Re: Re: Welcome to Ireland’s ugly urban sprawl

Home Forums Ireland Welcome to Ireland’s ugly urban sprawl Re: Re: Welcome to Ireland’s ugly urban sprawl


Historical experts are aghast at the proposals. One group of 21 British archaeologists wrote to the Irish Times, reminding the Irish authorities that “driving a four-lane motorway through the valley will destroy the integrity of this ancient landscape for ever.”

I guess three and four dimensional perception of these problems is still quite a ways beyond our reach as spatial strategists and spatial designers. Compared perhaps to other nations such as Britain, with centuries of tradition in building up large industrial centres, navigating the world via shipping, air and land, and building much social, political and economic infrastructure along the way. Lets remember, Britain managed to build up countries as far away as India. I mean, they have been doing for centuries, what we are just beginning to do for the first time now. Except, we never had any colonies to expand into either – I guess the ‘Irishman’ was always the guy who followed the Empire, with his faithful pick and shovel. It is a pretty large jump going from that, to transforming a whole landscape. Just because you have the means to do something, doesn’t imply that you are ready to go and do it well.

Which just serves to make me even more aghast, that in our spatial design educational programmes in this country, we are mostly still concerned with a kind of competition format of education – a merit system – where you encourage students to ‘beat one another’ in the design studio. Rather than just admitting to ourselves first of all, our complete lack of any discussion and tradition in these kinds of issues – and just start from a very basic point of view – the first principles, which are obviously going to be new to every one who calls themselves an Irish man or woman. It is one of the crucial things about the Archiseek project endeavour – it began with discussion – not as the AAI awards sort of idea, where you begin with a competition. Where a nice group of middle class individuals gather together to try and decide who has just built the coolest rear garden extension. Discussion is quite useful, and should be the first step,… as many of the people who ‘might’ have anything important to contribute, may not have grown up in any environment of discussion to do with spatial issues.

Really the gap now, between politians on one end, with absolutely no spatial training whatsoever, carving up actual landscapes. And ‘Architects’ on the other end, altering a rear garden extension, in a pleasant middle class suburb – and entering it for an award, in competition with other rear garden extensions – that gap has just grown far too wide today. And to be quite honest, it is justs a laugh.

Brian O’ Hanlon.

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