Limerick to reinvent itself like NY and Detroit

Anne Sheridan

Reporter:

Anne Sheridan

FOR TOO long the city and its planners were single-mindedly focused on how the Opera Centre could rescue its fortunes.

FOR TOO long the city and its planners were single-mindedly focused on how the Opera Centre could rescue its fortunes.

Now, a group of architecture students at the University of Limerick are rebuilding the city from the ground up, and focusing on how the Georgian areas of the city could be its best asset – if developed correctly.

Andrew Griffin is among eight students currently based in the Hunt Museum, where they are building a model of a ‘new’ city. “The doughnut effect that Limerick is experiencing,” he said, referring to the rise of suburban shopping and housing, “is the same thing that happened in New York and Detroit in the 1980s. So it’s really common as a problem in cities. Limerick is on a cusp now – it has a choice whether to go up or down. It’s a beautiful city, but it’s Georgian heritage isn’t used.”

Andrew said they are only focusing on the Georgian areas at present, because their run-down state represents one of the biggest problems in the city.

The students will hold an open debate on the city’s future development this Friday, February 1, in the Hunt Museum, from 3-5pm. A new library, cinema, student housing, a block for housing for families are among their ideas, to encourage people to live in the city. The students have been in contact with noted architects throughout the world over the past week to get a further insight in to how Limerick should develop. “Limerick has an industrial past like Manchester, Liverpool and Bradford, so we’re looking at what they’ve done too,” he said.

Aidan O’Dea said instead of trying to solve a problem with developing the Opera Centre, an even greater problem has been created: “One large shopping centre in the middle of the city shouldn’t be the solution. We don’t need to replicate the Crescent Shopping Centre in the city for the city to be a success.”