Re: Re: Smithfield Wasteland
I think some of the posts about Smithfield are far too negative . . . . and some people seem wedded to a vision of this area that imbues the previous range of uses – fruit/horse market particularly – with a ridiculous veneer of nostalgia.
I’m not letting you away with that johnglas, this is not about nostalgia. Smithfield was laid out and built as a market space and despite all the dereliction and decay it still retained vestiges of this market use until the planning authorities chose, in the late 1990s, to allow the total demolition and redevelopment of the west side. This killed off any connection with the 17th century origins of the urban space and erased all the subsequent layers. Continuity of use and fabric was thrown away. The place is not ‘Smithfield’ any more, now it’s just ‘Sandyford with cobblestones’, (as was stated on one of these threads before).
You’d be familiar with the Grass Market in Edinburgh! Similar size, shape, and origins to Smithfield. For sure it has more that it’s fair share of dodgy late 20th century apartment and hotel developments, but imagine if it was cleansed of any remaining structures from it’s original phase of construction, would it’s essential character survive?
I don’t think it would.
The glass is actually half (or three-quarters) full. Build it and they will come – eventually. It’s a great urban space waiting to happen, and happen it will. But it won’t happen if people are determined not to go there just to prove a point.
It’s not about letting time take it’s course and eventually it’ll all sort itself out, Smithfield as a legible 17th & 18th century development is gone and it’s soutside contemporary, Newmarket (in the Liberties) will follow it, if we don’t attempt to learn the lessons.
I think the location of the Chidren’s Court here was also a big mistake in hindsight. The open space in front of it makes it much more likely for people to linger about before and after. I think the Court should be moved (apologies to all those kids who commit crimes).
I understand the reasons for saying that, but it really would be an indictment of planning failure and civic decline if a minor judicial function like a children’s court couldn’t be located on the edge of a significant civic space because the attendants were impairing other uses of the space!
Whatever about the Post-Modern tendancies in the architecture of the Children’s Court, if only the philosophy of ‘urban repair’ had prevailed, Smithfield could have been a showcase for urban regeneration!
On the subject of dodgy planning; what was the idea of letting the new Church St. office block barge into the the vista of St Michan’s tower from Smithfield?