Belfast to learn from regeneration stories of New York and Vienna

Countdown is on for the inaugural BelFastForward conference

City regeneration experts from New York and Vienna will be among the international speakers sharing ideas to inspire those leading the development and regeneration of Belfast at the first ever BelFastForward conference on February 27.

Taking place in just two weeks’ time, the event, organised by Belfast Chamber of Trade & Commerce, will introduce world class case studies of cities that have emerged from difficult circumstances to become beacons of urban revitalisation.

Attendees at the conference, which is sponsored by Belfast One and Belfast Harbour, will hear from a range of speakers covering topics relating to the themes of People, Place and Process.

Keynote speakers at the event include Vishaan Chakrabarti, who as director of the New York Department of City Planning successfully collaborated on projects including the rebuilding of the East River Waterfront and rezoning of Hudson Yards. Robert Walsh, who also worked with Mayor Michael Bloomberg as Commissioner of New York’s Department of Small Business Services will share the pro-active steps it took to diversify New York’s economy and improve citizens’ quality of life.

And Maria Vassilakou, the first Green Party Vice Mayor of Vienna and City Councillor for urban development, traffic, climate protection, energy planning and citizen participation will bring her experience of the sustainable urban development policies which have seen Vienna top the list of global cities with the best quality of life for its residents.

Panel sessions will also feature debates between local city stakeholders from organisations including Danske Bank, FinTrU, The Mac and We Are Vertigo.

Simon Hamilton, CEO of Belfast Chamber of Trade & Commerce, said: “The conference will celebrate all that is good in Belfast but will also challenge delegates to find better ways of working together. Our speakers bring experience of what has worked and what has failed in other cities and we are looking forward to learning from their expertise.

“We want Belfast to be a city of international significance, where people choose to live, work, visit, study and where companies decide to invest. Belfast is an utterly transformed city, but we know there is potential to achieve so much more.”

For further information on attending BelFastForward on February 27 please visit