2.3.2 Identity of the City

Cities around the world espouse different identities. For Paris it’s romance. For Oxford it’s learning and for New York it’s ambition. A city’s identity is made up of numerous components or attributes, none more important than the provision of exceptional and accessible parks and open spaces. Dublin’s identity influences perceptions both at home and abroad. It influences decisions, from where people wish to live or visit or to where companies wish to invest.

Dublin’s parks and urban landscape contribute to a greener, more liveable city identity for Dublin. The recent designation of the Dublin Bay Biosphere is an important step in the development of Dublin as a green city at an international level.

Parks also contribute greatly to historical identity. Dublin’s landscape is steeped in history, which is a physical record of its

development over time from the earliest archaeological monuments to the Georgianera parks; Dublin’s past can be read through its parks.

Culture and art are further components of Dublin’s identity to which parks contribute. It’s the fourth city in the world to be designated as a UNESCO City of Literature. This identity provides a unique cultural experience with literature, thus spreading the city’s literary importance on an international scale. Its relationship with such literary greats as Oscar Wilde and James Joyce along with its cultural, arts and social scene create a powerful international image of the city as a place with literature at its core. This strategy recognises this strong identity and proposes a series of new city centre parks that reference recent writers connected with the city.

Art has played an important role in the development of Dublin parks, and over the years a collection of sculptural art has evolved adding further interest to the parks that exhibit them. To celebrate this and to interpret the story of the artwork and the artists who created them Parks and Landscape Services have recently published an Art in Parks Guide and created a smartphone orientated multi-lingual guide to the Oscar Wilde sculpture in Merrion Square.

Dublin City parks are also used for many regular and once-off cultural and community events, for example the annual Rose Festival in St. Anne’s Park and the Harold’s Cross Festival. There are also regular community fun-runs, Hallowe’en festivals and pop-up events, such as open-air cinema. These events bring life and enjoyment to the city.