Places you do (and you dont) want to go!

Re: Places you do (and you dont) want to go!

Postby hutton » Tue Nov 18, 2008 12:37 am

alonso wrote:your post smacks of victim mentality


Ouch!... Meeooow!
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Re: Places you do (and you dont) want to go!

Postby hutton » Tue Nov 18, 2008 12:41 am

jimg wrote:I really couldn't believe the amount of time Dick Gleason dedicated in a recent printed interview with to discussing urgent need for action plans for Ballsbridge, Rathmines and the like. It really angered me that Ballsbridge could be viewed as a priority for active DCC involvement while the historic urban core of Dublin city is largely allowed to rot not only in terms of the upkeep of the public domain but in terms of the seeming disinterest in actually applying any effort to evaluating planning applications. I simply cannot understand how a planner (or anyone for that matter) can be blind the huge potential in restoring the inner city; they really need to visit more European cities to see how desirable and successful a preserved historic core can be.


*Looks for the right button*... ah yes, found it -


+ 110%
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Re: Places you do (and you dont) want to go!

Postby alonso » Tue Nov 18, 2008 12:54 am

Ah that's one of my favourite views of the City. People paint that and photograph it! I could sit there for hours looking across the bay. In fact the view southbound towards Dun Laoghaire and the mountains is better. Some just like to see the horizon I guess and this may stem from seeing it every day for 30 years, either from my bedroom as a kid near the Velvet Strand, the end of the road now, or from the DART or the top of the bus. As i said above, familiarity may have a major role in this thread. This reminds me that I had a recent discussion on the different mentalities that exist between those from the coast and those from the interior (on a larger scale than differences within Dublin). I'm not gonna reveal the consensus reached as i'm in enough trouble here as it is.

I'm sure tommyt agrees that it wasn't intended to "run down" Dublin 8 and it remains a major draw to many people - just not me. I know people who live there and love it and people i work with who do as well. Take these posts as opinion, maybe even blinkered and ignorant opinion but not as some manifesto for the razing or neglect of the historic fabric which you know i oppose.
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Re: Places you do (and you dont) want to go!

Postby alonso » Tue Nov 18, 2008 1:00 am

hutton wrote:Ouch!... Meeooow!


Oi! Selective quoting! I said that particular piece of his post, not the entire thing. This ain't no tabloid newspaper, 'tis archiseek, a paragon of cybervirtue and fairness in debate;)

I think we need to take a break, get some sleep, maybe wake up refreshed and go for a walk before returning to the site - I know a lovely beach in Dublin 4 that's fantastic for an early morning stroll*

*like I've ever done that
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Re: Places you do (and you dont) want to go!

Postby hutton » Tue Nov 18, 2008 1:28 am

alonso wrote:Oi! Selective quoting! I said that particular piece of his post, not the entire thing. This ain't no tabloid newspaper, 'tis archiseek, a paragon of cybervirtue and fairness in debate;)

I think we need to take a break, get some sleep, maybe wake up refreshed and go for a walk before returning to the site - I know a lovely beach in Dublin 4 that's fantastic for an early morning stroll*

*like I've ever done that


Lol... agreed, good debate - much enjoyed - Good night all... for now ;)
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Re: Places you do (and you dont) want to go!

Postby Peter Fitz » Tue Nov 18, 2008 10:13 am

alonso wrote:As i said above, familiarity may have a major role in this thread.



Familiarity is bound to colour our views. Dublin 8, like most other post codes holds a wide mix of character (& characters!) - I went to Synge Street & really like the surrounding area - harrington street, heytsbury, grantham, south circular from Leonard's corner & the streets of it from the canal to kevin street, most of which estate agents like to call Portobello - and its urban end, south richmond street, camden street and down on to wexford street. Had I not spent 6 years there, it would probably be just another area i pass through on my way in to town & scrutinise from the top of a bus.

And if we're talking comparable post codes, i'd take D8 over D7 any day of the week :D
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Re: Places you do (and you dont) want to go!

Postby gunter » Wed Nov 19, 2008 12:04 am

Almost midnight, so we can start this up again.

'Dublin City Council to slash capital budget'
from Olivia Kelly in today's Irish Times.

To cut back on expenditure, there's a list of 'regeneration and development projects which will be deferred'

The list of cancelled (sorry, deferred) projects has 19 entries, guess how many of these 'deferred' projects are in Dublin 8?

That's right, ten of them!

The Kilmainham/Inchicore urban space project,
The Rialto project,
The Lutyens Gateway to the Memorial Gardens,
The Inchicore environmental improvements,
Camac Greenlink,
Cork Street regeneration,
The footbridge over the Liffey at Chapelizod,
Thomas Street environmental improvements,
Paving at Ship Street,
School Street car park.


We'll be told now that putting these projects on the list in the first place shows Dublin City Council's commitment to the area.
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Re: Places you do (and you dont) want to go!

Postby gunter » Wed Nov 19, 2008 12:25 am

I know there will be boundary disputes, but this is the only Postal District map I can find:

Image
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Re: Places you do (and you dont) want to go!

Postby GrahamH » Sun Nov 23, 2008 12:58 am

I don’t quite understand your comments, alonso, regarding Dublin 8. Not only has nothing of a nostalgic nature risen on any of the multiple threads touching on the area, but there hasn’t even been the need to try and avoid such rare aul times pandering, as commentary has focused on the built environment, and in the purely practical terms of identification, conservation/restoration, and proposed new development. Indeed, pretty much aside from the seminal The Liberties of Dublin book of 1974, the threads on Archiseek have been amongst the few instances of Dublin 8 being assessed on a par with the other quarters of the city, i.e. without the patronising baggage of rose-tinted spectacles and the need to fulfil a required quota of often dubious social history. You seem to be mixing up the content on here with popular perceptions of the area over the past half century.

From my standpoint, what the postings on the area have tried to do is highlight what has been consistently overlooked by both planning authorities and the general public – partly because of the very rare aul times rhetoric mentioned above, which often clouds the much more layered character of the Liberties. I wholeheartedly support gunter’s and jimg’s assertions that the area has been, and continues to be, given the two fingers in terms of both public perception and treatment by authorities. It absolutely beggars belief when one reads the Liberties IAP of 2000 and the lofty aspirations therein – much of which are now replicated in the forthcoming LAP - the monstrous rubbish that has been thrown up the area in the intervening period in the name of improvement. It is simply flabbergasting how a planning document with accompanying tax incentive measures has had the ability to actively promote so much social and aesthetic damage, effectively blighting the area’s commercial streets and hinterlands for decades to come. Is it any wonder one does not hold ‘much grá’ for an area, when so very clearly nobody in authority does either. The likes of Francis Street, Meath Street, Carman’s Hall and their hinterlands have been decimated by tax incentivised developments, which, far from improving matters, have committed these streets to design mediocrity, social anonymity and a substandard quality of living which shall linger for many years to come, in contrast to the, at least, stimulating potential that the many derelict buildings and sites of the 1990s once afforded.

There is little doubt, as Peter mentioned, that familiarity colours opinion, which is why it’s important to be open minded about areas of like and dislike. Understanding the background of an area and the forces that shaped its built environment is often key to appreciating what you’re looking at. An entirely new perspective can be gleaned by simply knowing the basics, as for example in the case of Dublin 8 noting the enormous influence of the Dublin Artisan Dwellings Company housing right across the district. Likewise, the Dutch Billy legacy still peeking through if you look hard enough. Alas, presentation inevitably also colours opinion, which is why it’s understandable that the chaos and hostility of the Christchurch Place and Cornmarket areas make the area so inhospitable, if not indeed virtually inaccessible, to many.

In terms of my favourite parts of the city, i.e. ‘where I want to go’, to answer the thread question, they would have to include Thomas Street. The tingle of excitement approaching the area, with the spire of SS. Augustine and John emerging ahead and the slight curve in the street drawing you in further is always a memorable experience. A similar theme occurs on Westmoreland Street with the pompous 1920s cupolas and flags of O’Connell Street in the distance heralding a grandiose change of scene in the urban environment. Curiously, it never works in the opposite direction heading towards Grafton Street, in spite of its obvious popular appeal (and indeed conversely O’Connell Street’s distinctly lacklustre offerings). The effect of the House of Lords portico, however, does lift matters considerably beyond the ordinary.

The Molesworth Street/Dawson Street area is very special – a uniquely gracious, mellowed calm, albeit ravaged by road engineers. The ‘red district’ to the west of Grafton Street is naturally another, as is the Camden corridor. The north Georgian core never fails to stimulate – I get a pain in my head around there trying to take it all in. I love how it hasn’t been tampered with in any over-restored way – all entirely readable, with lots of fragments of street furniture, mews lanes and little curiosities that tend to be swept away in sanitising developments on the southside. The cruel uses to which many of the buildings have been put – socially and aesthetically – never fails to depress however.

I think it’s a futile effort comparing the coastal development of Dublin with its city centre – suburban/semi-rural versus urban. It’s apples and oranges. It’s important to acknowledge the significant contribution the outlying areas of Dublin make to the city as a whole, but there’s no point getting into an argument as to the superiority of either. Different kettles of fish.
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Re: Places you do (and you dont) want to go!

Postby tommyt » Sun Nov 23, 2008 1:21 am

Graham your post is insightful, considered , logical and entirlely correct. I personally took this thread up as a vitrual gauntlet/glove slap to try and get a few punters riled up and arguing the virtual toss over whatever neighbourhoods would get pulse's racing. (plus Alonso put me up to the D8 baiting):)
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Re: Places you do (and you dont) want to go!

Postby alonso » Sun Nov 23, 2008 9:59 pm

Graham, can I clear up that i don't actively dislike the Liberties, it's just not part of "my" Dublin and it doesn't attract me. Having said that I was in Vicar St the other night and I visit the Blackpitts area weekly, both in the postcode. I fully agree with your post and yeh I may have overstepped the mark in being so vocal about the area and it's place in folklore - Just to clarify that i most certainly was not aiming that at anyone here and am bloody grateful for Gunter et al in highlighting this part of my city. (there's only one thread on my part of Dublin and that's just about it going through a sort of similar transformation to this area in the 70's/80's ie wrecked by a fcking road). Which brings me to the next point:

It's interesting that you throw the Christchurch/Cornmarket "chaos and hostility" into the debate. Thinking about this now, i would actually profer that this mangled urban fiasco is a major factor in the neglect of the area, not by the authorities per se but by the people of Dublin, like me ;) . I think this junction is one of Dublin City's greatest points of severance. Having overcome the river as a natural barrier over the centuries, we built one all of our own in the form of the most awkward, unattractive, hostile and dysfunctional junctions imaginable (all around Christchurch just for good measure)

It divides the area from the Dame Street thoroughfare, from the "red district" as you call it, and of course, from Temple Bar. It seems a long way, for example, to Vicar Street from the Foggy Dew, but it's not in reality. There are few, if any, other parts of the city centre divided in such a vulgar manner. Imagine it was a plaza or even a proper urban traffic junction which doesn't scar the area. It's extremely offensive to the idea of the city and to me at least acts as a "natural" blockage between the "treasured" Dublin 2 and the neglected Dublin 8

Kilkenny take note.
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Re: Places you do (and you dont) want to go!

Postby gunter » Mon Nov 24, 2008 12:49 am

GrahamH wrote:In terms of my favourite parts of the city, i.e. ‘where I want to go’, to answer the thread question, they would have to include Thomas Street. The tingle of excitement approaching the area, with the spire of SS. Augustine and John emerging ahead and the slight curve in the street drawing you in further is always a memorable experience.


That's two votes for Thomas street.

It's interesting the extent to which the main arterial routes, Thomas Street, Dorset Street. Pearse Street, Camden Street etc. have featured in the discussion so far. In part, this may have to do with the dearth of genuine urban spaces in Dublin. There's little doubt that, if we were having this discussion in any other, medium sized, European city, the merits of one sublime urban plaza over the next would be filling up the pages.

In that context, scrapping over the attributes, or otherwise, of the likes of Dorset Street is probably a bit sad, but even without superb urban spaces, or world class individual buildings, great streets are a huge part of any great city.

What are the ingredients of a great street?

There's probably a workable definition somewhere, but I'm going to come at it the other way, pick a street that I love and work back from that.

All joking aside, I think Thomas Street has the potential to be one of the great streets of Europe, a street that encapsulates the essence of the whole city, it's history, architecture, society, commerce, and industry.

Long before we had the Wide Street Commission, Dublin had Thomas Street, a broad commercial thoroughfare, a street with monastries and markets, shops and workshops, hostelries and houses. With Thomas Street you have raw urbanism, animated by a true cross-section of city life, from art students to stall holders, a street dripping with a palpable sense of history. It's not just that the final tragic scenes in several national tragedies were played out on Thomas Street, the murder of Lord Kilwarden, the capture of Lord Edward Fitzgerald, the execution of Emmet, it's the fact that the street retains much of the character it had when these events were played out.

Fitzwilliam Street may be a fine piece of late Georgian urbanism, with or without the ESB building, but it is as dull as dishwater compared to a street like Thomas Street. Nothing of significance has ever happened on Fitzwilliam Street, or is ever likely to. Fitzwilliam St. was laid out with all the imagination that a speculative property developer could muster, which is not much. The street is protected and that's as it should be, but so should Thomas Street. Ironically, the few houses on Thomas Street that are protected are the ones that look the most 'Georgian', the ones that look the most like they'd fit on Fitzwilliam Street, this is exactly were we're going wrong. We're misunderstanding the essence of the street.

Image
The Liberties LAP model looking west down the sweeping curves of Thomas Street. The void in the streetscape that is present day High St./Cornmarket, (refered to by alonso) is in the foreground and doesn't really show up in this view to the extent that it does on the ground.

The challenge for us is to recognise the depth of significance of a street like Thomas Street, protect the elements that contribute to that significance, and bring out the street's potential with every intervention, not allow developers to sweep away all the bits that don't conform to the Fitzwilliam St. 'this is heritage' photo-fit.
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Re: Places you do (and you dont) want to go!

Postby notjim » Mon Nov 24, 2008 10:35 am

gunter wrote:
Long before we had the Wide Street Commission, Dublin had Thomas Street,.


In fact long before we had Dublin, Dublin had Thomas Street! Oh and how do you say this again, ah yes: +1!
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Re: Places you do (and you dont) want to go!

Postby reddy » Mon Nov 24, 2008 1:24 pm

I've lived on Thomas Street for the last two years and moved into the area full of the same sense of excitement at living in an area full of life and character but I have to say its one of the harshest environments I've ever experienced.

Terrible traffic, giving rise to noise, dust, dirt and an absolute assault on the pedestrians senses.

Grinding poverty - and it is grinding poverty. I've had people argue with me that its not as bad as I make out here but the amount of homelessness and chronic drinking and drug users in the area is absolutely shocking - its so bleak around here a lot of the time. A day does not go by that I don't encounter a scene or a person which would frighten or break your heart. Given the state of the general economy this is not going to improve for a long time.

There's a real sense of neglect from the powers that be and many of them are small things like the length of time given to pedestrians to cross the street or the seemingly random bin collection service which leaves rubbish pile up on the pavement.

The dereliction of the Iveagh Market is a crime - this has the potential to be a spectacular resource for the area - Not in a touristy way but as a genuine, inner city market, sustained by a high density population surrounding it and providing fresh produce and good food in an area sorely dependent on Spar and Centra.

The standard of design of new builds is laughable. As has been pointed out above, Francis st now has possibly the lowest standard of built fabric of any street in the city.

The standard of accommodation is so so poor. Small pokey flats, ill maintained and over priced due to its proximity with the city dominate the area. The provision of private space for this accommodation is nil. This only adds to the feeling of pressure cooker and urban intensity in the area. The nearest park - at St. Audeons church is unusable due to the prevalence of drug users and scumbags. The Phoenix park is a haven of tranquility away from this and during the Summer I spend as much time as possible up there but try getting there if you have a young family without a car in the area.

What makes it even worse is the potential Thomas street holds. Its a major thoroughfare for tourists walking up to Guinness. I couldn't believe the streams of people moving along the street when i first moved in. The new cafes are a positive development and hopefully more will spring up to make this area more pedestrian friendly but its a long way to go. The City Council need to get their act toghether and give this area the attention and respect it deserves - you really cannot imagine this happening on some of the finer streets in the city.

Anyway rant over!! In the context of the thread however I have to put Thomas St down as an area I will be glad to leave soon and will see little to draw me back for the forseeable future.
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Re: Places you do (and you dont) want to go!

Postby ctesiphon » Mon Nov 24, 2008 2:37 pm

Graham- Were you born with the 'tingle', or was it acquired?

On this topic in general, there would appear to be two parallel interpretations at play, especially re the Thomas Street misunderstandings, viz. how it looks now (alonso) vs what it could be (gunter and GrahamH). In this regard, reddy's post is most instructive.

GrahamH wrote:You seem to be mixing up the content on here with popular perceptions of the area over the past half century.


Well, alonso wouldn't be the only one we could accuse of reacting to non-existent statements, accusations, etc.

GrahamH wrote:Is it any wonder one does not hold ‘much grá’ for an area, when so very clearly nobody in authority does either. The likes of Francis Street, Meath Street, Carman’s Hall and their hinterlands have been decimated by tax incentivised developments, which, far from improving matters, have committed these streets to design mediocrity, social anonymity and a substandard quality of living which shall linger for many years to come


I understood this to be part of what alonso was saying.

*** *** ***

hutton wrote:Keep it up folks - a most interesting and informative discussion on a thread which one had presumed would fall into the old cliches :)


*cough*

hutton wrote:+ 110%
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Re: Places you do (and you dont) want to go!

Postby alonso » Mon Nov 24, 2008 10:07 pm

gunter wrote:What are the ingredients of a great street?


Right we're beginning to get somewhere here. A great street, to me, offers reasons to stay rather than pass. It's a simplification which requires elaboration so I'll start the ball rolling:

A mix of Retail from the elite or mainstream fashion to the crusty - eg Brown Thomas and boutiques on Wicklow/Exchequer St in amongst Music Maker and Record Collector
Cafes
Pubs and night time uses
Space and plenty of it for pedestrians
Practical invisibility of motorised traffic of all modes
A sense of enclosure
A network of usable laneways leading into and out of the street
Surprising vistas
A few seats, ah go on DCC, just a few
Public Art
An epic building, often historic, which gives the whole area a unique point of reference - often a church
Safety and security
A certain randomness and ramshackleness without dereliction or underuse - eg Parnell St east

There's probably a workable definition somewhere, but I'm going to come at it the other way, pick a street that I love and work back from that.


:confused:Couldn't find one in Dublin that meets the above. Anyone else?

All joking aside, I think Thomas Street has the potential to be one of the great streets of Europe, a street that encapsulates the essence of the whole city, it's history, architecture, society, commerce, and industry.


Meh ;) I actually think this sums up our whole argument. The thread title remember reads - places you do and don't want to go. Potential may draw me professionally to an area - the endless possibilities and the will, as a planner, to make a positive difference to the urban realm - by building on the foundations rather than erasing them to provide a blank canvas. On that we are all agreed. However potentially great streets won't personally and socially draw me away from Wexford St. or Parnell St. And if you feel Thomas St. has the potential to be one of the great streets of Europe, surely so do Merrion Row, Westmoreland/Dolier St, South William St., Dame St, Dorset St., a car free River Quayside etc. As it stands today do these not offer greater potential in an increasingly car-less city, if that were to occur? (and it needs to for Thomas St to make real progress from one of Dublin's most hostile (in a design sense) to being among Europe's greats)

Long before we had the Wide Street Commission, Dublin had Thomas Street, a broad commercial thoroughfare, a street with monastries and markets, shops and workshops, hostelries and houses. With Thomas Street you have raw urbanism, animated by a true cross-section of city life, from art students to stall holders, a street dripping with a palpable sense of history. It's not just that the final tragic scenes in several national tragedies were played out on Thomas Street, the murder of Lord Kilwarden, the capture of Lord Edward Fitzgerald, the execution of Emmet, it's the fact that the street retains much of the character it had when these events were played out.


Which raises the question of how much of that "character" is in fact desirable? What is raw urbanism in a city ravaged by heroin, dereliction, crime and deprivation not so long ago, if not still in places. Is it possible that this term, raw urbanism, is an academic rose-tinted view of what may be, to many, essentially no-go areas? Was it raw urbanism that elected Tony Gregory in the 80's, is it raw urbanism that rears it's head all too frequently in Limerick? Was it raw urbanism on display in O'Devaney gardens a few months back?

http://www.dublinpeople.com/content/view/891/57/

I think we have to be very careful in almost glamorising this set of aspects of city living. I'm not advocating a new-town approach of wiping the slate clean and starting again but we need to be mindful of the needs and wants of the people living in areas like the Liberties. I don't know where you actually live and I actually do not believe it is relevant. In general people want to live in security, safety and with access to essential services where they can trust their neighbours. We also strive for an attractive place to call home, both within the 4 walls and also on the streets. We cannot treat places people live as some sort of set-piece just because we think the area has a unique history. Remember many people wanted to maintain Ballymun flats, admittedly some were residents, but an awful lot of outsiders wanted to as well. I'm not accusing you of this but there is a fine line that some people have a tendency to cross.

Fitzwilliam Street may be a fine piece of late Georgian urbanism, with or without the ESB building, but it is as dull as dishwater compared to a street like Thomas Street. Nothing of significance has ever happened on Fitzwilliam Street, or is ever likely to. Fitzwilliam St. was laid out with all the imagination that a speculative property developer could muster, which is not much. The street is protected and that's as it should be, but so should Thomas Street. Ironically, the few houses on Thomas Street that are protected are the ones that look the most 'Georgian', the ones that look the most like they'd fit on Fitzwilliam Street, this is exactly were we're going wrong. We're misunderstanding the essence of the street.


Nothing of significance except the ESB block ;) Interesting argument that's irrefutable. It is true that we do seem to ferociously guard a lot of Georgian architecture which it seems has been accepted as Dublin's thing, our shtick almost, when as you rightly say there's far more to the city which should be protected, from other eras.

The challenge for us is to recognise the depth of significance of a street like Thomas Street, protect the elements that contribute to that significance, and bring out the street's potential with every intervention, not allow developers to sweep away all the bits that don't conform to the Fitzwilliam St. 'this is heritage' photo-fit.


Again, no one here is likely to disagree. I have a real fear, and I'm sure it's far more real to you in relation to Thomas street, that if we couldn't manage to control developers, if we couldn't effectively protect our urban heritage and we couldn't bring a street like Thomas St back into the core of Dublin's conscience during a time of plenty, what hope have we now in this new era. It's Bachelors Walk all over again and I ain't talkin' about the sitcom.
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Re: Places you do (and you dont) want to go!

Postby gunter » Tue Nov 25, 2008 1:02 am

What happened to your light humorous posts?

alonso wrote:A great street . . . . I'll start the ball rolling:

A mix of Retail from the elite or mainstream fashion to the crusty - eg Brown Thomas and boutiques on Wicklow/Exchequer St in amongst Music Maker and Record Collector
Cafes
Pubs and night time uses
Space and plenty of it for pedestrians
Practical invisibility of motorised traffic of all modes
A sense of enclosure
A network of usable laneways leading into and out of the street
Surprising vistas
A few seats, ah go on DCC, just a few
Public Art
An epic building, often historic, which gives the whole area a unique point of reference - often a church
Safety and security
A certain randomness and ramshackleness without dereliction or underuse - eg Parnell St east


That's a good list alonso, but I'd like to think that architecture plays a bigger role. As well as 'an epic building', I think the general streetscape has to have enough architecture to engage the aesthetic senses. I don't want to think that you can have a great street without there being interesting architecture in the mix.

I think organic growth plays a part. A planned street, no matter how magnificent, seldom has that 'great street' quality that a street forged over time, and by many different hands, has. This ties into the whole 'urban layers' terminology, as well as the randomness of your last point.

alonso wrote:. . . if you feel Thomas St. has the potential to be one of the great streets of Europe, surely so do Merrion Row, Westmoreland/Dolier St, South William St., Dame St, Dorset St., a car free River Quayside etc.


Leaving the Quays out of it on definition grounds, I wouldn't put the others on the same level, I like them all, but they don't have that depth that I feel when I'm on Thomas Street. Dame Street should have, but it feels like a couch that's been re-upholstered too many times.

alonso wrote:What is raw urbanism . . . Is it possible that this term, raw urbanism, is an academic rose-tinted view of what may be, to many, essentially no-go areas?


OK a misunderstanding here, I was using the term to convey the physical attributes of the streetscape, gritty, not pretty, rather than any deep assessment of the social context.

I don't want to hijack the thread with more discussion on Thomas Street, but I really believe that there is something special here and, with DCC attitudes the way they are, it's in some peril.

I take reddy's point about the harsh realities of living in the middle of deprivation. I lived just off Gardiner Street for four years and I will never forget the first day we moved to a flat in Sandymount, It was pokey and dark, unlike the vast dilapidated Georgian house we had the run of before, but that didn't matter, we just went out and walked the streets till the early hours free from all the tension and the worry about being broken into if we were spotted out on the street. I'm not under any illusions in that department.

That doesn't mean I'm going soft on Sandymount Strand.
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Re: Places you do (and you dont) want to go!

Postby alonso » Tue Nov 25, 2008 9:37 pm

gunter wrote:What happened to your light humorous posts?


Recession. It's all dark cynical humour from now on....

That's a good list alonso, but I'd like to think that architecture plays a bigger role. As well as 'an epic building', I think the general streetscape has to have enough architecture to engage the aesthetic senses. I don't want to think that you can have a great street without there being interesting architecture in the mix.


Yep. I intended to edit the post to reflect that. Thought of it on the bike in the next day but by the time i'd returned to home i'd forgotten all about it. Honest....:o

I think organic growth plays a part. A planned street, no matter how magnificent, seldom has that 'great street' quality that a street forged over time, and by many different hands, has. This ties into the whole 'urban layers' terminology, as well as the randomness of your last point.


Agreed. It'd be an interesting exercise to find any "new" streets or streets from one era that can be described as great. Perhaps the guardians of the Carlton and Arnotts sites may oblige...

(that's the sound of me not holding my breath)

Leaving the Quays out of it on definition grounds, I wouldn't put the others on the same level, I like them all, but they don't have that depth that I feel when I'm on Thomas Street. Dame Street should have, but it feels like a couch that's been re-upholstered too many times.


feels like a couch that's had the administrative equivalent of 9 pints of Fitzsimons Guinness topped off with an Iskanders deposited on it... in fact...

OK a misunderstanding here, I was using the term to convey the physical attributes of the streetscape, gritty, not pretty, rather than any deep assessment of the social context.

I don't want to hijack the thread with more discussion on Thomas Street, but I really believe that there is something special here and, with DCC attitudes the way they are, it's in some peril.


Well if there's anything i can say to round this off, I will say that I will in future pay far more attention to what's going on around me next time i'm up that way. As i'm sure many other readers will, those who may not have in the past.

I take reddy's point about the harsh realities of living in the middle of deprivation. I lived just off Gardiner Street for four years and I will never forget the first day we moved to a flat in Sandymount, It was pokey and dark, unlike the vast dilapidated Georgian house we had the run of before, but that didn't matter, we just went out and walked the streets till the early hours free from all the tension and the worry about being broken into if we were spotted out on the street. I'm not under any illusions in that department.

That doesn't mean I'm going soft on Sandymount Strand.


Ah sure we live in hope...
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Re: Places you do (and you dont) want to go!

Postby gunter » Wed Nov 26, 2008 12:34 am

alonso wrote:. . . . thought of it on the bike the next day but by the time i'd returned to home . . . .


That's the 'I left my homework on the bus excuse', alonso!

You brought up South William Street earlier.

In the category: 'Great short stumpy street (local)' I think you're right, South William Street is in with a shout.

Image
Rocque again with the site of Powerscourt Town House on the corner with Coppinger's Lane, the main undeveloped plot remaining in 1756.

It's probably a bit too straight and planned to be an outright winner, but it does have a lot of the other attributes. In contrast to Grafton Street, the streetscape of S. William St. feels authentic and not just because it retains a good deal of it's original character (only more full of life and diversity that it appeared in Malton's day), but also because none of the interventions ever seem to be self-conscious.

Image
Malton's view looking north towards Wicklow St. (Chequer Lane on Rocque).

The three 1960s / 70s office blocks, towards the Lower Stephen Street corner, may be architecturally dismal, but somehow the street seems to be strong enough to absorb them.

Image Image
A 1980s sketch showing Mercer's Hospital, before alterations, in the context of those three in-fill office blocks, and one of the cute narrow Georgian houses that survive on the same side of the street.
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Re: Places you do (and you dont) want to go!

Postby GrahamH » Sun Dec 07, 2008 2:29 am

Hey! I thought there was an unwritten rule on Archiseek that we don’t post pictures of each other’s houses! Dream world houses included! We don’t want to be publicising matters and making them more unreachable now do we. I bagged that wendy house years ago.

Sorry for the delay in replying alonso; your post is very much agreed with. I like your 'urban fiasco' description for Cornmarket et al. It sums up the entire experience of that no-mans-land - a vacuous filling in the urban sandwich, with Dublin 2 and Dublin 8 as the substantial bread slices either side. For any visitor to the city, citizen or tourist, it is this type of disastrous planning that generates such bad press for urban living, and why Dublin is so often perceived as somewhere to get out of as quickly as possible to those unfamiliar with the place. I find the best way of seeing things from that perspective is to cast my mind back to visiting this area as a child. We always used to either visit or cut through the whole north and south inner city by car: Dorset Street, derelict Parnell Street, North King Street, the quays, Christchurch, derelict Patrick Street, Thomas Street, The Coombe, Marrowbone Lane. I mean in all honesty, I wonder how I’m in any way sane after such a traumatised childhood (although it would also certainly explain a few things...). We always experienced the very worst parts of Dublin growing up – as very frequent visitors – and I generally had an appalling perception not only of the capital, but of the urban experience generally. It’s what makes you think of cities as being like, and it sticks with you, something it’s fair to say the average suburbanite probably also feels about areas such as High Street - if not as grimly as it was in the 80s and 90s. It is this type of planning-by-engineer that helps promote the image of cities as little more than a couple of quirky retail streets useful for shopping at Christmas, surrounded by a morass of ‘concrete jungle’ to steer clear of for the other 364 days of the year.

It’s interesting that we tend to focus our wrath on the High Street/Cornmarket area for cutting the south city in two and acting as a barrier to Dublin 8, when in fact it could be argued that the deadening effect begins much further east, at City Hall. Lord Edward Street, as a planned thoroughfare is, and probably always was, as dead as a doornail, while Castle Street, once part of the most important route in the city, is equally devoid of most forms of life. The latter of course has been deprived of its importance and therefore commercial and social activity by the creation of the former, but ironically Lord Edward Street has never quite worked as a living street either – the D’Olier Street of the late 19th century. Which begs the question which of our older planned streets has ever been successful?

As things currently stand, it’s probably fair to say that the four/four and a half prominent planned streets in the city are not particularly inviting in terms atmosphere or could be considered commercially successful. O’Connell Street, Westmoreland Street, D’Olier Street, Lord Edward Street and Dame Street (its widened parts) comprise a list of streets which could all be described as non-destinations. This is perhaps their function – they were all built as routes to somewhere else rather than as destinations in themselves. Indeed perhaps we’ve never been able to accept that, whether we like it or not, the heart of post-medieval Dublin has always been the Grafton Street area, with everything north of that a contrived and ultimately failed folly to the aspirations of the Gardiner estate and its desire for improved linkages to what essentially was a suburban housing estate. Perhaps O’Connell et al comprise the soulless link roads of the mid-late 18th century?

As South William Street is raised, it is for me probably the most elegant and stimulating street in the city in terms of its mix of architecture, uses and building formats. There’s a perfect balance between the smattering of townhouses, purpose-built retail buildings and houses converted for commercial use during Victorian times. The prevalence of services is something that probably elevates a street beyond the ordinary; when this is combined with small-scale retail, residential, on-street dining, quality architecture and the odd major focal point such as Powerscourt Townhouse (both architectural and commercial), you hit on something very special. The old world appeal of domestic doorcases and wonky railings also injects a charm that is quite rare. Frith Street in London is similar in this respect, with elements also evident on South Anne Street in Dublin.

Which is why my ire is constantly raised every time I approach South William Street (and I suspect will be equally raised in others by my posting this) from Exchequer Street, with the hideous ranks of bicycles and their racks generating such awful clutter at the important entrance to the street. First impressions are everything.

Image


This is just not good.

Image


Image

Please will somebody rid the street of this eyesore by moving the racks to a more appropriate location. Not only are they visually corrosive to this gracious street, they consume a large amount of what is already a narrow pavement. Also planning control over seating and canopies isn’t particularly stringent either. Some are distinctly tawdry and tatty looking, notably the first example.

As much as traffic is an unpleasant feature of South William Street, it would be unfortunate if it was to be pedestrianised in an all-consuming way such as Grafton Street. There’s something about such a synthetic acknowledgement of the special character of South William that makes me uncomfortable with such a move. I think it’s the eradication of roadway that always makes me feel queasy about pedestrianisation – whatever street or city it is. The laying of a tightly-knitted pedestrianised cobbled roadway with spacious pavements either side would be a more legible solution I think than an all-encompassing pasting down of paving from frontage to frontage.
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Re: Places you do (and you dont) want to go!

Postby notjim » Fri Jan 02, 2009 4:09 pm

gunter wrote:'Dublin City Council to slash capital budget'
from Olivia Kelly in today's Irish Times.

To cut back on expenditure, there's a list of 'regeneration and development projects which will be deferred'

The list of cancelled (sorry, deferred) projects has 19 entries, guess how many of these 'deferred' projects are in Dublin 8?

That's right, ten of them!

The Kilmainham/Inchicore urban space project,
The Rialto project,
The Lutyens Gateway to the Memorial Gardens,
The Inchicore environmental improvements,
Camac Greenlink,
Cork Street regeneration,
The footbridge over the Liffey at Chapelizod,
Thomas Street environmental improvements,
Paving at Ship Street,
School Street car park.


We'll be told now that putting these projects on the list in the first place shows Dublin City Council's commitment to the area.


Of course one surprising thing about the so-called stimulus package was that it didn't contain many stimulus measures in the normal sense of items of government spending that would act as an immediate support to a depressed industry, in our case construction. Surely the obvious thing would have been to send cash to the local authorities, DCC has a whole list of projects here in an advanced state of planning ready to support construction while benefiting the city.
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Re: Places you do (and you dont) want to go!

Postby alonso » Sat Mar 09, 2013 5:38 pm

While I acknowledge that reopening a 4 year old thread is not always a wise thing to do, I have been thinking about this old conversation for some time now and felt I should return to archiseek and say a few things on the Thomas street / Dublin 8 debate to clarify and update a few things. I've spent a lot more time in the area in recent years for various reasons, and while I still don't love Thomas Street, I now see far more to love about this varied postcode.

It certainly does have the character that gunter described so well and I've only recently discovered the vast warren of housing hanging off O'Curry Road and around Oscar Square. I think the area from Clanbrassil Street west as far as Donore Avenue, south of Cork Street is a gem of an area and a place I'd completely overlooked on this thread. As for the Liberties themselves, yeh as we'd all admitted, there's something about the place but I would like to retract my sneering comments from before about it being an overly folklored place. It was a tad unfair.

Anyway, to sum up, I'd overlooked Portobello and the area around Lombard and Curzon street in the original discussion, have only just really discovered Oscar Square et al, and the Liberties is not a place i "don't want to go" as it may have been before. I'm glad I was able to find this thread and get to make this clarification.

Gunter, you were right about a lot more than I gave you credit for at the time.
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Re: Places you do (and you dont) want to go!

Postby gunter » Sun Mar 10, 2013 1:08 am

alonso wrote:gunter, you were right about a lot more than I gave you credit for at the time . . . . . I'm glad I was able to find this thread and get to make this clarification.


I'm not going to lie to you alonso, I had been dwelling on this
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