Re: Re: The Irish Town â€“ Dying At The Crossroads?
While it is true that most of the shopping facilities did migrate to the by-pass (where there’s now a new Aldi and a Lidl), the improvement in the public realm along the old Main Street is dramatic and the guest houses and restaurants are regaining their former prominance.
I’m not in the least surprised. I’ve seen this effect in Italy, France and Germany. I tried to argue this point in this thread (i.e. that large retail should be sited in car accessible OUT OF town centres and that this is entirely compatible with urban development) but it seems this challenges the UK/Ireland planning orthodoxy that it is the existance of large out-of-town retail centres that is killing our towns and cities.
To be honest, I also agree with your opening comment on the lack of sophistication in planning discussion in Ireland. However (to generalize horribly), coming from a scientific/engineering background what disturbs me most is the lack of an evidence based approach to most debates on architecture and planning. Instead, idiology and Aristolian deduction seem to hold much more power; challenges to such orthodoxies even if backed by empirical evidence are often scoffed at. For a somewhat silly example, I’ve often asked aquaintances with a professional or amateur interest in this subject why New Urbanism seems to be constantly criticised and have rarely gotten a straight answer – usually there’ll be some snorting reference to Prince Charles. What I’ve never heard is a answer along the lines of “such and such a peer-reviewed study has shown that people are much happier, healthier, etc. living in La Corbusier inspired towers surrounded by motorways and open green fields than in twee pastiche planned towns” (surprisingly); yet La Corbusier is still held up as a genius while New Urbanism is generally scoffed at.