social housing in Dublin Docklands

social housing in Dublin Docklands

Postby anto » Thu Aug 07, 2003 4:52 pm

Mixed homes hit by class war turmoil
Juno McEnroe (sunday times)



IT was hailed as an award-winning experiment in social housing. One year on, Clarion Quay, Ireland’s first foray into mixed community living is embroiled in class warfare.
Well-heeled residents have fallen foul of the local authority tenants with whom they share the apartment complex in Dublin’s financial services centre.

Singletons accuse their local authority neighbours’ children of trampling noisily on the complex’s communal green and of being “generally destructive”.

Tenants claim their children feel “imprisoned” in their own homes, because they are lambasted when they play outside. Jennifer Manly, who has three children, said: “Shauna got shouted at and told ‘don’t play on the grass. It’s private’. It’s ridiculous, how are we meant to live here?” Another mother, Catherine McDonagh, said: “It’s not fair that the private residents can have their kids play on the park area and ours can’t. Then, they give out about the noise, but stay up like big kids having parties all night.”

Private residents were more reluctant to speak publicly about the stand-off. One 27-year-old manager, who gave his name as Billy, said he is moving out.

“The problem has been building for the last seven months. The noise is terrible, but that’s what kids do. The management are not good at doing anything. Now they’ve arranged for a security person to come in. I can’t wait to get out of here,” he said.

“Some of my neighbours are paying €1,500 or more a month. In the private apartments, people want to come home and relax. They’re single, young and don’t have kids. The whole idea of mixed housing doesn’t work inside this complex. You don’t get the peace you want for paying half a million.”

The row has disappointed Dublin Dockland’s Development Authority, the originators of the social housing project. Noel Ahern, a junior minister and brother of the taoiseach, launched the scheme in December. It recently won a prestigious Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland award for “Best Housing Project”.

Judges admired the quality and character of its public spaces: “The social housing residents in particular express appreciation of the identical standards achieved in both social and private units.”

Last week, the DDDA admitted its original design was flawed. In a statement it said: “One year on, it has become clear that the green common area at Clarion Quay does not accommodate the recreational needs of small children. The use of the space has been problematic and has caused some controversy among residents.”

The DDDA may take lessons from the Clarion Quay experience. It plans three more social housing projects in Dublin.

The rectangular apartment complex in the city’s financial services area surrounds a communal green. About 37 of the complex’s 120 apartments are social housing, which the government bought for €7.3m. Those are rented out to local authority tenants.

Ian and Tanya Harris, who have two children, claimed that residents from the other blocks have ordered their children to play elsewhere. “They were told to go over to Sheriff Street’s playground. The traffic on the roads is dangerous and our kids are both under five.”

The DDDA has not ruled out setting up a special section for the children. But tenants are anxious that their children will be segregated behind a wall or fence.

Gerry Fay, of the North Wall Community Association, said residents are unhappy. “How do you tell a three-year-old, ‘don’t go there’. It’s difficult to explain to a young child about social division. Questions must be asked about why the developers of the site didn’t see this coming.”

Tracy Patterson, who represents the local residents association, is hopeful the problem can be worked out. “There is nothing for the children to do, so sometimes they play on the ‘tellytubby’ green area. We are all just trying to build a place where families can grow up.”

Donal McManus, the executive director of the Irish Council for Social Housing, said the early stages of mixed developments are the most crucial. “Problems that can arise include issues of communal space, management issues and access to the units. You need to have all sides meet at the pre-planning stages.”
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Postby sw101 » Thu Aug 07, 2003 5:28 pm

what a bunch of pricks. telling five year olds to fuck off and play across the road. none of this should ever be an issue. all the rubbish architects spout about being able to solve social issues and alleviating the stresses of social division means nothing when a simple thing thing like children at play isnt accounted for
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Postby notjim » Thu Aug 07, 2003 6:01 pm

god, some people are so precious. 1500 a month and still a prick.
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Postby bluefoam » Thu Aug 07, 2003 6:08 pm

Kids play, they should have thought of that before buying. Kids play on my road at all times of the morning and night, its been that way for more than 20 years, you get used to it.
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Postby Rory W » Fri Aug 08, 2003 3:01 pm

I was down there last week and (i think it was them) the couple that were pictured with the article were screaming up from the plaza area outside the Excise bar up to their kids who were on the seventh floot of the buildings - and my god could you hear them.

Social inclusion works both ways you know - the "prick" who pays €1500 a month is entitled to a quiet life as well, no good being PC and feeling sorry for "the opressed masses" TM.
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Postby GrahamH » Fri Aug 08, 2003 8:24 pm

I agree, the private residents are just as entitled to have a quiet unspoiled space as the social residents.

To blame either side here is simply silly, it was the fault of the DDDA for not providing adequete facilities - although they claim there is a park suitable for children 2/3 minutes walk away.

This dispute largely arose on Liveline (surprise surprise) and the private residents were battered over the head by PC contributors, claiming that children need fresh air, blah blah blah, how dare pompous yuppie private residents (who spent 250,000+ on apartments) restrict social children's playtime etc.

This is a simple issue, caused by planners, and no one side of the residents are to blame
(although allowing kids to cycle through shrubbery & flower beds etc stikes me as just not caring about other residents, private or social - an exercise in control over them wouldn't go amiss)
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Postby sw101 » Sat Aug 09, 2003 1:39 am

what did the private buyers expect exactly? to buy a fancy pad on a council estate and then all of a sudden their distuinguished prescence would bring all the poor peons up to there level where they would teach their kids to play nice and be good?

i'm bit baffled by the whole excercise. social inclusion is a strange buzzword flying about. anyone know who was the instigator?designer?
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Postby notjim » Sun Aug 10, 2003 12:02 am

what makes him a prick is not a desire for unspoilt space, but the idea that it is his right because he pays such and such an amount.
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Postby Rory W » Mon Aug 11, 2003 10:20 am

sw101 I wouldn't exactly call Clarion Quay a council estate give the fact its 80% private and 20% social housing!!!

Agree with you notjim on the "I pay therefore I am" thing - but there are people in the Social element who couldn't care less about their private neighbours (there are also private neighbours who couldn't care about their private neighbours) it just takes abit of balance on both sides - ideally.

There is a suitable park just behind the Custom House Square complex, with slides swings etc - people complain that there is no facilities for the kids, there is but again its back to the "its not on my doorstep - therefore it doesn't exist mentality". Walk people walk.
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Postby bluefoam » Mon Aug 11, 2003 11:01 am

Do these people not realise how badly they are damaging the value of their property by making this situation so public. Surely they could resolve their disputes face to face.

Personally, I am an overworked, underpaid stress ball - a product of modern society and I chose my living space to reflect my needs, ie. A place where there would be like minded people. I want quite on a saturday morning and by god I am going to get it.

Surely they assessed their own needs before buying in, or did they just get reeled in by all the hype.
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Postby Rory W » Mon Aug 11, 2003 11:38 am

I don't think it was the yuppie who took the thing public - Joe Duffy has never been a great support of that cause.
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Postby sw101 » Mon Aug 11, 2003 11:53 am

i was speaking something-itacally. what i meant was similar to bluefoams point. they were aware of the unique situation in this development, and went ahead and bought anyway. they made a conscience decision to join this community and now they've realised the reality of it and are whingeing.

we all wish the world was full of considerate, easy-going people, but then we've all lived in dublin so reality has bitten at this stage. maybe they deluded themselves or fell for the developers spiel before buying. but i think its def a valid point, how are they going to sell the things now?
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Postby GrahamH » Mon Aug 11, 2003 7:20 pm

Again, to generalise is not helping.
First 'pricks' were mentioned, now its just 'prick'.

From what I have heard from the private residents, they were'nt saying 'I pay - therefore etc' but rather they were annoyed that they were paying the insurance for the area that the children were wrecking, including newly planted trees.
If I were a resident there I'd go loopy too.
And the 'bargain' that they bought into was that this was a small ornamental area, primarily in existance to 'soften' the hard landscaping of driveways, and access points for the elderly etc.

I'm not a prude or a peeping through the nets neighbour, but you can well imagine that you'd be less than pleased yourself to see kids racing around in this small area, through trees & flower beds, and at the same time you having to picking up the tab for insurance, while they all ride off back to mammy at the end, leaving the mess behind.

This has nothing to do with social v private, or being a unique situation, if any of the private residents have children, they are expected to act within the constraints of the way they live also.

Whats really bad about all this though is what a bad advertisment it is for city/apartment living - you could just envisage every mother in the country listening to Liveline (with Derek Davis at the time) in their 3 bed semiS in their sprawling suburbS and thinking -
"Thank God we're not crammed in like sardines, high in the sky with no gardens or places for the kids to play like those poor unfortunates up in Dublin"
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Postby notjim » Mon Aug 11, 2003 7:23 pm

actually i said "prick".
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Postby GrahamH » Mon Aug 11, 2003 7:28 pm

Sorry, it was sw101 earlier.
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Postby sw101 » Mon Aug 11, 2003 8:58 pm

ooh.sorry for the generalisation.friends of yours?

i dont mean to get all personal or derogatory on this matter. i'm as annoyed as anyone about this. i've hd to live in central dublin for years and i've gone through the same rubbish. but its primarily a social matter and i'm not sure these developments are well conceived if these problems cant be solved at design stage. i'm involved in a similar projects now of 200 units, on a larger site, and i'm factorring in these issues, i've got a 15 to 20% social housing element to deal with. i dont intend to segregate absolutely but i hope to give due consideration to all tenants and owners.

pls understand my comment was only a response to the accusation "that residents from the other blocks have ordered their children to play elsewhere. they were told to go over to Sheriff Street playground. The traffic on the roads is dangerous and our kids are both under five". this seems a little unreasonable if it is true with regard such young children.

on a minor rant, it occurred to me that a huge disparity in peoples approaches to life in these highdensity developments comes from their personal view of their situation. young singles and couples look on these units as stop offs on the road to success and suburbia to raise their sprogs surrounded by trees and private gardens, not overlooked by anything. but social tenants were brought up in these kinds of communities, where attitudes developed which might not be too kind to property or blessed silence. they're forced to bring up their kids in this same situation, with little hope of much better, and they can probably envision their grandchildren in the exact same situation. not too much analysis on my part, i wont pretend to understand a mindset i cant associate with , but it may just be a factor, and these contributory factors are what need to be examined if these issues are to be resolved
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Postby Rory W » Wed Aug 13, 2003 10:09 am

Jesus I'd love to be forced to bring up my kids in Clarion Quay - but maybe I wouldn't let them ruin someone elses peace. It's a case of blaming architecture for bad parenting - if you want to keep an eye on the little dears take them around to the playground around the corner and watch them there rather than keeping one eye on them while you watch "trisha" or whatever.

True - they should have pelican crossings on Mayor Street but in reality it is no more dangerous than any other street in the area
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Postby notjim » Wed Aug 13, 2003 11:31 am

i guess the problem with the playground is that it definately outside the ifsc area, there is a very clear line with rich people one side and poor the other and naturally the social and affordable people in clarion quay feel that they are being asked to go back across that line so that there children can play. if the ifsc development was less like a fortress that playground would seem much closer.
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Postby GrahamH » Wed Aug 13, 2003 11:13 pm

It would appear that the answer for future developments private or social - is to have large grassed areas right next to the apartments, but this in turn may cancel out one of the primary reasons of apartment living - land availablity/high density - so a balance must be struck.
And not everyone can have a home that faces onto an area to keep an eye on their kids, like they would anyway...
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Postby Ronan C » Thu Aug 14, 2003 9:29 am

How about roof gardens / roof playgrounds on these buildings. Surely that would reduce the amount of noise etc. There's a school opposite DIT Bolton St with a roof top playground.
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Postby StephenC » Thu Aug 14, 2003 11:41 am

I am quite sure you could have high density housing and provide a grassy play area as well as more formal landscaped areas for adults to enjoy. Seeing the related thread about the Phoenix Park Racecourse site getting ready to become the latest mock-Tudor 'stunning' development, I can;t help but wonder why we can't find a middle way between these two extremes: low density suburban sprawl with plenty of gardens (front and back) and parkland and higher density blocks with nothing except an overly formal, impractical landscaped area.
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Postby bluefoam » Thu Aug 14, 2003 12:07 pm

Theres a really interesting development going on in Artane at the moment (currently in early stages). They are townhouses/apartments but each has its own garden. The gardens are all staggered, some high up some down low, some are even down a short passage from the building at the rear of other gardens, but over all it looks like a nice development.

Definatley an innovative way of providing space. I have the sales brochure but don't know if they have a home online. The name of the development is Timbermill.
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