Re: Re: DDDA / Docklands Miscellany

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I was glad I got in a question, in relation to the Bilbao effect. Martin Biewenga, is the first person I know who could put pay, to the idea that you can invite a star-chitect, and your problems are largely over, from an urban planning and designers point of view. For that, I was grateful for Martin and the DDDA organising their lecture. Here is the podcast, where I think I heard the intelligent comment about Biblao, being more than the Guggenheim museum. The podcast is to do with some program running in the US, called CEO’s for Cities.

http://www.businessweek.com/mediacenter/podcasts/innovation/innovation_10_10_06.htm

The podcast above talks about a subject, which I like to hear about these days, building the economy. It is something, I feel the Docklands Authority has neglected in the middle of all the social, and landscaping focus. I am positive though, that had something to do with the not-so-open and public nature of the Anglo shower, who were running the ‘financial’ side of things in the DDDA, from the get-go. Being mainly interested in generating a network of contacts with high profile developers for themselves. The worst crony capitalism witnessed anywhere. That is where the DDDA got so screwed up, and the whole country to boot, along with it.

If you read Steven Johnson’s wonderful book, Emergence, in it he describes the behaviour of an ant colony, or a bee hive. As human beings, we tend to like concepts, such as the ‘queen bee’. We imagine that the queen bee is a central planner, organising and directing all of the other bees. When scientists studied bees, they noticed a phenomenon known as Emergent Intelligence. It has become an entire new branch of Artificial Intelligence research. I was reminded of this several times, when listening to Martin Biewenga’s lecture. I was also reminded of how, as human beings, we always want to see a central figure, in relation to our urban environments. A master architect. A big competition for one phenomenal, fantastic, shining architectural sculpture. Compare what Biewenga was saying, to the approach adopted at the Ballsbridge site.

https://archiseek.com/content/showthread.php?t=7400

Invite in the big-named architect, and make it a big splash. To ‘launch’ the project, so to speak. It is a marketing approach, totally imported from the world of business and high-tech in particular. It is meant to be cheap and plastic-y. In PR terms, it is known as the ‘paper-launch’. You simply announce a product, before you have it shipped, or even know how to build it. Sometimes years in advance of a working prototype. Often as a counter-tactic, to someone else’s premature paper-launch. (The someone else in that case, being Dublin City Council, and their ever problematic and overly descriptive, long and boring development plan documents) Frank McDonald loves paper launches. They do combine so well, with the cogs of his media-making machine, the Irish Times. But on the other hand, Frank does sift through the rubbish and always emerge with the diagrams and drawings, which say the most about ourselves as a people.

The ‘architectural competition’ approach was adopted too, at the 9-11 site. You see it all over, and it is part of a careful orchestrated PR dance. Little whatsoever to do with the urban situation, and its need of some attention. The U2 tower competition being another example, in recent years. The Dublin Docklands Authority need to brush up on public relations however. A series of lectures before now, might have been welcome. Maybe some of the financially oriented members of its old executive, were media shy. That needs to be addressed going forward, in a new re-vitalised DDDA. There appears to be enough there to build on. I had some other notes about Biewenga’s lecture, that I am slow getting around to, but I’ll say a little more later maybe.

Brian O’ Hanlon

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