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Education key in supporting Irish planning system

Words: Laura Edgar

Planning academics at University College Dublin (UCD) have said the school’s role is “even more important” today, as the country faces housing, transport and climate change challenges, than when it was founded 50 years ago.

Having educated close to 1,000 planners since the planning school at UCD was founded in 1966, Dr Eoin O’Neill, director in environmental policy at the university, said it has been “fundamental" to Ireland’s development over that period.

“A planning system supported by highly-educated planners and research expertise is critical to bring about the right types of policies to address present and future challenges facing the country,” O’Neill said.

Dr Mick Lennon, who lectures in planning and environmental policy, said the scale of urbanisation generates major questions about how cities and towns should be governed and how environments are adapted to climate change. Additionally, there are questions surrounding how the challenges of infrastructure deficits, the housing shortage and shifts in housing tenure are addressed.

“It also requires discussion about a progressive future development pathway for rural Ireland,” Lennon said.

The planners said it is critical that there is an extensive body of research to inform policy makers and practitioners.

The planning school has undertaken a variety of work, from housing provision and affordability to the development of sustainable communities in the context of changing demographics and cultural traditions.

To celebrate the 50-year anniversary of the school and the “emergence of increasing numbers of policy-related discussions that interface with the planning system” as the economy grows, UCD is holding a series of seminars called Planning Futures.

The seminars aim to “stimulate debate about the role planning can play in addressing the future challenges” that face Ireland.

More information can be found here.

Image credit | University College Dublin