Vision and Themes

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Our Vision

"To create a world class sustainable maritime quarter with a distinctive Dublin character, where family, community, visitors and the economy can prosper together" 

The vision is that the Docklands SDZ will become a world-class maritime quarter with a distinctive Dublin character. It will be a model of sustainable inner city regeneration incorporating socially inclusive urban neighbourhoods, a diverse, green innovation-based economy contributing to the prosperity of the locality, the city and the country, all supported by exemplary social and physical infrastructure and a quality public realm integrated with the wider city.

From Vision to High-Level Themes

The translation of the vision for the Docklands SDZ into a coherent, sustainable plan to achieve a successful, thriving Docklands quarter for Dublin City necessitates the application of some themes. The themes are distilled from an analysis of the development of the Docklands to date, allied to the future needs of the city and its residents. These key themes are not self-contained, rather they are cross-cutting and will form the basis by which the Planning Scheme and all future proposals under the scheme will be tested. There are six key themes as follows:


(i) - Sustainability

The sustainability theme imbues both the City Development Plan 2011 - 2017 and the Docklands Masterplan 2008 – 2013 and is a key overriding principle for the SDZ Planning Scheme. The City Council has developed the Framework for Sustainable Dublin (FSD) as a way of thinking and as a tool to help tackle the challenge of climate change, the post-carbon economy and social cohesion at city and local level. 
The sustainability theme is built around a shared vision for sustainability based on meaningful civic governance centred on community engagement. There are compelling reasons for pursuing sustainability in the Docklands, not only in the obvious areas of flood management, energy conservation and sustainable movement, but also as a contribution to reducing urban sprawl, enhancing the green economy, creating a more healthy, socially inclusive, and ultimately a more resilient city.


(ii) - Economic Renewal and Employment

The Docklands SDZ is of national economic and social importance to the State and is ideally placed to build on the economic synergies which have happened to date in order to contribute a real competitive edge to the Dublin region. For example, the IFSC has grown to become a centre for green technology industry whilst Google and Facebook not only employ thousands of people but have put the Docklands on the international map. 
The Docklands SDZ area is ideally placed to promote for the full range of international, national, and local enterprise, by virtue of the variety of sites available, the proximity to the city centre, a unique waterfront setting, and the potential for collaboration with employers in the area. It is an integral part of this high-level theme that the Planning Scheme provides for a range of employment uses, from large-scale FDI types, to small local support services, including start-up units. It is also important that there should be a variety of tenures available – long-term, short-term and temporary, to contribute to the economic vitality of the SDZ area and surroundings.


(iii) - Quality of Living

It is a strong theme of the SDZ Planning Scheme that it must be a model of contemporary living, providing a quality lifestyle for both existing and future residents with good access to employment.

In order to build sustainable communities and neighbourhoods, the Docklands SDZ Planning Scheme will provide for a variety of housing typologies to cater for residents at all stages of their life-cycle. A good quality of living also requires a safe, supportive, external environment,

Incorporating recreational facilities, public spaces, life-affirming social infrastructure, including any necessary educational facilities.

A quality living environment also includes integration with green infrastructure and, as such, it is a key principle to promote a green/ blue network providing public access recreational and bio-diversity opportunities, particularly along all the water bodies.


(iv) - Identity

The fourth major theme is to create a distinctive Dublin maritime quarter. It is this unique character which will distinguish Dublin Docklands on the global stage. This can be achieved on a number of fronts, including reimagining the existing heritage to providing for new active uses and providing a context for a rich urban landscape.

The cultural heritage of the area should inform the character of the area across all aspects – built form, quality of civic spaces, entertainment uses, public sculpture, bridges over water bodies, views and vistas into and out of the area etc. Paramount to the new maritime identity is design excellence married to a diversity of uses, to achieve successful urban place-making. Of course, the maritime quarter must be integrated with the rest of the city, including Dublin Port, while retaining its character.


(v) - Infrastructure


The provision of good infrastructure, both physical and social, is a theme which includes and supports the delivery of the first four themes. 
The physical infrastructure includes drainage, water supply, electricity, gas, telecommunications and flood management, all of which are necessary to promote quality neighbourhoods, employment and a good ecological environment.

Social infrastructure such as education, healthcare and community facilities are a necessary part of sustainable neighbourhoods in the Docklands.


(vi) - Movement & Connectivity


This key theme is also necessary to enable the first four key themes to be delivered successfully and involves extending connectivity not only eastwards into the city centre, but north and south.

It is also part of this High-Level Theme to improve connectivity within the SDZ area, by making a safe and efficient public realm which caters for walking, cycling, public transport and the car. Increased connectivity across and along the water bodies is also a component of this key theme.


For more information on our vision and themes, please refer to Chapter 3 of the North Lotts and Grand Canal Dock Planning Scheme 2014


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