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Dublin: A City Reborn

Dublin City has emerged from a century of long decline to become a vibrant Capital City. A city with world class commercial, cultural and architectural edge.
Dublin City has experienced huge change over the past decade –  in terms of infrastructure, planning, architecture and social mix. It has become a truly cosmopolitan city – one that has embraced the multi-cultural, multi-racial society that has  developed here recently. But it has done this escaping decades of social and infrastructural decay, in which the flight to the suburbs, and even abroad, robbed the city of its soul.
In the mid to late 1980s Dublin, and Ireland, was in the depths of recession. Entire areas of the city were wasting away. Whole streets were in danger of disappearing as city centre roads were widened to accommodate cars and trucks. Corruption and bad planning meant that Dublin's ever-creeping suburbia continued to engulf the hinterland, creating something resembling the edge-city phenomenon of the American experience.
Then an ideological shift occurred - The Temple Bar Framework Plan 1991 provided the genesis and informed the Dublin City Councils Integrated Area Plans of the mid 1990s that in turn have helped transform the essential fabric of the city over the past 10 years. Neglected areas such as Smithfield, O'Connell Street and the North East Inner City have now been physically and socially regenerated to become part of the mainstream of Dublin's social and economic life.
Since Temple Bar, a concerted effort has been made to halt the sprawl, creating what Richard Rogers calls a Compact City. A city within which self-sustaining, 'organic' neighbourhoods of mixed uses and high quality architecture prosper alongside each other. An increasing emphasis on proper urban planning and design has led Dublin City Council to adopt the model of The Sustainable City. 
This is seen most clearly in bricks and mortar – in the scale and quality of architectural development throughout previously neglected areas of the city. Commercial activity coupled with upgraded social housing and high-quality private housing and apartments have ensured that such areas have come a long way since the doldrums of the 1980s. In addition Dublin City Council (DCC) have developed another 14 local Framework plans for local areas of potential growth such as Poolbeg, The Markets and the Retail Core of the City. 
Over the past 10 years the approach of DCC, alongside state development agencies such as the Docklands Authority and Ballymun Regeneration Ltd. has involved both private and public funding and investment - the fruits of which can be seen in the return of the populace to the city centre. People now choose to raise families in vibrant inner city areas such as the Docklands rather than decamp to the suburbs. And with progressive policies of social and affordable housing this option is open to all classes.
Armed with a comprehensive and holistic Dublin City Development Plan 2005-2011 the DCC is helping to ensure proper planning, sustainable development and quality architecture for generations to come.
Our backs are now turned to the American model. Instead the source of inspiration is now Europe and we in turn have become the source of inspiration for European urban regeneration.
It is this rich variety of experiences in Dublin, where urban redevelopment has begun to address problems of social, economic or physical degradation, that are examined here. Where we go from here depends on the courage of our architects, planners, politicians and communities.  If they succeed it will be to everyone's gain.

Posted by Reflecting City Team on 09/16 at 02:31 PM
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