Wednesday 23 January 2008

New development strategy presents challenge to tradition, says city council

Irish people must relinquish their attachment to low-rise, low-density living and allow Dublin to become a compact, consolidated and "high performance" capital city, according to Dublin City Council.

The council's new strategy to bring high-rise buildings and a vastly greater number of homes and offices per acre to the city is crucial to the economic and social future of the city and is one of the most important advances in its recent history, the council said.

Not only will those living and working in the centre of the city see dramatic changes to their immediate surroundings, but suburbanites in areas such as Phibsborough, Rathmines, Crumlin and Finglas are likely to see a major transformation of their localities in the coming years.

In its strategy, the council says it is "vital" that Dublin grows to an international scale while still retaining its character and providing for the needs of residents, workers and visitors.

The council is convinced of the need for a redeveloped and more compact city but it admits that it presents a challenge to tradition.

"Achievement of the new principles of urban development seems to be blocked, more than anything else, by the self-perception that Ireland is so attached to low density development and so divided between competing interests, that although we can create a dynamic economy, we cannot make quality sustainable cities and towns," the council's strategy states.

If Dublin is to develop economically it is crucial that new clusters of tall buildings are sited in key locations such as Heuston and the docklands.

The strategy also proposes that a wider number of areas should receive tall buildings, providing "elegant landmarks" and projecting an image of a "mature city" at ease with modernity.

In addition to consolidation, the strategy also intends to create sustainable communities and emphasis is put on locating high-density developments only where there are strong transport links, such as trains, Luas, quality bus corridors and, in the future, metro.

It also stresses that development in any area will be progressed through Framework Plans which will have a high level of public input.

Key areas: prime city locations earmarked for redevelopment

High intensity clusters: areas which have significant scope for intensification and will be the main focus for clusters of high-rise buildings and landmark buildings in the inner city:

The Eastern Cluster - Grand Canal Dock, north Lotts Spencer Dock, Connolly, Tara/ Georges Quay, Southbank/ Poolbeg, Port Lands.

The Knowledge Axis - Grangegorman to the Digital Hub. Western Cluster - Heuston area.

Inner suburban areas identified for intensification. Heights to be determined through framework plans:

Dolphins Barn, Phibsborough/Mountjoy, the Markets, Newmarket, Marrowbone Lane, Ship Street.

Prime urban centres where opportunities for landmark buildings exist:

Finglas, Ballymun, Rathmines, Ballyfermot, Crumlin, North Side Shopping Centre, North Fringe at the Northern boundary with Fingal.

Outer city areas with potential for height and dense development:

Bettystown, Park West, Drimnagh, Richmond Road, Chapelizod, Whitehall.

• Heights in specific locations will be determined by framework and local area plans.

The Irish Times

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