More than 10 per cent of Dublin inner city homes have just one room

Apartments of just 38sqm built up to 2004

There’s no shortage of small apartments in Dublin city

, according to an analysis of the city’s housing supply by planner Paul Kearns and architect Motti Ruimy.

The inner city has a population of more than 48,000 people and more than 10 per cent of homes have just one room, ie are bedsits or “studios”.

In the north inner city, one of the most deprived parts of the State, with 20,000 residents, 46 per cent of all homes have one bedroom or are studios. More than half of these homes were built in the past 20 years.

The recently approved docklands master plan provides for the construction of 2,300 homes, 85 per cent of which will have a maximum of two bedrooms. The average floor area of a house granted permission in the first quarter of this year was 204.6sq m (2,202 sq feet). The average floor area of an apartment granted permission in the first quarter of this year was 96.9sq m (1,043 sq feet).

Tiny dwellings Between 1999 and 2004, the period of the greatest apartment output, Dublin City Council allowed apartments of 38sq m and allowed blocks where 50 per cent of the apartments had just one bedroom.

“These were probably the smallest new homes mass-built since the foundation of the State,” said Mr Kearns.

In their recently published assessment of Dublin housing, Beyond Pebbledash, Mr Kearns and Mr Ruimy argue that apartments are viewed as undesirable family homes because, for too long, what was built was low quality and too small.

Quality wanting “Dublin city, throughout the 1990s and beyond, was simply not building enough spacious, attractive, well-designed high- density apartment homes close to the centre of the city to provide a real alternative . . . to the urban ‘cottage’ or the suburban house,” they wrote.

Planning assessments tended to focus on the outside appearance of developments – how tall they would be and how they would affect surrounding residents, rather than what the units would be like to live in.

“It is one of the biggest ironies of the Celtic Tiger boom,” they wrote, “that some of the most objectionable apartment developments built in the 1990s generated the least number of planning objections from the public.”