Reply To: Irelands Ten Worst Roundabouts

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Edgedoms are quiet, tranquil little ‘Hobbit places’ around global super cities like London for instance. Places where the environmentalists have been attracted by the unique natural habitats, which can no longer be entirely classified as being rural or urban.

The Dutch are purposely putting sheep grazing into the centre of urban developments now – not because they make any money – they are ‘the most subsidized sheep in Europe’ – but because they reckon that people just ‘need’ to see a sheep or two grazing.

The edgedoms normally happen, where land not used for rural purposes anymore, and is ‘waiting to be used’ for development purposes just get left their – these places are normally littered with the detriteus of modern urban living – corrigated iron, old fridges, and numerous other examples of human waste mingled in with nature.

Rather than approaching these environments as ‘bad lands’ per se, as the more ‘control-oriented’ amongst our society would like – some environmentalists argue, that these areas should be treated as a new kind of habitat in themselves.

THey are very cool places to have walking routes etc, for people in the cities – but not in the strictly organised sense on a closely cropped huge green area with a few planted saplings – a la Capability Brown – but allowed to before a bit natural – cleaned up a little bit – but allowing some rubbish and ram-shackle architecture to co-exist with the nature.

While some people decree, that these places shouldn’t exist at all – there should be a ‘defined edge’ between what we know as urban and rural.

I my opinion, it is always inevitable that ‘edgedoms’ will exist as large developers and pension funds buy up these territories from previous agricultural owners on the edges of major urban centres – (the organisations with the ability to anonimously just ‘sit’ on these areas for generations) the question is, what do you do with these disused places in the meantime.

A lot of the time, these areas change ownership hands many times while planning submissions are made, and grand master plans are suggested over a period of generations – in the meantime they just become eye-sores – but properly managed, could become real resources to the urban fabric.

There was a site at the top of Broadstone, between western way and the Broadstone park, which sat there totally unused for years and years – with several planning applications etc. MOLA have now been sucessful in getting a student residence planning application through for that site. But I guess, there are still several sites still remaining around Constitution hill – making it a kind of edgedom, with the Grange Gorman site and CIE lands etc, etc, etc.

It also falls ‘outside’ HARP and O’Connell St and area etc. It is potentially strategic from the point of view of Metro too I think. If you want to drive home a point, much of Parnell Square could be thought of as an edgedom too. It certainly has enough litter. πŸ™‚

Temple Bar pre-1991, is a typical example of an inner city edgedom I think. Smithfield in its horse trading and car dealership days etc, etc, etc. The Docklands in its container phase. I guess modern Temple Bar is an example of what shouldn’t happen to edgedoms at all.

The debate is currently raging as to what should happen to downtown Los Angeles – investment could destroy what is already a working, viable area for small businesses to ‘start off’. The saying goes, that the downtown LA’s purpose isn’t to service the middle classes, it is to create them through cheap rental office and minor industrial space.

Over-doing the ‘art and culture’ treatment will just push up the rents and drive out the best bits of downtown LA at the moment.

I enjoyed the recent AAI lecture – where in Holland, they leave all activities happen in these ‘edgedoms’ for a 5 year period, and then whatever use is most common in that area after 5 years – it becomes law – that is what the area will become. πŸ™‚

What is a real problem though, is where things like Hotels in Portmarnock are just bought up, and overnight a place which was a public place for years suddenly becomes a privately owned golf course – that is normally what happens to edgedoms in Britain. The debate is going on, over whether Britain should introduce new legislation to sucessfully manage and cultivate good ‘edgedoms’.

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