Local Dublin Global Dublin: Public Policy in an Evolving City Region


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For planning, which in the recent past has tended to focus on preserving areas of beauty or high aesthetic quality, this provides scope for broadening out a landscape argument for the city-region. This includes interconnectivity between landscape elements and the particular reciprocal relationship between culture and nature Aalen, Aalen, F. Aalen , K. For Crowley Crowley, E. It is these layers and the relationships they embody that define landscape interpretations today, with the added context of sustainable development—heightening the significance of landscape considerations in contemporary place-making.

Whilst in instrumental terms, the European Landscape Convention is not as powerful a planning device as the directives on habitats and strategic environmental assessment Ray, Ray, K. Newman , Y. In this preliminary presentation of our ideas, we begin to draw out some pointers for how these different strands of planning thinking might play out in a typical mid-sized European city-region.

Cork is a useful study for a number of reasons. With a very tightly drawn city council boundary with limited scope for expansion , spatial planning initiatives have had to rely on a co-operative approach from adjoining planning authorities. It is also timely in that the Irish government has begun a period of reflection about what the appropriate scale of city government for Cork might be. With a metropolitan population of nearly , people, Cork is the second largest urban area in the Republic of Ireland.

The city region contains an attractive and vibrant compact urban settlement, sitting near the mouth of a large natural harbour, surrounded by a planned network of satellite towns and employment hubs, all within a high quality landscape and coastal setting Figure 1.


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It shows the contained growth of the city and suburbs surrounded by a necklace of satellite towns e. Carrigaline and Ballincollig , some strategic employment locations e. Ringaskiddy , planned growth along the re-opened rail line Carrigtwohill, Midleton and the proposed new town at Monard all defined by a strong green belt.

Display full size Figure 1 Diagrammatic representation of current metropolitan planning ideas in the Cork area. Cork has a strong pedigree in sub-regional and metropolitan planning that is quite uncommon in an Irish context, where a centralized state structure as well as a territorially constrained system of local government tends to dissuade spatially integrated planning activities across fixed administrative boundaries.

The LUTS strategy in identified a study area, corresponding to a defined metropolitan district that has been retained and re-defined as a contemporary spatial planning and statistical unit known as the Cork Metropolitan Area. The LUTS and CASP strategies proposed integrated planning and development strategies based on targeted public investment towards infrastructure-led development, economic specialization and diversification, a controlled settlement pattern based on a compact city and satellite centre network, and environmental and conservation strategies aimed at protecting and enhancing the city region's physical and natural assets.

However, it is equally significant for the ways in which it attempted to integrate economic, environmental and physical planning concerns in a spatially coherent way. This was quite a fundamental departure from previous sector-based plans prepared within established local authority boundaries which tended to generally address individual themes such as traffic and transport, ecology and environment, economy and employment, land use zoning, conservation and heritage social and community, without any meaningful integration or vertical and horizontal coordination.

There is clear scope then for the environmental and economic disadvantages of uncontrolled urban sprawl Williams et al. In strategic planning terms, an argument can be made that these different sectors which would otherwise have been subject to the tendency for separation and specialization described earlier in this paper can have a reasonably clear, integrated and geographical manifestation at the city-region scale Figure 2.

Mianovski ed. Irish Contemporary Landscapes in Literature and the Arts , pp. It also has relevance for ongoing discussions about reform of local government boundaries in the area.

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Based on the small area census areas from the national census, the map shows how growth and development is focused at discrete locations in a polycentric metropolitan pattern rather than a sprawling one. Display full size Figure 2 Map showing variation of population density in the sub-region of Cork city and its hinterland.


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In the greater Cork area, the green belt has been a strong urban containment tool for planning. Its effectiveness or otherwise should be seen in the light of the fact that, unlike in Britain for example where green belt policy is determined by statute, it is a policy that has been determined by successive locally agreed development plans for more than two decades. The most sensitive green belt land in the area strategic undeveloped gaps preventing built up areas merging or the prominent ridges and valley sides that give the city its distinctive landscape setting remains largely intact.

When analysed along with planned open space policies in both the city and the county area that deal with parks, recreation areas, ecological sites and other areas to remain free from built development see Figure 3 , a strong framework for promoting networks of urban diversity, habitats and high landscape quality begins to emerge at this same metropolitan scale. Display full size Figure 3 Map showing the combined natural environment and open space planning policies including high quality green belt that apply in the city council and county council areas surrounding the city.

The purpose of this paper was to consider the possibilities for combining those sustainable-city approaches concerned with physical form, scale and place with the integrative styles of the sustainable development paradigm within a broader framework that draws upon the holistic Geddesian tradition of planning for sub-regional and metropolitan spaces. It is suggested that despite significant structural, political and economic obstacles, as well as evidence of some discordant spatial and economic development patterns in the Cork case, a relatively coherent and consistent approach to strategic spatial planning at the sub-regional and metropolitan scale has persisted within the city region.

Although it is not suggested that this is necessarily the manifestation of an explicit programme that deliberately espoused the combination of different disciplinary traditions, it can be interpreted as a continuous, tacit project consisting of a set of overlapping and coordinated initiatives. This overlapping set of spatially-comparable initiatives and policies reveals a governance space with a particular shape, scale and character see Figure 5.

Display full size Figure 5 Schematic showing how a holistic approach to the city and its hinterland can bring about genuinely convergent ideas about spatial planning that address the challenges of sustainability and urban competitiveness in a resilient way. The paper is a contribution to discussions about the holistic nature of planning at the city-region level.

13-15 April 2000

It has used the spatial planning narrative of a relatively compact city-region in Ireland to explore, in a preliminary way, the case for a return to broader and more synthesized place-focused approaches to questions of sustainable cities. This has particular resonance for city regions, especially at the present time where, as explained in this paper, issues of governance, economic growth and institutional change are often presented in highly complex, non-spatial and often incoherent policy settings, each with different scales, political imperatives and time horizons.

Whilst the planning story of Metropolitan Cork underscores the centrality of the property, development and resource conflicts highlighted by Campbell's model, we have also begun to find a surprising convergence of influences especially in the way that economic issues, environmental quality of life, local government structures and landscape can be mutually reinforcing drivers in terms of urban form, spatial development patterns and about how sustainable development priorities can be articulated in coherent ways.

The longevity and relevance of Cork's on-going sub-regional and metropolitan case study can certainly be explained—in part—by the manner in which diverse planning strands have been combined and layered to articulate a strong physical and representational space in which the planning and governance of the city region has managed to prevail. This provides an interesting context within which metropolitan areas can be governed and planned in more assimilative ways, and begins to hint—tentatively perhaps—that more formalized approaches for bringing forward sustainable development principles at the scale of the city region might be considered.

Skip to Main Content. Search in: This Journal Anywhere. The objectives of urban food growing initiatives in Cork City vary, for example focusing on social inclusion, community cohesion, urban regeneration, improving community health outcomes, education and training, therapeutic functions, food security or sustainability Barry It is therefore worth considering the challenges this organisation may face going forward. These include the lack of recognition of the complexity of the food system or the severity of its problems; limited financial and human resources; and limited capacities for engagement of communities most in need of benefitting from food policy council activities Scherb et al.

The comparative analysis of Cardiff and Cork reveals different connections and disconnections between urban metabolisms that result in food insecurity.


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This analysis also showcases a range of processes with the capacity to alter these metabolisms and assist in the delivery of food security outcomes, as well as elements that exacerbate the negative consequences of current food metabolisms. Two key dimensions have emerged as important for understanding the dynamics of urban metabolisms of food: the socio-ecological conditions of the city, and the bodies within the city.

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First, a closer look at the urban metabolism of food in the city calls for an explicit understanding of the socio-ecological dimension of these dynamics. In the midst of an agricultural sector dedicated to red meat, championing local and healthy food is a struggle and highlights the need to transform not only discourses and policies but also landscapes to support sustainability and food security. It is much smaller than not only Cardiff but its population is dwarfed by that of Dublin and it lacks the critical mass for various public and private services which could contribute to tackling urban food metabolic issues.

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The socio-ecological dimension of urban food metabolic dynamics in Cork also hinges upon the large amount of green space in the city Mills et al. The Cork Food Policy Council and other proponents of community-centred food growing are strategically seeking to disrupt food insecurity by making connections with green space, food growing, food cooking and food enjoyment. The socio-ecological dimension of food metabolisms in both cities stresses the need to explore changes to material conditions, for example landscapes, but also discourses.

In this vein, Cardiff council has mobilised a particular notion of sustainability closely tied with economic growth, while Food Cardiff and the Sustainable Food Cities Network use sustainability as a consensus frame to bring a range of stakeholders together see Mooney and Hunt Furthermore, this flexible approach to the constructed and contested notion of sustainability see Sneddon et al.

In the case of Cork, discourses around sustainability are also varied and showcase tensions between alternative food movements and an export-oriented agricultural sector wanting to improve its environmental and social credentials. These different approaches have an impact on policy interventions since they shape the definition of what the right course of action is judged to be and therefore condition the establishment of priorities.

Furthermore, they display additional disconnections between key urban food metabolisms such as the production of economic inequalities and the supply and provenance of food consumed in the city. The comparative analysis also reveals disconnections within the food metabolism of the city and the body, revealing challenges for food policy actors to engage with this scalar dimension of food. Existing literature stresses the need to establish multilevel policies to address food security concerns, mostly highlighting the interconnections between local, regional, national and international levels Barling et al.

However, a focus on metabolisms also reveals the importance of including biological processes and bodies within such multi-scalar approaches to policy making Swyngedouw and Heynen This increasing recognition of the role of bodies within urban food metabolisms is still relatively partial and calls for a better articulation between different key spatial scales: the body, home, community, city, region, nation and global Neil Smith ; Bell and Valentine Furthermore, the inclusion of regional and national perspectives is restricted to rethinking sources of food supply or tapping into national and UK powers.

Consequently, the spatial imaginary lacks an awareness of how socio-ecological processes at different scales actually shape particular food insecurity metabolisms, which necessarily include what happens within the bodies that are connected through food metabolisms and inhabit proximate but also distant places. Similarly, Cork policy trajectories build on disconnections between scales that also provide partial accounts of current urban metabolisms.

Indeed, the separation between the global agri-food industry and community growing initiatives clearly displays a different scalar focus which, among others, prevents confrontation and allows a range of contrasting initiatives to coexist.

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In both Cardiff and Cork, there is also evidence of a failure to recognise the metabolism of food in the body as part of food insecurity dynamics. This evidence comes from the sharp increases in engagement by citizens in both cities with food assistance programmes, as well as the higher than national average levels of poor health in Cardiff and Cork.

However, food policy actors in both cities have begun to reconnect the issues of food security with micro-scalar issues of the body by integrating a health perspective. In addition to the support which the School Holiday Hunger Programme has had from Cardiff City Council, this suggests that policy-makers have recognised not only the existence of hunger and diet-related ill health in the city but the need to re- assume responsibility in tackling these issues.

However, in the absence of strong city-level governance to tackle the metabolisms of dietary-related ill physical and mental health in Cork City, CFPC have begun to lead the way on this.

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They have done this through the promotion of community-centred urban food growing initiatives to provide greater access to healthy food, and greater literacy around food growing, preparation and consumption. A central tenet of their approach is the necessity of reconnecting physically and bodily with the food system, to alter urban metabolisms and to best effect a physical, body change; that is, being in a state of food and nutrition security.

This paper focuses on the city-scale due to increasing urbanisation trends worldwide and the transformative role which cities can play for rebuilding the food system. To support these efforts, many cities have begun to develop integrated food policies which aim to deliver food and nutrition security. The two case study cities - Cardiff and Cork - are comprised of diverse and historically constructed configurations of nature and society, providing different opportunities to implement successful urban food policies. Cardiff presents a case where the local public sector, and particularly public health, takes the lead in changing the current food insecurity metabolism of the city, in the absence of a strong civil society movement and an engaged private sector.

By contrast, Cork is exploring urban food growing as a mechanism to address multiple sustainability and health challenges in a context where a strong national export-oriented agri-food industry dominates food debates. By mobilising a political ecology approach, this paper showcases how these distinct policy trajectories impinge upon particular socio-ecological configurations. Specifically, we discuss how these configurations are expressed through bodily forms from obesity to destitution , material landscapes of local, unhealthy and distant food , and contrasting discourses and powers which shape policy trajectories as well as food insecurity outcomes.

The findings presented in this paper highlight the importance of tracing the dis connections across metabolisms reproducing food in security, such as the creation of precarious employment, the lack of skills or the experience of diet-related diseases. These dis connections shed new light and provide new evidence to advocate for holistic approaches to develop effective food policies.

Furthermore, they call for a place-based and historical awareness of how places develop unique transitions towards food in security and un sustainability outcomes. This shift implies a deeper engagement and responsibility for the relationships that create certain food metabolisms rather than conceptualising bodies, infrastructure and other elements at play as objects that need to be externally acted upon.

By mobilising the notion of metabolism, urban political ecology also offers a much more fluid understanding of scale and provides tools for integrating cross-scalar processes and actors in understanding the production of food insecurity in the city. The analysis presented here starts to map cross-scalar dis connections and their impact on urban food policy configurations. In the context of increasing urbanization as well as socio-economic and spatial inequalities, both food studies and urban political ecology would benefit from exploring further current cross-scalar food metabolisms, their simultaneous effects on multiple geographies and the powers that can be deployed to re shape them.

Free schools are non-profit-making and independent schools, funded by the state which are free to attend but managed by actors outside the public sector. The main author also acknowledges the funding of the European Commission and the Welsh Government that currently supports her Ser Cymru fellowship. Skip to main content Skip to sections. Advertisement Hide. Download PDF. Reshaping urban political ecologies: an analysis of policy trajectories to deliver food security. Open Access. First Online: 24 November An important strand of work has concentrated on how the physical configuration of urban communities — driven by and actively reproducing neoliberal agendas Brenner and Theodore — shape malnutrition and unsustainability outcomes from hunger to obesity.

The spatial restructuring of urban foodscapes configures particular environments, sometimes labelled as obesogenic — characterized by the abundance of obesity-promoting environmental features - or food deserts, where the lack of healthy food options combines with low household incomes and spatial isolation Shannon For instance, research on obesogenic environments tends to ignore how the production of such neighbourhoods and the decision to live there may be part of a broader process of class formation, as well as highlighting personal genetic predispositions to develop these illnesses Guthman There is therefore a need to interrogate further the socio-natural production of urban space in order to design more emancipatory policy interventions.

Centre-left parties Labour have largely governed the city and the country, Wales in the last decades, focusing on an urban renaissance strategy championing big projects at the expense of social infrastructure Morgan Cowell traces the sustainable politics of the city, identifying key changes in the early s when the city council sought to improve its green credentials. These changes included giving greater prominence to environmental concerns in council policies and adopting the language of sustainable development, couched largely in terms of maintaining the quality of life of residents.

Local Dublin Global Dublin: Public Policy in an Evolving City Region Local Dublin Global Dublin: Public Policy in an Evolving City Region
Local Dublin Global Dublin: Public Policy in an Evolving City Region Local Dublin Global Dublin: Public Policy in an Evolving City Region
Local Dublin Global Dublin: Public Policy in an Evolving City Region Local Dublin Global Dublin: Public Policy in an Evolving City Region
Local Dublin Global Dublin: Public Policy in an Evolving City Region Local Dublin Global Dublin: Public Policy in an Evolving City Region
Local Dublin Global Dublin: Public Policy in an Evolving City Region Local Dublin Global Dublin: Public Policy in an Evolving City Region
Local Dublin Global Dublin: Public Policy in an Evolving City Region Local Dublin Global Dublin: Public Policy in an Evolving City Region
Local Dublin Global Dublin: Public Policy in an Evolving City Region Local Dublin Global Dublin: Public Policy in an Evolving City Region
Local Dublin Global Dublin: Public Policy in an Evolving City Region Local Dublin Global Dublin: Public Policy in an Evolving City Region

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