Part of the Liberties EIP communities of interest includes SkateD8 who morphed into Cork Street Park Campaign, they lobbied for a place to skate and a park in Cork Street. Bridgefoot Street vacant site has a history of activity and an easily felt sense of ownership by the local community. Many of the activities have been socially and ecologically important for the local area.
Within the Liberties Environmental Improvement Plan, Bridgefoot Street has, like Cork Street Park (Weaver Park) been designated as a neighborhood park with the possibility of social housing on part of the site. The neighborhood designation has been given because of the lack of available green space in the Liberties area, and the substantial size of the site.
The Cork Street Park had the advantage of a very strong lobby group, beginning with SkateD8 who morphed into the Cork Street Park campaign, ran events, feasibility studies, public consultations and meetings, eventually leading to the site being designated as a Parks and Recreation project within Dublin City Council. On the 29.4.15 a public consultation meeting for Cork Street Park was held in Fumbelly Café. The café was completely packed and around several tables people from widely varying backgrounds drew on blank maps of the site what they would like to happen. A budget is in place for Weaver Park to be created and so the Landscape Architect Ait Urbanisim + Landscape are now in collaboration with the Parks Department drawing up a first version of the plans to bring back to the neighborhood, sometime in the summer, where after further consensus is agreed the plans will go through a final edit before going out to tender, with building due in autumn-winter.
Can this happen for Bridgefoot Street? Can grassroots collaborative placemaking projects in the
form of light (small/under-the-radar) pop-up events contribute to placemaking for Bridgefoot Street, strengthening its sense of ownership to include the wider Liberties area by running performances for/by the people of the local and neighborhood? Experiments and installations should have Site specificity at the core. Site specific… what is that? In landscape architecture we refer to Genius loci often defined as ‘The distinctive atmosphere or pervading spirit of a place’. Place = The Liberties. Stage = The Bridgefoot site. Ideas could include blurring the art line between artist and the Liberties people. As a landscape architect + research assistant part of my role as a TURAS partner is to document the process of collaboration between Dublin City Council and the communities of interest on the Weaver Park + Newmarket + Bridgefoot Street projects.
We also have a possible team of collaborators from the UCD Innovation Academy who are also from the Liberties area and have expressed an interest in possible grassroots type activities on Bridgefoot Street. The parks department have also expressed support for the ideas, and advised me to speak to the local area office regarding possible collaboration. So interesting… hopefully we could have a digital platform too, to have open conversation on ideas for the site.