Reply To: New Urbanism.
Take that whole area around the fruit/veg markets – what do you have, an area that shuts down everynight – the old Smithfield, Arran Quay upper/lower, Broadstone and the old N. King St. Church street. Some pretty dead areas in an inner city I think anyone will agree.
I mean, gradually over a long period, I guess people just stopped walking anywhere near/around that fruit/veg market area and it and its surroundings became dilappidated. I would argue the same of Moore St. Contrary to popular culture – Moore Street makes pedestrian avoid that area completely – the dirt, stink, noise, mess and hassle of going anywhere near there is just too off-putting. Result, total disuse and dilapidation of the surrounding area – Parnell St, O’Connell St, Illac centre etc. Camden St, same – street is a mess and the presence of that market created a small pocket where noone really went if they could help it. Thomas St market and surrounding market streets – similar – an area of too-quiet, dead sort of closed down shops and dodgy pubs after trading hours.
I don’t care how much colour markets have, I don’t care how much ‘street activity’ selling bulk loads of toilet rolls generates – you have to look at other cities like Barcelona and french/english cities where the markets were somewhat better integrated and tidied up. The markets in Dublin despite all their RTE celebrity are stinking holes.
I mean, those two or three flower sellling places on Grafton Street make me sick – they deliberately shove you into a space about 2 feet wide, covering the entrances to two useful pedestrian side streets from Grafton street, just so they can sell their stinking ould flowers to fat-cat housewifes. They should be fecked off the street and allow the streets off Grafton to flow and function to relieve pedestrian congestion. It is a disgrace. You will notice those streets off Grafton St, have never really developed, as a result of flower sellers blocking it up.
You talk about pedestrian movement and transit, we have to stop being overly naive about street sellers in this city and basically stop them taking over pedestrian routes, just so they can turn over a profit – without paying a cent in rent. They have been overly sentimentalised in popular culture in Dublin – pulling out this molley malone nostalgia thing. I think part of Baggot St has this problem too.
I think that unless planners begin to understand how to contextualise the huge numbers of people that move around every working day; it will only deteriorate further. Although I doubt stampedes will occur
simply billions lost in productivity
I mean, the purpose of pedestrian ways or traffic is that – to accomodate efficient and enjoyable, if possible, motion of human bodies without the need for an internal combustion engine involves – obescity etc, etc. Not so that every lunch going office suit in Dublin, has to trip over f*** flower pots every lunch hour of their lifes. I think it would be very possible to use computer simulation to study the effect of those unscrupulous, dis-graceful flower re-sellers on Grafton st. Leave blocking off Streets to the Gardai people.
We as architects have been very naive too, in not integrating the subject of human bodily movement into the curriculums in architectural colleges. People like Le Corbusier, Holl, Koolhaas have totally built their designs around the needs of human beings for movment on foot. The street traders of Dublin city are not as naive, and if any city is an example of naivity towards street traders, it is Dublin. How long does it take one to get from one end of O’Connell St to the other? Given the amount of rubbish and flower stands you have to negotiate? I mean, O’Connell St, should be a clean slate from top to bottom – I fear the new ‘monument’ spire is just yet another example of ‘this cluttering mentality’ the is integrated into much of Dublin’s ideas about space, and its use pedestrian by pedestrians.
I constantly reference the millenium wing of the National Gallery, it is for all intents and purpose like a stepped streets with various levels, but no god damn street traders with their pots of flower choking up all the ped movement – No, doubt given half a chance you might find some trader in their blocking most of the width of the atrium and yelling ‘flowers for sale’.