rebuilding Limerick’s decaying Georgian core should be the city’s main aim if it wants to revitalise itself over the coming years.
That is the view of architecture students at the University of Limerick, who have presented their model of how Limerick could look. Rather than having sections of the arts community displaced across the city, the students propose having “one nucleated or centralised” arts block.
Centres of graffiti in laneways throughout the city could also encourage less anti-social behaviour, whilst creating a diverse community, leading to pop-up restaurants and cafes, similar to what has emerged in Berlin, they said.
The students hosted a debate on their proposals in the Hunt Museum on Friday last, which was well attended by architects in the city and representatives of both Limerick councils.
“Limerick is turning is back on its best features - the river and the Georgian quarter. But this is an exciting time for us. We have created the potential to start the city working again,” said architecture student Aidan O’Dea.
A new library, cinema, student housing, a block for housing for families are among their other ideas, to encourage people to live in the city. Of the eight students currently working on this project, the majority said they live in Castletroy, but would move to the city if there was a more reliable bus service to and from UL. One of the students said some of their friends that not visited the city at all in daylight hours.
The students are seeking to identify ways to encourage more people to live in the city, and counter-act the doughnut effect the city has become enslaved by in recent years. But the trend can be reversed.
“The doughnut effect that Limerick is experiencing,” said student Andrew Griffin, “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.”
Likewise, Aidan believes another shopping centre - even if it is in the city and contains Marks & Spencer - will not solve the city’s ills. “We don’t need to replicate the Crescent Shopping Centre in the city for the city to be a success.” Another debate will be held on Friday, March 1. See Ur Limerick on Facebook for more details.