Neglected Buildings and Signage

T.P Nolan, Ushers Quay, photo by Come here to me!

Continuing with talking about questions put on the pivotdublin.com blog by recent guest curators le cool Dublin, we come to the question of dealing with neglected or under-used buildings and respecting urban character by preserving old signage.

ABANDONED / EMPTY BUILDING REGISTRAR: The Council recently launched a Draft Public Realm Strategy for the city.  This includes a number of projects in the public realm, including one to examine ways of improving the stewardship of neglected properties which are impacting negatively on the experience of the public realm. One of the central aims of the strategy is to develop a public realm which “celebrates the quality of Dublin’s unique spaces and historic character”. The Strategy has set out a series of projects which The Council is currently working on how to improve the situation with derelict buildings. The Council has a number of points of contact with neglected buildings: the Derelict Sites Section, Planning Enforcement, Buildings at Risk, Dangerous Buildings. The project will be acting via these sections to achieve progress on how buildings are looked after. Any comments or suggestions about the public realm or the Strategy can be sent to yourspace@dublincity.ie

Dealing with dereliction will be one of the subjects examined in the Science Gallery’s Hack the City Idea Lab project running 15–24 June 2012 – so check this out for updates.

In terms of vacancy, the Arts Office are currently leading a project to link Landlords and Letting agents with groups looking to use vacant premises and you can find out more about it here.

SIGNAGE PRESERVATION: The everyday objects and spaces of the public realm are as important a part of Dublin’s historic character as the grand vistas and historic landmarks. The project about neglected properties mentioned above will be looking at this issue and this should inform a policy which may then apply throughout the city. There is an oppportunity here to get the type of regulation mentioned in the lecool blog, but good dialogue with stakeholders should be central to any new rules.

There is existing guidance in the Shop Front Design Manual published by the City Council (hard copies available from the Planning Counter in the Civic Offices) and some buildings, while they may not be listed, have their frontage protected because of their contribution to the streetscape.

Apart from the Council, Dublin Civic Trust have run a number of projects to save and retain the traditional shop fronts of Dublin, not least their premises at Castle Street. The value of more recent signs was also shown when the Why Go Bald sign was restored some years back, with an associated exhibition about neon in Ireland held in the Photographic Archive.