Dublin Bay Project

Dublin City Council commissioned a wide-ranging economic, amenity and environmental study of Dublin Bay, including the Dublin Port area. This study is intended to be the first stage in the preparation of a strategic framework plan for the Dublin Bay area that will guide stakeholders in the long-term development of this resource.

The Bay has experienced significant change and evolution across a wide spectrum of industrial and municipal development activities, with infrastructure development (for example, Dublin Bay project and new power generating facilities) being undertaken side by side with increased pressures for expansion of residential/commercial development, particularly on the south side of the River Liffey. The challenge for the future, and the key to achieving an integrated economic, cultural and social vision sought in the Dublin City Development Plan 2005-2011, is to marry this key economic role of the port with the opportunities the area presents in terms of developable land, access to the sea, recreational amenity and wildlife protection and enhancement.

The core approach of the Development Plan focuses on the creation of a coherent and legible spatial structure in the city. The plan looks at the need to integrate an economic, cultural and social vision, while achieving necessary and sustainable densities within co-ordinating development frameworks. The plan highlights the vital role of Dublin City as the engine of growth for the region and the vital role that Dublin Port plays in this development. In tandem with this role of the port as a provider for the regional and national economy, there is a growing realization of the strategic importance of the lands on which port activities are currently located and their potential for utilization as residential and employment-generating lands in the future.

In addition, the role of the wider port and bay area as an amenity and ecological resource for an expanding and increasingly densely developed city is recognized in this plan. Dublin Bay offers internationally recognised bird habitats, Bull Island as a one-of-a-kind nature reserve in a capital city, a unique physical geography and extensive amenity use. To make the most of this amenity potential and unique setting for the benefit of an expanding city region will be a challenge in the years to come.

Up until now there is the issue of the effective absence of a framework for coastal zone management. The aim of achieving a balance between enhanced amenity and ecological value of the coastal areas and regional economic development and infrastructure needs requires a stronger context of coastal zone management. Pending a national policy in this area, the City Council and other agencies need to establish some parameters to guide development in the coastal zone and it was envisaged that this study would be the first stage in the establishment of such a context.

The Vision for Dublin Bay 2007  report is a first stage in the development of a framework for the future strategic role of Dublin Bay and Dublin Port area as a multifaceted resource. It is, simply, a blueprint for Dublin Bay, a first step towards a detailed master plan to protect its heritage, to enhance its vitality, and to assure its sustainable use.

Crucial Issues

  • Can Dublin City and Dublin Port partner to achieve growth for the city, region and country and long-term profitability for a world-class port?
  • Can port lands be redeveloped to create an urban village that is a model for sustainable development and quality of life?
  • Can Dublin Bay be established as a “national reserve” to protect the heritage and environment of the city and region, though a partnership approach by Dublin City Council, Fingal and Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Councils, and key national authorities?

The study assesses the impact of leaving the port undisturbed and a number of potential options for development of the port lands based on partial or complete relocation of the port – the latter a robust and compelling option. The conclusion is that a sustainable framework for the future can be established if the futures of the bay, the port and the city are treated as integrated issues. 

Key elements to success are:

  • Governance of the bay and its environs;
  • Continued improvements to the ecological health of the bay and its contributing estuaries through protective designations and through active improvement programmes;
  • Ability for the port to continue to operate efficiently and grow in a climate of certainty through improved decision making in the planning process; and,
  • A joint plan of action for the port area.

By envisioning the future and planning to manage change in a sustainable way, the potential for the  transformation in Dublin Bay and the Dublin Port area is extraordinary.

Posted by Reflecting City Team on 12/17 at 01:47 PM
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