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The story of Temple Bar: creating Dublin's cultural quarter

By John Montgomery


The paper conceptualises and explores the links between cities, commerce, urbanism and cultural planning by drawing on Temple Bar in Dublin as an example of how, by linking these concepts to practice in real concrete situations urban life or urban culture can be created and/or revitalised. Temple Bar is Dublin's emerging cultural quarter, an experiment in urban revitalisation which is deliberately focused on culture and urbanism as ways of rediscovering the good city. It has attracted considerable interest from across Europe, and has secured EC funding to kick-start the process of renewal. The author was appointed by the Irish Government to prepare the area management and development strategy for Temple Bar in 1990. Wary of the dangers of property led regeneration, of the destructive impacts of sudden or cataclysmic change, the agencies in Temple Bar have deliberately adopted a strategic management approach to the area. This is referred to as 'urban stewardship', a process of looking after and respecting a place, and helping it to help itself. The paper explores whether there is a 'culture of cities' and whether it is possible to recreate an urban culture. Following Raymond Williams, an anthropological definition of culture is employed, "... a particular way of life, which expresses certain meaning and values not only in art and learning but also in institutional and ordinary behaviour". Rather than being simply an add-on to the serious concerns of economic development and the built environment, culture has both helped shape, and continues to develop in, the streets, spaces and buildings of the city

Publisher: University of Reading
Year: 1995
DOI identifier: 10.1080/02697459550036685
OAI identifier:
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