Re: Re: The Skehan/Sirr plan
‘Dublin’s Future’ is an innocent looking little paperback on the shelves at the moment.
It’s a sort of cold porridge antidote to the image fest of jumpy graphics in last years ‘Redrawing Dublin’ by Paul Kearns and Motti Ruimy, and since it lists Lorcan Sirr as editor [he being one half of the double act that brought us the Skehan/Sirr Plan], I had the feeling it would be well worth a 20 minute speed read.
Dublin’s Future is not completely free of visuals, there is map, with overlaid ovals, representing ‘the four cities of Dublin’ that apparently are ‘beginning to emerge’; the ‘Centre City’ and the ‘Edge City’ where economic activity happens and the ‘Outer City’ and the ‘Middle City’ where people will be asked to live. At a cursory glance, Tallaght and Clondalkin may be in the wrong oval. There is also a bar-chart depicting the pedestrian traffic on the Liffey bridges – with what appeared to be some challenging finding – but printed up-side-down to frustrate easy digestion. Otherwise this book is pretty much all grim text, filled with earnest argument, until we reach chapter 13, entitled: ‘Not Written by an Economist’, which, inevitably, is penned by that great sower of land-mines, Conor Skehan.
Gird your loins and tip-toe on.
‘Dublin has no future unless we start to see and accept two things:
First and foremost, Dublin, like all cities, is an economy – a collection of enterprises – not a collection of buildings, because real estate is merely a symptom of economic activity.
Secondly, Dublin is rapidly becoming a city region which is an economy. It is no longer a place, no longer a big town’.
Here we go again
‘Planning fails when it prepares for what it is believed should happen instead of preparing for what is most likely to happen’.
That’s like saying, we won’t plan to put traffic lights on that busy junction, we’ll just plan to build a hospital on one corner and a graveyard on the other.
If we lose what little sense we have of ‘place’ and put all our eggs in the basket case that is our economy, I think we can kiss any notion of urban planning good night.
That can’t be what Skehan has in mind, surely.