Despite the challenging economic context, significant progress has been made to support the creation of successful neighbourhoods and communities in the period since the 2011 – 2017 development plan. Importantly, the sustainable provision of community facilities, services and amenities were a key consideration in the planning for neighbourhoods in the newly emerging areas, for example the Clongriffin– Belmayne and Ashtown–Pelletstown local area plans (LAPs).
Similarly, there was a strong focus on the social and community aspect of regeneration in the Docklands strategic development zone (SDZ), with intensive community engagement during the preparation of the planning scheme, including ‘Street Conversations’ and the hosting of a ‘Docklands Regeneration Conference’ and a cultural audit, the ‘Docks Box’ to inform social infrastructure provision, with a commitment to also undertake a community audit and special educational needs review, which have been initiated to inform delivery of cultural, community and educational facilities in the Docklands Area.
Meanwhile, the intervening period of fiscal restraint has led to a new energy for civic participation, social entrepreneurship, volunteerism and collaboration across the community, cultural, corporate and institutional sectors. These new ways of working can result in innovative and vibrant solutions, whilst strengthening local communities. Examples include the annual community-led festival in Phibsborough, Phizz-Fest; the Stoneybatter Street Festival, the Lir Academy engaging in a theatrical mentoring programme with local communities and the Fumbally Exchange in the Liberties.
The City Council has also improved its ways of reaching out to citizens through various initiatives, including ‘Your Dublin, Your Voice’, the first local government online opinion panel in the State; the Dublin Fifth Province initiative of the Creative Dublin Alliance, and projects such as the Neighbourhood Awards. The City Council is also a lead partner in a major EU Project, TURAS – Transitioning towards Urban Resilience and Sustainability, the goal of which is to cater for the demand from individuals and communities for greater inclusivity in planning and to jointly develop strategies for adaptation to climate change and to improve urban resilience.