Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Permanently Temporary

Adamstown is a place with a logo - a community that only could have been created with a brand name as its sole attraction. The first units were released for sale on to the market in early 2006 and has been in a state of limbo since. The architects of the project, O'Mahony Pike, describe Adamstown as a sustainable "new town" with ambitious plans for housing, retail and community amenities. However, much of Adamstown lies flat and unused; a location in a joint-tenancy agreement with computer generated models and those two-dimensional people that rotate to face the viewer.

The town's public services have been stamped with the Adamstown logo, a bland post-millennium graphic style. Dotted throughout the streets of the town are signposts, awkwardly marked 'temporary sign', pointing the way to the primary school and the train station. The need for such signage coming from the possibility that no one has lived there long enough for it to become part of the navigable history.

Speaking to people in Adamstown gave some positive perspectives: it's safe, it's quiet, it's connected to Dublin. From an outsider's point of view, it's a difficult sell to make. There are two shops in Adamstown, one small corner store and a hairdressers. Unused retail space sits vacant beside the two shops. The nearest Garda station, GP clinic, fire-station and supermarkets are all in Lucan. The largest building in the town, 'No. 1 Adamstown Boulevard', lies forlornly, surrounded by unfinished roads littered with broken glass and rusting construction machinery.

Current plans for the town include acting as a staging point for Intel's development work by way of a 2,900 space car park for construction workers. The swimming pool and cinema seem unlikely to appear, especially when there remains no supermarket or post office in the town. Poor social planning is exemplified purely by Adamstown's location, five kilometres outside Dublin's ring-road. It acts as a reminder of previous attempts by Dublin City Council to counter the social issues faced by de-industrialisation, as seen in Fatima Mansions during the 1940's and Ballymun flats in the 1960's. The same triggers of economic market changes, high social living costs and demand for "higher quality" accommodation are seen across these places and the same errors are present: the lack of a social fabric and the distinct stop-gap attitude by government towards solving the problems.

There are no coffee shops or restaurants in Adamstown. The burned-out remains of an abandoned block of housing decays to the north west and to the south there is farmland. The future of Adamstown is one of isolation, lying wounded on the fringes of a city's hinterland. Private investment in the next decade is difficult to imagine, with any owner-occupiers facing deep negative equity. Those renting are transient and have little to keep them from moving closer to the city. Those who stay will be bearing the burden of a defunct housing market for years to come.

Systemic failures by local government facilitates inadequate development. Social experiments need critical examination before being allowed come into fruition because of the long-lasting harmful effects they can have. The future of Adamstown is one of vulnerability, with the public and private sectors both in positions of authority and control. Adamstown lies in its own unique categorisation: it is a residential island with a train station, a folly for the twenty first century.

The full gallery of photographs can be seen here.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Monday, 12 May 2014

"It just gets faster"

A man watches riders arrive into the finishing area at the end of stage 3
Former French national champion, Nacer Bouhanni takes a breath at the stage finish in Dublin.

Marcel Kittel

Maarten Tjallingi (Team Belkin) waves to the crowd. He won Stage 3's mountains classification after spending the day out front in the break.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Giro Stage 3: Armagh to Dublin

Marcel Kittel (Giant Shimano) holds off Team Sky's Ben Swift and Elia Viviani to take Stage 3 of the Giro d'Italia. A cold and wet stage greeted the riders on the 187km stage and pulled through some of the windy coast roads as they headed south.

Michael Matthews (Orica Green) took the Maglia Rosa, maintaining his team's grip on the lead after powering to victory in Belfast's team time trial. Tomorrow's rest day will provide an opportunity for teams to build a plan as the Giro travels to Southern Italy and will resume on Tuesday.

All photos by James Brady. For reproduction contact skriobh[at]gmail[dot]com or @somewordsjames.