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Origin of the Dublin Small City Mythology?

  • 16-03-2015 4:26pm
    #1
    Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 1,121 ✭✭✭ ClovenHoof


    It never ceases to amaze me how this old mantra gets brought up constantly along with the 'low density city' fallacy. Neither case is true any more, and have been used for decades to prevent the rail, tram and metro projects for being developed properly.

    Dublin get's compared to London, Paris and New York = 'therefore Dublin is a small city', as if Amsterdam, Munich, Helsinki, Boston, Vienna and Prague do not actually exist. This has created a very unique Irish psychosis that basically implies: "Until Dublin is the size of London, we can't invest in underground rail system of any kind as Dublin is too small..."

    I can't believe that documents written by Sean Barrett in the early 1970s are still determining attitudes towards public transport in a city like Dublin in 2015.

    It would be akin to the Department of Health still still consulting the Catholic Bishops for the final word on reproduction and contraception policy. The rationale is that bizarre in this day and age.


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Comments

  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 20,995 Mod ✭✭✭✭ bk


    Absolutely, this really bugs me too.

    Dublin is a medium sized European city, but it certainly doesn't have the public transport infrastructure of a medium sized European city.

    Take Amsterdam as an example:

    Dublin Urban Population: 1,110,627
    Amsterdam Urban Population: 1,112,165
    Dublin Metro Population: 1,804,156
    Amsterdam Metro Population: 1,575,263
    Dublin Density: 4,588/km2
    Amsterdam Density: 4,908/km2

    Amsterdam and Dublin are incredibly similar in terms of both population and density. Yet Amsterdam has one of the most extensive bike infrastructure in the world, and a highly integrated and efficient tram, bus and Metro network that would put CIE to shame.

    Yet go over to the Commuting and Transport forum and listen to CIE staff try and defend the completely inadequate public transport infrastructure with statements like Dublin is different and what works in the rest of Europe can't work in Dublin because it is too small/not dense enough or things are done different here.


  • Registered Users Posts: 179 ✭✭ jayobray


    The Dublin Metro population (Greater Dublin Area) of 1.8m includes the counties of Wicklow, Kildare and Meath and is 6,986km2. The density of this is 258/km2. The population of the Amsterdam Urban area of 1.6m has a density of 1,400/km2. The city centres may have a similar density, but the areas surrounding the cities making up the Metro areas is vastly different in terms of density.

    But this shouldn't alter the fact that a bike infrastructure network should be in place.


  • Registered Users Posts: 627 ✭✭✭ JeffK88


    Build the infrastructure and they will come. All you get in this country is plans that never materialise. Metros, Undergrounds, Runways, Roads .... Dog kennels everything is planned until the current government leaves office and after that the current government cancels everything from the previous government and the cycle continues . The result 2015 ireland.


  • Registered Users Posts: 976 ✭✭✭ stevedublin


    jayobray wrote: »
    But this shouldn't alter the fact that a bike infrastructure network should be in place.

    Why not?
    Also there is a bike infrastructure network already in place?


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 20,995 Mod ✭✭✭✭ bk


    Why not?
    Also there is a bike infrastructure network already in place?

    A terrible, completely inadequate one (mostly just a coloured line on the road), whilst Amsterdam has one of the very best, completely segregated cycle infrastructure in the world.

    But it isn't just cycling, their public transport is also vastly superior.

    They have completely integrated ticketing, like Leap, but where you both tag-on and tag-off on the bus, but are only charged for the distance you actually travel and if you swap onto a different bus, tram or metro to complete your journey, you don't pay anything extra. You just pay for the full distance you travel.

    Also their buses are multidoor buses, with vastly superior dwell times, similar to Luas and thus much quicker journey times compared to Dublin Bus.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 179 ✭✭ jayobray


    Why not?
    Also there is a bike infrastructure network already in place?

    As bk says, a predominantly segregated one should be in place, at least on the main routes, and where it is not segregated, it needs to be developed and maintained to a higher standard.

    The Leap card is certainly a big improvement, with more and more people using it, but the momentum needs to be maintained toward full integration.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,329 ✭✭✭ AngryLips


    JeffK88 wrote: »
    Build the infrastructure and they will come.

    Coz that worked out really well for the WRC.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,235 ✭✭✭ D.L.R.


    I think the mentality comes from small town/rural attitudes that sees Dublin as an overgrown village that's just got out of hand.

    I've heard it said more than once that Dublin was actually "too" big!

    Much of Ireland doesn't really do cities, and I think the only way Dublin (county) is going to realise its potential is to gain political autonomy and look after itself. Rural TDs certainly won't.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,007 ✭✭✭ Ben D Bus


    jayobray wrote: »
    The Dublin Metro population (Greater Dublin Area) of 1.8m includes the counties of Wicklow, Kildare and Meath and is 6,986km2. The density of this is 258/km2. The population of the Amsterdam Urban area of 1.6m has a density of 1,400/km2. The city centres may have a similar density, but the areas surrounding the cities making up the Metro areas is vastly different in terms of density.

    Thanks for that. It's a question I asked on another thread. Don't suppose you have the density for the combined 4 Dublin local authorities?


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,007 ✭✭✭ Ben D Bus


    D.L.R. wrote: »
    I think the only way Dublin (county) is going to realise its potential is to gain political autonomy and look after itself. Rural TDs certainly won't.

    Didn't Fingal kill that idea off late last year when they refused to sign up to a proper Mayor for Dublin?


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  • Registered Users Posts: 179 ✭✭ jayobray


    Ben D Bus wrote: »
    Thanks for that. It's a question I asked on another thread. Don't suppose you have the density for the combined 4 Dublin local authorities?

    Population of the 4 Dublin LAs is 1.27m, with a density of about 1378/km2


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,781 ✭✭✭ Carawaystick


    Most of Fingal is Agricultural/horticultural land, there's livestock grazing at the northern fence of the main runway of Dublin Airport.
    https://www.google.ie/maps/@53.424749,-6.2665481,163m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en

    It doesn't really make sense to include it in any "city" unless Dublin city is to sprawl further north.


  • Registered Users Posts: 627 ✭✭✭ JeffK88


    AngryLips wrote: »
    Coz that worked out really well for the WRC.

    Hugh difference between the WRC and a Metro/Underground system for a city of over a million people. The WRC is a rural railway system connecting two small cities. Look at the Luas that was built and guess what the people came. They built extra lanes on the M50 guess what more cars are using it now. Built an extra terminal at Dublin Airport guess what more passengers and flights. So comparing the WRC to major city infrastructure doesn't make sense. Perhaps Ireland would be better with horse and cart sir ?


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,539 ✭✭✭✭ Grandeeod


    JeffK88 wrote: »
    Build the infrastructure and they will come. All you get in this country is plans that never materialise. Metros, Undergrounds, Runways, Roads .... Dog kennels everything is planned until the current government leaves office and after that the current government cancels everything from the previous government and the cycle continues . The result 2015 ireland.

    Probably the biggest issue affecting rail development. History proves it to be correct.


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,539 ✭✭✭✭ Grandeeod


    D.L.R. wrote: »
    I think the mentality comes from small town/rural attitudes that sees Dublin as an overgrown village that's just got out of hand.

    I've heard it said more than once that Dublin was actually "too" big!

    Much of Ireland doesn't really do cities, and I think the only way Dublin (county) is going to realise its potential is to gain political autonomy and look after itself. Rural TDs certainly won't.

    I really believe that the rural mentality of TDs has held Dublin back. The fact that the DTA turned into the NTA is proof of that.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,235 ✭✭✭ D.L.R.


    Ben D Bus wrote: »
    Didn't Fingal kill that idea off late last year when they refused to sign up to a proper Mayor for Dublin?

    Yeah Fingal vetoed a plebiscite, but afterwards the newly elected Fingal council rowed back on that and now supports the idea. Where that leaves the issue I'm not sure. The whole process was a bit of a joke tbh.

    Hopefully the next push will actually achieve something.


  • Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 10,528 Mod ✭✭✭✭ icdg


    The criteria were designed to fail. The government don't want a directly elected mayor for Dublin - even if powerless, the person elected would have the biggest electoral mandate of any politician save for the President and unlike the latter definitely wouldn't be "above politics". They'd be impossible to ignore.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,007 ✭✭✭ Ben D Bus


    jayobray wrote: »
    Population of the 4 Dublin LAs is 1.27m, with a density of about 1378/km2

    That would suggest we could more than double the population inside the M50 and still have a relatively low density city? Or does Fingal skew the density figure significantly?


  • Registered Users Posts: 13,678 ✭✭✭✭ Zebra3


    With regard to rural TDs holding back Dublin, there is also many Dublin TDs with rural backgrounds who have been more interested in looking after interests "back home" than in pushing for the best for their constituents.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,781 ✭✭✭ Carawaystick


    Ben D Bus wrote: »
    That would suggest we could more than double the population inside the M50 and still have a relatively low density city? Or does Fingal skew the density figure significantly?

    From Google
    pop of Fingal ~240k
    area of Fingal ~450km^2

    pop density = 535people/km^2


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,329 ✭✭✭ AngryLips


    bk wrote: »
    Amsterdam and Dublin are incredibly similar in terms of both population and density. Yet Amsterdam has one of the most extensive bike infrastructure in the world, and a highly integrated and efficient tram, bus and Metro network that would put CIE to shame.

    I can't disagree more with this point. Amsterdam is part of the Randstad comprising more than seven million people in Europe's most densely populated country. How is that in any way comparable?


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,235 ✭✭✭ D.L.R.


    AngryLips wrote: »
    I can't disagree more with this point. Amsterdam is part of the Randstad comprising more than seven million people in Europe's most densely populated country. How is that in any way comparable?

    So what. Scandinavia has low overall density and their main cities are on par with Amsterdam.


  • Registered Users Posts: 865 ✭✭✭ A Disgrace


    AngryLips wrote: »
    I can't disagree more with this point. Amsterdam is part of the Randstad comprising more than seven million people in Europe's most densely populated country. How is that in any way comparable?

    It’s not even about ‘current’ density, it’s about ‘potential’ density. We should be aiming for increased people per SQ KM because of all the benefits that it brings. In most of the cities listed above, they had EVEN LOWER densities when the transport systems were put in. Again, as already said, ‘Build it, and they will come’ (even though there’s enough of them already there)


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,329 ✭✭✭ AngryLips


    D.L.R. wrote: »
    So what. Scandinavia has low overall density and their main cities are on par with Amsterdam.

    I didn't say anything about Scandinavia, I just said that Dublin isn't comparable to Amsterdam. I think one of the reasons why it feels like a small city is because it doesn't have a substantial metro/city rail network. Another reason why it feels smaller than it is, is because it's not part of a much larger and more heavily populated country attached to a large, heavily populated continent. So basically, unlike Amsterdam, it doesn't have nineteen-plus million strangers commuting in and out of it every day from the wider region.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,235 ✭✭✭ D.L.R.


    AngryLips wrote: »
    I didn't say anything about Scandinavia, I just said that Dublin isn't comparable to Amsterdam. I think one of the reasons why it feels like a small city is because it doesn't have a substantial metro/city rail network. Another reason why it feels smaller than it is, is because it's not part of a much larger and more heavily populated country attached to a large, heavily populated continent. So basically, unlike Amsterdam, it doesn't have nineteen-plus million strangers commuting in and out of it every day from the wider region.

    Sure its comparable, more so than London or Paris at least. Maybe not the most similar city but since it functions so well its worth looking at, in conjunction with other cities.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,905 ✭✭✭ Aard


    A good way of calculating population size/density without worrying about administrative boundaries is by using the CSO's "Settlement" definition.

    Navigate here: http://census.cso.ie/sapmap/ and then unclick "Counties" and click "Towns/Cities (Settlements)". It gives population and density figures for all settlements above a population of 1,500 in the country.

    For example Dublin has a population of 1.1m and a density of 3,500 people per sq km.

    There are, of course, many ways to skin this particular cat. PhDs have been written on the subject. In another thread I mentioned the MUA/FUA definition of city-region as well. And of course, there are many amateur geographers/planners out there who do not fully understand the various population/density counting methods -- something which must be remembered when discussing cities and their regions.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,905 ✭✭✭ Aard


    With regard to the Randstad, as it is called, that is a term that implies a lot more unity than really exists. Randstad is more of a concept and a future-oriented view of how North and South Holland (provinces) will develop. It does not necessarily describe current patterns. A lot of research has been done on Randstad for obvious reasons. Generally it is accepted that there is not a single polycentric Randstad city-region. What exists in that part of Holland is more like four major centres and their respective hinterland that just happen to be very close together. (The four centres being Utrecht, Amsterdam, the Hague, and Rotterdam.) The bit between the Hague and Rotterdam (basically Delft and Pijnacker) shows a pattern of commuting to both of those major centres. However this does not mean that the Hague and Rotterdam are polycentric. The four major cities of Randstad are still more mono-centric than polycentric.

    Amsterdam is far more "stand alone" than the pop-planners would admit. Its hinterland is of course far more populous than Dublin's, and nobody would dispute that. What's different though is that Amsterdam's hinterland has more options in where to gravitate to (Utrecht, the Hague, Rotterdam). In this sense, despite there being a "pool" of several million in and around Amsterdam, nowhere near all those people will use Amsterdam as their primary central place (cf central place theory). So Amsterdam's population pool is far lower than the headline Randstand figures would suggest.

    In that way, it is not dissimilar to Dublin. I am not saying they are the same -- they are clearly not. But they come very close. There are only about ten cities in the EU that are similar to Dublin, and Amsterdam is one of them.


  • Registered Users Posts: 18,886 ✭✭✭✭ murphaph


    Munich must be reasonably comparable to Dublin I would have thought.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 4,677 ✭✭✭ strandroad


    murphaph wrote: »
    Munich must be reasonably comparable to Dublin I would have thought.

    Isn't it much bigger?
    I'd nominate Copenhagen as the closest in size/character.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,905 ✭✭✭ Aard


    While I do not know nearly as much about Munich as I do about Amsterdam/Randstad, it would appear that Munich has more in common with Dublin than not. Yes, it is more populous. But if population alone is the criteria for city comparisons then I worry we are entering "unique little snowflake" territory!

    Mention of Munich also reminds me of the EU-defined "larger urban zones" (LUZ). This is an EU-wide harmonised definition of city/settlement that allows comparisons of built-up areas and their populations. The data is outdated for 2015 but I understand it is being updated at present.


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