Tag Archives: gentrification

Area Content Alert: 44, 2 (June 2012)

Cover image for Vol. 44 Issue 2The latest issue of Area (Volume 44, Issue 2, pages 134–268, June 2012) is available on Wiley Online Library.

Click past the break for a full list of articles in this issue.

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Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers Content Alert: Volume 37, Issue 2 (April 2012)

Cover image for Vol. 37 Issue 2

The latest issue of Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers is available on Wiley Online Library.

Boundary Crossings

Progressive localism and the construction of political alternatives (pages 177–182)
David Featherstone, Anthony Ince, Danny Mackinnon, Kendra Strauss and Andrew Cumbers
Article first published online: 3 JAN 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2011.00493.x

Urban ecosystems as ‘natural’ homes for biogeographical boundary crossings (pages 183–190)
Robert A Francis, Jamie Lorimer and Mike Raco
Article first published online: 30 AUG 2011 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2011.00470.x

Geography and the matter of waste mobilities (pages 191–196)
Anna R Davies
Article first published online: 16 AUG 2011 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-5661.2011.00472.x

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Urban plans lost but not forgotten in a time of financial crisis

by Cian O’ Callaghan

'Balloon', Sorcha O'Brien and Eli Caamano, commissioned by the National Sculpture Factory, Cork. Photo by Cian O'Callaghan.

One of the impacts of the financial crisis that began in late 2008 is that the strategies, plans, and visions underpinning the development of cities do not speak to current realities.  Many of these strategies project twenty or thirty years into the future, a future they seek to build from a present that no longer exists.

The art installation depicted in the photograph above, which was produced in Cork city, Ireland during September 2008, captures the mood of this period very well.  It caught the city at a pivotal moment when the aspirations of the Cork Docklands Development Strategy – a plan initiated around the start of the millennium, which came to fruition in unison with the collapse of the property market – were about to be swallowed up the recession.  At the time these industrial buildings were slated for demolition to make way for three million sq ft of offices and over 1,200 apartments.  The installation was, in a way, like an elegy for these buildings and the version of industrial Cork they represented.  Due to the property crash, the intended development never happened, and these industrial buildings are still sitting on the quays.

The Celtic Tiger period in Ireland was characterised by optimism and growth.  But Ireland is now characterised by a very different narrative; that of banking collapse, sovereign debt, failed speculation, and ghost estates.  This confrontation between the exuberance of the Celtic Tiger and the miasma of the current period is expressed in those strategies that bridge the rupture between these two very different eras.  Now, rather than the population growth that was anticipated as a result of the Docklands project, Cork has to contend with halted developments and vacant properties, the loans of which are owned by Ireland’s ‘toxic’ bank, the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA).  One of the city’s landmark buildings, the Elysian, for example, is now also one of Ireland’s most iconic ghost estates with reputably only twenty five units in the complex sold.  Meanwhile, the local Occupy Cork movement recently moved their camp off the streets and into another NAMA owned building in the city centre.

The dilemma currently faced by Cork is not unique to that city.  This conundrum raises a number of important questions for urban geographers.  One, which I address in my paper, is what happens to all those powerful urban visions underpinning aborted growth plans?  As we enter into a new era of capitalism, a key research question for urban geographers will not only be to address how to move the development of cities forward, but also to understand the latent affects of the plans and visions now lost but not forgotten.

The author: Dr Cian O’ Callaghan is Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Geography and NIRSA (National Institute for Regional and Spatial Analysis), National University of Ireland, Maynooth.

O’Callaghan C 2012 Lightness and weight: (re)reading urban potentialities through photographs Area doi: 10.1111/j.1475-4762.2011.01078.x

O’Connell B 2011 The high-rise and the downturn The Irish Times 25 June

A Christmas gift to Cork YouTube video 2 Jan 2012