4.1 Introduction

The spatial structure of Dublin is provided by both its natural setting and man-made features. The River Liffey, along with the canals, contains both the ‘old’ city and the unique Georgian squares and streets. Together with the larger areas of Victorian and Edwardian architecture both north and south of the canals, and urban villages, these features underpin the city’s strong character and identity, which is recognised internationally.

This identity is expressed in a pattern of streets and urban spaces with the natural setting of the city’s waterways, the bay and the mountains to the south.

The development plan aims to protect and enhance the unique character of the city, derived from both the natural and built environments, while providing opportunities for new development.

Dublin’s character is derived from its historical layers, ranging from its medieval origins to substantial new contemporary interventions in the built environment in emerging areas such as the Docklands.

The basic building blocks of this unique urban character consist of individual buildings, streets (both vibrant and sedate), urban spaces, neighbourhoods and landscapes.

New development will be required to respect the unique character of the city by taking account of the intrinsic value of the built heritage, landscape and natural environment.

Streets and urban spaces, which attract people to live, work, shop and exchange ideas, are essential features of a sustainable compact city and the promotion of streets and mixed uses is one of the strategies in this development plan.

In developing strategies for the shape and structure of the city, it is important to reflect on the changes that have taken place over the past two decades and to set out policies and strategies to ensure that Dublin retains and builds on its renowned urban form and character, while developing new city neighbourhoods which are well connected to their surrounding environment and to the city centre.

This development plan emphasises the importance that good streets, buildings, landscapes and linkages play in regeneration, and reaffirms Dublin as a predominantly low-rise city with height in limited locations.