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Mortars to malls: Analyzing the relationship between peacebuilding and urban regeneration through a comparative study of place

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy

This thesis examines the relationship between peacebuilding and urban regeneration in three post-conflict cities: Belfast, Sarajevo, and Beirut. In doing so, the research aims to answer the following questions: what is peacebuilding, how does it relate to a peace agreement, and how are these implemented in the post-conflict context, especially on the urban scale? How does urban
regeneration relate to notions of the legitimacy of the state, and in the post conflict context, to the stability of peace? What is urban regeneration and how is it manifest in the post-conflict city? What are the implications of these issues in regards to the role of consumption, capital, identity and legitimacy as defining forces in the post-conflict context city and general peacebuilding context?
In the first section, exploring the literature on peace and cities and linking them through the Habermasian concept of legitimation provides the theoretical basis. The next stage involves examining the theories in practice— peace as peacebuilding and cities through urban regeneration—thus establishing a framework for analysing the case studies. In a discussion of methods, ethnography and the use of case-study analysis are presented as best-suited for the aims of the research.Following this is the second section. First, the historic and socio-cultural contexts of each city
and conflict are explored with a particular emphasis on the urban experience throughout. This is followed by a critical examination of the peace negotiation processes and an in-depth analysis of the treaty documents, paying particular attention to the degree to which urban/built environment issues are addressed. Subsequent to this is an exploration of the implementation of the treaties
and the events/issues that surrounded them, in addition to looking at the major regeneration and building projects that took place in each city following the peace agreement implementation to the present. This is followed by a presentation of the ethnographic data, including observations and analysis of visual evidence, and the drawing out of common themes.In the third section, the data of the previous section (contextual analysis, peace agreement analysis, and ethnographic data) are analyzed further. The result of this is a discussion of consumption, capital, identity, and legitimacy as interrelated processes that are part of the evolving form of peacebuilding in post-conflict cities. This is concluded by an examination of research implications and potential avenues for further exploration.
Original languageEnglish
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Award dateNov 2012

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