A ULI Advisory Services panel (ASP) recommended that in order for Dublin’s North East Inner City (NEIC) to thrive, it should become an integral part of the Irish capital, with a focus on arts, culture, sports, education, and heritage. The new vision followed a five-day tour of the city and interviews with more than 80 stakeholders within the local community.
The ASP report was commissioned by Dublin City Council, which called upon ULI—the world’s oldest and largest network of cross-disciplinary real estate experts—to provide independent advice to city officials on how to tackle the disadvantage and poverty that has persisted in the NEIC.
The panel of eight international property experts—from the Netherlands, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Ireland—was convened 23–28 June through ULI’s Advisory Services program to conduct a thorough evaluation of the challenges and opportunities facing the area before presenting its recommendations to Dublin City Council.
The panel, which received significant support from ULI’s Ireland chapter, found that the NEIC has many advantages, including a central location, excellent transport connectivity, and a diverse, strong community, but that the neighborhood also faced a number of challenges, such as deprivation and unemployment, a limited use of existing assets, and a lack of coordinated leadership.
Recommendations included developing an arts strategy that works toward an authentic arts district for the NEIC that could enhance the physical environment, change perceptions of the area, and bring in new visitors and tourists. This would incorporate existing assets, as well as bring interim spaces to life for incubator space for artists and for arts, sports, recreation, and green spaces.
The panel also recommended finding ways to use Croke Park Stadium as a focal point for a mixed-use vibrant destination for the community. With its canal-side location, the panel said there was enormous potential to create connections to the area and to redevelop to the Royal Canal zone into a large public park.
Other recommendations included greening the area and improving the public realm through a tree-planting program, restoring public parks, and bringing back to life heritage buildings such as Aldborough House and the Magdalene Convent.
Tom Dunne, chair of ULI Ireland, said: “There is a tremendous opportunity for the NEIC to thrive considering where it is located, but what it requires is a clear vision and fresh ideas, which have now been recommended by ULI’s expert panel of international real estate professionals with the support of the local community and Dublin City Council.”
Vicki Davis, managing partner of Urban Atlantic Development, is based in Washington, D.C., and led the global delegation. She said, “It was a great privilege to work with the local stakeholders, who displayed great passion and dedication to improving the area. The challenges faced by the NEIC are similar to those seen in many inner-city areas around the world, but we can bring lessons from other parts of the world, and use the positivity of the local community as a solid foundation upon which to build a better future for the residents and visitors.”
Brendan Kenny, deputy chief executive of Dublin City Council, said: “This report gives us a fresh perspective following the culmination of a significant amount of work with key stakeholders and the local community. The independent advice received from the ULI has endorsed much of the work that is already underway and gives us a renewed confidence in setting out the next steps for creating a thriving community in the NEIC.”
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