The long and the short of high-rise plans


Sir, – Frank McDonald, among a number of legitimate and timely criticisms of the draft planning guidelines of the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, suggests that the need to accommodate more people in Dublin’s city centre does not require particularly tall buildings (Opinion, August 16th). He observes that in the city of Paris, to which the guidelines refer, “the vast majority of its dense population within the Boulevard Péripherique are accommodated in apartment buildings that are no more than six or seven storeys high, with only a tiny minority living in towers.”

Other European cities are designed along similar lines.

However, McDonald’s analysis of this comparison is incomplete in failing to observe that it is the prevalence of six- and seven-storey buildings in continental cities that obviates the need for developments any higher than this. By contrast, much of Dublin rarely exceeds three to four storeys in height. To complicate matters further, many of these relatively low-rise buildings line the most beautiful of Dublin’s streets and represent the best of the city’s architecture.

In order to reconcile the competing objective of the preservation of the best of the city’s culture and history with that of achieving an efficient urban population density, taller buildings will be needed somewhere in Dublin. The price of elegant Georgian houses on Merrion Square among others may have to be a few towers. – Yours, etc,



Castleknock, Dublin 15.