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Community demographics

Author - Peter Byrne

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Aims and Objectives

Under the Dublin Inner City Partnership Strategic Action Plan 2001–2006, the following core strategies are seen as the way to achieve real inclusion for inner city residents:

- Regeneration of the community;
- Tackling educational disadvantage;
- Access to employment and enterprise;

Between them they aim to enhance the quality of life for local residents. The community regeneration strategy aims to ensure that lasting benefits accrue to the inner-city population as a result of regeneration programmes. It lists actions for arts, sports, equality, information technology, capacity building, leadership training and social housing. The educational strategy aims to remove barriers to participation, promote parental and community involvement, expand quality pre-school care, and assist adults and early school leavers to return to appropriate learning opportunities. The employment and enterprise strategy focuses on the further development of the Inner City Employment Service, which provides routes out of poverty for long-term unemployed inner-city clients, and linkages with employer clients. It also encompasses pre-employment and enterprise initiatives.

Each of the strategies requires a dedicated infrastructure capable of focusing on the specific measures and facilitating the delivery of the overall strategy. The core infrastructure at present includes the local network co-ordinators, local development workers, the educational initiatives operating at each level, the employment and enterprise support services and the social economy job co-ordinators. The primary strength of the partnership lies in the collaboration of community, statutory and private sectors to achieve the agreed targets.

A significant proportion of the population of the south west inner city (one of four quadrants operating under the Dublin Inner City Partnership) remains excluded from all economic activity. This area continues to be characterised by the myriad of factors and problems which has led analysts to rank more than half the quadrant’s electoral wards as among the most disadvantaged 10% in Ireland. Combating exclusion requires resources, and the South West Inner City Network Action Plan 1999–2006 issues a very specific challenge with regard to this issue to policy makers within the Irish Government. This action plan is about the translation of the concept of combating social exclusion into practical actions, with all the inherent implications for policy and practice on the ground. In consultation with the community of the south west inner city, this plan proposes to refine the agenda provided by the network into a number of recommendations and proposals which will constitute a working programme for the period 1999-2006.

The stated objective of the Integrated Area Plan is ‘to bring about sustainable urban regeneration by integrating physical, social and economic interventions to address the key issues in the area’. Such key issues are given expression in the objectives outlined within the plan:

- achieve sustainable urban regeneration through a framework of intervention that achieves a balance between social, physical and economic renewal;
- attract significant investment to underpin the three-pronged approach of economic, social and physical renewal;
- consolidate existing industry and create a positive framework to attract a broad base of small, light and incubator industry;
- improve the quality and amenities of both private and social housing;
- encourage the provision of a range of housing types and a variety of tenures;
- exploit the area's close location to the Central Business District and develop synergies with the HARP (Historic Area Regeneration Project) area;
- develop the tourism industry in the area, including the provision of an adequate tourism infrastructure, creating maximum spin-off for the local economy:
- create mechanisms and framework to ensure that the social dimension of urban renewal extends tangible benefits to local residents;
- ensure that education and training are key components in framework interventions to address social disadvantage and exclusion;
- create a widespread mixed land use culture;
- consolidate the antiques trade in Francis Street;
- create a physical renewal based on reinforcing the coherence of the street as an essential building block in the urban form of the area;
- rebuild the urban fabric of Cork Street/The Coombe and Marrowbone Lane combining appropriate infill with models of mixed-use development;
- achieve a radical leap in the quality of the public domain;
- restore the civic character of a number of key urban spaces including Cormarket, St. Catherine's Precinct, Newmarket and Dolphin's Barn Village.

This area has also been selected for the development of advanced research and commercial activities in information technology and multimedia content, by the establishment of MediaLab Europe and the associated development of the Digital Hub in the immediate areas. Digital Media Development Ltd, which is overseeing the development of the Digital Hub, has committed itself to ‘engage the local community in the development process, including new pathways through learning and applied technology to employment, and in relation to the impact and benefits of the development generally’. Further commitments are made to the provision of social housing, environmental sustainability and to urban regeneration.

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