The Future Of Dublin
Raising Your Voice To Make A Difference
“The main findings were incredibly positive. People feel really good about Dublin.”
A long-running campaign by Dublin City Council, called ‘Your Dublin, Your Voice’, has allowed the public to have their views heard on issues like transport, culture, shopping, socialising and eating out in the city. DCC’s JULIET PASSMORE talks to BEST OF IRELAND about the success of this campaign – and how Dublin City Council aim to keep improving your city in the future…
It’s of cial! Dublin city centre really is a bustling hub for all manner of activities once again. Economists in Dublin City Council have crunched the numbers and discovered that, despite the alleged allure of online shopping, more people than ever are ocking to the capital to do their socialising, shopping, eating and entertaining.
A lot of this can be attributed to the Council’s long-running campaign, Your Dublin, Your Voice. Under its aegis, everyday citizens are asked important questions about their city on an ongoing basis, and the feedback received is disseminated to the relevant areas of the Council. It is an embodiment of the idea of democracy in action.
“This initiative was set up in 2010 in order to get views from Dubliners in relation to everything from arts to retail to civic engagement,” explains Juliet Passmore.
Now in its ninth year, the latest ndings – based on responses from an online panel of nearly 4,000 people – show that the public have very positive feelings indeed towards Dublin. It indicates, for example, that 89% of people agree that Dublin is a vibrant city centre. An even greater number are enthused by the wide range of choices for eating out and drinking in Dublin, with over 90% saying that they are satis ed with the pubs and restaurants in the city.
MTV presenter – and noted foodie! – Laura Whitmore praised the cuisine in glowing terms when we spoke to her about Dublin in last year’s Best Of Ireland.
“There’s so many great places,” she told us. “The Marker Hotel does great food, as well as what are probably my favourite cocktails – and the view from the rooftop bar is unbelievable. Then San Lorenzo’s on South Great George’s Street do the best brunch I’ve ever had.”
Which is a fantastic recommendation from someone who is based in London, and well used to travelling the world!
I N C R E D I B LY P O S I T I V E
For people who want to learn more about Your Dublin, Your Voice, here’s the way it works. By signing up to an online panel, you can share your experiences and take part in the discussion around how to improve the city – and know that what you say is being listened to by the people who make all the key decisions.
“At the moment we have about 3,800 people, from all areas of Dublin,” says Juliet. “We do these surveys on a quarterly basis. We ask very broad-ranging questions, then we share the ndings with the City’s councillors through the strategic policy committees. Beyond that, we also share the results with speci c organisations. So for example, with answers related to Arts & Culture in Dublin – we might share the responses with libraries, museums and arts of ces, so that they can stay informed.”
Your Dublin, Your Voice also ran a survey speci cally related to the retail sector. Retail had been struggling in recent years, but it remains absolutely vital to the life of the city. So what was the feedback like?
“The main ndings were incredibly positive,” Juliet stresses. “People feel really good about Dublin. When we compared the results of our questions related to retail with previous years, we saw a noted improvement. 90% of people were positive in relation to shopping, socialising, all that kind of stuff, in the city.”
In the same spirit, RTÉ 2FM presenter Bláthnaid Treacy was full of praise for Dublin’s shopping hubs when we interviewed her.
“Folkster in Temple Bar is a personal favourite,” she said. “I’m a big Top Shop fan too: I’m often traipsing the St. Stephen’s Green store picking up bits. Zara (on South King Street) is also reliable and affordable.”
Another bene t of this project is that the Council has been able to pinpoint speci c services that the public values. Transport is a really important issue. ONGOING INITIATIVE
“Public transport is extremely important to people,” Juliet stresses. “We found that it’s now more important than cars. There’s been a shift there. The last time we asked about transport, many people were asking for more carparking spaces, whereas now more people are asking for greater pedestrian access.”
One huge positive is that the survey con rms that, despite modern trends, most people still prefer shopping in person rather than online. Juliet emphasises that the shopping hubs of Grafton Street and the George’s Street area are still very popular.
“There’s a ‘shop and socialise’ aspect,” says Juliet. “There’s so many good restaurants and good coffee shops in the city. There’s a lot of choice. Then you also have pubs coming out really well in the survey, with people still very much going to them.”
The success of this campaign is self-evident. You live, listen and learn. But Juliet is keen to stress that Your Dublin, Your Voice is an ongoing initiative, with surveys taking place once a quarter.
“Looking ahead, we’re always trying to get more speci c engagement with the public,” she says. “We want to look at how to improve environmental aspects in the city. We also want to look at how policies are being perceived by communities. As well as that, we want to keep growing our opinion panel and reach new people. We want as many people to take part in this as possible.”
You can’t say fairer than that: well done, Dublin City Council…
• You can take part in the Your Dublin, Your Voice survey by going to http://bit.ly/ydyvreg