"What we don’t want is piecemeal, ad hoc development."

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    • #707986

      Major urban renewal plan for Dublin unveiled
      Wednesday, 20th July, 2005

      More than half-a-million square metres of commercial property has been designated for development and up to 7,500 houses are to be built under a multi-billion euro urban redevelopment strategy, announced yesterday by Dublin City Council. Olivia Kelly reports.

      The area surrounding Heuston Station, the markets district between Capel Street and Church Street, and Poolbeg in Ringsend are to undergo extensive regeneration in a 15-year project through the council’s new “Framework Plans”.

      While these areas had been earmarked for redevelopment, the extent of commercial and housing space to come online and of the investment involved have just been finalised by the council.

      The bulk of housing and office space will be located in the Heuston and Poolbeg areas, with the traditional fruit and vegetable markets, some of which had degenerated into “undesirable uses” according to city manager John Fitzgerald, being moved to M50 sites to make way for new “quality” markets serving the public.

      The “Framework Plans” are the latest in the council’s attempts to rejuvenate rundown city areas and correct the planning errors of previous decades. They follow on from the council’s Integrated Area Plans (IAPs) launched seven years ago to transform some of the most neglected parts of the city including Cork Street, Inchicore, Smithfield, and the northeast inner city. The new strategies will force developers to match their plans to the council’s vision for the particular areas, Mr Fitzgerald said.

      “We want developers to come to us with proposals that will fit in with the ‘Framework Plans’. What we don’t want is piecemeal, ad hoc development.”

      The largest development will surround Heuston Station, north and south of the river, with more than 3,000 homes and 350,000sq metres of office space. The city’s tallest skyscraper, a 32-storey residential building, which got final approval from An Bord Pleanála last month, will form a “gateway” to the city on Military Road, he noted.

      This regeneration alone will involve around €2 billion of private investment with an additional €60 million in public infrastructure projects. The old fruit and vegetable markets southeast of the Four Courts are being moved out of the city. Private investment of more than €400 million will go to build a new food market, restaurant and general retail market within the Victorian building, in addition to 600 homes and 60,000sq metres of office/retail units.

      The market square and surrounding infrastructure will receive up to €25 million in Exchequer funding. The new market will link Henry Street with Smithfield.

      Poolbeg, which has been beset with problems, including the smell from the new Ringsend sewage plant, will become a “desirable area for residential development”, Mr Fitzgerald said.

      City manager concerned over quality of Grafton Street retailers: page 3

      Sorry Adhoc, although I don’t think he was talking about your output here 😀

      Any thoughts on Fitzgeralds vision?

    • #759907

      This one seemed to have sunk like a lead balloon TP…. a pity seeing as the announcements will form the core of future debates on the site. These plans were all well flagged but it is welcome none the less that they recieved this new impetus. I am particularly interested iin seeing the details of the Markets Framework Plan (the final version that is) as this are is really important if Smithfield is to succeed. Interesting as well to see just how many plans the CC has in the air at the moment – these three, plus the existing plans and IAPs, Parnell Sq, revamps of Capel and Pearse St, Dorset St, a recently announced conservation scheme for Lower Rathmines Road. Busy times in Dubin.

    • #759908

      Also mentioned that day was the fact that Grafton St. was turning into a second rate British high street. What iritates me is that the City Manager says that he dosn’t want to “interfer” by introducing planning restictions, yet such interferance is commenplace in the cities that Fitzgearld, Barrett, Gleson et al wish to replicate.

      Why bother introducing new restictions at all, in O’Connell St. none of the signs that were sanctioned for removal, were removed. New shop front guide lines by Howley Harrington were issued and only a few weeks latter the “Footlocker” sign was erected. It adheres to practically none of the guidelines very good suggestions.

      Whats the point, in new powers if there not enforced.

    • #759909

      Yes I agree. The attitude towards Grafton St is very ‘wet’ to say the least. The CC hae to be more proactive in combatin g decline on the street. To say they dont want to interfer is a cope out. They can take many practical steps such as repaving the street so that it doesnt look like a forgotten 80s relic. And use the planning system to keep the balance of business in the street right. Following the example of Regent St in London with design standards for shops on the street would also easily be implemented – as you say they already have the Howley Harrington document.

      The same attitude clouds his comments regarding great land uses north of the river, in particular the lack of restuarants and quality bars and cafes. ‘Pleading’ with developers iisnt going to get us anywhere. Why not try by creating the right environment for the people who will use these restaurants. Why was Abbey Street turned into a barren windswept strech when the Luas went in. Why no widened footpaths and treets to make the street more enticing to pedestrians. Why are Mary St and Liffey St both left to wallow in such poor condition when they are perfect candidates for locating new restaurants.

    • #759910

      Yes, the CC have a lot of plans on their plate at present.
      A good point is made about the need to link the eastern O’Cll St/Henry St/Jervis area with Smithfield – something the Luas is helping to do, but from a pedestrian perspective the link could be improved via improved public domain, and greater retail/service provision along the route.
      There’s a lot of derelict sites/yards and generally underutilised land in this intermediary area too.

      Sorry to digress a bit, but you mention Stephen the Lower Rathmines Road conservation scheme: where could I find more info on this? – thanks.
      How is it that this area falls under the jurisdiction of Dublin City Council?

    • #759911

      The new market will link Henry Street with Smithfield.

      That is typical of the stupid statements you often hear cropping up, in relation to planning of the built environment in Dublin city. By making this very statement, all you are doing, is saying, that roughly ten percent, the most able and fitest and bravest beings in circulation around the city streets of Dublin today (street gouriers would form a large part of that ten percent btw) are the ones, this ‘re-development plan’ is being aimed at. That is a heck of a lot of time, resources and effort to throw at just 10% of the users of Dublin’s city centre. Seriously, most pedestrians, the major bulk of the foot fall on the streets of Dublin today, cannot get much beyond a quarter mile in any direction, or even less. That is why bus transport has survived to the extent that it has at all, in fabric of Dublin city. Despite it’s many bad features like waiting and dirtiness, pollution, traffic conjestion.

      Bus transport pinpoints you at a certain destination on arrival and departure… bus transport has been very useful for old people living within a mile radius of the city centre… all that happens is the less energetic of the pedestrians, walk within a few hundred yards of the bus terminus stop and then back to that bus stop again. That is really what the city centre means currently, whole loads of buses, blocking up long stretches of some of the finest streets in the capital, with queues of people who don’t walk anywhere other than the nearest doughnut shop. In the daytime especially, buses just manage to serve a very aging population who live a half mile away from O’Connell Street. So that most convenience stores in the half mile radius of Dublin city center are ghastly affairs – because the local population, gets a bus into Dunnes on Henry St.

      To even pretend, that the vast bulk of city centre day-users are going to walk from Henry St. to Smithfield is a big joke. Since, most of them probably just got a bus from Smithfield, to get to the city centre, in the first place. Now if a bus were to stop in Smithfield, and allow people to walk from Smithfield as far as Henry Street, that would be much more interesting. That would present some very serious and real architectural opportunities. But no doubt Dublin Bus would object strenuously, afraid to lose revenues from that bus line – and therein lies the trouble. Because Dublin Bus is so focussed on earning the maximum revenues, staying afloat and viewing itself as an island, a ‘self-sustaining unit’. Dublin Bus sees fit to plant every bus terminus, for every major bus number, right smack bang in the middle of the conjestion somewhere in Dublin City Centre. To hell with everything else. Being awarded this kind of unique freedom to do what it wants practically, Dublin Bus still complains, that it cannot make any money!

      Having destroyed some of the best streets in Dublin, with lines of buses parked there. I find DCC often have the right kit, just put on backways. DCC should know that much, since it contains both a planning department and a bus transport department, known of whom talk to each other obviously. This is what continues to annoy me about Dublin City Councils strongly ‘hierarchial’ organisation. This hierarchy of organisation is common to how engineers often look at design problems, and look at how to solve them. To break down the problem into smaller parts, and thereby tackle complexity – the enemy. Whereas to engage properly in spatial design, you need complexity. You need more often to dispense with those hierarchies, and to get information flowing around more freely between various departments.

      Brian O’ Hanlon.

    • #759912

      Extract from David Green’s excellent work, The Serendipity Machine. The whole notion of Serendipity, is to do with the combination of different things, and to see how unexpected the conclusions are, as a result of this ‘serendipity effect’. If you had much stronger interaction of planning and bus transport information, then you would see the effect of serendipity working much more. Look at any web page to any local city or county council, and what hits you first is the strong hierarchial nature of the organisation – an kind of organisation which is strongly responsible, for how the physical environment is being created.

      Brian O’ Hanlon.

      The Nature of Hierarchies.

      Hierarchies are familiar to everyone. Many human organisations, such as armies and corporations, are hierarchic in nature. Engineering systems, as well as complex software, usually consist of discrete modules with distinct functions. Large modules contain smaller ones, so forming a hierarchy of structure.

      Hierarchies play a crucial role in complexity. The formation of modular structure is an essential mechanism for the emergence of order in many complex systems. For instance, the cells of a growing embryo begin to differentiate at a very early stage, forming modules that eventually grow into separate limbs and organs.

      Hierarchies have an implied order, with a root node being the top (or bottom) of the tree. In systems composed of many elements, this order arises from the two ways in which hierarchies often form: lumping and splitting. Lumping involves objects coming together to form new objects (e.g., birds joining to form a flock). In splitting, a single object (say a system, class or organisation) breaks into two or more parts. Lumping and splitting are also associated with (respectively) the conceptual operations of generalisation and specialisation. For example, in architecture a building is a very general class of construction, on which includes much more specialised classes, such as a house.

      In a tree structure, communication between elements is confined to pathways up and down the tree. That is, for data to travel from any node A to another node B, it must move up the tree until it reaches a node that lies above both A and B. it then passes down the tree to B. in a large system, a tree structure is an efficient way to ensure full connectivity. The ability of hierarchies to connect nodes efficiently makes communication via the Internet feasible.

      In management, hierarchies arise from the dual desires to simplify and to control complex organisations. They simplify by the divide and rule approach. A manager at any node need only be concerned with the nodes immediately above and below them. The model also restricts communication between arbitrary nodes in the tree. This enhances control, but can limit the passage of crucial information, thus inhibiting responsiveness, efficiency and innovation.

      In engineering, hierarchies take the form of modules. As we have seen above, the advantage of modularization is that it reduces complexity. Any large, complex system, such as an aircraft or factory, may consist of thousands or even millions of individual parts. A common source of system failure is undesirable side effects of internal interactions. The possibility of problems grows exponentially with the number of parts, but can be virtually impossible to anticipate.

      The solution is to organise large systems into discrete subsystems (modules) and to limit the potential for interactions between the subsystems. This modularity not only reduces the potential for unplanned interactions, but also simplifies system development and maintenance. For instance, in a system of many parts, there is always a risk that some part will fail. This is why engineers build redundancy into crucial systems. Modularity also makes it easier to trace faults. In some systems (e.g., computer hardware), entire modules can be replaced so that the system can continue to operate while the fault is traced and corrected. In computing, the idea of modules has led to object-oriented programming, in which each object encapsulates a particular function and can be reused in many different contexts.

      An important effect of modularity is to reduce combinatorial complexity – useful in many kinds of problem solving. To take a simple example, if an urban transport system has (say) 100 stops, then it essential that travellers can look up the cost of travel between any combination of stops. Now, if every trip has a different price (based on distance), then a complete table of fares needs to hold 5050 entries (assuming that the distance A to B is the same as that of B to A). This number makes any printed table unwieldy. On the other hand, if the stops are grouped into (say) five zones, with every stop within a zone considered equivalent, then the table would need at most 15 entries, which would make it compact and easy to scan.

      What is true of computers is also true of cities. To support huge concentrations of people, cities have to provide a wide range of services: housing, transport, distribution of food and other commodities, water, sewage, waste disposal, power and communications. On top of these basic amenities, there are social infrastructures such as education, hospitals, emergency services and shopping centres. The interactions of so many systems, combined with external factors such as rapid growth, technological development and social change underlie many problems in modern society.

      Although hierarchies reduce complexity, they can introduce brittleness into a system. That is, removing a single node, or cutting a single connection, breaks the system into two separate parts. Every node below the break becomes cut off. This brittleness occurs because hierarchies are minimally connected. There is no redundancy in the connections. For instance, the Internet is organised as a hierarchy of domains. If a domain name server fails, then every computer in that domain is cut off from the Internet. Centralised services, such as city power supplies, also suffer from this problem.

    • #759913

      @Graham Hickey wrote:

      Sorry to digress a bit, but you mention Stephen the Lower Rathmines Road conservation scheme: where could I find more info on this? – thanks.
      How is it that this area falls under the jurisdiction of Dublin City Council?


      Can’t help you on the LRR Conservation Scheme (other than to say ‘About bloody time!”, which, come to think of it, isn’t much help to you either 😮 )- just wanted to say that LRR is well within the boundaries of DCC. The southern boundary roughly follows the line of the Dodder through Milltown, towards Rathfarnham, etc.

      Link to map of DCC functional area:

    • #759914

      An often quoted architectural text from the seventies, Complexity and Contradiction, by Robert Venturi, expresses the point about hierarchies, and such in the following way.

      Cleanth Brooks refers to Donne’s art as ‘having it both ways’ but, he says, ‘most of us in this latter day, cannot. We are disciplined in the tradition either-or, and lack the mental agility – to say nothing of the maturity of attitude – which would allow us to indulge in the finer distinctions and the more subtle reservations permitted by the tradition of both-and.’

      The tradition ‘either-or’ has characterised orthodox modern architecture: a sun screen is probably nothing else; a support is seldom an enclosure; a wall is not violated by window penetrations but is totally interrupted by glass; program functions are exaggeratedly articulated into wings or segregated separate pavilions. Even ‘flowing space’ has implied being outside when inside, and inside when outside, rather than both at the same time. Such manifestations of articulation and clarity are foreign to an architecture of complexity and contradiction, which tends to include ‘both-and’ rather than exclude ‘either-or.’

      Nice book, worth a look some time.

      Brian O’ Hanlon.

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