Dublin Makes Me


Well designed places have a huge impact on people’s quality of life. They are also important in encouraging investment and business opportunities.

This was highlighted in the recently published Dublin Action Plan for Jobs….‘Dublin’s development needs to be environmentally sustainable in the longer term….There is a strong interplay between a well-designed urban planning framework and enterprise development. This Action Plan for Jobs highlights the importance of place-making in Dublin’s attractiveness for investment and talent…’

On Friday March 11th, Dublin Makes Me, a series of remarkable events to celebrate Dublin as a city of creativity and innovation, will launch at South by South West (SXSW) in Austin, Texas. SXSW is an annual tech, music and film festival attended by 75,000 aficionados. It’s been going for the last 30 years, but in more recent incarnations has become a favourite of the tech industry in the US and globally. SX is also a festival where cities lay out their innovation stalls before a global audience – Detroit, Berlin, London, DC – and this year, for the very first time, Dublin. Our objective in Austin is to put Dublin firmly on the innovation map for key industry influencers and to attract them – investors, media and serial entrepreneurs – to our fair city to see Irish innovation first hand and on a company-by-company basis.

This will mean talking about our city’s people and neighbourhoods, the challenges we face, how we meet them, the potential that’s there.

We’re also hoping to learn.



One project that City Architects is pursuing this year is a pilot programme around community led regeneration of the built environment. Called ‘FrameWork’, it’s inspired by a successful initiative run by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) called the Design Assistance Team programme (which has been running for 50 years). FrameWork will introduce the Design Assistance programme to Ireland on a pilot basis to test how it can work in the Irish context. FrameWork will launch in the next few weeks so more about that later. However, it’s very interesting that Austin Texas is one city that has benefitted from the AIA’s Design Assistance programme.

When the AIA Design Assistance programme was first invited to Austin in late 1989, the city’s downtown was in the economic doldrums following the failure of the Savings and Loan industry and the general economic decline across the United States. Retail had substantially left the central city, the office vacancy rate was at the highest nationally for any metropolitan area and the downtown residential community was limited to a few separated apartment units and several twenty year old condominium units. A key recommendation from the Design Assistance process was that a downtown management organization, a form of public improvement district, be created to be the voice and advocate for Austin’s downtown. This was actioned and since then, Austin’s downtown has grown from strength to strength. Several successful Design Assistance processes have happened in Austin since the, most recently in 2013, when the city brought a Team to look at the South Central Waterfront.

It will be great to see this first-hand and hear from the people involved.

Dublin Makes Me is an initiative of the Dublin Commissioner for Startups Niamh Bushnell, helped by Sarah Leahy and Cathal O’Sullivan. It’s sponsored by Dublin City Council and the DCU Ryan Academy. The Dublin Makes Me support team consists of: Jim Carroll, Ali Grehan, Eoghan Stack, Catapult, Zero G, BeachHut PR, Failte Ireland, Tourism Ireland and Bord Bia.