Strategic Spatial Planning at the Regional and Local Scales: A Case Study of the Dublin City-Region

PhD, School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Policy, 2006-2010

My PhD thesis examined processes and practices of spatial planning for the Dublin City-Region over the period 1996-2010. It focussed in particular on the influence of spatial strategies at the city-regional scale (the 1999 Strategic Planning Guidelines for the Greater Dublin Area and subsequent Regional Planning Guidelines) and examined their capacity to influence patterns of spatial development (conformance) and more broadly, decision-making at the city-regional and local scales.

During this Celtic Tiger period, the city-region experienced very rapid urban expansion, driven by both demographic growth and property speculation, followed quickly by financial crisis and economic recession. At the same, substantial changes occurred in the Irish planning system with the introduction of a strategic policy dimension and sustainable development ethos. Although urban (peri-urban) development patterns diverged considerably from stated planning objectives, a discernible shift towards a recognition of city-regional perspectives and interdependencies across city and county boundaries emerged over this period.

The following papers were subsequently published on the basis of this PhD research:

  1. Walsh C. (2014) Rethinking the Spatiality of Spatial Planning: Methodological Territorialism and Metageographies, European Planning Studies, 22, (2), 306-322.
  2. Walsh, C. & Williams, B. (2013) Regional Governance and Metropolitan-Hinterland Relations: The Case of the Dublin City-Region, Administration, 61, (3), 133-153.
  3. Walsh C. (2012) Spatial Planning and Territorial Governance: Managing Urban Development in a Rapid Growth Context, Urban Research and Practice, 5, 1, 44-61.
  4. Walsh, C. & Allin S. (2012) Strategic Spatial Planning: Responding to Diverse Territorial Development Challenges: Towards an Inductive-Comparative Approach, International Planning Studies, 17, (4), 377-395.
  5. Williams, B., Walsh, C. & Boyle, I. (2010) The Development of the Functional Urban Region of Dublin: Implications for Regional Development Markets and Planning, Journal of Irish Urban Studies, 7-9, p. 5-30.
  6. McInerney, D. O. & Walsh, C. (2009) Spatial Distribution of Urban Land-Use Change in the Dublin City-region: 1990-2006, Irish Geography, 42, 2, 207-223.