picture of inner-city Belfast at the second annual New York-New Belfast conference in Fordham University next month.

The group were brought to Belfast in January of this year by famed urbanist, author and CUNY lecturer, Michael Sorkin, this on what was his first visit to Ireland.

After addressing last year's New York-New Belfast conference on "Nine Things I Love About New York," Sorkin was invited by Irish architect Ciarán Mackel to visit Belfast on a study tour.

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"Sorkin has brought students to Brasilia, Jerusalem, and Beijing, cities he describes as being 'under stress,' and we really wanted him to cement the New York-New Belfast links by coming to our city," said Mackel.

On the January visit, Sorkin's architecture students were joined by their counterparts from Belfast and Limerick as they looked at ways to "heal" and regenerate a city which had endured a 30-year conflagration.

Addressing civic leaders during the visit, Sorkin - whose "20 Minutes in Manhattan" remains a classic on the city of New York - said he was fascinated by the core of Belfast and its many alleyways, some hundreds of years old.

The fruits of the visitors' labor will now go on show at the Echo's New York-New Belfast conference in Fordham University Lincoln Center on 8-9 June where visitors will see a special emphasis on the potential to transform inner-city Belfast by a plan to move 12,000 students to revamped campus.

"This is the first step," said Mackel.

"The next challenge is to have these ideas by our students inform the master plan for the new university campus and the new Belfast."

Both Sorkin and Mackel will address the conference on their joint project. Other speakers include the CEO of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Roisin McDonough, the CEO of Sport NI, Eamonn McCartan, Stella O'Leary, U.S. Observer to the International Fund for Ireland, and Speaker Christine Quinn of New York City Council.

For full details and to register, go to www.newyorknewbelfast.com.