Last week saw the publication of Mapping Beauty, a project that seeks to measure beauty in the urban environment and rate areas of the city that benefit from public beauty as well as areas that dont. The results have proved controversial, with 5 locations in Dublin 8 topping the list: Bridgefoot Street/ Usher’s Quay, Cork Street, The Coombe, Dolphin’s Barn and Christ Church Place/ High Street. The study has led to much criticism that it unfairly targets one area of the city.
However, the authors of the study, Paul Kearns (a planner) and Motti Ruimi (an architect) have pointed out that the criteria used to clarify areas was objective and their aim with the study is to create a powerful lobbying tool for communities in ‘ugly’ areas for a greater share of street trees and green spaces and clean streets and more concerted efforts to tackle vacancy and dereliction. And that is clearly needed in parts of Dublin 8. While there is an ongoing process of renewal, much more needs to be done. The area needs considerable investment and targeted and sustained work to undo years of under-performance and neglect. There’s no easy path or quick fix, its about hard work and shared endeavour.
Plans such as The Liberties Local Area Plan, published in 2009, promised a hugely ambitious vision for the area. But it also quickly became clear that the LAP would need huge amounts of money and dogged effort to get to that point. The City Council has distilled projects in the LAP down to a more manageable (but still ambitious) list in The Liberties Greening Strategy. This collection of projects is founded on the need to create more green and beautiful spaces in The Liberties (with Weaver Park the first major development of this strategy).
Its good to stay focused and to audit as we go, and projects such as Mapping Beauty, while they can initially be seen as unhelpful, actually very graphically make the case to keep investing in a quality environment in Dublin 8.
The item posted below featured in The Herald on 8th September (apologies for the old skool scan!)