Saturday, July 25, 2009


In her lecture on Friday 24th, Finola O'Kane described how the artist Fisher used pictorial representation to re-present the Irish Landscape to potential tourists in the late 1700s. The paintings made certain areas more popular to visit as tourists flocked to see the view made in Fisher's paintings. Landowners became conscious of this, and started to preserve these views, and therefore the landscape around them.
Re-presenting or re-mapping a city/town to its inhabitants (eg: the london cycle route map) is an effective way of changing how it is used.

Balbriggan OS Maps

Monday, July 20, 2009

Balbriggan area map

View Larger Map

Balbriggan could be a good area to concentrate on, considering its contained nature and the fact that it echoes issues with permeability of suburbs that many small towns around the country have. Plus it is well connected to Dublin via the train link,which needs to be accessed from the town and its suburbs.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Next Meeting Monday 20 July 18.00

The next meeting will be held at 150 Pearse Street at 18.00, a big thank you to Will Andrews for letting us use his studios!

We agreed to each send a link to a 1:10,000 google map of an area that attracts our interest to study, and highlight what is catching our attention on it to nowwhatremaking(at) by Saturday18th.
Balbriggan and Clondalkin have both been mentioned but other suggestions are welcome.
If everyone can print out the 1:10,000 map on A4 for Monday's meeting it would aid in the discussion.

Some of us are also heading to the now what ? public conversation 'home' on Mon 20 July, 12.45 in Richview.

See you all on Monday!

Reburbia Competition

In a competition dedication to the re-envisioning of the suburb sponsored by Dwell and Inhabitat, Reburbia starts today with entries seeking innovation in suburban housing.

In a future where limited natural resources will force us to find better solutions for density and efficiency, what will become of the cul-de-sacs, cookie-cutter tract houses and generic strip malls that have long upheld the diffuse infrastructure of suburbia? How can we redirect these existing spaces to promote sustainability, walkability, and community? It’s a problem that demands a visionary design solution and we want you to create the vision!

Are population begins to grow and more housing will undoubtedly be needed. We've discussed several different infrastructural concepts here at D.U.S., urban re-flight, satellite cities, and the hypocrisy of suburban nomenclature, but we should focus some study on what the hell to do with our existing failing suburbs.

If you're near the cusps of several large metropolitan areas its no secret travel and commuting is one of the major issues affecting our suburbs today. How can these be reconfigured in order to reduce heaps of complicated problems. Could large box grocery stores be retrofitted into local community markets, with produce grown from oversized parcels? Perhaps the creation of local business centers with every necessary video conferencing and interactive communication tools would eliminate the need for long commutes, making the virtual office an easy walk or bike ride away.

With the extra added commute free time, we learn to actually make things again, for our own use and to buy and trade at local markets, drastically reducing long-distance transport fuel consumption and pollution. Like the business centers, gym-like craftsmen shops allow shared knowledge and tools alike from expert to novice, reducing the need for excess equipment.

There's certainly no shortage of possibilities, and no time like the present, I personally would love to see Landscape Architects becoming an integral part of concepts and solutions.

What are some of your ideas?

Enter the Inhabitat / Dwell REBURBIA competition online, by sending up to 5 images and a statement about your design proposal. You can submit as many entries as you like, but each individual entry should be focused on one singular design problem/solution (i.e. a McMansion farm rehab, a bicycle transportation hub, a piezoelectric, energy-generating freeway paving system). Entries will be judged on clarity of idea, usefulness of design, and visual/aesthetic appeal of renderings.

August 1st, 12am EST - submission deadline

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Now What Remaking - Next Workshop - Monday 20 July - 18:00 - Dublin City Centre - Venue TBC

now what ? Remaking - Workshop #1, Smock Alley Cafe 13/07/09

The next Now What Remaking workshop will be on on Monday. See the details in the subject line.

The public conversation 'home' on Monday in Richview also looks interesting and we’ll try to go and have a chat to some of the other workshops about collaborating.

I’ve invited everyone to become a member of the Blog and Google Group.

I’ll circulate some more detailed notes of yesterday’s meeting later in the week.

We agreed to concentrate on case studies in Clondalkin and Balbriggan, a Dublin suburb and a stand-alone town. Other suggestions are welcome.

We agreed to have a look at the map of each of these and circulate ideas for interventions in Clondalkin and Balbriggan by Saturday. Please also circulate on the Blog or Google Group any leads for references relating to these places or existing or possible contacts.

Good luck
James Leahy

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Suburbs Survival

Suburbs Survival Posted by Mark Couillais at 'the where blog'

Suburbs Survival
Cities have been getting a lot of attention lately with the majority of earth's population residing in dense urban cores for the first time in history. There seems to be a growing consensus that cities are the way forward and that suburbs should burn in hell for destroying out beautiful countrysides, our farmlands, and promoting unsustainable lifestyles. So how do we resurrect the suburb or make it better? Are we planning on disassembling them and using the material to build new urban dwellings or are they going to become abandoned and sit empty? Is there a way to think about the burbs differently that will lead to a new lifestyle or a renewed sustainable energy?

To survive long-term, the suburbs will likely have to become more community oriented and organized. This century thus far has proved to be about social and sustainable movements. Two movements the suburbs can embrace to improve their chances of retaining and attracting citizens are intense car sharing programs, and intense community farm programs.

Typically, neighborhoods center around some type of public space, whether that be a park, an elementary school, or another type of community-oriented structure. These centers could act as transport hubs, where car share programs are initiated. Programs like can help people find rides and coordinate with neighbors to accomplish errands and daily tasks. Perhaps it seems extreme, but if the suburbs want to kick their negative wrap, they are going to have to show they can compete with cities on transportation and social interaction.

Suburban farming has become a big thing as well. Though urban farming has attracted much of the attention because of its extreme conditions, many suburbanites have been converting their yards into mini-farms and, in some cases, turning a profit. Many organizations have popped up to promote the transformation of turf lawns to lush homestead farms, most famously Fritz Haeg's Edible Estates. His organization has inspired a new breed of farm and a new brand of agriculture. Companies are beginning to form around the country with the intention to lease and cultivate neighborhood lawns. Weekly neighborhood farmers markets could be held at the community center with the majority of produce and added value products coming from within the neighborhood.

When it comes down to it, the suburbs need to bolster their sense of community interaction in all areas of their citizens daily life from transportation methods to food choices to live/work arrangements. The suburbs aren't going to just disappear, so hopefully in the next few years we as a society will develop some new suburban living models worth promoting.

(Photo from The Shift Home and the author. The original full-sized color version can be viewed by clicking the photo.)
Posted by Marc Couillais at 12:45 PM

Thursday, July 9, 2009

References and Links

Here are some initial references & links to get the ball rolling. These will be added to as we progress. We'll keep a list of all relevant links in the sidebar on the left

Banister, D., 2005. Unsustainable transport: City transport in the new century. London: Routledge

Bisset, J., 2008. Regeneration: public good or private profit? Dublin: tasc at New Ireland. (Excerpt available online here)

Department of Transport, 2008. 2020 vision: sustainable travel and transport: Public consultation document. (Available online here)

Department of Transport, 2009. National cycle policy framework. (Available online here)

Deloitte, 2009. Cost and efficiency review of Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann. Department of Transport. (Available online here)

Drudy, P.J., & Punch, M., 2005. Out of reach: inequalities in the Irish housing system. Dublin: tasc at New Ireland.

Dublin Transportation Office, 2001. A platform for change: strategy 2000-2016: final report. Dublin: Stationary Office

Dublin Transportation Office, 2006. Quality bus corridor monitoring report. (Available online here)

Kelly, D. et al. eds., 1986. Dublin crisis conference. Dublin 7-9 February 1986. Dublin: Dublin Crisis Conference.

Kelly, D. et al. eds., 1987. Dublin crisis conference: manifesto for the city. Dublin: Dublin Crisis Conference.

Leahy, J., 2009 Bus rapid transit as an alternative to light rail transit in Dublin.
MSc. Dublin Institute of Technology: Unpublished
(Available from

McDonald, F., 1985. The destruction of Dublin. Dublin: Gill and Macmillan.

McDonald, F., 2000. The construction of Dublin. Kinsale, Co. Cork: Gandon Editions.

McDonald, F., & Nix, J., 2005. Chaos at the crossroads. Kinsale: Gandon

McDonnell, S. Ferriera, S. & Convery, F. 2006. Impact of bus priority attributes on catchment area residents in Dublin, Ireland. Journal of public transportation. Vol. 9 No. 3 (Available online here)

MVA, 2006. Dublin Bus network review. [online] Dublin Bus
(Available online here)

Nix, J., 2004. Investing in sustainable urban transport in Dublin and its commuting hinterland: An analysis of current policy in the context of its review. MPhil. Dublin Institute of Technology.
(Available online here)

Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport, 2008. First report: developing an efficient bus network for Dublin: short term action plan. (Available online here)

Punch, M., 2009. The Irish housing system: visions, values, reality. [Online] Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice
(Available online here)

Steer Davies Gleave, 1994. Dublin transportation initiative: final report. Dublin: Stationary Office

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Start-up Meeting - Monday 13 July at 17:00

The first meeting of "Remaking the Modern Suburb" will be on Monday 13 July at 17:00 in the Smock Alley Café on Essex Street West (near Cultivate) in Temple Bar.

The format and direction of the workshop is open for discussion. It will run until the beginning of September probably with weekly meetings with work carried out between.

Dublin Cycling Campaign's monthly meeting is on afterwards so some people from the campaign will be there at 17:00 to discuss the Department of Transport's Smarter Travel and National Cycle Policy Framework documents and the actions in them which relate to retrofitting suburbs.

Hope to see you there.

If you would like a copy of the scoping document please email

Good luck
James Leahy

Remaking the Modern Suburb - Proposal

UCD Architecture School are running a summer school (2009) called Now What?

James Leahy from Dublin Cycling Campaign is running one of the series of workshops on the subject of Remaking the Modern Suburb. How can we come up with a new model for retrofitting our suburbs for accessibility which works without Celtic Tiger style growth?

For details of Now What and Remaking the Modern Suburb read on. If you're interested email or come to the opening at Richview, UCD, Clonskeagh at 19:30 on Monday 6th July.

architects have time to think. architects are educated to solve problems and propose innovative solutions.
now what? is an initiative designed to tap into the wealth of creative talent amongst graduates and students who need space to research, learn new skills and people to discuss these with.

a series of multi-disciplinary public conversations; workshops; studio space and facilities available for research; publication of all work plus a public exhibtion at the end of the summer. The entire initiative is to operate as a think-tank, is free of charge and will be run on a voluntary basis.

Remaking the Modern Suburb - Summary

A new non-growth dependent development model for suburbs is required:

Development has stopped but the actions required to retrofit existing suburbs for accessibility and to provide social housing all assumed that the previous level of development would continue. A new model for the redevelopment of our existing suburbs over the next ten years is needed.

Wright (1967) plan for motorised suburbs

Smarter Travel Policy:
The new Smarter Travel sustainable transport policy and the National Cycle Policy Framework (Department of Transport 2008, 2009) have many actions calling for suburbs to be retrofitted to make them permeable for walkers and cyclists and accessible by public transport. How will they be retrofitted to do this?

There is still a need to build social housing, create new models of housing tenure and to increase the mix of housing in existing suburbs. There is a further need to introduce employment and services into suburbs.

Blanchardstown 2009 impermeablity and uniformity

Can the example of how the Dublin Crisis Conference, Making the Modern Street and Group 91 Architects in the 1980-90’s led to a revolution in the planning our our city centres and a new model of development be used as an inspiration?

Retrofitting suburbs:

  • What will retrofitting projects look like?
  • How will they be planned or regulated?
  • Who will deliver them?
  • Who will pay?
  • How will they gain community acceptance?
  • Who is doing what now, in Ireland and abroad?

Dublin Crisis Conference (Kelly et al 1986)