Bottom-Up Urbanism

Image Sheet-Bottom up Urb

Upon hearing the good word that the curators of The Pop-Up City blog are headed to Dublin to discover what “Irish bottom-up urbanism look[s] like, and how can the world learn from it,” I thought I’d put together my own list of initiatives that I know of. The list will no doubt be incomplete, biased, and may even contain a selfish plug or two, but it might go part way to documenting some of the great things going on in the city. Perhaps this will be part of a series of posts . . . 

A little background first. The Pop-Up City blog is an Amsterdam-based blog that “explores the latest designs, trends and ideas that shape the city of the future.” It focuses on flexible urbanism and architecture initiatives that seek to tackle problems and reimagine contemporary urban life. Pivot Dublin is hosting them as part of the Bloggers in Residence program. Between April 4th and 18th, the Pop-Up City blog will be posting 10 articles dedicated to Dublin and “its take on creative bottom-up urbanism and culture.” Pop-Up City and Pivot Dublin are participating in the Offset conference on Sunday at 5pm which will no doubt be great to check out.

So, to my list! I’ll list eight key initiatives that I think best reflect bottom-up urbanism in Dublin (in no particular order):

1) Urban Farm: Andrew Dougie Douglas set up the Rooftop Farm on Kings Inns St. with part funding from He’ll be growing food, raising chickens and fish, setting up indoor aquaponics allotments, and making honey as part of his attempt to research and demonstrate how urban agriculture, educational courses, and community support can be combined to ensure, hyper-local fresh food year round.

2) The Sheep Pen ParkletDublin piloted the first ever parklet in Ireland last September. It premiered as part of Parking Day 2012 and lasted for two weeks. It was designed and built by David Andrews (umm, that’s me) in partnership with the (fantastic) Black Sheep Pub on Capel St., and supported (and funded) by Dublin City Beta. Here’s to hoping parklets will become a permanent feature of the urban landscape in Dublin!!

3) Streetfeast: An initiative set up by Sam Bishop that sought to inspire people from all over the city (and country) to hold a pop up meal on a June afternoon to highlight the need and benefits of communal eating. This year’s Streetfeast is planned for June 23rd.

4) Smithfield ArtTunnel: A derelict site along the Luas line was transformed by Sophie von Maltzan into a local community space that showcases Irish art.

5) This is an amazing interactive, online map presenting a vision of Dublin through its stories and storytellers.

6) Sitric Road Community Garden: This is a tiny community garden set up by Kaethe Burt O’dea and the local community in Stoneybatter that showcases how unused corners of land can be transformed into productive landscapes. The garden community arranges a host of events right on the surrounding streets, demonstrating how the urban streetscape can be reimagined and repurposed to become an engaging public space.

7) Upstart: Keep your eye out for this one! In the works now for over a year, the team behind this are aiming to make a pop-up park by temporarily transforming a derelict site in Dublin city centre into a “thriving visitor playground” to host a range of community events, workshops, meals, music, etc. (Disclaimer: I am a volunteer on the site design group for this project. Oh and Sam Bishop (Streetfeast) is behind this one too).

8) Dublin City BetaDublin City Beta is an initiative set up by Dublin City Council (DCC) to quickly and temporarily trial new, positive ideas within the urban streetscape. While it facilitates a number of great bottom-up urbanism projects (some of which should have made this list) it is in and of itself, an urbanism initiative. While it may not actually be bottom-up, it certainly is a great example of the top end helping the bottom end to get their ideas onto the streets.

OK. There you have it; eight of the best bottom-up urbanism initiatives happening in Dublin, right now. There are no doubt more (and better) examples so let me know what I am missing!

Posted by: Dave Andrews

2 thoughts on “Bottom-Up Urbanism

  1. elaineedmonds

    Reblogged this on doublEEco and commented:
    Yet another great post by Dave Andrews on popup and bottom up initiatives in Dublin. You will see some of these coming up on the blog in the near future as I partake/assist or generally promote them in the next while.

  2. Tom Rowley

    Tom here from Storymap. Thanks very much for the mention, great to be featured among the initiatives listed! Funnily enough I’d bumped into those ‘Popupcity’ fellas by chance the other day in a part-time acommodation job I do, so fingers crossed they check out the site.


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