Promoting a healthy lifestyle in Dublin is most definitely becoming an increasing priority in planning for the growth of the city. Providing better public transport links and improving facilities for cyclists and pedestrians is an integral part of Dublin City Council’s 2011-2017 Development Plan - outlined in depth in chapter five of the plan. Providing more sports and recreational facilities is also a growing priority in the development of Dublin.
Improving facilities for pedestrians is also a growing priority in recent years. The main shopping street in the city center, Grafton Street was pedestrianised in 1982 and a number of others, over the River Liffey, are pedestrian only. The Public Realm Strategy – Your City, Your Space was adopted in 2011 by Dublin City Council to improve pedestrian services in the city by removing potential hindrances such as street furniture and excessive signage.
The growing popularity of Dublin’s dublinbike public bicycle rental scheme shows that when they are available, Dubliners do want to use health conscious, environmentally friendly services. The dublinbike scheme is considered one of the most successful public bicycle rental schemes in the world and there are plans to expand the service to Irelands next three largest cities.
The recent visit of the Giro d’Italia and the success of the dublinbike scheme prove that cycling can be a central feature in the promotion of a healthy lifestyle for Dublin.
The distances travelled by some commuters to Dublin’s city center for work mean that growing car ownership must be combatted with improved public transport links.
A significant advancement in recent months, in the planned improvements of Dublin’s transport links, is the apparent revival of the DART Underground plan. Although no official announcement has been made, Irish Rail has issued compulsory purchase orders to a number or city center retailers and homeowners on the sites of the planned development. Plans for the DART Underground were put on hold in 2011 due to Irelands poor economic situation.
The DART Underground line is planned to run under the south side of the city center. It will link up with a surface DART station in Inchicore to the west of the city center with trains servicing the growing population of the Northern, Kildare and Maynooth lines, which are the fastest growing population corridors in Ireland.
Maximizing the use of public transport in Dublin must become a greater priority if a significant change is to been seen in pollution and congestion in the city. There has been an increase in public transport cash fares in recent years, which again reinforces a dependency on private cars. Why bother travelling on public transport if the financial savings made are minimal?
In 2012 almost €11 million was allocated to a number of sports facilities in Dublin by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport under the Sports Capital Programme (SCD). The programme aims to “develop high quality, safe, well-designed, sustainable facilities in appropriate locations and to provide appropriate equipment to help maximize participation in sport and physical recreation.” Fostering a healthy lifestyle through proper planning is clearly an integral factor of the SCD, which also prioritizes underprivileged areas in the provision of its grants.
How have local authorities and planners in your city promoted a healthy lifestyle through urban planning?
Credits: Images by Rebecca Mullen. Data linked to sources.