But what is much more important is that France, Germany and Great Britian etc, all went through a process of rural - to urbanisation - along, long time ago. This is the hard fact that Ireland is having to face nowadays. That it isn't like the United States with entire vast lands to conquer using urban sprawl - that land is now valuable in this country, where once it was considered almost worthless.
I particularly like the way that the RIAI Housing book divided itself into Urban, Inner Suburban, Outer Suburban and small town. Because that is rougly representative of the environment in Ireland at the present. I have undergone some very intense study of inner and outer suburbia recently myself. And Anthony has made the point in his essays, that suburbia was ignored by the worldwide profession for decades. The Architectural profession just assumed it was a passing trend that would go away.
On the contrary, the opposite has happened and suburbia has become the basic norm built environment of the vast majority. I see the appointment of this man, as maybe a positive step. A step towards architects really dealing with the reality of the built environment as a whole in 2003. Not just selecting parts that they 'like'. I remember in the mid-nineties in college doing Trinity spatial analysis, and the staff saying that students ignored the parts of Trinity campus they didn't like. Possibly a true point.
There are many parts of the urban inner core of Dublin city that Architects do ignore too. A bit like Archaelogists can sometimes get upset if somebody else discovers an ancient monument or site, before they do. The profession of Architecture has to short circuit this usual process of selectively looking at the built environment, and work with planners, urbanists, enginneers, conservationists etc. Otherwise it will remain marginalised.
I always think that in first year in Architectural school, learning to see buildings as cardboard boxes and all of that freehand drawing carry-on is very arty and cool. But I think learning to see buildings as buildings - really experiencing them is important too. It should be taught in Architectural schools from the off. 'Get on yer bike'. It is the only way. I like maps, even maps of suburbia. Yeah, we spend a long time studying other great cities around Europe, but how much effort does the average young architect invest in seeing/getting to know the suburban environments of Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway?