Reply To: Irish Towns – future planning
I like the multi-faceted nature of traditional Irish towns, its what distinguishes them and provides a sense of character. How dull would a place like Kinsale or even Galway city centre if it was a planned grid of verticals and horizontals.
However, are you saying that in terms of prospective town development we should have a more structured approach to their format? I undertstand that adding on a little here and there subject to how a town grows can make way for a right old mess when it comes to the layout of any urban area – and essentially poor planning allows such naturally evolving aspects eat into our greenspace as well with no true sense of definition between landscapes – but still I suppose it was that sort of development that allowed character to establish in places like I mentioned above.
A good example of how a naturally evolving ‘town’ (city) was taken and formatted into a more structured approach is that of the Eixample district in Barcelona. (see below):
The old city centre is found within the navy-line divide, while the Eixample district can be seem outside the divide. The map displays a clear variation in the planning techniques – that is from none to a grid system. In terms of traffic management and navigation, of course there is a good argument for that type of layout in strategic planning terms, but it also leads to a sense of monotony. Organised boredom. Having said that, good planning can accommodate a mix of layouts and streetscapes decorated with appropriately located and well designed buildings can break-up the sense of monotony such formats can often lay victim to.