Opinion

The Plan-et Dublin Quiz

Paul Kearns portrait
Paul Kearns

Paul Kearns is the co-author of the books "Beyond Pebbledash" and "Redrawing Dublin", which explore Dublin urbanism. His most recent book, "Seamless Neighbourhood – Redrawing the City of Israel", focuses on Tel Aviv. He has worked in the past as Israeli-Palestinian correspondent for the Sunday Tribune. And, of course, as a planner at Dublin City Council.

This week, for the final installment of “Inside Plan-et Dublin”, I invite the reader to take the “Inside Plan-et Dublin” Quiz. There are unfortunately no prizes just the pleasure in knowing that you know so much about your city.

Nearly all of the data, titbits of info and gossip, including the relevant sources to the answers in this quiz can be found in either Redrawing Dublin or Beyond Pebbledash.

Unfortunately, most of the facts are sadly (from an urban perspective) far from humorous. So, in the interest of a little levity, I’ve added a few “Who said what?” questions. All true. All verifiable on request.

So here we go. Buckle up. Put on your urban-suburban seat belts and start answering.

1. Let’s start bold. How many of the senior management team of Dublin City Council live inside the canal ring?

A – 0

B – 1

C – 5

D – 7

2. As part of an EU research project, Dublin City Council identified (in their opinion) the top 85 key city decision makers, thinkers, and trendsetters who would or could, determine the city’s future. What percentage of these decision makers lived in apartments?

A – 4%

B – 10%

C – 18%

D – 28%

3. What percentage of these same Dublin decision makers and trendsetters actually lived in the Dublin City Council area?

A – 77.7%

B – 53.3%

C – 42.2%

D – 31.3%

Hint: More lived in Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown than inside the city’s canal ring. 

4. The 2016 census tells us that one in five or 21 percent of Dublin City Council residents live inside the canal ring. What percentage of senior planners do? (No, it’s not a job requirement, just an observation.)

A – 0%

B – 10%

C – 20%

D – 40%

5. What percentage of households living in the “inner city” do not own a car?

A – 25%

B – 40%

C – 55%

D – 70%

6. Who once said “There’s no point putting up blocks of apartments if people want family homes” (as if they can’t be the same thing).

A – Owen Keegan (Chief Executive of Dublin City Council)

B – Angela Keegan (My home.ie Managing Director)

C – Kevin Keegan (legendary Liverpool footballer)

D – Michelle Keegan (Ex-Coronation Street TV actress)

7. How many people per street tree are there in Ballsbridge?

A – 48

B – 24

C – 12

D – 8 

8. How many people per street tree are there in Summerhill?

A – 30

B – 80

C – 130

D – 180

9. Who once criticised the banks for inflicting high-density residential torture on people “that nails them into an apartment that isn’t suitable” for family life?

A – Michael Noonan (ex-Minister of Finance)

B – Michael O’Leary (Ryanair Chief)

C – Michael Jackson (Thriller)

D – Detective Sergeant Michael McKenna (in objecting to the bail of Anglo Irish Bank chief David Drumm)

10. As recently as 2010, the National Institute for Regional and Spatial Analysis (NIRSA) implicitly criticised Dublin City Council for failing to match local housing supply with local demand. What was DCC then accused of delivering?

A – An undersupply of housing of 37.4%

B – An undersupply of housing of 27.4%

C – An undersupply of housing of 17.4%

D – An oversupply of housing of 7.4%

11. In the 2016–2022 Dublin City Development Plan, what percentage of the Dublin City Council area is zoned high-density city centre, (or the Central Area, aka “Z5” for the real planning geeks)?

A – 3%

B – 9%

C – 13%

D – 23%

12. There is 49sqm of public open space per resident in the Dublin City Council area. How much open space per resident is there in the “inner-city”?

A – 19sqm

B – 9sqm

C – 6sqm

D – 3sqm

13. In Dublin’s north inner-city, from the North Circular Road to the river Liffey, from Amiens Street to Dorset Street (pop. 20,000, the size of Athlone), what percentage of homes have just one bedroom?

A – 46%

B – 36%

C – 26%

D – 22%

14. In the early years of the Celtic Tiger, Dublin accounted for 29% of all newly built homes nationwide (houses and apartments). By 2012, following the hard lessons of “ghost estates” what had that risen  (fallen) to?

A – 34.8%

B – 44.8%

C – 54.8%

D – (14.8%)

15. Wicklow, Kildare and Meath collectively saw a 90% increase in their housing stock during the Celtic Tiger. By the end of the Celtic Tiger what percentage of all homes in Wicklow, Kildare and Meath were detached?

A – 17.7%

B – 27.7%

C – 47.7%

D – 57.7%

16. In the interest of sustainability and to combat sprawl the Dublin City Council Development Plan 2016–2022 (Docklands SDZ) requires that all new large-scale residential developments have a minimum percentage of “family-sized homes” (family size is equal or greater than three bedrooms). What is that minimum percentage?

A – 50%

B – 35%

C – 25%

D – 15%

17. In a not-so-recent meeting about apartment standards in a gorgeously proportioned room with wonderful tall ceilings in the Custom House, a senior Department of Environment planning official asked me, “What evidence do you have that tall ceilings are better?” I replied:

A – “I read it in Waterford Whispers

B – “You taking the piss, right?”

C – “Didn’t you hear, NASA just released new research to confirm the theory”

D – “Look up”

(Note: There were witnesses)

18. The “Z1” and “Z2” residential zonings account for about 85% of all developable residentially zoned land in the entire Dublin City Council area. What is the general maximum height permissible for apartments on these residentially zoned developable lands outside the canal ring under then then approved plan?

A – 16m (4 storeys with generous ceiling height)

B – 20m (5 storeys with generous ceiling height)

C – 24m (6 storeys with generous ceiling height)

D – 28m (7 storeys with generous ceiling height)

19. The average asking price for a three-bedroom semi-detached close to the “Museum” Luas stop is €445,000, according to Daft.ie. What is the asking price for a three-bedroom semi-detached in Brides Glen, the last stop south on the Green Luas line?

A – €445,000

B – €405,000

C – €345,000

D – €305,000

20. And finally, what is your favourite timeless  “argument”  (excuse)  as to why we can’t, won’t, don’t build spacious apartments in the centre of Dublin City?

A – “Single people want only small one-bedrooms or studio apartments”.

B – “Size doesn’t matter, its all about design”.

C – “The Market doesn’t want them, there is no demand for 100sqm apartments”.

D – “The numbers don’t stack up, Dublin is simply unique, get over it!”

E – “Large apartments are so 1990s … It’s all about ‘shared living’ today”.

F – “You are imposing unwanted cultural tastes. People love their gardens and want to commute from Virginia, Cavan”.

G – “You will collapse the housing markets by imposing impossible-to-build regulation”.

H – Fill in your own blank “…”

I – “They won’t be affordable” – this one I think is perhaps the most revealing.

Ok, it’s taboo, heresy to say this I know – but property in the centre of most cities IS NOT (ever likely to be) AFFORDABLE without some form of public subvention or subsidy.

But sure, we are talking about inner-city Dublin here, not Paris, New York or Copenhagen. The idea that anyone with significant wealth would want to live in a large apartment in Dublin’s inner-city is simply beyond  the  imagination of too many planners, policy makers and suburban decision makers.

And therein lies the greatest explanation for the state of our inner-city after a Celtic Tiger that delivered 15 years of consecutive growth, which averaged 6.8 percent from 1993 to 2007.

To end this series, I ask a simple question: had you known the Irish economy would have grown by 6.8 percent on average over 15 years, might you have expected a more beautiful, liveable, green, pedestrian- and child-friendly inner-city?

Any answer, yes or no, to that question is both troubling and deserves deeper discussion.

Correct Answers

1 (B) 2 (A) 3 (C) 4 (A) 5 (D) 6 (B) 7 (D) 8 (C) 9 (A) 10 (D) 11(A) 12 (D) 13 (A) 14 (D) 15 (C) 16 (D) 17 (D) 18 (A) 19 (A) 20 (Any answer will do)

Urban Scorecard

19–20: Okay, seriously impressed, a signed copy of Redrawing Dublin on its way to you.

15–18: You are a veritable urban expert, or else you have been caught dabbling in “Insider Plan-et Dublin” trading, of city facts.

10–14: If you live in the city, you should be alarmed. If you live in the ‘burbs you may be embarrassed. If you don’t live in Dublin, perhaps you’re probably highly amused.

5–9: Hmmm … what are you doing this quiz for?

0–4: Oh dear. A signed copy of Redrawing Dublin on its way to you.


References 

1. Own research.

2. Chapter 4 “Where We Live and Why? – Domestic Space of Decision Makers”, p151 to p155 from the book Beyond Pebbledash and the Puzzle of Dublin (Gandon Editions, 2014) by Paul Kearns and Motti Ruimy.

3. Ibid.

4. Own research, and also Census 2016, and the canal ring includes the following wards: Arran Quay A, B, C, D, E; Inns Quay A, B, C; North Dock C; Mansion House A, B; Mountjoy A, B; North City; Rotunda A, B; Merchants Quay A, B, C, D, E, F; Royal Exchange A, B; St Kevins; South Dock; Ushers Quay A, B, C, D, F; Wood Quay A, B.

5. Definition of inner-city from Chapter 3 – “Let’s Talk about the Inner City”, p107 from book Beyond Pebbledash and the Puzzle of Dublin  (Gandon Editions, 2014) by Paul Kearns and Motti Ruimy. Inner Arran Quay C; Inns Quay B, C; Mountjoy A, B; North City; Rotunda A, B; Merchants Quay A, B, C, F; Ushers Quay B, C.

6. Reference 14, Page 201 Beyond Pebbledash and the Puzzle of Dublin (Gandon Editions, 2014) by Paul Kearns and Motti Ruimy.

7. “The Mapping Beauty Project”; UCD School of Geography, based on tree survey work by Dr Tine Ningal.

8. Ibid.

9. Reference 16, p202, Beyond Pebbledash and the Puzzle of Dublin (Gandon Editions, 2014) by Paul Kearns and Motti Ruimy. (In interview News at One, RTE Radio 1, March 2014.)

10. Reference 9, p204, Beyond Pebbledash and the Puzzle of Dublin (Gandon Editions, 2014) by Paul Kearns and Motti Ruimy. Original material: “A Haunted Landscape Housing and Ghost Estates in post-Celtic Ireland”, NIRSA Working Paper Series, 59 (NIRSA, NUI Maynooth, 2010), p21

11. Dublin City Council Development Plan, 2016-2022.

12. Chapter 3 – “Let’s Talk about the Inner City – Greening the Arc of Disadvantage”, p140, Beyond Pebbledash and the Puzzle of Dublin (Gandon Editions, 2014) by Paul Kearns and Motti Ruimy. The “inner-city” includes: Arran Quay C; Inns Quay B, C; Mountjoy A, B; North City; Rotunda A, B; Merchants Quay A, B, C, F; Ushers Quay B, C.

13. Chapter 2 – “What’s up with Apartments – Size Does Matter?”, p82, Beyond Pebbledash and the Puzzle of Dublin (Gandon Editions, 2014) by Paul Kearns and Motti Ruimy. Updated from the 2016 Census.

14. Chapter 1 – “Housing Sprawl Revisited: How the East was Done”, p73, Beyond Pebbledash and the Puzzle of Dublin (Gandon Editions, 2014) by Paul Kearns and Motti Ruimy. In 1995, Dublin accounted for 29% of all newly built homes nationwide (houses and apartments).

15. Chapter 1 – “Housing Sprawl Revisited: How the East was Done”, p70, Beyond Pebbledash and the Puzzle of Dublin (Gandon Editions, 2014) by Paul Kearns and Motti Ruimy. Between 1991 and 2006, Wicklow, Kildare and Meath collectively saw a 90% increase in their housing stock.

16. Dublin City Council Development Plan 2016–2022.

17. Own research.

18. First we exclude Z9 (Open Space), Z11 (Waterways), Z12 (Long-term Institutional). This amounts to 4,675 hectares. Then exclude Commercial/Industrial/Office (Z3, Z4, Z6 and Z7), which amounts to 1,242 hectares. Residential developable land is then reduced to “high-density” residential-friendly Z5 (City Centre), Z8 (Georgian Core), Z13 (Rejuvenation) and Z10 (Inner Suburban Mixed) – 414 hectares – and lower-density, overwhelmingly residential suburban Z1 (Residential), Z2 (Residential Conservation), Z12 (Institutional – Residential Potential) –4,675 hectares. The two residential groups amount to a total of 5,089 hectares. The latter low-density as percentage of the total 5,089 is 91.8%. Only a tiny proportion of Z1 and Z2 lies inside the canal ring. Z12 amounted to 183 hectares. Z1, 3,829 and Z2, 663. The data refers to the Dublin City Development Plan of 2011-2016. The overall changes in zoning categories/zoned land in 2016-2022 Development Plan are small.

19. As of December 2017, Daft.ie.

20. “The facts” on this change like the weather.

 

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