Dundalk, Ireland

The City

Louth County Council is the single local authority for County Louth in the Republic of Ireland. The strategic location between the capital cities Dublin and Belfast, the quality of state infrastructural services and the existence of a primed, skilled and well-educated workforce has attracted many long-running multinationals to relocate in the county. Albeit the smallest one in Ireland, County Louth is also one of the most densely populated (from the 2011 Census, the population counted 122,897 inhabitants).
Louth County Council is responsible for delivering key services such as housing provision and maintenance of social housing, road construction and maintenance, water services, land-use planning, environmental monitoring, and sustainable energy.

The pilot

Dundalk is the administrative capital of County Louth and is the pilot town of VARCITIES. It has a population of 34,496, and growing. The town hosts a highly regarded third level educational institution, Dundalk Institution of Technology (DkIT).

The project proposal is the “Creation of an Outdoor Learning Hub” within the courtyard area of County Library / Museum Quarter. Both structures are identified as Protected Structures which have a rating of ‘Regional importance’. The regeneration of this area will assist in the creation of a diverse, accessible, safe, inclusive and high-quality green area that will increase well-being and health, and deliver a fair and equitable distribution of the associated benefits. The design proposes a continuation of the public realm and rationalisation of all crossings and junctions in favour of the pedestrian, in line with the urban regeneration scheme of Market Square, Clanbrassil Street and Church Street. One of the biggest changes in this area will be the removal of the car parking spaces, increasing the resultant open public spaces and the benefits deriving from reduced climate risk exposure, noise and air pollution, and environmental stress.

The objectives of VARCITIES is to implement integrated nature-based solutions, co-created with local stakeholders and developing new KPIs for health and well-being.  The interventions financed by VARCITIES are:  

  • Creation of Outdoor Learning Pod between Dundalk Library and Musem Quarter to showcase the newest technologies and host shared functions
  • Outdoor Urban Green Learning and Sensory Garden for health and well-being
  • Sensors on bikes and bike-stations.

The future city vision

The key objectives for Louth County Council within VARCITIES are:

  • to form a new identity for the Library/Museum of the town
  • to create a quality public space for all members of the community, including visitors and tourists
  • to improve the connectivity and legibility of the streets to the surrounding context
  • to re-balance the priority between vehicles and pedestrians within the courtyard area
  • to enhance the heritage assets of Dundalk
  • to operate, employ and promote sustainable development principles through minimising energy consumption and maximising the use of renewable energy technology.

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