Candidate – Ireland
Submission by: Dublin City Council
Project name: Bridgefoot Street Park
Bridgefoot street is a new public park in The Liberties, Dublin 8, approximately hectare in size which has been developed utilising what would normally be considered waste materials such as calp and concrete, reclaimed stone and brick and as aggregate to create pavements, seating and play spaces.
Dublin City Council and the local community collaborated in the vision, promotion, planning, design and development of the park and this collaboration continues in the management and operation which will be key to the success of the park. Features within the park such as a sculptural piece by the participants of the Bridge Project and bird boxes by the participants of the Liberties Training Centre are exciting elements and bring an added sense of local ownership and pride in the park.
180 new trees have been planted and the additional soft landscaping consists of a mixture of herbaceous and ground-cover planting mix with some turf grass and some ornamental hedging shrubs. However, the over-riding landscape emphasis is on the native wild-flower seed mix which has been sown into a mix of soil and recycled aggregate. These seeded areas germinate, flower, self-seed and develop a naturalistic landscape which is unique to this park, creating a biodiversity-rich environment for pollinators and wildlife in the city.
The park’s design is based upon accessibility and enjoyment for all ages and abilities, encouraging physical activity and supporting ecology, biodiversity, culture and outdoor events. Investing in parks within areas with a large deficit of access to open green space has enormous social benefits, which are not measured economically but the provision of a social enterprise cafe provides employment for local people. The community garden within the park allows for the growing of food for the community garden group, in addition to the tourist attraction of an innovative park within the city.
The new park has transformed a hard landscaped site in the city centre into a space with more sustainable management of water, by daylighting almost 1 hectare of soil and increasing the permeability of the site and reducing rainwater run-off into our drains. The northern end of the garden is a planted swale which will attenuate any excess run-off within the park.Newly planted greenery increases the urban canopy, assisting in the reduction of carbon emissions due to the uptake and storage of carbon. These trees provide much needed shade for the park users and increases the space for biodiversity within our city.
Wellbeing of visitors/users
Bridgefoot street park is one of the parks indicated in the 2015 Dublin City Council Liberties Greening strategy, which was initiated because The Liberties area is extreme deficiency in quality green space. According to the Liberties Greening strategy in 2015, accessible quality public green space in the Liberties was provided at a rate of 0.7sqm per person, which is in stark contrast to an average of 49 sqm/person for Dublin City Council as a whole or 15sqm per person for the south east quadrant of the Canal Ring. To date, with the delivery of Weaver park in 2018 and now Bridgefoot st Park, Dublin City Council parks, biodiversity and landscape services have increased access to public green space by 16800m2, increasing the green area accessible to the people of the Liberties to 27,500m2, giving a total an increase of 157%.
Selection, origin and quality of the products and materials
The design for the park is a deliberate and detailed strategy for manipulating ecological processes on secondary-raw-materials, using a range of mixes of subsoils, quarry dust and brick by-product. New topography was formed from materials which could be considered waste, including recycled brick and stone paving, re-used boulder seating and re-claimed concrete mound –retaining elements. The planting consists predominantly of natural seed mixes, which colonize the different substrates and spaces within the park to create a diverse and unique character to the park. This planting will alter every year and adapt to the growing conditions as the park’s ecosystems evolve.
The overall design
The new public park was designed by Dermot Foley Landscape Architects in collaboration with Dublin City Council Parks, Biodiversity and Landscape Services. It is approximately 1 hectare in size and has been developed utilising what would normally be considered waste materials such as calp, concrete, reclaimed stone and brick, as aggregate to create pavements, seating and play spaces. The new undulating topography has been created using stockpiles of soil, large rocks and boulders together with an estimated 2,000 cubic metres (135 truckloads) of inert material which was imported to the site to create a playful and interesting urban landscape for all ages. Subsoil and topsoil has also been imported for the community gardens, lawns and tree planting. The majority of this material was moved from other building sites in Dublin, reducing the amount of construction waste going into landfill.
The impact on the environment
Bridgefoot Street Park is an artistic response to the EU Waste Framework Directive (2008) and the EU Construction and Demolition Waste Protocol and Guidelines (2018). It makes explicit the idea that waste can host heightened biodiversity when compared to more conventional substrates and that the nature of that biodiversity is not always fully predictable, thereby leaving openness for change or the unexpected. The park uses waste from construction and demolition, concrete and brick, together with left-over stone and recycled glass, in order to construct ecologies. These materials belong to the biggest waste stream in the European Union.
Innovative value off the project
Bridgefoot Street Park design highlights some important sustainability objectives, demonstrating how we can help to reduce our carbon impact in the design of new public spaces and also, how to change the public perception of secondary raw (or waste) construction materials. The design of the waste landscape elements within this park, carefully curated and placed strategically, creates an aesthetically pleasing environment for the park visitor, together with the beautiful ever-changing plant species mix which colonize the waste material with ease. There is a sense of ownership from the local community of this complex and multi-functional park which allows local people to colonise their park in their own unique way.