Masterplan 2008

The structure of the Dublin Docklands Master Plan 2008-2013, broadly reflects that of its predecessor adopted in 2003. The Authority’s statutory remit requires that it constantly interrogates, monitors and appraises the assumptions and context underpinning all policies and objectives. This requires that it reflect new EU, national and regional policies, relevant policies of Dublin City Council and the substance of consultation from stakeholders, as well as research commissioned to evaluate past performance and frame future policies.

In setting out its vision and ambitions for the next five years and beyond, the publication of the Master Plan offers an opportunity to take into account the achievements and broader reflections on the efficacy of the Master Plan.

The Evolving Vision
Since the 2003 Master Plan, the physical, economic and social transformation of the Docklands has continued.  The past five years have seen significant achievements across all the strategic priorities that underpin the Docklands project:

  • The skyline along the River Liffey has seen dramatic change, from the hugely successful IFSC, to Spencer Dock where the PricewaterhouseCoopers building is now complete and occupied, to the south side where a whole new cityscape has been created along Sir John Rogerson’s Quay  
  • Since 1997, a total of 765,279m2 of commercial space has been permitted in Docklands
  • Significant amendments to the planning schemes for the Grand Canal Dock and the North Lotts areas were approved by the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, clearing the way for the increase in the height of the U2 Tower and the WatchTower, as well as expansion of the Point Theatre and development of the Point Village as a major retail centre  
  • The purchase of the 25-acre Irish Glass Bottle site in Poolbeg by Becbay Limited was completed and approval granted to prepare a Planning Scheme for the Poolbeg Peninsula
  • The Luas Red Line extension from Connolly Station to the Point commenced at the end of 2007 and includes a new bridge designed by Future Systems across the Royal Canal at North Lotts
  • The new Docklands Station at Sheriff Street opened in 2007 just north of Spencer Dock. It is the first new city centre station since Tara Street in 1890.

Architectural Legacy

  • The first phase of Grand Canal Square was completed in June 2007. Designed by renowned landscape architect Martha Schwartz, the Square covers an area of 10,000m2 and features red-glowing angled light sticks and green-lighted seating areas
  • Also at Grand Canal Square, The Grand Canal Theatre,designed by Studio Libeskind, is due to open in 2010 while the hotel, designed by Manuel Aires Mateus, will open in 2009
  • Landscaping works were completed on the north campshires at Scotch Berth following demolition of some of the last remaining warehouses to provide a continuous walkway between North Wall Quay and The Point
  • The U2 Tower project made progress with the appointment of the provisional preferred bidder, Geranger Limited, which has proposed a stunning design for the Tower by Foster & Partners.
  • Directly across the River Liffey, construction has begun on the €800 million Point Village develop­ment, which will feature a 200,000ft2 shopping centre
  • Dublin’s newest bridge, the Sean O’Casey Bridge, was completed and provides an important link between the IFSC in north Docklands and the Trinity College/Merrion Square areas in the south.
  • The Samuel Beckett Bridge, designed by Santiago Calatrava (Macken Street to Guild Street) commenced construction in 2007 and is due for completion in 2010.
  • Construction work is under way on the Royal Canal Linear Park in the North Lotts area between the IFSC and Spencer Dock. Designed by Agence Ter, the one-kilometre-long park is a major landscaping project that will transform the stretch of the Royal Canal where it enters the River Liffey.
  • Construction of the Convention Centre, Dublin, designed by leading Irish architect Kevin Roche, will be completed in 2010 and will extend to over 990,000ft2.
  • George’s Dock was selected as the site for the new National Theatre (the Abbey)

Fulfilling the Potential of the Docklands

  • In tandem with the evident physical changes in the Docklands, there is a less visible, but even equally important transformation taking place – the social regeneration of the Area. 
  • The Authority’s investment in education is considered the foundation stone of the social regeneration of the area and aims at ensuring equal opportunity and participation in the Docklands project across all communities
  • More than 30 education programmes are currently running in schools that are represented on the School Principals’ Forum
  • These programmes include a suite of emotional intelligence and behaviour management initiatives such as Circletime, therapeutic crisis intervention, psychological assessments and play therapy
  • The need to develop family-friendly living areas in Docklands and realising quality of life is also one of the major priorities of social regeneration to ensure a lasting sense of community in the regenerated Docklands
  • The Social Regeneration Conference has become established as an important annual forum for the local community to participate in discussion and debates on all these issues and the number of participants attending has increased year on year
  • Employment initiatives such as the Schools’ Job Placement Programme and the Local Employment Charter have been established by the Authority to ensure that local Docklanders are successful in securing employment.
  • The provision of new schools and the redevelopment of other community facilities in the Area will ensure that the Docklands will be sustained into the future.

Realising Quality of Life

  • Since 1997, a total of 842 social and affordable units have been given Section-25 certification. Of these, 238 have been completed
  • Delivering quality play spaces for children has been highlighted as an imperative in delivering family-friendly living environments and is the subject of Play Space Guidelines, a report com­missioned by the Authority as a blueprint for progress in this area
  • The Dublin Docklands Childcare Forum was established and published the Report on  Childcare Services which looked at 24 childcare facilities, which cater for over 1,000
    children in the Docklands area

Creating a Sense of Place

  • The chq building (formerly Stack A) opened in the IFSC in 2007, anchored by leading home furnishing store, Meadows & Byrne. The magnificently restored building is now also home to a range of eclectic retail and dining options.
  • The Liffey Voyage tour service commenced operations in 2007 and now carries over 30,000 passengers on its tour of the city and River Liffey   
  • The Authority acquired the famine replica ship, the Jeanie Johnston and its permanent berth is at Dublin City Moorings. She has become a prominent feature on the River Liffey and operates a full summer programme of port visits and sail training.
  • 2006 saw the beginnings of the implementation of the Docklands Arts Strategy. One of the most prominent projects under way as part of this strategy is the proposal of commissioning artist Antony Gormley for a dramatic sculpture on the River Liffey  
  • The amenity of the Docklands, particularly the waterfront, has improved. The growing programme of attractions and events, including the ‘Docklands Maritime Festival’, ‘12 Days of Christmas’ and ‘Docklands Urban Beach’, are serving to animate the area and attract thousands of people to experience the Docklands.

Purpose of The Draft Docklands Master Plan
The Master Plan provides a framework to guide development of the Docklands Area over the five-year period and beyond, embracing social regeneration, economic development, land use, transportation, infrastructure, urban design and art, tourism and culture.

Process of the Plan
The development of the Master Plan was commenced in November 2007 with initial meetings with the Executive Board, the Council and Docklands Community Representatives.  Consultants on traffic, infrastructure, economic development, land use, culture and tourism, property, cost implications and urban design contributed to individual chapters which collectively form the Draft Dublin Docklands Master Plan 2008 document.

The Master Plan process was guided by frequent consultations with:

  • • The Community Liaison Committee
  • Local business Stakeholders
  • Dublin City Council
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Dublin Port 
  • Dublin Transportation Office
  • Other Statutory Bodies

Sustainability as a theme of the Master Plan
Within the Master Plan, all policies are linked to a governing goal of creating sustainable communities, economies and environments. The centrality of “sustainability” to the Plan in turn requires that the Authority in its policy formation and implementation programme devise new methods and ‘tools’ to drive and direct the agenda, but also to monitor and measure its success.This sustainability agenda is best captured by the concept of ‘Living in the Docklands’ which, in the context of this Master Plan, embraces all dimensions of humanity, learning, working, living, playing, visiting, growing up and growing old.

Living in the Docklands
It would not be an overstatement to suggest that Dublin’s Docklands did not for most citizens constitute part of the ‘mental map’ of the city up to a decade ago. Incrementally, existing communities have seen massive change, improvements in the environment and hopefully some of the dividends of change. Citizens and visitors alike are increasingly experiencing Dublin’s Docklands. The pending completion of the Convention Centre, Dublin and the Grand Canal Theatre should further anchor the ‘new’ Docklands in the mental map, and  life, of Dubliners and visitors and existing and new communities.

Posted by Reflecting City Team on Wednesday, September 17, 2008
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