In 2015, Dublin was criticised for its minimal efforts to monitor, protect and improve air quality. In a study conducted by Friends of the Earth in Germany and the European Environment Bureau, Ireland’s capital came 18th out of 23 European countries surveyed. Pollution and global warming don’t seem to have been factored into city planning in Dublin in any major way until now – indeed, the Dublin City Development Plan 2016–2022 currently being voted on is described as the first to ‘address climate change in its own right.’
But Dublin is beginning to take eco-friendly planning solutions seriously. The city council just financed five tech start-ups to come up with ways to improve the city’s cycling networks, covering everything from GPS obstacle tracking systems to intelligent bike lights. The five companies – including County Down‘s See Sense and HidnSeek, developed by a former employee at Intel’s Leixlip office – were given a lump sum of €12,500 to develop their prototype over three months, before competing against each other for another round of funding.
Meanwhile, councillors voted on Friday to increase residential building heights outside the city centre from four to five floors in an attempt to address housing shortages and urban sprawl. However, they rejected calls from the business consultant group IBEC and Dublin Chamber of Commerce to allow for higher buildings to be built in the general city centre.
They voted to uphold the current maximum of eight floors outside of certain high-rise areas, well below the average of most major cities. The same vote saw areas intended for new housing development in South Dublin being kept as parkland and playing pitches for residents.