Public Realm
Above: Paving – Palace Street
Image: City Architects

post updated 06/10/17: image credit for O’Connell St & Kilmainham

Dublin City Council is the principal custodian of the city’s public realm; ‘it co-ordinates and permits development by others’ and this is guided through policy documents such as the 2012 Public Realm Strategy (Your City Your Space) and City Centre Public Realm Masterplan 2016.

Every City Council department commissions work which impacts on the public realm. From an architectural perspective, buildings are critical components from which urban places are made, both in terms of function (active edges) and form (design and construction). However, this post focuses on project work relating to ‘the space between buildings’.

Above: Fade Street
Images: City Architects




Above: O’Connell Street
Images: Donal Murphy Photography


Above: Palace Street
Images: City Architects


Over the past number of years we have developed a collaborative working relationship with our colleagues in other departments and this is most evident with the delivery of the City Council’s own Public Realm Projects.

Our Public Realm Team undertakes projects on behalf of the Environment and Transport Dept. and in general, acts as design team lead on in-house projects up to City Council approval (Part 8).  Typically we will engage with many other departments in the development of a Part 8 proposal: Planning, Roads Planning, Roads Design, Roads Maintenance, Roads Traffic, Parks, Public Lighting, Drainage and the Relevant Area Office.  In addition we collaborate with stakeholders, businesses and the general public through the Project Manager.

Following Part 8 approval, City Architects’ role changes to one of inspection and review with the role of team leader moving to the Roads Design Division.  There, the tender documents are prepared and following tender and on commencement of construction, Roads Construction fulfil the role of Employers Representative (ER) on the construction contract.

Examples of projects undertaken this way are the Grafton Street Quarter (being delivered in several phases), Smithfield and Kilmainham.



Above: Grafton Street
Images: City Architects




Above: Kilmainham Public Realm Upgrade
Images: Donal Murphy Photography


A major project that our Public Realm Team is currently working on (being delivered on behalf of Environment and Transport Dept.) is College Green. This has included procurement and the management of an architect led interdisciplinary design team.  It’s an exciting and ambitious project that we will continue to post about as it progresses.

Not to forget our interaction with other DCC Departments, our Public Realm programme also includes:

– Local public realm plans or interventions for Area Offices (Aungier Street, North East Inner City, Crane Street).  Many of these projects involve considerable consultation and collaboration with local communities and stakeholders in these areas.

– Public realm for Forward Planning (Docklands SDZ, Docklands Public Realm Strategy, Poolbeg SDZ).  These public realm projects are strategic in nature and set guiding principles for works to be undertaken on a street by street basis for each of the urban blocks within the SDZ.  This includes guidance on; palettes of materials, services, tree planting, street furniture etc. The delivery of these public realm works will be undertaken by a number of different parties; Dublin City Council, commercial developers, and agencies such as the NTA, Irish Water etc.  However the strategies will ensure that a consistent and unified public realm is achieved throughout the SDZ areas, as they are built out in tandem with the development of each urban block to be later taken in charge by Dublin City Council.




Above: College Green Plaza
Images: Philip Kelly – SketchRender 3D Visualisation