ABSTRACT The Temple Bar project in Dublin has been widely viewed as a model of culture-led regeneration. However, the outcomes of the project show that many of its original aims, such as the maintenance and enhancement of a diverse range of uses to cater for both the needs of the local population and those of investors, have not been achieved. This would seem to be in part the result of the high priority given to image enhancement at the expense of social objectives.
1. Introduction: Culture-led Regeneration
Much emphasis has been given in recent years to the use of arts and culture as a means of bringing about the regeneration of declining urban areas (Bianchini, 1993a; Ebert et al., 1994; Evans & Dawson, 1994). The regeneration of the Temple Bar area has been closely linked with this idea, and this article will evaluate its success in this respect. Firstly, however, the underlying conceptual frameworks in this field will be considered to set the context for the case study, since the link between culture and urban regeneration is complex and subject to varying interpretations. In terms of a rationale for such policy, two linked strands of argument may be distinguished: first, that it encourages economic diversification and employment creation (Booth & Boyle, 1993; Bianchini, 1993a), and second, that it contributes to 'place marketing' by enhancing the image of areas suffering from structural decline and thereby encouraging their economic resurgence (Council for Cultural Co-operation, 1995). High-profile prestige development projects, often incorporating retail and leisure uses, have often been used for such purposes, and such schemes have also brought about benefits such as a reduction in crime resulting from the increased usage of previously depressed and underused areas (Comedia, 1991). Furthermore, wider benefits such as an increase in the quality of life of city residents and workers may also contribute to both these strands; the objective of culture-led regeneration in this context is to create a self-sustaining 'virtuous circle' in which improvements to a city's quality of life enhance its image and brings increased tourist numbers, which in turn encourages further investment and economic regeneration (Landry et al., 1996). In addition, Darlow (1996) argues that cultural policy can also be used to achieve more sustainable urban development.
However, critics of culture-led regeneration argue that cultural projects are not necessarily more significant than other types of economic development in terms of their impact on regeneration, and therefore that they do not merit special subsidies (Bennett, 1995; Hansen, 1995). Moreover, it may be argued that the requirements of image-building to meet the needs of investors can override wider objectives, and that physical improvements may therefore be seen as primarily 'symbolic' in value (Harvey, 1989). Certainly, the objective of image enhancement has increased in recent decades in the context of intensifying global competition for investment (Ashworth & Voogd, 1990), and many regeneration schemes have attempted to concentrate attention and investment on the high-profile, 'symbolic' regeneration of a small area to achieve maximum visual impact. Such regeneration initiatives may be rather disparagingly referred to as 'urban boosterism' because of their limited potential to bring about self-sustaining, long-term solutions to fundamental and entrenched urban problems (Montgomery, 1995).
The issue of distribution of benefits is crucial in this context, since high-profile, prestige regeneration initiatives may be exclusive in their benefits, and such schemes may increase social polarization within cities by further excluding lower-income groups (Landry et al., 1996). While such initiatives have often involved a large degree of public subsidy because of the assumed 'trickle-down' benefits that affect the city as a whole, such benefits have often failed to materialize (Smyth, 1994; Bianchini, 1993b; Booth & Boyle, 1993). Moreover, even within 'improved' areas, there may be negative effects such as the displacement of lower-value uses such as artists' studios, which may have provided the initial rationale for improvement, by higher value uses such as luxury housing, speciality retail and offices (Harvey, 1989; Evans & Dawson, 1994). In addition, culture-led regeneration initiatives may be aimed primarily at high-spending visitors, which may serve to further alienate and exclude those who lack access to the new facilities. Furthermore, in many cities, high-profile city centre cultural projects diverted public funds away from areas where poverty and disadvantage were most concentrated (Loftman & Nevin, 1992).
This article will use a case study of the Temple Bar initiative to evaluate these arguments for and against culture-led regeneration. Firstly, however, the context for the initiative will be considered in terms of the decline of Dublin's inner city.
2. The City of Dublin: Problems and Policy Context
Dublin is the cultural and political hub of Ireland, with 1.1 million people residing in the Greater Dublin area in 1991. However, the city's geographical peripherality within Europe has imposed problems of competitiveness, and it has experienced serious economic difficulties in recent decades, particularly in terms of the loss of manufacturing industry (MacLaren, 1993; Dawson, 1940). The need for economic revival has therefore been a major factor in the decision of the Irish Government and the European Union to initiate urban regeneration projects, including the Temple Bar initiative.
Equally, the economic performance of the country as a whole has been a significant factor in underpinning efforts at urban regeneration. Such performance during the 1980s was poor in comparison with other European countries; consequently, between 1980 and 1984, employment in Ireland decreased by 40 000, and the level of unemployment rose to 19% (Johnson, 1994). This particularly affected the inner area of Dublin because of the shrinkage and closure of many businesses, a process that had also been noticeable since the late 1970s because of high land prices, congestion and inadequate premises, and decline of the docks function resulting from changing methods of cargo handling (Liddy, 1992; Horner, 1993). Moreover, the encouragement given by the Irish Government since the 1980s to development in the western and southern regions of the country, by means of grant aid to designated areas, contributed to the decline of Dublin (Reidy, 1997). This was exacerbated by the lack of public investment in the city's physical and social infrastructure (O'Connor & Cronin 1993), and MacLaren (1993) suggests that the Government abandoned any concerted attempt to attract industrial employment to the inner city, preferring to concentrate on service sector employment. While the growth of the service sector has more than offset the loss of industrial employment in aggregate terms, this has had little impact on inner city unemployment because of the lack of appropriate skills, compounded by the lack of training initiatives (Johnson, 1994).
These factors, together with increasing car ownership, led to the halving of the resident population in the inner city over the 25 year period to 1991 (Davis & Prendergast, 1995). This was exacerbated by Dublin Corporation's policy to disperse the population of overcrowded inner city areas to the suburbs from the 1930s onwards (Horner, 1993), a policy that continued in the 1970s with the development of outer estates. The effect was selective, resulting in increased social polarization with an extreme concentration of disadvantaged people in the inner city, particularly the elderly and those with relatively low levels of skills and education (MacLaren, 1993).
Because of this range of urban problems, which also applied, albeit to a lesser extent, to other Irish cities, the Irish Government provided a range of tax incentives for investment in defined areas under the Urban Renewal Act 1986 and the Finance Act 1986. These provisions applied to designated areas in Cork, Limerick, Waterford and Galway, as well as Dublin, and they reflected an acceptance of the need to rely on the private sector to provide the impetus for regeneration. However, while Temple Bar was included in Dublin's designated area, this measure did not bring significant new investment (Reidy, 1997); consequently, it became clear that more fundamental action was needed.
3. The Temple Bar Initiative
The Temple Bar area covers over 200 acres in west Dublin, on the south bank of the River Liffey between Dublin Castle and Trinity College. It was developed in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries for a range of uses including printing, bookbinding and publishing, although by the nineteenth century it had become a local centre for the clothing and woollen trades (Liddy, 1992). Significantly, the original street pattern and urban grain had been largely maintained, so that before the Temple Bar initiative the area consisted of small lanes with small shops and river warehouses. However, it began to experience accelerated economic and physical decline in the 1950s, as manufacturing firms and other businesses closed or relocated out of the area (Montgomery, 1995); consequently, by the 1980s the area contained several derelict sites and many of its buildings were in a poor state of repair, contrasting with expensively developed office buildings in adjacent areas of the inner city.
The development and implementation of the Temple Bar initiative are best explained with close reference to the institutions and agencies that have been responsible for controlling its agenda. Such an approach will also clarify the process of decision-making, which has produced the outcomes summarized in the next section. Broadly, the chronology of the initiative can be linked to the successive roles of CIE, An Taisce, the Temple Bar Development Council, Dublin Corporation, the Irish Government and Temple Bar Renewal Limited/ Temple Bar Properties Limited.
3.2 The Role of CIE
The trigger for the regeneration of the area was the announcement by CIE (the Irish State Bus Company) in 1981 that it wished to redevelop the area as part of a transportation centre to be located on sites north and south of the river (Quillinan & Wentges, 1996). CIE had been acquiring sites for the proposed development as they became available, and it planned to demolish the existing buildings in order to construct the centre. While these plans would have destroyed the existing urban fabric of the area, they were supported by Dublin Corporation, because of its aim to improve public transport in the city (Tiesdell et al, 1996). In fact, the proposals resulted in serious planning blight, with a dramatic fall in local property prices and rents, compounded by CIE's temporary leasing of their newly acquired premises at low rents. However, this prompted the move into the area of alternative and fringe uses such as artists' studios and second-hand clothes shops, which could not have afforded the previous rents in the area. Consequently, by the mid-1980s the area had attracted a concentration of such uses, encouraged by the potential for mutual collaboration (Montgomery, 1995).
3.3 The Role of An Taisce
Early opposition to CIE's proposals was expressed by An Taisce (the National Trust for Ireland) in its 1985 report entitled 'The Temple Bar Area--A Policy for its Future'. This report rejected CIE's proposals since they represented a threat to the area's valuable historic streets and buildings, and it emphasized the potential of the area as a historic, cultural quarter that could improve the city's image and thereby attract tourists as well as local residents. The report also contained positive suggestions for bringing this about, including the area's designation as a special case for tax incentives to encourage sensitive refurbishment, and it had a galvanizing effect on the Dublin media, which soon began to reflect many of An Taisce's arguments (Quillinan & Wentges, 1996).3.4 The Role of the Temple Bar Development Council (TBDC)
As indicated above, CIE's action had led to a resurgence in 'alternative' uses in the area, and the influx of small retailers selling from alternative fashion outlets in Crown Alley and Merchants Arch, together with several new restaurants, added to its Bohemian ambience. Consequently, Temple Bar began to acquire a distinct cultural identity, and many of its artists and other new residents vigorously opposed CIE's plans, preferring to see the area consolidated as a cultural quarter, with the granting of longer-term leases to increase their security (Montgomery, 1995). The Dublin Resource Centre, a co-operative on Crow Street, helped the residents to examine ways of opposing CIE's proposals, and the Resource Centre called a public meeting in 1988 specifically to oppose the inclusion of the proposals in Dublin Corporation's Draft Dublin City Development Plan. Widespread local opposition to CIE's proposals was expressed at the meeting, and representatives of An Taisce suggested that alternative proposals be put forward. Consequently, the Temple Bar Development Council (TBDC) was elected as a self-organized group of local traders, entrepreneurs, community groups and others who were prepared to put together an alternative strategy for the area (Quillinan & Wentges, 1996). In order to meet the deadline for submissions to the Dublin Corporation in connection with the City Development Plan, a strategy was quickly drawn up that included proposals for the environmental upgrading of local streets, tax incentives for refurbishment, encouragement of mixed uses to provide employment and amenity, and the encouragement of a range of cultural uses to establish the area as a new cultural quarter that could act as a significant new tourist attraction.
To facilitate the regeneration process, the TBDC proposed that all of CIE's properties be acquired by a development trust that could oppose redevelopment, pursue a series of environmental improvement initiatives, invest in cultural activities and thereby bring about broadly based cultural regeneration (Montgomery, 1995). While the creation of the Trust was not followed through, many of the detailed proposals for its activities were later pursued by Temple Bar Properties Limited (TBPL).3.5 The Role of Dublin Corporation
In spite of widespread acknowledgements of the tourism and cultural potential of the Temple Bar area, the proposals for the transport interchange were only rejected by Dublin Corporation in 1990. This prompted the creation of the Corporation's 1990 Temple Bar Action Plan, which incorporated a survey of the area's problems and a planning framework for its regeneration, including proposals for tax incentives, physical improvements such as access, lighting and public art, and a new pedestrian route through the area (Dublin Corporation, 1990). In addition, Dublin Corporation, together with Temple Bar '91, a consortium of local architects who had been involved in the TBDC, put forward an application for European Union funding for a pilot project to examine the feasibility of creating a cultural quarter in Temple Bar, and a European Regional Development Fund allocation of £3.6 million was granted for this proposal in 1991. Later, however, it was argued that Dublin Corporation appeared to have been marginalized in the regeneration process (Montgomery, 1995), partly because of the control exercised by the Government via Temple Bar Properties Limited.
3.6 The Role of the Government
Partly because of the high profile given to the opposition to CIE's proposals, the Irish Government took a direct interest in Temple Bar. The need for Government involvement had in fact been highlighted in TBDC's submissions to Dublin Corporation, in which TBDC suggested that a range of agencies would have to be involved in formulating alternative development proposals, including CIE, Dublin Corporation Planning Department, Dublin Corporation Paving Department as well as the Government Departments of Finance, Trade and Tourism, and the Department of the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) (Quillinan & Wentges, 1996). Consequently, TBDC argued, direct Government intervention was necessary to ensure the co-ordination of so many diverse public agencies. Moreover, the controversy over Temple Bar had been highlighted in a statement by the Prime Minister Charles Haughey as early as 1987, in which he lent his support to those who opposed CIE's proposals, prompting TBDC to approach the Department of the Taoiseach directly with their ideas for Temple Bar. The Department of the Taoiseach was crucial for the Temple Bar proposal since it held the Arts and Culture portfolio, and it recognized that there was a major opportunity to leverage Structural Funding from the European Union for a flagship culture-led regeneration project. Furthermore, Temple Bar's potential as a tourist attraction was attractive to many of the public bodies involved, and the Bord Failte (the Irish Tourist Board) included the area in its 1989 Tourism Plan (Tiesdell et al., 1996).
The designation of the city as European City of Culture in 1991 added to the impetus for culture-led regeneration, and the Prime Minister again emphasized the area's potential as a visitor attraction in 1991. Because of the resulting priority given to Temple Bar's regeneration, two crucial Government acts were passed in 1991, namely the Finance Act and the Temple Bar Area Renewal and Development Act. The Finance Act created two companies, namely Temple Bar Properties Limited (TBPL) and Temple Bar Renewal Limited (TBRL), both of which had the remit of bringing about the comprehensive revitalization of the area. The Temple Bar Renewal and Development Act also established a series of financial incentives including rent allowances, rate remissions and capital allowances against tax, which were designed to encourage the construction of new properties and the relocation of businesses into the area (Montgomery, 1995).
3.7 The Role of Temple Bar Renewal Limited and Temple Bar Properties Limited
Temple Bar Renewal Limited was established as the policy-making body that oversaw the renewal, approved development and changes of use and administered the financial incentives. It was chaired by the Lord Mayor, and its members included three representatives from Dublin Corporation as well as representatives of the Temple Bar Development Council, three Government departments, the Tourist Board and local tourism organizations. In addition, Temple Bar Properties Limited, a property development company with the Irish Government as sole shareholder, was established to implement the renovation proposals. There were 12 members on the board of TBPL, including three representatives from the Department of An Taoiseach, one from Dublin Corporation and four management consultants. The European Union provided funding of £4 million to enable the formation of the company, and the European Union also allowed up to £25 million of state-secured borrowing to be obtained to enable TBPL to acquire and refurbish properties in the area (Montgomery, 1995). The company was empowered to compulsorily purchase land and property in the area, and to act to renew, preserve, conserve, restore, develop or redevelop land. Consequently, by the end of 1992 TBPL had acquired all the property in Temple Bar that was owned by the public agencies, namely CIE, Dublin Corporation, Telecom Eireann (the Irish Telecommunications Company) and ESB (the Electricity Supply Board). One of the first of TBPL's initiatives was the 1991 Architectural Framework Competition, intended to encourage plans for the physical improvement of the area, and the winning proposals, from Temple Bar '91, incorporated plans for new public spaces and the upgrading of the Liffey Quays (TBPL, 1991).
More detailed plans were included in TBPL's 1992 Temple Bar Development Programme, which included proposals for urban renewal, with a mix of cultural, residential and retail uses, as well as environmental improvements and marketing initiatives. In terms of urban renewal, the Programme aimed to ensure the conservation of the area's existing building fabric by incorporating existing buildings into the overall scheme and using traditional materials. In terms of the pattern of uses, the cross-subsidy of unprofitable uses by profit-making uses was envisaged to maintain some of the lower-value uses which had provided the area's original attraction, and the Programme aimed to enhance the provision of alternative or specialist retailing in the area (TBPL, 1992). More generally, it suggested that the area be developed for mixed uses zoned on a vertical basis, with ground floors used for shops, bars and art galleries, while an array of more 'passive' uses such as residential and office was anticipated for upper floors. In addition, the need for a diversity of type and tenure of residential uses throughout the area, including social housing, was particularly highlighted, since the Programme envisaged a socially mixed community of around 2000 people including students, young people and the elderly, by 1996. In physical terms, the Programme anticipated the development of five hotels, 200 shops and 40 restaurants, two cultural centres and a suitable range of residential units, by the year 2000 (Montgomery, 1995).
The principle of cross-subsidy was also to apply to the Programme's cultural aims, which were to enable the maintenance and enhancement of the existing mix of cultural activities, whilst maximizing diversity and encouraging the potential for job creation. TBPL also sought to use the Temple Bar area to promote Irish culture in a wider sense, and over one-third of TBPL's proposed investment in the area was for spending on cultural projects. These projects were linked with TBPL's marketing strategy, which set out to promote the area as a diverse urban quarter by the development of appropriate cultural events.4. Outcomes of the Temple Bar Initiative
It is now appropriate to analyse the outcomes from the Programme in terms of broad successes and failures, taking into account the Programme's aims as outlined above.
It is clear that the Programme has achieved a range of physical achievements, including the development of 133 residential apartments, 63 new retail units and seven hotels, by July 1996. Moreover, at least 140 new businesses, including 108 ground floor retail units, had been established, and the initiative had created around 1900 long-term jobs in the cultural and service industries, together with 3000 temporary jobs in development and construction. In addition, pedestrian movement in the area had doubled since 1991, and the area had become the fourth most popular tourist destination in Dublin. It has therefore been argued that the concentration of attention on a small area enabled a 'critical mass' of initiatives to be achieved, attracting both tourists and investors, and that the area had to be regenerated on the basis of prestige, 'flagship' developments in order for the scheme to be a commercial success (Montgomery, 1995). Certainly, such a targeted, clustering approach encouraged tourism and pedestrian activity, enabling secondary activities such as hotels to thrive (Tiesdell et al., 1996). Moreover, commitment seems to have been given to the need for a creative approach to regeneration, as indicated by the prioritization of a 'percent for art' scheme and the recognition of the need for a high quality of design (Landry et al., 1996).
While the objective of developing a diverse mix of uses seems to have been less successful, it has been achieved in parts of Temple Bar. For instance, an arts and cultural resource centre was established in the area in 1996 to act as a focus for cultural activity, and developments such as the co-called 'Green Building' were successful in combining an innovative mix of uses, including eight two- and three-bedroom flats, with studios, offices and shops on the lower floors. The scheme was developed as a partnership between the developers and Trinity College Dublin, where research into ventilation and heating systems was being conducted; consequently, the building is highly energy-efficient and encased within an insulated cover with a range of high technology mechanisms to enhance overall energy efficiency. The total cost of this building was IR £1.5 million, and around one-third of this was provided by means of a European Union grant, made available because the development was seen as a potential model for minimal environmental impact buildings (Landry et al., 1996).
While a number of flagship cultural projects and other initiatives have been brought about in Temple Bar as shown above, the development of some types of facilities, for instance for small cultural businesses, has proved more difficult to achieve. Moreover, the provision of tax incentives, an important mechanism for bringing about investment in Temple Bar, has not helped start-up businesses, which would require grants and loans (Montgomery, 1995). In addition, there has been significant evidence of gentrification. While TBPL responded to this criticism by commissioning temporary art installations on derelict sites, organizing festivals and exhibitions, and allocating units let to artists on long-term preferential leases (Landry et al., 1996), many of the original artists in the area have been forced to leave because of increases in capital values and rents arising from physical improvements (Reidy, 1997). Montgomery (1995) argues that some gentrification has been necessary to achieve effective regeneration in Temple Bar, though he accepts that this has implied the dilution of social objectives for the area. In addition, concern has been expressed that the original cultural objectives for Temple Bar have been overshadowed by the development of licensed premises (Harrison, 1996). This issue was highlighted in a report published by An Taisce on the outcomes of the Temple Bar Project in July 1996, which criticized the dominance of licensed premises over other uses, and local residents have objected to the nuisance arising from the expansion of such premises (Reidy, 1997; Maxwell, 1996).
The development of a residential community in Temple Bar has also been problematic; while the area contained a residential population of 900 people in 1996, this fell far short of the population of 2000 anticipated in TBPL's Development Programme. Moreover, student and family accommodation proved particularly difficult to achieve, and the new residential units developed by 1997 were predominantly highly priced. Again, as Montgomery (1995) acknowledges, this illustrates a degree of gentrification that was not anticipated, as well as a dilution of social aims. Moreover, it may be argued that many of the 'new' businesses in the area have simply replaced other businesses that left because of rising rents, since commercial rents in Temple Bar are now around £25-30 per square foot, and many small independent outlets are experiencing financial uncertainty (Reidy, 1997). There is therefore a strong possibility of the encroachment into the area of high street stores, which would further erode its character, and this has been made more likely by TBPL's policy of selling-off shop and restaurant uses to private investors (McDonald, 1996a). Furthermore, while Temple Bar has undoubtedly become a major tourist attraction for visitors to Ireland, there have been criticisms from some residents and visitors that the area has become uncongenial and possibly threatening as a result (Harrison, 1996).
In terms of TBPL's environmental aims, while street surfaces have been improved and traffic calming and pedestrianization initiatives have been introduced, there remain serious problems of access and car parking (Reidy, 1997). Moreover, TBPL has displayed a lack of concern for conservation issues; again, this seems to represent a dilution of original aims for the regeneration of the area, since An Taisce's 1985 report The Temple Bar Area--A Policy for its Future emphasized the importance of the area's historic streets and buildings. In addition, the Architectural Framework Plan, drawn up by Group '91 and endorsed by TBPL, established the consolidation of the area's existing character as a key principle (TBPL, 1991). Nevertheless, there have been many significant losses of, or alterations to, important buildings of distinction in the area, including the demolition of five early eighteenth century houses on Essex Quay, and an approach to refurbishment that has been criticized as facadism (McDonald, 1993). Consequently, An Taisce's 1996 report on the outcomes of the Temple Bar project suggested that it had failed to achieve its objectives since the original ambience of the area had been lost, and that regeneration could have been secured much more cheaply, with no loss in character (McDonald, 1996b). Moreover, the sustainability of many of the achievements of the Temple Bar Project may be questionable, since many smaller cultural activities were underpinned by tax and other incentives which are short-term in nature (Montgomery, 1995). Consequently, even uses that were initially self-sustaining might be affected by a general decline precipitated by the withdrawal of incentives.
In general, therefore, 'holistic' regeneration, combining social, economic and environmental elements, would not seem to have been achieved in Temple Bar, partly because the project's social aims were downgraded in importance as the scheme progressed. Consequently, the diverse residential community which was anticipated had failed to materialize by 1997, and the sustainability of the diverse retail sector is in doubt (Montgomery, 1995; Reidy, 1997). These are serious shortcomings, since observers such as Evans and Dawson (1994) argue that initiatives for cultural quarters should incorporate policies to promote the creation of affordable housing and appropriate employment creation. The role of TBPL has been critical in this context. While the Temple Bar Development Council, backed by local opinion, emphasized the need for social aims for the project (Quillinan & Wentges, 1996), TBPL appeared to downgrade such aims, together with the need for a high level of community involvement. For instance, 'public participation' exercises were undertaken by TBPL's marketing division (Montgomery, 1995), with the implication that marketing aims took priority over those of enabling local people to contribute effectively. This was in spite of a wider consensus that community involvement was essential for the success of culture-led regeneration initiatives (Falk, 1993; Landry et al., 1996).
In fact, the Temple Bar project has been extended until 1999, because of unanticipated delays arising from the need for extensive archaeological excavations in the western part of the area. The development of Phase Two, for the area west of Parliament Street, is planned to include the redevelopment of the Project Arts Centre and the Olympia Theatre, as well as accommodation for a further 700--800 people, with 30% of this accommodation intended to comprise social housing (Magahy, 1997).
5. Relationship to Other Regeneration Initiatives
It is relevant at this stage to consider the relationship of the Temple Bar proposal to other recent regeneration initiatives in Dublin. For instance, the Custom House Docks development, to the northeast of the Temple Bar area, shared some of the aims of the Temple Bar initiative since both initiatives were Government priorities aimed at encouraging the regeneration of the city as a whole. While the Custom House Docks scheme was geared to the financial services sector, some of its criticisms have been similar to those of Temple Bar. For instance, Malone (1996) suggests that the Custom House Docks scheme has failed to realize its expectations for the development of mixed uses, partly because it was organized to serve the interests of a combination of relatively narrow political, financial and property interests rather than to meet strategic social and land use planning objectives. This seems to be a criticism that could also be applied to the Temple Bar initiative, partly because of the dominance of the role of Temple Bar Properties Limited in the regeneration process.
In fact, these criticisms may be explained in part by the relatively centralized nature of decision-making in Ireland, which implies that local government agencies such as Dublin Corporation can have only a marginal input into regeneration initiatives, a factor that has been compounded by the lack of resources available to local authorities (Davis & Prendergast, 1995). Moreover, the desire to access European Union Structural Funding, and the corresponding drive to achieve speedy results to coincide with Dublin's 1991 designation as European City of Culture, seem to have contributed to the rationale for powerful central co-ordination. However, this may have increased the risk of gentrification arising from the project (Fitzsimons, 1996).
Nevertheless, proposals for a new regeneration project to the north of Temple Bar seem to illustrate that a process of learning has taken place as a result of recent regeneration initiatives. While the new initiative, the Historic Area Rejuvenation Project (HARP), covers a large 109 hectare area, it involves public investment of only £12 million, though it is expected to lever a substantial amount of private sector investment. Around half of the public sector funding is to be provided by Dublin Corporation, with the remainder from the European Union Urban and Village Renewal Programme, and the scheme is expected to be completed by 1999. A Framework Plan has been developed, which includes environmental improvements as well as proposed cultural, residential, commercial, transport and leisure uses, and the scheme is expected to encourage investment on a variety of underused sites (Lattimore, 1996). Significantly, the initiative prioritizes community participation, and a steering group comprising residents, traders, conservation groups and other statutory groups has been formed to oversee its implementation. This emphasis on community involvement seems to have built on the experience of the Temple Bar project, and such an approach may avoid many of the criticisms applied to the latter.
It is now appropriate to consider the experience of the Temple Bar initiative in terms of its implications for the conceptual frameworks for culture-led regeneration set out earlier. Essentially, it seems to have failed to meet many of the objectives which observers such as Booth and Boyle (1993), Bianchini (1993a) and Landry et al. (1996) set out as a rationale for culture-led regeneration. For instance, it would not seem to have met the needs for employment creation, since many businesses have been displaced as a result of 'prestige' improvements to the area, or for improved quality of life for those without access to the relatively exclusive benefits which have been created. On the contrary, the initiative seems to illustrate many of the general criticisms of culture-led regeneration initiatives. For instance, the process of gentrification is evident, and much of the original 'bohemian' ambience seems to have been lost because of the raising of property values and rents, the displacement of many original residents and the in-migration of more affluent residents (Reidy, 1997; Fitzsimons, 1996). These effects seem to have arisen partly as a result of a concentration on image enhancement and 'symbolic' effects at the expense of wider 'holistic' regeneration objectives, and the project may have served to increase social polarization within the city.
Finally, how could the initiative have avoided such criticisms? The above evidence suggests that many of its perceived shortcomings are linked to the failure of Temple Bar Properties Limited to carry forward the original objectives for the scheme, particularly those articulated by local interests. Consequently, a more inclusive vehicle for regeneration might have produced a wider range of long-term, sustainable benefits. Such a mechanism might therefore have been more compatible with a holistic, strategic and inclusive approach to culture-led regeneration.
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By JOHN McCARTHY, 1998
John McCarthy, Center for Planning Research, School of Town and Regional Planning, University of Dundee, Dundee DD14HT, UK.