Thursday 19 July 2007

Capital must be built up, not out, warn architects

THE sustainable solution to sprawling suburbs and major traffic congestion is to start building up — and not out, a group of architects told the Green Party yesterday.

With increased property prices forcing many people to the suburbs, the population in certain areas is rapidly decreasing and leading to the closure of schools and services, EML architects managing director Hugh Elliott said yesterday.

At a conference sponsored by The Irish Examiner entitled Opportunities in Urban Development-Where to Now?, Mr Elliott accused the government of showing no leadership in the strategic planning of Dublin city.

He reasoned that a high density plan was required, which would see buildings being built upwards as opposed to expanding into suburban areas.

However, the conference chaired by broadcaster Matt Cooper heard that local authority officials are prevented from solving the persistent problems of sprawling suburbs, declining populations and traffic jams because of “timid legislation”.

“This failure of leadership is causing a decline in certain parts of Dublin and imposing misery on commuters and their families,” said Mr Elliott.

“The Greens in Government and a Green Minister for the Environment have a unique opportunity to turn matters around decisively.”

Under the range of solutions proposed by architects yesterday was a plan to turn the Long Mile Road into the High Mile Road and a Gateway to the City with a high-density mixed-use quarter.

In addition, it was also suggested that a north inner city development with high-density accommodation, an urban stroll from Connolly Station to Smithfield, and a riverside urban park in the North Quays should be established.

Irish Examiner

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