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Dermot Bannon: 'People could end up stuck in modular homes for ten years'

The architect and presenter of Room to Improve said Ireland needs to work on building communities – not just houses.


ARCHITECT DERMOT BANNON has said he is worried temporary solutions to the housing crisis like modular homes could become permanent.

Bannon, who presents RTÉ’s Room to Improve, was speaking to this week at the launch of the broadcaster’s new season. He said this kind of temporary accommodation is “not really creating proper communities”.

“It’s not a hotel room, but it’s still emergency accommodation. We really need to be focusing on building our towns allow them to expand really quickly,” he said.

I have no issue with modular housing, no issue with it, but I’ve a fear that if you put somebody into temporary accommodation which is a little better than a hotel room they’re going to be stuck there in five years and possible ten years’ time. What we need to be looking at is creating proper communities, little hubs with shops supermarkets, proper facilities and schools and then we expand out from that.

“You can’t build a skeleton without a spine and that’s something we haven’t been doing too well, building the spine first and then hanging off all the ribs.”

Bannon said there are enough houses in Dublin for everyone to live in, but the problem is that there is no turnover.

“There’s lots and lots of people, one person living in a four-bed house and then there lots of families squeezed into two bed houses or in hotels,” he explained.

“We have to get that mix right. We just have to look at how we’re designing our cities.”

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He said that while a hotel room gives people a bed to sleep in at night, a home for most people is “not just a roof over their heads”.

“It’s the community they live in, it’s their friends, it’s the sports clubs, it’s maybe the church, it’s all of those things, that’s what gives us a life. Everything else is just existing,” he said.

“People in hotel rooms and in temporary accommodation, you’ll exist, you’ll be fine, you’ll be warm, you’ll be fed but I don’t think you’ll have a full life and that’s what I think we should be aiming to give people, a full life.”

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