Update: I returned to the US last Saturday, applied straightaway for a UK visa, and after a huge headache of paperwork, now I am waiting to hear back from the embassy. I should hear by Tuesday. Lesson learned: always tell the border control that you are just traveling.
I met with a few architecture/planning professors at Queens University before I left Belfast. I got a few new ideas for ways to focus my research. I learning that social housing can no longer be isolated as an issue, but is rather part of multiple social processes. The main focus for architects and planners in Belfast now is on “shared space,” or spaces shared by both Protestant and Catholic communities.
So exactly what will I be researching? The architecture of new post-conflict spaces in Belfast. How does the relationship between architecture and identity affect both conflict and reconciliation? How can new architecture denote peace or a break from the past while still relating to the identity of Belfast, which itself is rooted in the various identities of polarized communities? More specifics on this later…
Until then, here is a photo about waiting… not waiting for a visa, but rather waiting in a traffic jam caused by cows crossing the road on the way to my great-aunt’s house in the Irish countryside.