A few first thoughts
Needs: improved pedestrian facilities, reduction in noise and pollution, improved safety - especially at night. Aesthetically - pedestrian areas attractive but in danger of being destroyed during works to drains and other services.
Culturally: lighting design to echo cultural aspects of cranes at docks are well publicised features but can be a hazard for the partially sighted, etc. Wider footpaths provide spaces for cafe seating, street performers, food fairs, etc and allow residents and visitors alike the opportunity for leisurely strolling - more continental atmosphere?
New developments such as Opera Lane have high quality apartments above retail - brings residential aspect back into city centre, although city living in apartments is not yet as popular in Ireland as in other countries. It appears that multinational chains are better able to afford the higher rents of these new developments with local small outlets moving to secondary retail areas such as Oliver Plunkett Street, Paul Street and the lanes - similar to cities in Europe and the UK.
Overall, the smartening up of the central spine of the city can only help to improve civic pride - some cultural aspects such as the Echo Boy statue and the adjacent plaque in the pavement re the now-demolished building which led to the foundation of the Crawford Gallery and which was the site of the original Examiner office can improve the cultural knowledge.