Dublin Docklands’ Regeneration and Public Opinion


Dublin Docklands has become an important cornerstone of Dublin city in recent years with the rapid restructuring that has taken place in the last twenty years. Essentially, the depressed city of Dublin in the last two decades has dramatically been transformed through rapid regeneration, and through development of Dublin, the social structure and physical configuration of Dublin Dockland has also been regenerated in the last two decades. The regeneration in general terms means transformation of many artifacts of Dublin dockland that will lead to the significant success and evolution of modern development. Formerly, regeneration of Dublin Dockland was rejected without adequate consideration. (University College Dublin, 2008, Cadell, Falk, King, 2009). The weakness of legislation has resulted in the exclusion of socio-economic transformation of the Dublin Dockland and has resulted in the decline of regeneration of the area. (Moore, 2002).

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However, with agitation for development from different quarters, the regeneration has finally been initiated by the policy makers.The creation of the Dublin Docklands Development Agency (DDDA) encourages the development of Dublin Dockalnds. In 1997, the policy was initiated by Dublin government to influence the regeneration of the DDDA, and the development is to cover 526 hectares (1,300 acres) for 15 years (1997-2012). Typically, the DDDA regeneration is predicted to create approximately between 30,000 and 40, 000 new jobs for the youths and for the unemployed people. Moreover, the development will influence the construction of 11,000 new homes, and this will trigger population growth from 17,500 in 1997 to 42,500 in 2012.

The major reason for the development of Dublin Docklands is as result of rapid development of Dublin Metropolitan Area in recent years. Dublin in Ireland has experienced significant changes in recent years. Several changes have been due to the considerable composition of ethnic group. Typically, the Dublin comprises of largely the white majority. In addition, Dublin has experienced a large influx of asylum seekers, where many people from African origin have immigrated into the city, thereby affected the ethnic geography of the city. Since 2002, Dublin has experienced largest concentration of asylum seekers, and the result of incoming people from different part of the world has affected the Dublin spatial geographical outlook. (Kelly, 2005). 

Apart from influx of people that has led to the development of the city, the latest boom in modern offices in Dublin has created far-reaching consequences on the outlook of the Dublin city. For example, between 1995 and 2001, there had been rapid office development in the metropolitan area, and this has relatively influenced the urban planning. (Bertz, 2002). Figures have revealed that 58 percent of the space in Dublin reached completion in the first six months in 2001.

Typically, the dramatic shift in the proportion of city’s modern offices has displaced the traditional offices in Dublin. The rapid urbanisation in Dublin has been resulted in the important implication in Dublin Metropolitan Area, and the development has increased the heavy reliance to private car because the many office locations cannot be easily serviced by public transport. (MacLARAN, 2001).

Typically, the developmental effect has made Dublin Metropolitan Area to become the fifth largest important European city, and twelfth most important city at global scale, and the development has rapidly influenced the growth of international fund activities in Dublin.

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Typically, the process of urbanisation is not a new phenomenon, however the rapidity of increase in the development of Dublin are influencing the regeneration of Dublin docklands. (Bertz, 2002, University College Dublin, 2008).

The rapid growth of Dublin has influenced the physical, social, economic changes that have reflected the transformation of Dublin Dockland. Typically, the Dublin Dockland embodies many elements that can make it growth machines. The characteristics of growth machine include population growth, the high rate of employment with the improvement in quality of life of indigenous people. (Hogan, 2006). The regeneration of Dublin Dockland is typically being influenced by the growth-machine theory (GMT) that has attempted to shed the light on regeneration of Dublin Dockland. The GMT was initially applied to some cities in USA, such as Dallas, Chicago, and Sioux Falls.

The central premises of GMT application are that increase in population growth will influence increase in employment. Typically, the theory asserted that the expansion of urban population would increase the income-derived rents from property. However, the major weakness of the theory is that increase in the population may not necessitate increase in rents because there can be oversupply of property, which depressed the rent. (Hogan, 2006). Thus, since 1986, the authority of Dublin Dockland has passed the 1986 Urban Renewal Act to increase the regeneration of Dublin Dockland. For example, there were policies to set in motion to make Dublin Dockland one of the major centres of financial transaction, which had led to the development of International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) in order to attract Foreign Direct Investment. (Hogan, 2006, Hogan, 2005).

Despite the rapid development that might have influenced the regeneration of the Dublin Dockland, opinion is diverse about what people feel about the regeneration of Dublin docklands.

A major objective of the paper is to explore the feeling of the people about the regeneration of Dublin docklands.

Hogan (2005) argued that the development of Dublin Docklands has started over the past twenty years. However, it was in 1986 that the authority took a major step by promulgating the 1986 the Urban Renewal Act in order to influence the development and urban renewal in the city.

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Typically, the community participation in the development of Dublin Dockland through Custom House Docks Development Authority CHADDA has highlighted the role of indigenous community in the planning system of Dublin Dockland. (Hogan, 2005).

Although many research papers have focused on the regeneration in Dockland Dublin, however few papers have only explored the perception of the people about the regeneration in Dockland Dublin. For example, the research conducted by Moore (2002) has only focused on the regeneration explosion of Dublin within the last two decades, and no word had been mentioned on the people’s perception on regeneration in Dockland Dublin. (Moore, 2002).

This paper attempts to fill the gap by the paucity of research paper on perception of people on the regeneration of Dockland Dublin.

To achieve the research objective, the paper will answer the following research question.

Research question

How do the people of Dublin docklands feel about the regeneration of the dockland area?

To answer the research question, the paper collects data from questionnaires through research methodology. This study has criticised the research paper conducted by Moore, 2002, who has conducted research on the growth of Dublin with in the last two decades, and made no mentioned on the people’s perception on regeneration in Dockland Dublin. The weakness of his paper is one of the major reasons that made researcher to conduct research on this study.

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Research methodology

This section discusses the methods of collecting data for the paper. The method of collecting data will be through questionnaire and this will be through the combination of the five researchers who combined research efforts to achieve the research objective and answer the research questions.


The method of data collection is through questionnaires, and the trip carried out by the group of five researchers will influence the pattern of designing the questionnaires. The questionnaires are set of structured questions that allow the respondents to choose one or more answers from the set of answers displayed by the researchers. The researchers employ the use of questionnaires to collect data because of its advantage to collect data from large group of people. In addition, through questionnaires, the data can be collected from large group of people through inexpensive means, and the technique saves time as well. (Office of the Auditor General of Canada, 2007).

Although, the questionnaire technique for data collection is adopted in this paper, however the use of questionnaire for data collection will not make the researchers to conduct in-dept interview, which could aid in the clarification of some issues in the methodology. Since the researchers used questionnaires for data collection, it is essential to discuss different type of questionnaires.

Type of questionnaires

Types of questionnaires could be based in three categories. Structured questionnaires, semi-structured questionnaire and unstructured questionnaires.

As discussed previously, the data collection procedure involves five researchers where the researchers were divided into two separate groups. One group was responsible for data collection through questionnaires, the other group was responsible to collect the results for bi- polar semantic.The questionnaires for data collection are structurally designed. A structured questionnaire is designed to ensure that the respondents choose from the lists of the answers provided by the respondents. As being indicated by the university of Sheffield (2008),

“Structured questionnaires are based predominantly on closed questions which produce data that can be analysed quantitatively for patterns and trends. The agenda is entirely predetermined by the evaluator and provides little flexibility for respondents to qualify their answers”.

Trochim, Donnely (2007)11 argued that structured questionnaires could be categorised as dichotomous questions, where the respondents are allowed to choose from only two possible responses. Example of responses are Agree or Disagree, Yes or No, True or False.

Moreover, structured questionnaires could also be described as multichotomous, where there are more than two multiple-choice answers for the respondents to choose one from them. (Manion,Morrison, 2000, Hester, 1996).

An example of multichotomous questionnaire is stated as follows: Regeneration will enhance development of Dublin Dockland:

  1. Strongly agree
  2. Agree
  3. Neutral
  4. Disagree
  5. Strongly Disagree

The other type of questionnaires is unstructured questionnaires. This type of questionnaires is predominantly based on closed questions where the data can be qualitatively analysed and there is flexibility of the respondents to provide the answers to the questionnaires.

See Trochim, Donnely 2007. For more information on how the use of structured questionnaire has contributed to the significant success for this study.

The third type of questionnaires is semi-structured. This type of questionnaires is combination of structured and unstructured questionnaires. (The University of Sheffield, 2008).

Thus, this paper employed structured questionnaires, and semi-structured questionnaires for the data collection. Typically, the paper employed dichotomous, and multichotomous, for the structured questionnaire. For the semi-structured questionnaires, the researchers allow the respondents to offer their opinion on the regeneration of Dublin Dockland.

The list of structured questionnaires distributed to the respondents is as follows:

  1. Do you think it is a successful project?
  2. Words to describe the docklands now?
  3. What do you think the docklands redevelopment is lacking?

In the question 1, the researchers asked 40 people this question, and the respondents are provided Yes or No dichotomous answers where the respondents are asked to choose one answer from the list of the two answers.

In addition, the researcher also employed structured dichotomous, and multichotomous questionnaires to sample the opinion of the respondents. There are questions asked by the researchers. In the question 2, the researcher employed multichotomous Questionnaires and the respondents are allowed to choose four words to describe the Dublin Docklands. The researcher provided several words to choose four from the list of these words to describe the Dublin Dockland. The list of words are as follows:

Lively , regenerated, grey, busy, fun, buzzing, impersonal, cosmopolitan, habitable, built up, cold, empty ,clean, corrupted, not child friends, attractive, expensive, tourist friendly, Interesting, in development, new, scenic, shiny, nice place, modern, shiny, visual, racial, big, iconic, unique.

Finally, in the question 3, the researcher used structured multichotomous to allow the respondents to choose from the following answers:

Playgrounds, safety barriers, complete building, not enough bins, mish mash of people, not family friendly, character, listen to the commodity, more cigarettes bins, not child friendly, needs to be finished, greenery.

Sample population

The sample population is the people of the Dublin Dockland. The estimated population of the people of the Dublin Dockland are approximately 32, 000, and the population is estimated to be 42,000 by 2013. From the population of Dublin Dockland, the researcher distributed questionnaires to 40 people. The researchers were able to collect the response from all the forty people because the questionnaires were only sent to the people who were willing to fill the questionnaires. To fill the questionnaires accurately, the researchers aided some of the respondents in interpreting the difficult words in the questionnaires. (University college Dublin 2009).

The method employed to distribute the questionnaire are by hand. The researcher distributed the questionnaires by hand to ensure that the respondents filled the questionnaires. In fact, the researchers were able to obtain many of the questionnaires given to the respondents the same day.


This section provides the results for the questionnaires. As discussed from the previous section. The researcher asked three questions to sample the opinion of the people about the regeneration in the Dublin Dockland. Typically, the outcome of the findings revealed that many people agree with regeneration in Dublin Dockland. For example, when a question is asked “Do you think it’s a successful project?” 27.5 % of the respondents said No, and 72.5% said yes. (See table 1).

Table 1: Question 1: Do you think it’s a successful project:

Yes 72.5% s
No 27.5 %

Analysis of the results of the question 1 revealed that many people think that regeneration in Dublin Dockland can transform the area. It should be noted that Dublin Dockland has scanty population, and over the last ten years, the authority of Dublin Dockland has overseen the implementation of first class project for regeneration of Dublin Docklands. (University college Dublin 2009).

With this development, more that approximately 72.5% agreed that regeneration is a good investment in the Dublin Docklands, because it has been overseen by the respondents that many people will benefit from the regeneration. It should be noted that many people who lived in the area are very comfortable with various service that has been rendered in the area right from the start of the regeneration, and it is evident that with the increase in the services, number of the shops has increased due to the increase in the population. Thus, many people believe that regeneration will transform the region. (Dublin Dockland Development Authority, 2009).

To reveal direct opinion of the people on how they feel about the regeneration, there are some direct quotes from the respondents. Some of the quotes are:

  • “Dublin is for the rich and famous”
  • “There will be too much people in the future”
  • “They need a whole social sector, its dead”
  • “Not for the commodity”
  • “They should keep on doing what they’re doing now, its amazing”
  • “half the buildings are empty”
  • “its not as busy as it used to be”

From the opinion of the people, many belief that regeneration will make the population to increase in the future. For example, one of the respondents asserted that ‘half of the building are empty”. Thus, with the on-going development, there will be increase in the population, and this will influence growth in the region.

Table 2: Question 2: Words to describe the docklands now?

Lively , regenerated, grey , attractive 80%
Busy, buzzing, cosmopolitan,habitable, 70%
Impersonal, expensive,, cold, empty 25%
Clean, corrupted, not child friends, Racial 35%
Iconic, tourist friendly, Interesting, built up 77%
In development, new,scenic, shiny, nice place 85%
Modern, shiny, visual, big, , unique. 78%

The analysis of the results of the question 2 revealed that the regeneration of Dublin Dockland is very essential because the finding of the second questions revealed that overwhelming large number of people have started noticing the benefits of the regeneration in the Dublin Dockland. From the result of the question 2, it is revealed that large percentage of the people agreed that Dublin Docklands are lively, habitable, and tourist friendly. Essentially, it is only 25% of the people agreed that Dublin Dockland are Impersonal, expensive, cold, empty, and this show that people are accepting the regeneration in the region as the wheel to development. (Dublin Dockland Development Authority, 2009).

Table 3: Question 3: What do you think the docklands redevelopment is lacking?

Playgrounds, safety barriers 20%
complete building, not enough bins 56%
Mish mash of people, not family friendly 21%
Character, listen to the commodity 35%
More cigarettes bins, not child friendly, 25%
Needs to be finished, greenery. 32%

Analysis of the results from question 3 revelaed that not many people believed that Dublin Dockland lacked essential amenities. Typically, many people are optimistic that regeneration will transform the Dublin Dockland. Only 20% of the people agreed that the Dublin Dockland lacks the Playgrounds, safety barriers. Although, 56% agreed that there are lack of complete building, and not enough bins. Typically, the regeneration of the Dublin Dockland is an ongoing development , and it is estimated that all necessary requirements being presently lacked in the region will be taken care of before 2012.


The present development of the Dublin Docklands is a kind of development that will bring rapid development to the region. Typically, before the initiation of the policy by The Dublin Docklands Development Agency (DDDA) in 1997, Dublin Dockland was sparsely populated, and the region was not attracting development. However, with the initiation of Dublin Docklands Development Agency (DDDA) in 1997, evidence has revealed that there is ongoing development that has induced development in Dublin Dockland. For example, there is clear evidence that shows that

“The DDDA is clear about the need for the physical and economic regeneration of the Docklands to be accompanied by a similarly strong focus and emphasis on the social regeneration of the Docklands. It is most important that the local people who live in traditional Docklands communities benefit through the regeneration of the areas in which they live. There is a particular need to ensure that individuals and families who have lived in these communities for some time (e.g. prior to the redevelopment of the Docklands and the establishment of the DDDA) benefit from improved employment opportunities, improved educational facilities and programmes, enhanced social and healthcare services and the establishment of new community facilities in Docklands communities”. (Dublin Dockland Development Authority, 2009, p1).

It should be noted that with the ongoing development, evidence has revealed that there have been noticeable declined in the rate of unemployment. Since the introduction of regeneration in the region, the development has induced the attraction of investments in Dublin Dockland, which has increased the employment opportunity in the region.

For instance: “There is significant and growing evidence to suggest that solid and discernible progress has been made in relation to the social and economic regeneration of Docklands communities. In comparing the situation in 2009 to the situation in 1997 (when the DDDA was established) there has been a noticeable decrease in unemployment rates in the Docklands, a large increase in the number of young people progressing onto Leaving Certificate and third level education, the establishment of a number of targeted and innovative community development and education programmes and initiatives and the development of new Community centres and healthcare facilities across the Docklands area”. (Dublin Dockland Development Authority, 2009, p1).

The rapid development in Dublin Dockland that has also been revealed from the way people has expressed their opinion about the regeneration that has occurred in the Dublin Dockland.

Although, there are small percentage of the people in the Dublin Dockland who might have shown pessimistic belief about the ongoing regeneration. The reason may be fear of issue of social exclusion. It should be noted that with development of a region from traditional setting to modern setting, there are going to be some negative effects such gentrification, overcrowding and other social issues. As Hogan (2006) has pointed out

“As local communities in the Docklands undergo gentrification, new apartment complexes have emerged. Property prices soared in the Docklands as a result of a desire of the middle class to be close to the city. In order to cater for the demand, old derelict sites, factories and warehouses have been transformed into private apartments which have been built alongside existing dwellings that have traditionally catered for the working classes”. (p.31).

Although, the authority in the region are systematically employing techniques to eradicate social exclusion that might have manifested in Dublin Docklands. The impact of the current regeneration in the Dublin Docklands is a welcome issue by the people, however, with recent global economic crisis; the wind of the economic crunch will affect the Dublin Docklands economy. It should be noted that Dublin is also experiencing financial crisis. The reason is that London and New York are the centre of world financial crisis, and giving the geographical location, Dublin is very close to London. There have been Aglo-Irish business relations that have taken place since century. Thus, the economic crisis that has affected the Dublin will affect Dockland Dublin with the regeneration of Dublin Docklands. (Levene, 2009).

For example: “The world in general and Ireland in particular is experiencing an unprecedented Downturn in economic activity caused by a global financial and banking crisis. In Ireland’s case the crisis is exacerbated by a severe correction in property values and a resultant decline in the construction sector. This has resulted in a significant rise in unemployment and rapidly deteriorating public finances, directly affecting all areas including the Dublin Region”. (Fingal County Council , 2009, p3).

Despite the negative effect of the regeneration there is general agreement from the people that the current regeneration in the Dublin Docklands will influence economic growth.


The research presents the feelings of the people about the regeneration of Dublin Dockland. The research has sampled the opinion of the people using structured and semi-structured questionnaires. From the results of the questionnaires, it is revealed that regeneration in the Dublin Dockland is a welcome development from the majority of the people that the researcher sampled their opinion. Typically, from the opinion of the people, it should be noted that the regeneration would increase the population and there will be an increase in the employment rate in the region. Before the initiation of the DDDA, Dublin Dockland was sparsely populated, and there was a low rate of employment. With the initiation of DDDA, which was targeted to influence the development, it is estimated there will be influx of investment and this will induce economic growth at Dublin Docklands. Although, regeneration might have positive effects such as increase in employment and increase in population growth. Small percentages of the people are pessimistic about the regeneration because of the belief that the development might develop anti-social issues in the region. In addition, opinion is revealed that recent economic global crisis that is facing the world, might affect the region with an influx of investment from the advanced countries of the world.

Despite the negative effects that might have arisen from regeneration, the recent development in the Dublin Dockland is a step that will influence economic growth.

Meanwhile, this paper presents some recommendations that will neutralise the negative effects that might have arisen.

First, the government should ensure that the development in the Dublin Dockland should not influence the increase in the inflation rates because the rapid increase in government funding might influence the inflation in the region.

Government should make adequate control of mortgage banks in order not to fuel the economic crisis at Dublin Dockland. It should be noted that mortgage houses are the causes of the economic crisis in many advanced countries. There should be adequate control on them.


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