We must not be caught in the headlights once again
Published 20/04/2015 | 02:30
The French have a wonderful saying. Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose - everything changes without anything changing at all.
A truism it may be, but when it comes to the Irish property and planning landscape it is most apt. The property market has been in some form of a state of crisis for well over a decade. The only constant is the wrong type of buildings developed in the wrong locations to solve short-term capacity needs. The statistics show that we need to change our outlook to sustainable planning given the scale of development required.
In the next 21 years, we will need to house an additional one million people in Ireland. But it's not just housing that's required - they will need schools, hospitals, places to work and infrastructure.
But how can we change the status quo and deliver a new model that puts people at the heart of planning considerations? Many cities, towns and villages do not have architects involved in a senior decision-making capacity.
Analysis from the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) has found that almost 40pc of planning authorities do not have an architect employed. Put simply, making places without architects is like having hospitals without doctors.
It doesn't have to be that way and it certainly shouldn't. People should have a reasonable expectation to demand more from our built environment.
It has been shown that the best communities can be produced where architects are at the heart of the planning and development process.
That 12 local authority/ planning areas have no architects should be seen as a major concern. We have an opportunity now to plan for this growing and changing population, and we should not be caught in the headlights again with frantic building and panic buying of homes.
Ireland both needs and deserves to have an agreed vision of what our country will look like and the RIAI and Irish architects have a key role to play in this.
Robin Mandal is a registered architect and President of the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland