Jeanette Lowe is an artist and photographer who, in her work, has become an archivist for what she calls 'invisible' communities living in Dublin city. She grew up in Drimnagh and her mother was reared in Pearse House, off Pearse Street, one of the iconic 1930s and 40s corporation complexes which were designed by Herbert Simms - the city planner behind so many of the public housing developments in that period. Today Pearse House and its neighbouring complex Markievicz House are threatened with demolition. One city councillor, Chris Andrews has said 'they're 80 years old and not fit for purpose' yet for most of us 80 years is not an old building and these Simms complex have been designated as historic and heritage buildings up until now. Nearly a thousand people still live in Pearse House, few of them are the original families and much has changed, some complain of conditions in the flats, which definitely need refurbishment and upgrading but the art deco blocks look not unlike the kind of refurbished city centre blocks you see in Berlin and London which have become high end apartments.
To renew and regenerate do we need to knock things down? In exploring this question Helen Shaw took a walk through Pearse House with Jeanette Lowe who restored a flat in the complex in 2013 as part of an artistic project which involved living within the community and documenting it through photographs. It brought her back to her childhood and her memories of her grandmother who reared 13 children in her flat but she also explored some of the challenges facing these inner city communities whose stories, culture and heritage is also being lost as the place they lived in changes or is demolished as in St Teresa's Gardens - another community she worked within.
If Pearse House is demolished and all that remains of that community lost will public or affordable housing, to the standard that Pearse House was in its day, be created or will this land, sandwiches between the river and the Silicon Docklands, in prime locations simply become more high rise glass towers excluding these communities and families from the inner city?
Watch a video of SIMMS Dublin which captures a sense of how these buildings became part of the DNA of the city - www.thisiswherewelive.ie/resources
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Music credit: Michael Gallen 'Graceful' michaeljgallen.com/
Dr Philip Lawton is Assistant Professor of Geography at Trinity College Dublin and someone with a keen interest in shaping sustainable cities and towns. His work has explored the impact of gentrification, the tension between commerce and citizens and the developing model of new urban towns like Adamstown, home to 25,000 people in west Dublin.
Helen Shaw catches up with Philip for This is Where We Live to chat about cities at the junction where Pearse Street meets Trinity College Dublin and they wandered through a campus which dates back over 400 years but which, like Dublin itself, is constantly reinventing itself.
You can find out more about Philip Lawton's research work at:
Uneven development, suburban futures and the urban region: The case of an Irish ‘sustainable new town’: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0969776417694679
The Repackaging of Dublin: The Relevance of the ‘Urban Growth Machine’?https://www.researchgate.net/publication/321624510_The_Repackaging_of_Dublin_The_Relevance_of_the_%27Urban_Growth_Machine%27
And you can find him on twitter @PhilLawton
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'If we had the will today, we could do great things".
Dr Ruth McManus, urban geographer DCU, takes Helen Shaw on a walk through Drumcondra and its social housing, between Griffith Park and Home Farm Road, built between 1920s -60s, creating a social village from the library at the park to Corpus Christi Church and primary school on Home Farm Road.
Ruth talks about the English and Netherlands influences on the cul de sacs and tidy estates and asks why we're not building public communities like these in 2018-2019? What are the lessons we can learn from the 1920s approach to public housing today?
Ruth's book "The Making of Dublin City series: Dublin 1910-1940 Shaping The City & Suburbs" http://www.makingofdublincity.com/dublin/the-making-of-dublin/dublin-1910-1940
More on Ruth's work dcu.academic.ie/live/!W_VALOCAL_D…E?WPBPRSN=1888422
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Dr Eoin O'Mahony is a Fellow in the School of Geography in UCD, an urban geographer with a strong sense of the need for social change. Helen Shaw met up with Eoin in Smithfield, once Dublin's horse market and now a shiny plaza of private apartment blocks, an art cinema, cafes and restaurants. Eoin says urban geographer often look 'at where money lands' to understand what is happening in development and describes Dublin in terms of how class interplays with property and planning. 'We've a highly segregated city because we've made poor choices over 30 - 40 years', he says.
You can find out more about Eoin's work here :
And follow up on www.thisiswherewelive.ie
CSO - NEW DWELLING COMPLETIONS Q4 2018
and more on that Vienna model that Helen is talking about in her interview here
Athena-media – Karinramser
Grainne Hassett is a practising architect & Head of the School of Architecture, University of Limerick (SAUL). Her practice, Hassett Ducatez Architects is committed to a close connection between architecture and its own research. www.hassettducatezarchitects.com/
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Music Credit: Ana Gog - Still Life (Instrumental)
Dr. Tony Fahey is a social scientist, a former researcher and author with the ESRI, the Economic Social Research Institute and a emeritus professor at UCD in social policy. Helen Shaw sat down with him to explore why housing policy has failed in Ireland to meet the needs and demands of the country and what are the factors at play behind the housing crisis. For Tony Fahey finance is at the heart of the problem and he traces it to the fiscal crisis in the 1980s. www.esri.ie/people/tony-fahey
Dr Joe Brady is an urban geographer at UCD with a passion for cities, particularly hometown Dublin City, and he is an expert in the history of housing in Dublin. Producer Helen Shaw took Joe back to Marino, not far from where he grew up, and where her grandparents moved, from the Dublin tenements in 1932. How could Dublin City Council build a mini garden city of social housing in the 20s and 30s and why is Dublin struggling to meet its housing challenge today?
Joe's interest in Dublin has led him, in collaboration with his former colleague Anngret Simms, to publish a series of books entitled The Making of Dublin City. The intention is to study the development of the city form the earliest times to the present day form a geographical perspective. Teaching is an important part of his academic profile and his intention is to develop the resources available to students via the web. Currently these are concentrated on his first and third year urban geography courses but this will be expanded in due course. A member of the Geographical Society of Ireland since 1975, he has been a committee member since 1978, serving in a variety of posts. He is currently editor of the peer-reviewed and internationally recognised journal, Irish Geography , the only journal to focus exclusively on the geography of Ireland. Joe is also deeply involved in the activities of the university. He is a member of the Academic Council and serves on the Governing Authority of University and a wide variety of other bodies and committees. He is a member of the Scientific Council of Urban Institute Ireland , an interdisciplinary and inter-institutional research institute recently established in the University.
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Read the story of Marino The Garden City
In the busy café facing Vienna's City Hall This is Where We Live producer Helen Shaw gets to catch up with Michaela Kauer who runs the Vienna House in Brussels representing the City of Vienna and its interests in Brussels and the EU. Michaela is a public advocate for the housing policy of Vienna and Vienna leads globally in public housing strategy. Helen met Michaela during the Housing for All conference in Vienna, connecting housing stories across Europe.
Follow Michaela at: twitter.com/MichaelaKauer
www.thisiswherewelive.ie for more on the project
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Dr Orna Rosenfeld is an international housing expert and chatted with Helen Shaw about trends in housing policy for This is Where We Live during the recent Housing For All conference in Vienna, December 2018.
Dr. Orna Rosenfeld is a housing adviser to the European Commission, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and international development banks financing housing. She is adjunct professor at Sciences Po – Paris Institute of Political Sciences in Paris and and alumna of the University of Westminster in London.
www.thisiswherewelive.ie for more
Helen chatted with Sorcha Edwards, the Secretary General of Housing Europe the umbrella organisation for public housing in Europe, at the recent #HousingforAll conference in Vienna.
Housing Europe is the European Federation of Public, Cooperative & Social Housing. Since 1988 it is a network of 45 national & regional federations gathering 43.000 housing providers in 24 countries. Together they manage over 26 million homes, about 11% of existing dwellings in Europe.
READ MORE :
Karin Ramser, Director of the City of Vienna’s Community Housing (Wiener Wohnen) talks about Vienna's history of social and public housing (Gemeindebau) and how it's seen as a social good, and an integral part of the city's approach to creating a just, equitable and peaceful community. Karin's office looks after 220,000 flats, over half a million people, in the city and she explains why, for nearly 100 years now, public housing is so important to Vienna City. Vienna is one of the fastest growing cities in Europe and is heading back to 2 million people in a few years time.
Helen Shaw talked to Karin during the recent Housing for All conference in Vienna on social and affordable housing in Europe when Vienna hosted over 300 people from 39 countries and showcased its social housing philosophy.
Karin explains that in Vienna someone's address can not tell you how much they earn or what social class they are. ‘We don’t have areas in Vienna where, as a woman, you are afraid to go when it’s dark.’
Hugh Brennan runs O Cualann Co-housing Alliance and builds affordable houses in an innovative way, producing high quality houses for people who buy at affordable levels to their income. Producer Helen Shaw met Hugh at his latest project in Poppintree, Ballymun and got an insight into his model. Visit the project here www.ocualann.ie/poppintree.html. The development is side by side with both 100% private and social housing in an area close to IKEA off the M50.
UN Special Rapporteur for Housing Leilani Farha’s talks about her impression of Dublin's housing crisis and her movement 'The Shift', which offers a new perspective on housing: those who are homeless and inadequately housed must be treated as rights claimants and key actors must implement the right to adequate housing in a new urban rights agenda.
Interview with Helen Shaw for This is Where We Live