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January 6, 2009

Plans for city subverted by height arguments

It seems almost surreal to be discussing high-rise planning policy in Dublin at a time when the construction industry is almost at a standstill; with so many newly-built apartment buildings and office blocks vacant, there doesn’t appear to be much point. But the ever-optimistic city planners insist that they must set out the right policy framework long before the the city once again sees a forest of tower cranes on the skyline. What may queer the pitch is the nervousness of city councillors in the run-up to local elections in June. Unlike their colleagues on county councils in Dublin and elsewhere, the city councillors are not “pro-development at any price”. Left-wing councillors are very conservative on issues of height and density, while many others don’t want to be seen as developers’ friends. As a result, there is a gulf between the planners’ aspirations to create a more sustainable city – as they would see it – and councillors voicing the sceptical views of their constituents, many of whom live in two-storey houses and want to keep their areas high-rise free.

The Irish Times

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