A Boyle, I don’t agree with you on convention centres.. Think CNIT in Paris la Defense or Porte Maillot. Many of the bigger US cities e.g. San Francisco have huge hotels that fulfil the role of convention centres. For purpose-designed ones think of Baltimore, Atlanta, Vegas, Boston, Phoenix. All have big conference centres and all are flourishing. Why? Because they are DOWNTOWN, not stuck out in the burbs. A very important part of US convention business is the spouses’ programme and that often determines the destination. Although the annual leave allowance in the US is much shorter than in Europe, it is very normal for a manager to attend two or three conventions every year – these are basically paid holidays, with a bit of work thrown in, and it is equally usual for herself/himself to tag along, often paid for by the employer. Nobody in their right mind would stick the partner in a hotel out at Mansfield’s kip, with nothing to do bar enjoy the scenic delights of Jobstown, visit the architectural gem of the Basketball Centre and shop at the Square. And nobody will take bus/luas out there from the city. Years ago I ran a 200 delegate conference in Dublin Castle and getting people there and back from Jurys was a nightmare; I dread to think what Citiwest would be like.
I agree that con. centres can be soul-less, but most of that is the planners’ and/or architect’s fault. They DO add to many areas, e.g. Baltimore, which once had the 2nd highest crime rate in the US, now has a fully rejuvenated seaport area that admittedly lacks some buzz on those very few days when there is no convention (or Orioles games!) Mainly they are busy, so they are not soulless that often.
Mansfield should not have been flaunted on a platform like the LL without a tough expert to tackle him and show him for what is is.