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Sustainable Planning, Design and Local Governance at UL


The School of Architecture at the University of Limerick (SAUL) recently hosted a public forum and display of graduate work addressing the theme of 'Sustainable Planning, Design and Local Governance.' The forum welcomed speakers from Fingal County Council who will demonstrate a "Smart" approach to sustainable planning.

Professor of Architecture at SAUL, Merritt Bucholz said; "SAUL has started a graduate school which gives Phd students the opportunity to build a body of new research about our built environment, through design.  The graduate school at SAUL brings the University, an institution possessing a depth of knowledge and intelligence across a wide range of disciplines, into the discussion about the design of the physical world and the policies that structure its construction and use."

SAUL's graduate school has established direct engagement with Local Authorities as the key partners in the built environment starting with the symposium 'Civitas' held in April 2008.  'Civitas' helped to bring a new understanding to the relationship between the design of the physical environment and its political and administrative framework.  

"Good planning is more than implementing policy, it is about good design, not just of buildings, but of the whole environment as a collective ecosystem we depend upon, and that we directly affect.  Our collaboration with local authorities, including all of the local authorities in the Mid-West region, and now Fingal County Council, Dublin's dynamic local authority, is a critical aspect of our graduate work" said Professor Bucholz.

David O'Connor, County Manager with Fingal County Council said; "We are pleased to be invited to participate in this forum at SAUL, where the work of a local authority and ongoing academic work focuses on how the quality of the built environment and the way new and existing urban development can be improved for the benefit of citizens."

"The presentations will demonstrate how a 'Smart' approach to planning, through the integrated application of specialist knowledge, can deliver real benefits for the everyday experience of people in their homes, commuting and schools in a more sustainable way. The challenge of reducing our impact on the earth in the interests of our children's' future can be met by the ways we plan and integrate our transport, community and service infrastructure by upgrading existing places and planning new areas towards that greater integration. It is very encouraging for a local authority - the practitioners - to work with academic partners - the developers of future thinking -towards improved practice for all."

Miriam Dunn and Rosemarie Webb also presented their research papers as part of the forum. Webb's research develops a methodology for structuring road projects to improve the experience of civic life, in this case examining the 'orbital route' in Galway City.  Dunn's thesis explores ways to find a 'common ground' between architecture and engineering in the design conception of structures between the natural and built environment.

SAUL also collaborated with the Limerick Local authorities this year. The results of this partnership were shared at a Think Tank seminar revealing a joined up approach to planning in the Limerick area.

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