Shane « Designing Dublin: Learning to Learn

Archive for the ‘Shane’ Category

Should the fruit and veg market be a SUPERmarket?

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

Would something like this suit the Dublin Corporation Fruit and Vegetable Market building?

It was also covered on Channel 4…watch here.

Where is all the fun and frolics happening in the City? The Markets!

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Where is all the fun and frolics happening in the City? The Markets!

Well…no…apparently not.

Many people that we spoke to on the street felt that the Markets Area was “empty”, “quiet”, “shabby”, “industrial”, “officey”, “functional”, “dreary”…not exactly a fun place to visit then!

As part of our distilling processes (ie where we review what people had said to us on the streets or as we went around visiting them at their workplace), we noticed 11 main themes. These were (in no particular order)…

  1. Lack of Identity / Vision
  2. Lack of Navigation
  3. Lack of Knowing the System (of the area)
  4. Lack of Fun and Lightness
  5. Lack of Safety
  6. Lack of Diversity and Vibrancy
  7. Lack of Communication
  8. Lack of Facilities
  9. Lack of Linkages
  10. Lack of Ownership / Citizenship
  11. Lack of Diversity of Businesses

I’m looking at item 4 above…lack of fun and lightness in the area.

Wish me luck! :)

How near is the Markets Area?

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

This photo is taken from Smithfield…literally just on the other side of the Jameson Distillery (from the main plaza). How near is the Markets Area to Smithfield? How near is it to O’Connell Street and Henry Street?

Very near.

Although it’s usually not at all obvious.

In the above photo, the main building you can see is the side of the Jervis Shopping Centre. Way before that you can (just about) see the single-storey markets building. How near is that!

Lots of people we’ve spoken to, have asked for better Smithfield-to-Markets Area link. It should be fairly simple to do.

Is the Fruit & Veg market welcoming to the public?

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

Would you know you can go shopping here? If yes, would you feel welcomed?

“Open to the Public” is a slightly strange phase…it’s a bit like saying that it’s not actually meant for the public, but we’re going to let you come in if you want.

So just trip over the stray binding (remember those personal claims ads on the TV where a woman trips over one of these in her office?), squeeze through the half-open (half welcoming) door, past the warning all-the-things-you-shouldn’t-do signage, squeeze past the pallets in your way, then try and find the one or two spots inside that deal with members of the public.

Most (2/3rds?) of the general people (ie not traders) that we’ve spoken to around the Markets Area have asked to be able to use the markets as a place to buy small amounts of fruit, veg and ideally other items (such as fish or meat)…perhaps only a few simple things need fixing in order for them to feel that they can.

We’ve been out listening…

Monday, January 31st, 2011

We’ve been out listening to people in the Markets Area…and it’s been great. There are very different, and generally non-mixing worlds…the law groups, people visiting for the free meals (in the Cappochin centre just off Church Street), the market traders, people living in the area, and then people who just use the area as a through route on their way into town or work.

We’re now just starting to distil what people have told us…and then we’ll head back out onto the streets to fill in any gaps that we notice are missing. Keep an eye out for us!

‘City Markets’

Monday, January 24th, 2011

I noticed this poster on a Luas Stop yesterday. It was an art competition (I can’t see anything on their website to link to, sorry) and this was the winning entry.

Notice how the markets don’t feature – which I thought was surprising for such a colourful area of the city (the type of thing that would feature in an image like this)…they don’t really exist in the public’s perception of the city. I hope we can change that.

I’ve noticed that people often don’t know what to call the area, and describe is as “the markets beside Capel Street” or “just off Church Street” or “east of Smithfield”…it’s as though it doesn’t have an identity of its own. This report calls the area ‘City Markets’ which I like as a name…that’s what I’m going to call it from now on (unless I come across a better name later on).

Technology in the Markets Area – Ronni Tino

Monday, January 24th, 2011

A technology guru called Ronni Tino came in to give us an inspirational talk.

He said that “cities are sort of macro technology”, a “tool to solve a problem in a creative way”. I liked the idea of cities as a tool, makes it seem more manageable in a way.

He mentioned a ‘Talking Tree’ project ( and which you might like to check out.

Afterwards we went around the Markets Area to see if any new ideas came to mind, with a technological slant. Again my aim was to try to address the 6 priority themes that I mentioned in my last post.

These were mine…

What ideas might work in the Markets Area?

Monday, January 24th, 2011

We went back through our original ideas to see whether any of them might be of us to us in the Markets Area. I picked out these…

I chose these as I felt that they fitted under what people told us were the main challenges as to why they do not visit or live in Dublin City Centre (they arose in the below priority)…

  1. Ownership & Communication (eg how do I get my nearby park opened later in the evening…who’s in charge of that?)
  2. Environmental Reason (eg the noise of the city, the canals are dirty, not enough trees…etc)
  3. Moving About (paths are too narrow especially when it’s raining and people have umbrellas up, public transport connections are useless…etc)
  4. Safety & Street Hassles (gangs on the street, people begging while I’m at the ATM, people stopping me to donate to charity)
  5. Expense (“as soon as I go into town, I know it’s going to cost me money!”)
  6. (What we are calling) Added Value (Why don’t parks open later, why do galleries only open during hours when people are at work, could we have more late-night places?…etc)

    Specifically for the Markets area, I thought the below might also help with either the above themes or to raise its profile.

    Choosing our Prototype Area

    Monday, January 24th, 2011

    We’ve chosen the Markets Area to prototype in. Eimear blogs as to why we chose that area.

    I’d like to add that I’m delighted with our final choice. It just feels right, and is pretty much the area I’d felt our information was pointing us to look at (my area was B4 above). It has pretty much everything we were looking for, and the no. 1 and n0.2 areas in the City that people told us needed more love were Smithfield and O’Connell Street. By helping the Markets area, we can indirectly help both. It has a good scale for our budget and timetable, and has buckets of potential.

    I can’t wait to get stuck in! :)

    We’ll be right back after this (non commercial) break

    Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

    We’re taking a few weeks off over Christmas. It’ll be a great time for us to mull over what we’ve learnt and I expect to come back with fresh eyes.

    I hope you all have a great Christmas, and see you in the New Year.

    (P.S. I’m planning on a complete break, but might be tempted to write the odd blog posting or two!)