New One-Off Housing website

New One-Off Housing website

Postby Devin » Wed Mar 31, 2010 8:49 pm

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Re: New One-Off Housing website

Postby henno » Thu Apr 01, 2010 9:57 am

they're a bit full of themselves arent they???

"Our role is to seek to educate and inform decision makers of the actual statistical data together with direct and indirect costs of Irelands increasingly dispersed settlement structure through advocacy, planning and submissions to government policy."
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Re: New One-Off Housing website

Postby onq » Thu Apr 01, 2010 1:16 pm

They may be full of themselves, but their sentiments were echoed by Paul Keogh during his inaugural RIAI presidential address.
In summary he said that people living in one off houses shouldn't be congratulating themselves on building a highly insulated house.
Keogh suggests this is because of the fact that they are forgetting about their increased carbon footprint caused by their commuting.

You know what - he's right, but people will choose to live where they want - its human nature - and its down to whether they can afford it.

These new guys are arguing against dispersed settlements on a number of fronts.
Its a difficult position to be in, when people want their "bit of land to build on".
But with a growing population its impossible for everyone to live on 1/2 acre.

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Re: New One-Off Housing website

Postby henno » Thu Apr 01, 2010 1:39 pm

onq wrote:But with a growing population its impossible for everyone to live on 1/2 acre.

ONQ.


completely agree, but its up to designers and planners to provide attractive high density solutions to prevent the migration of the masses to the countryside.

Designers and planners have failed miserably in the last 15 years of unprecedented residential building to ensure high quality high density attractive urban living spaces. 'Developer-driven-ubiquitous-private-estate-urban-sprawl-housing' was what resulted from illogically prescriptive development plans. Planning permissions were granted by planners with little or no architectural knowledge on a haphazard, first come first served basis. Villages population sizes were increased 4-5-6 fold without the social infrastructure being in place beforehand.

Developments built were finished badly and sparsely. Minimum Building regs were seen as a goal rather than a baseline, and in many cases not even met at all. Mass Self certification, bad design and practically no building control of developments led to bad buildings. Problems with noise levels due to incorrectly constructed or badly designed party walls are widespread throughout the country. Public amenity spaces were located incidentally in estates; private open space (even at current standards) is inadequate for the majority of family sizes; developments on green field sites were designed around car usage with no though for public transport; housing units were designed and located with no though for solar gain and orientation leading to carbon copy plans being duplicated on opposite sides of roads!!.

in the view of all the problems mentioned above, and not even skirting the surface of issues with housing costs, its easy to see why people want their 1/2 acre. Growing familys want privacy, space, and security that is not offered by the vast majority of urban generated housing in the country to date. To end, i agree with what ONQ has posted above, and i agree with the majority of what that website stands for. However, in a secular sovereign democracy, i do not agree with the restriction of choice when the alternative is substandard.
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Re: New One-Off Housing website

Postby reddy » Thu Apr 01, 2010 3:03 pm

henno wrote:completely agree, but its up to designers and planners to provide attractive high density solutions to prevent the migration of the masses to the countryside.

Designers and planners have failed miserably in the last 15 years of unprecedented residential building to ensure high quality high density attractive urban living spaces. 'Developer-driven-ubiquitous-private-estate-urban-sprawl-housing' was what resulted from illogically prescriptive development plans. Planning permissions were granted by planners with little or no architectural knowledge on a haphazard, first come first served basis. Villages population sizes were increased 4-5-6 fold without the social infrastructure being in place beforehand.

Developments built were finished badly and sparsely. Minimum Building regs were seen as a goal rather than a baseline, and in many cases not even met at all. Mass Self certification, bad design and practically no building control of developments led to bad buildings. Problems with noise levels due to incorrectly constructed or badly designed party walls are widespread throughout the country. Public amenity spaces were located incidentally in estates; private open space (even at current standards) is inadequate for the majority of family sizes; developments on green field sites were designed around car usage with no though for public transport; housing units were designed and located with no though for solar gain and orientation leading to carbon copy plans being duplicated on opposite sides of roads!!.

in the view of all the problems mentioned above, and not even skirting the surface of issues with housing costs, its easy to see why people want their 1/2 acre. Growing familys want privacy, space, and security that is not offered by the vast majority of urban generated housing in the country to date. To end, i agree with what ONQ has posted above, and i agree with the majority of what that website stands for. However, in a secular sovereign democracy, i do not agree with the restriction of choice when the alternative is substandard.


Good post - its up to designers (including planners) to provide an alternative.
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Re: New One-Off Housing website

Postby Frank Taylor » Thu Apr 01, 2010 3:22 pm

The alternative to one-off housing in ireland was suburbanised villages and rural apartments. Why were no new streets built? It was far harder to get planning permission in well serviced urban areas than in rural areas so that's where the housing ended up being built.

We need a positive model to promote rather than attacking a failed model.
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Re: New One-Off Housing website

Postby henno » Thu Apr 01, 2010 4:24 pm

Frank Taylor wrote:
We need a positive model to promote rather than attacking a failed model.


First we need those with the power to instigate change to acknowledge that the statu quo is a failed model. We also need to acknowledge our own part in this failed model. We are all guilty of being the servants to the developer pay master, thats our business.

Perhaps the 'positive' model can be borne out of the acknowledgement of the failures inherent in the system. We must know history or we will be doomed to repeat it.

Surely in this day and age of high technology, we can run virtual simulations of proposed development and plot its projected impact on its immediate vicinity and on its surroundings? Possible in areas such as :

immediate:
architectural impact - visual impact - solar impact - built GWP costs - etc

ecological:
projected energy usage / production - topographical impact (hydrogeological) - landscaping (flora, fauna) - running GWP costs - etc

social:
populations projections - social infrastructure - civic amenities - social services - social protection - local business and economic growth - crime - etc


Sort of like a massive "Sims" program of simulation.

The success or failure of the application can be based on these projections. The projections can be used as a real basis for forward planning, local area planning, county regional and national.
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Re: New One-Off Housing website

Postby tommyt » Thu Apr 01, 2010 4:30 pm

Frank Taylor wrote:The alternative to one-off housing in ireland was suburbanised villages and rural apartments. Why were no new streets built? It was far harder to get planning permission in well serviced urban areas than in rural areas so that's where the housing ended up being built.

We need a positive model to promote rather than attacking a failed model.


110% correct. Why would anyone want to live in a cul de sac staring at a mountain( and still have the hoary old cliche of having to drive to the shops for your pint of milk) when you could build a bigger house for half the price out the road
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Re: New One-Off Housing website

Postby Liffeyside » Sat Apr 03, 2010 2:15 pm

There are a few considerations to be taken into account here. First of all, yes we do have an over-abundance of roads in Ireland; however they were not roadways initially of any significance in terms of usage, but merely dirt tracks for the mobility of livestock in between the farms and to provide an efficient delivery system for agricultural produce to and from the farm and markets. What happened in the 1950s was that along with rural electrification, all of these former cow paths were filled in with tarmac.

It was the responsibility of Central government since then to maintain this system of roads, particularly given that they were vulnerable to potholes, in part thanks to heavy farm machinery using them on a regular basis. Although an unwise move on many fronts in terms of finance, the transformation of former dirt tracks was a move in part to get newer and heavier farm machinery moving around the countryside. None of these former paths, under any circumstances were put there, or upgraded to allow for a massive house building programme or ribbon development of any form.

One off housing is also uneconomical as the website rightly highlights, with these houses costing three terms to finance and maintain for state services and infrastructure. This is also a problem of course, but what is a greater danger, if not death knell for one off housing is the fact that of last year, County Councils are now responsible for the maintenance of all their own roads and infrastructure. This can only be devastating, at least within the context of a rural dweller. The Central government will no longer be throwing out cash to the Healy Rae's of this world to get their roads fixed, rural roads will have to be maintained by the revenue raised at the County level. And this is bad news as most of the areas in which one off housing were constructed have poor business and industrial prospects regarding jobs creation, and even agriculture (a week base in the first place to raise enough revenue for the volume of infrastructure needed to sustain one off housing) is in decline.

So it’s a catch 22 situations, some people thought they were been smart building a cheap house in the open countryside. However what they failed to take into account was that the responsibility for maintaining the underutilised, and quite frankly uneconomical backroads around the state would one day fall to the County Councils. Another irony there of course is that they are paying for their own mistakes as they thought they could just grant a house here and a house there forever, and get financed from the centre, and from richer wealth and revenue generation regions. Now they will have to look after this titanic of a situation themselves with the meagre revenue rates many of these areas can possibly raise.

I can well imagine two situations here, that one off housing will be abandoned and unsellable as the costs rise substantially, and more importantly County Councils will think twice about granting this type of housing seen as it will be them who will be financing the bills in future. It should be good for towns, they generate wealth, business and industry and hence revenue- also cheaper to maintain for Councils in terms of the provision of infrastructure. If rural areas want a future, they should be thinking of the practical transformation of living patterns with towns, small and large becoming the norms of habitation.

If anything these areas have less money, and a miniscule tax base, and yet they have such a burden as one off housing on their hands. It is obvious at this stage that rural Ireland is in for a huge change, whether it likes it or not. I’m also curious as to how many people in these areas, both dwellers and politicians are aware the new situation regarding the maintenance of infrastructure, and that it is now their responsibility as opposed to the Central exchequer.

Great website, and link.
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Re: New One-Off Housing website

Postby henno » Sat Apr 03, 2010 2:48 pm

Liffeyside wrote: also cheaper to maintain for Councils in terms of the provision of infrastructure..


ah, there you see, lies the problem.

infrastructure hasnt been invested in in so long as to make many many towns now undevelopable.

In laois 7 towns were earmarked for large upgrading of their sewage systems using european monies. This was in 2000. To date ONE of these towns received their upgrades. Others have survived based on temporary upgrades provided, if truth be told, simply to make the numbers add up in order to grant more permissions. In Portarlington a new primary school was build 2 years ago. The day it opened it was too small, and two prefabs had to be installed on the grounds.... this is the kind of idiotic forward planning and funding we have to deal with.

I will still stand by my initial point that there is absolutely no point in basically abolishing rural life if the alternative in urban areas is sub standard, under funded and badly designed. And with the events of last week i do not expect that situation to change until the very distant future.
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Re: New One-Off Housing website

Postby onq » Sun Apr 04, 2010 12:10 pm

I don't know if you noticed on one of the headlines on the main page to this site, but Jim Mansfield got refused at Naas again.
Yes, I know this was another one of these golf developments, but that's isn't the point - the point is that we have a treatment plant at Osberstown which is apparently running over capacity.
This is the capital town of a country in the Greater Dublin Area and the treatment plant isn't working.

Sustainalbe development must also monitor where the money is actually going, and not rest on paper assurances that things are okay.
We need competent people on the ground ensuring things are okay, who are answerable to the taxpayer in terms of their job appointment.
Neither "jobs for life" county managers nor TDs who consistently get re-elected [no matter their previous transgressions] to further the ambitions of their back slapping electorate can fulfil this role on a national stage.

I think we need a radical re-think of how we govern ourselves and we can start by quartering the number of TDs and abolishing most of the Council seats.
We pay far too high a price for democracy as it is and with the eschequer running way beyond its means this has to stop NOW.

And there is absolutely no point seeking a radical change in development policy from central government.
They came up with the hubs and gateways concept in the face of economic accretion towards urban centres and the east coast.
Simply writing a plan without the backing of central or local government to promote de-centralisation is a nonsense, and they gave the lead.

If you think about it, everyone living together on the east coast makes a lot of sense in terms of reduced journey times and localisation of services.
I think that the current pursuit of centres of excellence in the health sector will be matched by the reduction in densities in towns without one close by.
Unless we re-invent our landscape and townscapes into a series of defined high density urban forms, that are economical to operate, we will fail economically.


Talking about an equal level of amenity in terms the design of our residential accommodation whil upping the density is a nonsense.
People will either live tight by you, over you, behind you or above you in a higher density situation.
You can prevent overlooking with good design, and limit noise spread using airtight houses.
But that's about it - once the windows are open, they're in your ear.

Instead we need to manage our expectation of amenity to reflect what sustainable development can produce.
We need to manage our own behaviour to respect the rights of others in dense urban environments.
When did you last see someone on a night out give a toss for what their neighbours thought?
Is the "Irish" emotional spectrum capable of living in high density with respect for others?

And how will we prevent people going to our urban centres on a night out anyway?
Humans congregate to find partners and testing conflicts and entertainment.

Without a working public transport infrastructure people will still want cars.
Without a local area of employment, people will still commute to work.
Without a job however, people are Donald Ducked whatever happens.

So let's not focus exclusively on bad design and one off houses.
We need emplyment-generating ideas and a world economic revival.
All the rest of he aspirational stuff is empty rhetoric until we can pay our way.

ONQ.
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Re: New One-Off Housing website

Postby onq » Sun Apr 04, 2010 12:28 pm

Liffeyside wrote:There are a few considerations to be taken into account here. (snip)


Very interesting set of comments on the role of farming in making the plethora of badly surfacedrural road network.

The "cattle tracks" to "tractor lanes" to "urban roads" transformation escape me until now.

Its a reflection to some degree of what happened on the land even with a large original holding.

First generation farmer with large family.
Second generation division of land into small holdings.
Third generation move off the land but build private houses on it.
Fourth generation decide to sell up the land for housing developments.

I know that's just a broad brush stroke scenario, but you can trace the development of the road network in parallel if you match increase technology and the availablity of cars to the procession of generations, culminating with the legendary housing estate on a roundabout.

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Re: New One-Off Housing website

Postby RKQ » Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:55 pm

henno wrote:completely agree, but its up to designers and planners to provide attractive high density solutions to prevent the migration of the masses to the countryside.
.


It can be argued that this is a "return" to pre industrial revolution housing patterns.
It is the reverse of the slums caused in cities & towns in 19th & 20th Century as the migration of masses from the countryside, entered the poorly planned cities & towns.

Sometimes a semi- isn't big enough. Some prefer life on a half acre, maybe "grow their own" veg, raise chickens or pigs and supply their own meat. Become as self sufficient as possible. Install wind turbines & solar panels etc. The Good Life.
This would greatly off-set any carbon generated by car useage.

Of course there have been many planning mistakes over the years, caused by a number of factors.
Lack of infastructure is a major problem. Housing developments in small towns and villages were refused due to inadequate sewerage, forcing people to build in the countryside.
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Re: New One-Off Housing website

Postby Liffeyside » Wed Apr 07, 2010 3:51 am

RKQ wrote:It can be argued that this is a "return" to pre industrial revolution housing patterns.
It is the reverse of the slums caused in cities & towns in 19th & 20th Century as the migration of masses from the countryside, entered the poorly planned cities & towns.

Sometimes a semi- isn't big enough. Some prefer life on a half acre, maybe "grow their own" veg, raise chickens or pigs and supply their own meat. Become as self sufficient as possible. Install wind turbines & solar panels etc. The Good Life.
This would greatly off-set any carbon generated by car useage.

Of course there have been many planning mistakes over the years, caused by a number of factors.
Lack of infastructure is a major problem. Housing developments in small towns and villages were refused due to inadequate sewerage, forcing people to build in the countryside.




I think you are missing the point here. Pre-industrial rural districts did not require tarmac roads, electricity, postal services etc, none of the aforementioned services existed at this stage.

And your second point about self-sufficiency ties in pretty much with the argument about pre-industrial living arrangements in a way. What you are talking about here is subsistence agriculture; this was a meagre existence back then, just as it would be today. Farms of 50 acres and under are going out of business, so I don't really see the prospects of sustaining a living off of half an acre. Even if it was part time, it wouldn't be worth the time and effort as the returns and labour involved are burdensome and unnecessary giving that there is cheap and available food available in the supermarkets and shops.

As for your take on the slums in the (quote) badly planned towns and cities, and of the movement of labour from farming into industry- well that was a result of the then temporary market and jobs situation. Towns develop, and have always developed to attract surplus labour or niche markets and as a means towards creating a wealthier society. Mechanised agriculture and the larger farms which will ensue after CAP is finished in 2013 will further diminish the importance of agriculture as part of our economy in terms of percentages, and this is all the more reason to develop prosperous and self-sufficient towns. It is towns that are self-sufficient as they are centres for markets, products, innovation, produce, goods, jobs, infrastructure etc, as well as buying in the food that the farms produce. Industries, both native and FDI sourced are also attracted to towns and cities as opposed to isolated areas. Isolated housing in its modern context is complete and utter dependence on outside assistance without contributing to the prosperity of the local areas.

Ironically, and as hard as it is to put the point across it will probably be one off housing which will damage, if not decimate parts of rural Ireland in the years ahead. By focusing in towns, as is the norm in just about every other part of the world, and in pre-famine Ireland (clachans), we can sustain the population. Otherwise, no luck. This is the real world, a place needs to make its way and do something, much of rural Ireland is not doing so right now.

Could you also keep in mind that the councils are now in charge of the maintenance of roads along with all of the asphalt and tarmac, which now have to be cared for and maintained by the meagre local taxes which underpopulated and faltering rural towns can provide.

Agriculture btw is growing more efficient with each passing year, there is no need to downsize to smaller farms as they no longer serve the economical purpose they once did- let alone encourage subsistence agriculture as an excuse to build a house a few miles out of town on a small farm road.
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Re: New One-Off Housing website

Postby Liffeyside » Wed Apr 07, 2010 3:58 am

onq wrote:Very interesting set of comments on the role of farming in making the plethora of badly surfacedrural road network.

The "cattle tracks" to "tractor lanes" to "urban roads" transformation escape me until now.

Its a reflection to some degree of what happened on the land even with a large original holding.

First generation farmer with large family.
Second generation division of land into small holdings.
Third generation move off the land but build private houses on it.
Fourth generation decide to sell up the land for housing developments.

I know that's just a broad brush stroke scenario, but you can trace the development of the road network in parallel if you match increase technology and the availablity of cars to the procession of generations, culminating with the legendary housing estate on a roundabout.

ONQ.


Well said, although the smallholdings around the state are now in continual decline. Farming is becoming a harder business to establish within, and it is probable that we will see 100 acre+ farms becoming the norm in the years ahead, and this will only add to the disappearance of smaller farms- as larger farms could always sell their produce at a cheaper rate. The smallholding situation, which in part contributed to the one off housing phenomenon is now fading into history at this stage.
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