All posts by Carla Kayanan

Exploring Social Housing in Dublin

On the 3rd of August, on a surprisingly sunny day amidst this year’s rainy Irish summer, Dáithí Downey, geographer and policy analyst with the National Economic and Social Council (NESC), kindly agreed to lead us on a tour of some of Dublin’s long-standing social housing communities and incoming developments. 

Social housing plays a crucial role in ensuring equitable access to safe and affordable shelter for all members of society. It helps alleviate homelessness, poverty and inequality. It contributes to building inclusive communities, fostering social cohesion and offering individuals and families a foundation from which they can pursue education, employment and a better quality of life. Moreover, investing in social housing demonstrates a commitment to addressing the fundamental human right of adequate housing and promotes a more just and compassionate society. 

The tour began at the Fatima Luas stop and wound around various neighbourhoods in Dublin 8. Stops included the Herberton Development (former Fatima Mansions site), Dolphin House, Donore Project (St. Teresa’s Gardens) and Margaret Kennedy Road. At each of these stops, Dáithí arranged meetings with associated architects and/or community liaison officers. Stefan Lowe (DCC Architects) and Laura O’Gorman (DCC Architects) explained to us how community life was addressed through the construction of social housing.

The Team also met, Laura Kenny (Project Estate Officer for Dublin South Central) and Katarzyna Batraniec (DCC Architects) to discuss their work overseeing “rapid-build” volumetric developments near Weaver Park. After, we managed to squeeze in a brief rest stop in Bridgefoot Street Park after spending 3.5 hours on foot, where Dáithí pointed out the completed volumetric developments facing this lively public park. 

As the Data Stories team works on housing and property data, an understanding of social housing is essential for a complete analysis. Social housing data not only offers insights into the well-being of marginalised populations, but also highlights broader societal trends. By examining social housing models, it is possible to measure the effectiveness of government policies, identify housing disparities and assess the impact of urban development on vulnerable communities.

That is why we would like to thank all the individuals who made time (and handouts!) to meet with us and to educate us on the history and future projections for these evolving neighbourhoods and communities. A very special thanks to Dáithí for his bespoke tour and willingness to share his in-depth knowledge of a growing and changing Dublin. 

The Data Stories team takes to the sea

On Thursday, 26 May, the Data Stories team embarked on a boat tour of the Dublin Port. The excursion, organised by James Deery of the National Treasury Management Agency and Maynooth’s Department of History and run by the Dublin Port Company, was an on-the-water seminar discussing the Port’s environmental heritage and sustainability initiatives.

For the Data Stories team, the tour presented an opportunity to see the ongoing construction of the North Lotts and Grand Canal Docks Strategic Development Zone and to view the rapid—though at times stunted—growth of the area from a different vantage point. To get a sense of the planning and development activities that have occurred since the 1980s, when Irish neoliberalism became visible through the built environment of the city, the Data Stories team did a mini-walking tour from Connolly Station to Berth 18, the departure point for the boat tour. The walking tour highlighted key projects on the north side of the Liffey, such as the Custom House Quay building (CHQ), Mayor Square, the convention centre, and the Central Bank. The team then walked along Lower Sheriff Street  to discuss the gradual displacement of the housing complexes that were home for communities who fuelled the economy of the port since as far back as the 1700s. 

The day could not have been any more beautiful for a boat tour. The sun was shining on our way out and the water was still, allowing for a clear, unobstructed and unique perspective of the Dublin docklands. The team will continue to visit various developments throughout the city to gain a deeper understanding of planning and development activity across time, and to complement our growing knowledge of the role the data ecosystem plays in guiding said developments.

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