The Fu­ture Of Dublin

Rais­ing Your Voice To Make A Dif­fer­ence

Hot Press - - Best Of Ireland 2019 -

“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

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