4.7 Public Realm

The public realm is made up of parks, streets, squares, accessible open space and the space around civic buildings. Together, these elements define the physical components of place-making and create a unique identity for Dublin City. Because the public realm is so essential to the everyday unique experience of the city, how it is planned and designed is very important.

The Dublin City Public Realm Strategy – Your City, Your Space, has been developed as an agreed vision that is shared by those who use it, design it, build it and manage it. This Strategy aims to build on the strengths of Dublin City’s public realm, linking the aforementioned components into a whole that is of greater value than its parts.

It offers a vision of how development can coincide with fundamental improvements to the area’s parks, open space and streetscapes to ensure the city’s continued vitality and quality of life for its residents, workers and visitors. It incorporates safety elements, opening spaces up rather than closing them off and mobilising ignored lanes and streets. The Strategy also serves as a practical manual for all parties engaged in all development that interfaces with the public realm.

The presence of green space is a city’s most fundamental element in creating vitality and quality of life. As the city develops, the scale, location and connectivity of parks and open spaces need to be planned and designed to better respond to the needs of the growing population. It ensures that in areas where the 

provision of parks is low, public realm can still create an open space network that is meaningful and connected. It ensures that green space does not have to end at their edges, but extend along the streets, expanding and enhancing the public realm.

Dublin’s public realm is uneven and lacks definition in many parts. There are opportunities to develop an agreed vision for the public realm with all the stakeholders; one that is inspired by its historic context and shared by those who use it. Crucially, this includes agreeing the standard of public realm Dublin needs and identifying the important spaces and routes within that. A number of public realm initiatives have been and are being implemented around the city by Parks Services, which aim at creating a better experience of connected space with people’s interaction at its core.