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Dublin City's Weaver Park nominated for a European urban park prize

The park, located in the heart of the Liberties, was opened in September last year.

DUBLIN CITY’S WEAVER Park, built as a green space in the heart of the Liberties, has been nominated for a European public space prize.

The park, which officially opened last September, features a playground and a skatepark as well as green open areas for multifunctional use. The park is part of Dublin City Council’s Greening Strategy for the Liberties, as that area of Dublin has a significantly lower percentage of green spaces per person compared to people who live in other areas of Dublin.

DSC_0805 Source: Gráinne Ní Aodha

Áit

Gavin Foy, landscape architect with Áit, who designed Weaver Park, said that the design was largely based on submissions from residents in the area about what kind of park they wanted.

“It’s pretty exciting,” he said.

Foy said that the community had a huge part to play in the design of the park; Sk8 D8, city councillors, parents and other locals all made submissions on what they wanted the park to be.

“During the design process we worked with the community groups, and found out what they wanted and it was a process of distillation from that. It was that kind of process of whittling it down, until we achieved a broad consensus on what would work for everybody.”

That made it tricky to decide on what to include and what to leave out, in what’s a relatively small space for a park.

“You have a lot of aspirations and you can’t make everybody happy,” Foy said.

So I suppose the skaters would have liked the entire park being a skate park, but you have to try to see that there are skaters here who want the park, but there’s also parents who want a place for their kids to play, other who want to walk around the park, and others who want to sit in it.

The design makes dual-use of as many things as possible.

“So you see things like the skate bowl, which is obviously a designated skating feature. But a lot of the concrete walls in the park are also ‘skateable’. So it’s providing edges where skaters can hop up on them, but can also be used for seating so it’s multifunctional in a way.”

DSC_0788 Source: Gráinne Ní Aodha

Foy said that they included a central green lawn in the design in order that it can be used for a variety of functions including markets and small events.

One of the things that came out of the consultation would that it would be multifunctional, and that it could potentially be used for events whether that be a street market – so that was one reason for making the park quite open.

“You can erect a marquee or something in the summer.”

DSC_0807 Source: Gráinne Ní Aodha

The park has been nominated for a European Prize for Urban Public Space, which is an awards initiative run by the Centre of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona (CCCB).

Nominees are chosen through the CCCB’s board of experts selecting recently completed public areas in Europe that ”foster the public character of urban spaces and their capacity for fostering social cohesion”.

The prize, in highlighting the relational and civic aspects of the typically urban space, thus differs from other initiatives that are focused on the figure of the architect, and from awards given for landscape-centred projects.

Read: ‘It’s been jammers’: Dublin just got its first new public park in 8 years

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