Reimagine Projects Around Ireland

Fieldwork

Reimagine Kilrush

Reimagine Kilrush

Reimagine Kilrush was about uncovering the essence of Kilrush, supporting Kilrush Town Team in making their town an attractive place for people of all ages to live, work, and thrive.

    The aim of Reimagine Kilrush was to provide supports and tools to Kilrush and Kilrush Town Team that would help improve the liveability of the town. The project was anchored around town centre areas of Francis St, Market Square, while linking into projects in Cappa Pier, the Vandeleur Gardens and the newly restored Terret Lodge. The Town Team model provided a unique and very effective way of tapping into a cross-section of community life in Kilrush, with members becoming enthusiastic and essential members of the project team. It was clear that a key benefit of this project and process would be the building of local capacity and knowledge of placemaking and urban design.

    A key challenge to this project was the volatile public health crisis, and the ever-changing restrictions to movement, events and community life. While this initially delayed the project, it became clear that this new context was part of a shared experience that needed to be accounted for and absorbed into the process. How could a project connect with community to gather and share ideas? What kind of spaces do they now need to feel safe and connected? How can we future-proof community and public life? And importantly, could the dramatically changing work landscape caused by COVID 19 make towns like Kilrush attractive places for people to relocate to?

    Given the open and exploratory nature of this project, we brought in the Intelligence Unit (IU), a research think tank that had been established by the School of Architecture at Limerick University (SAUL). They worked with the Town Team to further explore their town and generate ideas for improving liveability and provide practical contributions to support the Town Team in their future projects.

    With a format that connected with the Town Team resource, the IU was able to explore and crystallize ideas. Through web-based round-tables with local community members, they were able to identify and respond to some of the thing things that matter most locally, and that make Kilrush unique.

    By providing practical, technical and research skills, the unit was able to work closely with the Kilrush Town Team, feeding new perspectives, research and ideas into the town.

    Opticians 1

    Kilrush Town Team is a representative body for the wider community in Kilrush which and was setup under The Clare Market Towns project supported by CLDC.

    The Intelligence Unit (IU) run by the School of Architecture at the University of Limerick (UL) is a think tank which works on solutions for real world problems.

    In the past they have worked on urban, community, construction, fiscal, physical, policy, arts and environmental issues in a variety of domains. These range from single school buildings; to a whole airport (Shannon); or a whole county (Mayo, Limerick, Fingal). Their method uses the best intelligence available in a blended team of academic experts and community/industry/local authority expertise. The method used by the IU is to plug in the needed expertise from within the University disciplines (architects, engineers, economists, marketing, arts, historians and others), linked to research and output work prepared by students of architecture researchers. This allows the researchers to lead, while tapping into a whole community of expertise. In turn this is paired with a programme of community engagement, creating a dynamic conversation between the IU, the local community and the university.

    The Kilrush IU team are Britney Ryan, Lorcan Whelan, Séamus Bairéad B.Arch MRIAI, and Gráinne Hassett Head of SAUL Sch of Arch UL.

    Project Partners
    SAUL IU (Intelligence Unit)
    www.saulstudio.ie/
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    Reimagine Kilrush
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