green corridors in cities

green corridors in cities

(originally posted on EASA here, as a discussion to help in ideas for architectural thesis, which ended up being: The Botanic Spine : A Greenway and CPUL for Dublin (eco)city)

green corridors, eco parks, ecological parks, linear parks, green spines….

hi easa

is anyone aware of what cities have green corridors in them, or of any recent schemes which were about trying to create new green corridors in cities, especially more built up ones.
someone was mentioning a national geographic article about using old rail tracks as a new city park, i have been unable to trace this scheme, i think it was new york?

im looking at a scheme to make a new 18km long circular park through dublin city, which will incorporate the existing 2 canals of the city, europes largest city park; phoenix park and the botanic gardens
another side to it would be to attempt to get the cities soon to be built metro to travel underground the green corridor. ive called the scheme the “botanic spine” but im finding it very hard to come accross information

so perhaps you might be able to help

above image from a proposal for such a scheme in chicago in the US

duncan, November 4, 2004 12:22:03 AM CET
green links

hi lads
thanks very much for those links, its interesting to see what other things exist presently or are in the pipeline.
on a sort of similar note i remember a presentation from a new york ark firm that had proposed a golf course through the sky scrapers of lower manhatton, strange indeed, but good to test those ideas

heres basic pics of things at present

i agree with your view alex and it has been a strong part of the scheme, the 18km will be a “pearl necklace” type system with a series of pocket parks along the route with events and buildings of interest existing in the parks. along with this there is a good chance that a metro system will be built in dublin, proposals at present are looking at using the northern half of the spine, and a new tunnel is planned to be dug under the city close to the southern part, so with that there will be massive urban rejuvination. the only fault with their plans is that they concentrate only on the stations as nodes without seeing that there is a superb chance to use the spine as a real means to open new gateways between communities and as a super new resource for the city

as i have stated in the document
“THE BOTANIC SPINE mimics somewhat the structure and function of the human spine. A network of different systems flowing through the spine; plant and animal life, people, water, cycle route, metro line, digital info, hurling fans heading up to Croker for the big game? It connects up to the botanic gardens and this acts as the brain of the scheme, as a node in a global ecological system, greening the city, improving plant and animal life along green corridors, raising awareness and getting citizens involved with exciting eco initiatives.

The masterplan focus’s on just a few specific ideas, regeneration, how housing addresses the canal, creating a lively, safe and well used new urban zone, some feature buildings; canal museum, sport and water centre, digital media centre.”

im looking at a refurbishment of Sheriff Street linear park and community centre with new media facilities included in centre. New openings will be made in the recently built schemes to make a more inclusive society.

Sheriff street has the name of one of the toughest neighbourhoods in dublin, i went home that way tonight after football and another car was being burnt out.

thanks for the info and links, the paris ones are very helpful

heres a few more links
Development Proposals to make Auroville, india the most eco-friendly city. works from a simple premise: that the tools, models and ideas for building a better future lie all around us.
another world is not just possible, it’s here. We only need to put the pieces together.

The Global Ecovillage Networ

Irelands first eco village

The Green Corridor is a groundbreaking initiative for generating a green redevelopment of the international bridge corridor linking Canada to the United States

“Sustainable Urbanization” is a dynamic process that includes environmental, socio-economic and political-institutional dimensions.

duncan, November 25, 2004 1:33:05 PM CET

found this nice park by NOMAD arx in spain, it was a competition,
anyone been here?

i had first review yesterday, went ok. its now titled
catalyst @ botanic spine

reply to this comment…

duncan, November 27, 2004 1:36:55 PM CET
audio description of catalyst @ botanic spine

IMC dunk talks with liz, clare, krossie, william from DGN, dublin grassroots network in a loose informal setting after RAR, residents against racism, pubquiz. the discussion is about an idea on how best an existing park and community centre could be used @ sheriff street, dublin. the established community is being slowly squashed out as the docklands are being developed and land prices are going skyward. botanic spine is an attempt to create an 18km long circular ecological corridor for the city.
listen to discussion here, @ 28 minutes long

model of the park, walls taken down, park connects to spine and wall at other end is punctured to allow for link from canal to other water docks; new green blue connections

catalyst; a building, social centre, wintergarden, community radio, dublin independant media centre, sports hall, library, cafe, WIFI space, free training, workshops, climbing wall, gym, energy harvest, wind, solar.

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park and building merge as one; walk over building to top so as to be in sun all time- this is reaction to the recent development, 6/7 stories high which blocks out sun from park.

earlier exploration into docklands @ 2000
“how the dublin docklands could be act of PUBLICIZATION: whereby the ground floors and the roof levels of banks 1, 2 and 3 are taken over by the public for the public. stack A, a now derelict warehouse is turned into ARTHOUSE, a place where the public can come and work in all media of art for free. art is displayed in the ground floor galleries and cafes. a huge orange waterslide comes down from the roof into georges dock, a symbol of PLAY. a system like this acts as a catalyst, bringing life into the now dead docks. i showed this to the public in the IFSC centre i am interested in your comments”


duncan, December 6, 2004 12:28:19 PM CET
progressions with the botanic spine

hi fred
thanks for that info, ive a few friends, 1 in grenada, 1 back here, who were at the barcelona forum, so they might have more on that

i stumbled upon another very big part of the jigsaw lst night when a neighbour told me of a news article in yesterdays paper,,
phoenix park is europes largest city park, and a new inititave “Dublinspirations” wants to give it a massive revamp, so that ties in very nicely
heres other link
we handed up the first draft of the research document last thursday,
it has been enjoyable having a life again over the last few days…
umberto eco, tao spots and magic rings
and on another level, the catalyst idea is forming nicely in the real world with the seomra spraoi (play room)

duncan, January 23, 2005 6:44:41 PM CET
a little more color – boredom attacked

dublin docklands is being developed, can whats being built be improved upon?
can it be more exciting, more inclussive, more colorful, more sustainable?
today: bland buildings, bland public square, blandly dressed people.
tomorrow: parks on roofs, curvy folded surfaces, stuff to do, colorful people?

to find out who those new people are, view here
they are called CIRCA

and just in case anyone is around dublin, next friday we are having a “brazil night”

reply to this comment…

duncan, January 25, 2005 4:26:53 PM CET

barrier walls punctured.
energy harvesting in city centre, on nodal points along spine

previously unused land turns into skate park, muralismo wall (and ground) painting, winter garden, energy harvesting, local shit treatment plant for energy and food, as demonstrated in kolding, denmark:

and also
a granda doing some gardening with his family, jimmy sitting out on his favourite seat surfing the net, as the park is a WIFI space, and young maura singh climbing up her ladder to get some fresh fruit.
and jimmy mac and the lads up in the heavens doing some hot air balooning
dundalk university in ireland is getting a wind turbine to power the campus in june, heres what it will look like

more on that and other wind energy work here

duncan, February 21, 2005 11:30:23 AM CET
greening the city

sherriff st park is 350m long, a third of a kilometer
the area around the canal is presently derelict and off limits but the new development of spencer dock is underway.
the park has an outdoor football pitch and a playground, the surrounding land is grass and some new trees, but rarely used, it could become a major community garden, only 5 minute walk from the spike in the city centre

on another note:
this weekend
urban gardening, saturday 26th feb 2005

crumlin national school
new community garden and roof garden

meet 9.00am baggott st. bridge, over canal
walk along canal, collecting herbs and plants
toward crumlin school
begin planting
the entire work goes from thursday till sunday with the “official opening” this saturday

work is underway also to make a roof garden for the school.
pears is heading the project

this years convergence festival theme ‘Healthy Communities’, and part of that will focus on “greening the city”

DGN (dublin grassroots network) are forming an urban gardening crew to turn unused grey spaces into living, growing, green spaces

reply to this comment…

duncan, February 25, 2005 10:16:46 PM CET

excuse the crude language.

today = cock only
tomorow = cock and cunt

today dublins monument or symbol is the spire or spike, a 120 metre high strucure, a giant phallus.
im referring to it as the cock

many feel this is appropriate, as it is felt we do live in an unbalanced age; a dangerously onesided, masculine, patriarchial age where the characteristics of greed, competition are prevelant.
ie; the age of the cock

things are begining to change though
a rebalance is happening in all aspects of society.
the female characteristics of cooperation, communication, understanding …..are begining to be seen and felt.

so in addressing the unbalance, the botanic spine or simply, the spine, is seen as a mechanism which addresss this
it is the cunt, the vagina,
it is off the earth, it fosters growth, it is womblike, it nourishes, it feeds

together balance is again achieved

this is not a new concept,
on this island we have thought, felt and constructed like this for thousands of years, as demonstrated in newgrange (3200BC)

more info on that

history of the pillar and the spike

on February 15, 1808, the foundation stone of Nelson’s Pillar was laid, marking the centre of dublin city. it became the symbol of the city, an attraction people could climb up and view the city from.
it was named after the famous british admiral lord nelson. it was erected as a symbol of the british empire, which ireland had been forced to be part of for 700 years.

in 1966, to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1916 rebellion which led to irelands independance the pillar was blown up by the IRA, irish republican army, as it was seen as a reminder of the imperialist occupation.

from that time the street it had occupied, o`connell street, slipped into decline; a street of life, people, cafes, hotels, cinemas to one of crime, drugs, fast food joints.
in 1998 the government ran a competition to replace the pillar and the winner was the millenium spire or the spike as it is more familiarly called. its quite ironic that it looks very similar to a needle of an injection seeing as the spot it occupies was one of the main places to get heroin, dublin had a terrible heroin problem in the 80’s and still has bad drug problems.

but things are changing
the story progress’s…………..

* excuse the language, but thats what this idea has been named
story repeated on DIT site

duncan, February 27, 2005 1:38:03 PM CET
dublins community gardens

plans are underway for a growing connected network of community gardens throughout the city, which it does not have at present

yesterday was the opening of the first
crumlin community garden

St Agnes NS
Armagh Road
Dublin 12

more in the pipeline

reply to this comment…

duncan, March 1, 2005 7:18:53 PM CET

sheriff street park, third of a kilometre long

concept = stuff to do

community centre and music/ drama venue
wintergarden and public library
sports centre, pool, baths

planted community gardens
sunken plaza

review 3 tmrw, another allnighter probably required, model made soon

duncan, April 7, 2005 8:10:54 PM CEST
Community Gardening: how to do it- GG9 feedback

last sunday the first step in a new initiave in dublin happened: to create a new community garden for the city

@ 20 people left the st nik hall and walked the “10” minutes to the choosen site which is a large derlelict piece of land on the banks of the grand canal, across from dolphins barn public library. it seems to be owned by the factory it fronts, it is about 200+ x 20 metres (@6000m.squared)
alongside the choosen space is another longer green space which is fully planted in communal alotment type garden

we took a bit longer than expected to get there, more pre organisation should have happened, it dident- sorry
when we arrived most of the group went onto the allotment to view the impressive garden, others went to check out the “derelict land”
a couple came out of their house with a wheelbarrow to do some gardening and they had what seems to have been a very pleasent chat with the garden workshop crew. 3 years ago the people from the houses decided to occupy the then derelict land and use it as a community garden- they squated it.

the others came back and joined in the discussion in the garden, by this time the couple had left

elinor from cork mandala community gardens talked about their experiences in cork, they have 6 gardens now up and running. they work very much with existing communities, they are growing and with many communities now asking for their assistance they have recieved some money, due to cork being “culture” capital i think, so they have some full time workers now.

darren and tom talked about their experiences with their squat garden in belfast which was a year old on paddys day. this was a piece of waste land that they cleaned up and turned into a fine garden, they talked abou the learning curve that went with the year and how the garden acts as a social space which has worked very well for the welbeing of their activist group

pears talked about the community garden he has just set up in st agnes community school in crumlin, he talked about how doing volunteer work with an “organisation” can be difficult in some areas but in others how it is very good, ie- a lot of money for purchase of tools, trees, seeds and other equipment

photos of the different gardens were passed around the group

we then had a talk about where to go from here.
at this point we knew that we were well late so we headed back while continuing the discussion en route

Grassroots Gathering website

Open Invitation to use a small space (seoidín’s shop)

greening the city

Cork Mandala of Community Gardens,

direct action against apathy
Guerilla Gardening A-Go-Go

Grassroots Gathering 9: Report Back

grassroots gatherings – past links

reply to this comment…

duncan, April 12, 2005 11:51:23 AM CEST
greening the city @ sheriff street

great day, trees planted, connections strengthened

yesterday the tree planters left from the brains collective warehouse (vegan cafe and bike workshops) @ northstrand, crossed the canal and swung a left on seville place into sheriff street community.

first stop the 1936 modern school with its own roof garden; St Lawrence O’Tooles senior boys school. Known better as Larriers, it where luke kelly and mícheal o`muirehuirtigh served their time.
We were warmly invited in and David Bailey who is doing a great job there, gardening with the kids, got 3rd class who were doing maths to come up to the roof where they each got a tree to put into a pot which will be taken home to their gardens soon.
The kids then went down and planted 3 birch trees in the little bit of green space there was there alongside the school carpark, there was a great amount of energy from the kids and many were telling us how they love to plant things, daffodils planted in boxes in the classroom windowsills could be seen. even the fish in the tank had a treat as many of the small worms found by the young gardeners were saved for them

next stop was into Gerry Fays shop, he is head of the north wall residents asociation and has done great work over the last 20 + years to fighting on behalf of the community. We went into him to tell him what we were up to and to find out what news there was in the area. Gerry told us how a new architectural competition had been devised for the area to create a new linear park alongside the canal, a great city amenity which is now completely off limits to the community. Gerry told us about the present lack of healthy green space in the area and the lack of “cultural buildings” in the new docklands that were promised to them by the DDDA, stack A being the example given; more shops and fancy reataurants. We asked Gerry about the possibility of creating a community garden in the “park”, he said it was a space for football but there is a little more space there now as the razor wire fence has been taken down.

we called into the building that houses the other 3 schools in the area, larry o’tooles junior boys, junior and senior girls. they have no green space and the boys had planted a few sastirsums that morning in pots. i went in to them for a little chat and was told all about their upcoming communion in a month and all the spiked dyed hairstyles they would have for the big day and how they would celebrate the day. one lucky granny is having her birthday the same day so the young lad is taking her out for a treat with the cash he will get.

next stop was into the womens centre where again we were very warmly greeted by Sylvia, this building is connected to the “little treasures” creche and it was in their lovley little garden that stories were told, songs sang, a garden cleared of its rubbish by the little workers, and a new tree planted. we were all kept in stitches by the little 3 year old comedian gary. after the tree planting we stayed in the womens centre kitchen and had tea and more banter, monto weddings and even plans for further weddings…….?

we called into Geraldine in the after schools project who are doing great work for the kids, they have 3 separate age groups and work out of wherever they can, as they have none of their own facilities.
so our next planting stop was in the garden of the parish priest, father Ivan, as his basement is used by the “smallies” after shcools group. here erik and his mates dug 2 holes and planted 2 ash trees. some of the kids parents were down to collect them and we had a chat about making an orchard in the park beside the playground. erik said he and his mates would take care of it if it happens, leah and some of the other girls said they would care for their 2 new trees they just planted in the garden.

so after our few hours wandering around sheriff street it was time to move on.

more pix

canal competition

reply to this comment…

duncan, April 13, 2005 1:38:09 PM CEST
dolphins barn community garden : now open

we got off to a late start, it was lashing rain but we went in and had the tree planting ceremony.
there was new faces, laughter, singing, messing, serious planning, getting wet, sheltering, planting, heading for tea

the garden has very good soil, possibly it was used as a garden in earlier years, on the OS map it is listed as allotments. We wandered around the site, there were no trees, we planted 3 hazel trees and 2 willow.

we then went up to the rich’s gaf for tea and bikis and had a chat about how we would like to see things progress and other matters. there was a lovely spirit in the group, most of who had not met each other before. we imagined how things might be in 3 years time.
hopefully the factory that the garden backs onto will be supportive and in time they might even allow us to use their wall for some muralismo

view full report with images

reply to this comment…

duncan, April 27, 2005 2:35:11 AM CEST
another garden started in city

still greening the city
announced greenway for city to head city planner, dick gleeson and to the 4 mayors of dublin


work begins on new garden for dolphin house, dolphins barn.

This morning work was begun on the new garden in Dolphin House. Willie Morrogh, from the city council, paul, eddie and myself took off sods of grass from ground beside the homework club for the area. Train sleepers had been obtained and will be used to contain the plants and vegetables that will soon be in the soil. The sods were placed on ground beside the playground which had been left bare since construction there.
the plot will be about 4x 2 metres, small enough, but a start none the less.

most of the flats are lived in, there are massive grassed areas between the flat blocks which have little activity happen in them (possibly this land could be turned into a bigger garden?)

there will be work later in dolphins barn community garden:

and there will be more work on this garden next week, all help welcome

dolphins barn community garden update: (c/o paul)

Hello there folks –

We had another productive evening in the Dolphin’s Barn community
garden. Lots of interesting developments.

1. Initial contact with locals:
We have begun contact with the local community. Kevin and Lara called
around to several local houses, delivering eight letters. Many people
were not in or did not answer the door, but they spoke to two or three
people, getting mixed reactions. One elderly lady was not impressed
with the idea at all at first, but later she turned out to be very
helpful. She told us about the possibility of the main access route to
the garden being blocked off.

2. Visit from Gardaí:
Two Gardaí visited us as we were digging up the garden. They are based
in Kevin St. Garda Station and were responding to a call from a local
resident, who notified them that there were people over by the canal.
They were very pleasant and reasonable. I asked them at one point if
there was any difficulty with what we were doing, and they said that
there was no problem. I don’t know what other people think, but I have
no issue with whoever called the Gardaí. They were obviously
concerned, and I think it’s perfectly reasonable that they check that
we’re not causing trouble or whatever. As it happened, it all worked
out very satisfactorily, and as a result, we now have a kind of
official imprimatur, as I see it!

3. Nature of our group:
It is now clear that the group is strengthening. There have been new
people present every night we have been at the garden. There also has
been a different dynamic, and a different core group present from one
night to the next. It is refreshing to see that the group is not
reliant on any one person or small group of people. We are becoming
more familiar and comfortable with each other also. It would be nice
to see some more women being involved, but things are looking good.

4. Gardening:
We dug up another row beside the potato bed. This involved pulling
aside lots of grass, turning over the soil, and creating a mound in
which to plant stuff. We also laid down carpet, cardboard and wooden
planks as ‘mulch’, to create a path between what we have planted and
to discourage the growth of weeds. (I think that’s what we were doing
anyway; forgive my ignorance if I’m off the mark!). Last night we
planted: scallions, onions, garlic, thyme, rosemary, parsley, and some
forget-me-not seeds. Apparently, the wall overlooking what we have dug
up faces south. You could still feel the warmth on the wall as the sun
was going down. This wall will reflect sunlight onto the soil. This
should encourage growth. We would be able to use string to plant stuff
such as peas which would grow up along the wall, or so I’m told.

5. Food:
Stewart brought loads of lovely food, and even boiled a kettle and
made tea. We shared out bread, cake, and some tasty spreads. Our
thanks to Stu, feeder of the hungry, and to Blazing Salads.

6. Pitstop Ploughshares:
From the Dublin Catholic Worker came Ciaron and Damien, and they were
shown around the garden. They were very encouraging about the project.

7. Tools:
There are now tools stashed on site, so if anybody is free they can
head on down and do some digging. There is a spade and maybe some
other tools under some carpet alongside the main beds.

8. Contacts:
Dunk called down and said that he met many supportive contacts through
the Convergence festival. I also spoke with somebody who is interested
in attempting something similar in the East Wall area of Dublin. Dunk
was in touch with somebody involved with the city council who is very
enthusiastic. This person is going to be in the area doing a community
garden and playground on Tuesday morning at 10 am, but I’ll let Dunk
give us fuller details of this.

9. Indymedia night at Seodín’s:
Also on Tuesday, in the evening, there will be a little indymedia
workshop. I believe this will include making a feature of the tree
walk and community garden.

10. Convergence Earth Fair: – this outdoor fair is
taking place in the Temple Bar area of Dublin on Saturday throughout
the day. Our spy Lara has infiltrated the event as a volunteer. There
should be loads of environmental punters hanging around on Saturday,
so if anyone has a chance to make up leaflets to give out, or to go
down there and set up some kind of stall, or to bring a soapbox to
stand on and spoof about the community garden, then go for it.

11. Mayors’ conference:
Also on Saturday, the mayors of the four different administrative
divisions are coming together to discuss ‘A Vision for Dublin’, or
‘Building a Fair Dublin’, or some such. I believe Dunk will be there
and if anyone else is interested here’s a link:

12. Next meeting/gathering:
Obviously people can feel free to go ahead and garden independently.
As far as our next gathering goes, apart from the events above, it
looks like Thursday evenings are solidifying as a regular gathering.
So next Thursday at half six…

That’s about all from me; I really should be working… So thanks to
Stu, Kevin, Seamus, Lara, Damien, Ciaron, Dunk, Tony, Katie, the two
Gardaí, and all the locals. If there’s anything I’ve
missed/misrepresented let’s have it!

Enjoy the weekend, y’all…


reply to this comment…

aog, July 11, 2005 2:25:17 PM CEST

I’d like to get involved in the community gardening in this area. Is work still going on? How do I link up with you?


duncan, May 9, 2005 5:06:41 PM CEST
greening city, connecting communities update:


1- Dolphins barn community garden
2- EASA community
3- Moore street
4- Chamber Court and Weaver Court
5- Eco city and greenway progress


how it could be (further development of the proces that could make the idea a reality)
from new york to dolphins barn- greening our world


in sincere and thoughtful response to my fellow EASAians


is this the death of moore street?


The Sale of the Century continues in Dublin 8… (Chamber Court and Weaver Court Redevelopment Group)
earlier related info :
dublin city stuff (vids, audio, photos) c/o IMC-Éire Kev


eco city and greenway progress
convergence 7- feedback

reply to this comment…

duncan, May 21, 2005 12:48:32 PM CEST
euro greenway conference for dublin- will it lead to implementation of the botanic spine?

catalyst @ botanic spine

catalyst @ botanic spine – logo

greenway for dublin city

18km ecological corridor for city

dublins green and blue spaces

spine threads through city parks

spine as urban regenerator

sheriff st park, royal canal park and liffey park, green bridge

sheriff street park : stuff to do

botanic spine mimics somewhat the structure and function of the human spine. A network of different systems flowing through the spine; plant and animal life, people, water, cycle route, metro line, digital info, hurling fans heading up to Croker for the big game?
It connects up to the botanic gardens and this acts as the brain of the scheme, as a node in a global ecological network: greening the city, improving plant and animal life along green corridors, raising awareness and getting citizens involved with exciting eco initiatives.

international velo-city conference is happening may 31st- june 3rd here in Dublin.
“Dublin is delighted to welcome people from all over the world to the 15th Velo-city conference. The Velo-city series of conferences is unlike any other transportation conference worldwide”.
As part of this there will be 1st Docklands City Cycle

as part of this conference there is a european greenways conference, which is an ideal opportunity to further try to make the botanic spine a reality.

dublin tomorrow?

there will be upcoming dublin city greenway cycles around the botanic spine over summer months in conjunction with dublin cycling campaign
we had the first greenway cycle last tuesday morning
article about this in irish media

while it is all parkland and canal at ground level on the botanic spine, underground we would hope to have dublins new metro, in conjunction with platform 11’s plans, put there using the cut and cover technique rather than a tunnel under the city centre.

main new station of the rail development will happen at Spencer Dock development which “is the biggest and most ambitious urban regeneration project in Ireland’s history and will include luxury waterside apartments, distinctive offices, retail, a linear park and local amenities for leisure activities. ”

For the purposes of the Linear Park Competition , the designers should assume a project budget of €15M.

more greening dublin info

Green Dublin eBulletin

convergence 7 + feedback

a new community garden for dublin- Bringing Nature to Man’s Domain

dublins first green and blue wander, expect more over summer months

reply to this comment…

duncan, January 17, 2006 2:43:24 PM CET
linked update

this discussion can be followed
that eco city idea is starting to take off in china

or equally
View Botanic Spine website

detailed plan PDF here

or view
The Architecture, Urbanism and Art of Duncan Crowley

reply to this comment…

duncan, April 28, 2006 6:05:04 PM CEST
buildings as trees, cities as forests

the linear park competition for the royal canal was won by french landscapers agence ter, cant find a website for them and very few images

heres links about them
odd directory type links:

heres their link on competition online
on which you can view the third prize

another interesting ark is the french dude edouard françois who makes buildings grow green hair

duncan, October 28, 2006 12:45:38 PM CEST
CATALYST @ Botanic Spine – content of architectural thesis 2005

“Greening the City, Connecting Communities”: Ideas and attempts to move Dublin toward being a more healthy, safe and ecological city.

Botanic Spine: A theoretical proposal for an 18km long orbital eco corridor/ greenway for Dublin city which threads through and connects many of the cities inner city communities and pocket parks, new organic food gardens, the entire inner city waterway network and a proposed new city underground metro route.

The CATALYST: A detailed exploration, analysis and architectural response to one of the areas that the greenway weaves through, Sheriff Street. This site was specifically chosen as it is one of Dublin’s inner city dockland communities that has seen huge social exclusion and neglect over the years but whose very existence is today being threatened due to its physical position in the heart of Ireland’s Celtic tiger boom area for commercial development. I supported the communities resistance to “ethnic cleansing by economic means” and proposed the idea that in this ever growing city quarter, their park and the surrounding derelict and no-go areas should become a new catalyst for living: An initiave to integrate both the new and old communities of the changing area through a redesign of the 330 metre park with a series of radical new buildings, outdoor spaces, amenities, routes to roam and a new connection from it to the canal which had been previously off limits to the community.

Real world activism: Unlike other architectural thesi in my university, I tried to turn the architectural idea i was exploring into a physical reality with groups both inside and outside Sheriff Street. A bottom up approach was always followed with direct engagement with the local communities but information was also sent to the officials at the top to inform them of what we were working toward. We did a week long tree planting walk along the spine, giving out young native Irish species trees to community centres, homeless hostels, womens centres and schools. The walk began in Sheriff street and that started a dialogue with the community. We submitted the thesis idea to some of the other local communities on the spine, to local media and on community radio, to local council authorities and the head city architect and head city planner. We set up 2 community organic gardens on the spine as initial attempts to turn it into a CPUL (continous productive urban landscape), with the first of these, Dolphins Barn garden in Dublin 8, being another of the most socially excluded parts of the city. In an ongoing process to push the idea of the greenway as a new city walking and bike route we submitted the idea to the Heritage council and an Taisce, as well as setting up monthly bike rides along the loop and invited people to join us.

duncan, January 31, 2007 7:36:59 PM CET
Dolphins Barn community garden # 3 : Sallys bridge

year 1 – dolphins barn garden @ white heather factory
year 2 – Finglas school
year 3 – Sallys bridge

explanation of color coding

red outline : proposal for new site
yellow outline : existing individual plots still being cultivated by people of Llymore terrace
yellow blob : rough position of Margerets house, our main contact in the community.
blue outline : boundary of the mosque on South Circular Road

We were successful in gaining a 1000 Euro grant and it is hoped that this land will be the new garden, to work in conjunction with the canal communities grant.

Also if anyones interested in reading a super little book about gardening and farming in cities then check out

Belltown Paradise / Making Their Own Plans


reply to this comment…

duncan, April 17, 2008 7:58:06 PM CEST
CATALYST @ Botanic Spine: presented in BCN + some project vids

“CATALYST @ Botanic Spine”
was presented in EIG last monday, audio and vid reports to follow. Presently there are some vids online about the project.


BUILDING, 1 of many: Sports block

more vids…
Botanic Spine : Sheriff street park part 1
Botanic Spine : Sheriff street park part 2
Botanic Spine : Sheriff street park part 3
Botanic Spine : Sheriff street park part 4
Sports building 1
Sports building 2
Sports building 3

since finishing the thesis, i now live, work and play in Barcelona, and recently had the privelage to meet with and begin collaboration with Bill Mc Donough on eco projects for BCN

meanwhile in Dublin
theres plans to develop area around the spine with buildings on stilts
heres a photo

and plan

more info on archiseek

and EASA 2008 team for Ireland are making and recieving good press in build up to Letterfrack, I made a proposal “the magical journey of BOLD-ness and beauty”, but unfortunately it was rejected….
a lot has happened from those early days in Berlin @ 2001 when Ireland returned from being a lost country.

and lastly heres a few youtube links found showing some of the stuff that goes on in northside inner city dublin

theres sheriffer for ya
fighting nd joyridin on da northside


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