Insights from Dublin for City Development Beyond the Crisis

“From Making a City to Being a City”

Recently a group of Dutch and Flemish planners visited Dublin on a three-day mission to find out how the city is coping with the crisis. A�The visitors comprised of many disciplines including planning, urban design, transport, anthropology and city marketing. A�The visit involved meeting communities as diverse as Smithfield, Darndale, Newmarket and Northern Area Fringe. A�The visitors met with project champions for Lifeline, the Complex theatre, the Dublin Food Coop, the “Learning for Life” project and the Fumbally Exchange “New Creative Quarter” initiative, among many others. A� The DIT School of Spatial Planning also hosted a forum where discussions were had with Dick Gleeson, Chief City Planner of Dublin City Council and Mark Dyer, Research Driector of Trinityhaus along with other speakers from Ireland and the Netherlands.

The visit was a chance to get a flavour of how the crisis is affecting the city physically as well as socially. A�And it was an opportunity to meet with some of the local community champions that might, some day, be seen as the people who lead the city to a better place.

After the trip Stipo, the Dutch urban planning consultancy who organised the visit, surveyed all of the people who came on the trip and asked them what they learned from the experience. A�What emerged was a document (downloadable from the Stipo website) which reflects on the impact of the sudden downturn on a city, but also how planners might react in order to create an opportunity from the crisis.

It is refreshing, perhaps, to gain a fresh and objective perspective on events as they happen. A�It is also a tribute to the community leaders, politicians and officials who took the time to meet with the visitors that such positive and useful insights could be gained from a three day visit.

For more information about the visit, contact David O’Connor at or A�Jeroen Laven at


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