Re: Re: DDDA / Docklands Miscellany

Home Forums Ireland DDDA / Docklands Miscellany Re: Re: DDDA / Docklands Miscellany


I have read historical accounts of the Roosevelt administration in the US, and the institutions it introduced back in the 1930s, to try and stablise the financial and governance system there. We seem to find it very easy to introduce incentive type instruments dealing with the city, but it appears difficult to do anything, that will improve stability at a more systemic level. You might think, as part of the regeneration, that DDDA would have come up with some strategy to encourage retailers in places like Sheriff St by now.

Instead, we are building retail spaces that lie idle for years. In the State We are In, on Radio One, Bucholz stresses this point in relation to apartment schemes here in Ireland during the 1990s. Maybe the government should have waved the rates in regeneration areas for a period, or something. Especially, in those years when we had the money to spend. Instead tenants are often crucified by charges, to move into units which are miles away from civilisation. Yet the inclusion of commercial ground floor space enables DDDA to have pipe dreams about creating ‘mixed use’. Here I think Johnglas’s point about simply walking around an area on foot, is highly relevant.

Even if the docklands region produced some daft ‘over subsidised’ idea like this:

I am always reminded of how ‘Eco-Cabs’ managed to hide behind the hanky of sustainability and ‘green-ness’ to enable it to pedal a plastic object at 2 miles and hour, down the most crucial bus lane artery of the entire city centre – that of Dawson St. I think it is a dispicable mis-use of the sustainable concept, to grab territory that shouldn’t belong to them. But nevertheless, it doesn’t undermine the overall concept of incentives for trying new ideas. But in allowing the Eco-Cab to let lose on streets like Dawson St, DCC have done no favours to forwarding the cause of sustainability. They have managed to confound some deep seated suspicions of old world organisations like Dublin Bus that sustainability is a pile of hype. (I wonder if these local authorities have any talent at PR at all)

You can dowload a podcast of Sudjic speaking about his Endless city book here to iTunes or Quicktime:

Its a book that might find its way into a christmas stocking or two this xmas. Its a book aimed at people who shape cities, who makes policies. I suppose the point to make about a book such as Endless city, is the kind of dashboarding of good information it provides. John Thackara makes this point several times also, about the need in the modern world to convert complex information into understandable diagrams, that can be interpreted by a wider variety of ‘stakeholders’. (For instance, Dublin Bus might have been brought on board with the concept of sustainable transport, but wasn’t)

That was exactly the task facing the team at Dublin airport too. Where they introduced Turner and Townsend as a consultant, who helped them enable to link a costing database software, with their program management software, and subsequently output very good reports, which were simple to read and could be distributed via internet to a wide variety of people. Indeed, Edward De Bono underlines the need for it too, in some of the You Tube video clips. If DDDA had took it on board to become a reporting style of organisation, about the docklands area, it would give them a definite purpose. But, the problem remains, we don’t know very much about land, or the value it might have. Nor, have we any future strategy to tackle the lack of good, readable information.

I do feel there is a wasted opportunity to use the resources of a bunch of high qualified people in DDDA, to contribute something useful to the greater goal. Thinking about the 1930s in America, it is time in Ireland now for some new ideas, some new approaches. We have little left to lose right now, in testing out something new. Actually, I do see some reporting going on in DDDA website, in major projects section. Even an invitation for real ‘contact’ with people. This does show some evidence of some of the right thinking.

Come in for a CUP OF COFFEE between 7.30 and 9.00am in the National College of Ireland on Mayor Square. Our team is happy
to meet the residents, commuters and businesses to answer any questions you might have. Our next meetings are coming up on
• Thursday 28 February 2008
• Thursday 13 March 2008
• Thursday 03 April 2008
• Thursday 17 April 2008

Brian O’ Hanlon

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