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Designing Dublin

Two month project in Dublin to find "The Hidden Potential of Place’ in Clongriffin, Dublin. There was no breif - just a participatory design process involving 17 designers and 100s of local residents. It resulted in 5 projects.

Photo of Tristan Cooke
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Mainly, just check out the video.

My summary comments is that the ideas of Designing Dublin 1.0 that got up were not on offs.  They were 'tubes' to get community energy together, allowing them to create projects.  

The upside of this, if it works, is that it's lasting.  The downside of this is if it doesn't work, you don't have anything to show for all the effort (where as with single, one shot projects, you get the outcome of the project).

 A bit like openIDEO, the success isn't in the winning concepts, the success is in the 'realisation'.  In this regard, it is hard to find success of these projects on the website.

Still, perhaps the best outcome is a lasting collaborative link between the community and the council (or at least that's what is claimed).  If you get the community to help choose a project then they'll be engaged to keep it going.

There is a Designing Dublin 2.0 underway.

Whether or not this worked, I think the model appears good and could be something to build on.


Join the conversation:

Photo of DeletedUser


Hi Tristan,
Great to see that you found Designing Dublin! Do you mind my asking how you come across it?
I was actually a member of the design team in Designing Dublin 2.0, which addressed the current lack of vibrancy and vitality in the City Centre and was entitled 'Love the City'. As part of my own PhD I am trying to track the impact of the entire project, as a way of evaluating the pros/cons of this kind of approach to city development, so I can let you know a little about its legacies. Firstly, I should probably say that it is a complex project, which address three main aims.
1. To teach design thinking skills to municipal authority staff and to the full time volunteers on the project. The idea was that the seconded staff would learn design thinking skills as a subversive way of embedding more ‘joined-up’ thinking in quite a traditional/hierarchical organisation. The hope was that this would have the knock on effect of embedding a more ‘joined-up’ approach to city development in general.
2. To prototype ‘seed’ projects to enliven the city utilising a user-centred/co-design approach.
3. To hand over a co-design methodology to the city council, which could be used as a template for future development of other parts of the city.
So, it is difficult to assess how successful the project was considering some of the overall aims had quite a long term objective. What I am finding is that there has been a cultural shift in how the municipal authority operates as a result of having been involved in the project and this is probably more significant for the long term healthy development of the city than the success of individual ‘seed’ projects. For instance, they are now prototyping solutions to all sorts of urban issues and they have formed their own in-house think-and-do-tank which addresses all sorts of organisational issues using ‘design thinking’ methods. In development of plans for the city, the end-user is now getting much more attention, with citizen consultation now happening early in the planning process. Three of the five ‘seed’ projects took root in Designing Dublin 1.0 and one of the eight ‘seed’ projects took root in Designing Dublin 2.0. However, some of the ‘seed’ projects of Designing Dublin 2.0 were given over to the municipal authority as they are the long term guardians of the prototypes, so we are still waiting to see what will happen with them. I have noticed that ‘seed’ projects that took root were really sensitively co-designed and not just empathic designs. You really have to get down and dirty with the city’s inhabitants if you want this kind of work to blossom. Also, it would have been beneficial if there was some sort of longer term design facilitation for the ‘seed’ projects. The dream of a self-organising society is a fallacy. Unfortunately, there is no Designing Dublin 3.0 in the pipelines due to a lack of funding, which is a pity as I feel the initiative was only getting off the ground.
All of the outputs of the project can be found here:

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Self-organizing society is a fallacy? We may have different definitions here, but the way I'm understanding your comment, I would have to disagree. Humans have proven time and again that they can band together when needed to create change. Food for thought - look at the United States, a well-known and relatively recent example of a group of people banding together to form a common set of ideals, principles, and actions that serve to solve a problem.

Photo of DeletedUser


Thank you for pointing that out, it’s great to get the chance to clarify what I meant by that comment. In the particular project in question, it would have been beneficial for the city if the 'seed' projects had had some kind of longer term support mechanisms/guidance to help them continue to develop and grow.

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