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"There have been a lot of bad buildings and bad spaces created in Dublin"

Thinking outside the box.

what if dublin

‘There have been a lot of bad buildings and bad spaces created in Dublin. It would be better if we could let people who have more emotional attachment to Dublin [...] invest their energy into creating not just something that will benefit a few people, but will benefit the city in the long term, and something that everyone can engage in.That will make it a better city for people to live in, at the end of the day’ – What If Dublin

IF YOU COULD come up with any idea to improve Ireland’s capital city, what would it be?

Maybe it would be something small, like this:

Or a bigger venture, like this:

That’s the thinking behind What If Dublin, a collective of architects and designers who believe there must be a better way of approaching what happens in and to Dublin.

It’s an approach that could surely be replicated around Ireland.

Who are they?

TheJournal.ie spoke to one of the trio behind What If Dublin (who didn’t want to be named – they want the focus to be on their work, not their faces) about what they want to achieve.

At the moment, What If Dublin is based on Twitter, where it invites comments, ideas and suggestions from anyone with an interest in moving Dublin forward. There are plans to set up a website and blog.

It will also play a part in the St Patrick’s Day celebrations this year, with a number of tactile and thought-provoking installations, giving back “power to the people” planned for around the city

“It’s not about us – it’s more about getting people’s opinions and creating topics that are current at the moment, the spaces that are overlooked. What are the possibilities with these spaces? How can you improve Dublin?” said one of the What If Dublin team.

We are quite creative people and we are sick and tired of all the best sites in  Dublin and best opportunities taken up by people with little forward thinking. There’s a lot of bad stuff going on in the city and we’d like to give a voice to some of the young generation coming through.

“Maybe something will come from it or maybe not; maybe it’s a bit of fun,” he added.

One of the projects they’re looking at is redeveloping the Liffey area in the centre of Dublin city. It’s “the heart of the city”, and they want people to reengage with it.

Ideas include creating a linear park along the area.

What If Dublin say it’s all about “sharing our ideas and possibilities” and “thinking outside the box”, asking “what’s the bigger picture?” and “how can we really engage with the city?”.

The trio are heavily influenced by Group 91, a gathering of architects from the 1980s and 1990s in Ireland who helped kickstart the regeneration of Temple Bar and Meeting House Square.

Looking to the future

Right now, the focus is on ideas, with the possibility of approaching Dublin City Council with potential projects.

The hope is to get people on board, including politicians. Long-term, the aim is to create an exhibition and book on the findings of this “social experiment”, and see if that book could then be used as a way to push some of these ideas forward.

The trio – they’re soon to grow to five people – say their ideas are not just for architects or creative people, they’re for anyone who’s interested in the future of Dublin.

Keep an eye on what they’re up to at their Twitter page.

Read: The Rising: Sinn Féín is booking out the Ambassador Theatre for most of 2016>

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