New Build Gentrificaton in the Dublin Docklands and its effects on the Absolute and Percieved Employment Opportunities of the Neighbouring Deprived Communities.
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Gentrification is a process which has undergone large scale changes since its inception in the mid 1960s. The term was initially used to describe the middle class invasion of London’s working class quarters but has now evolved to encompass a wider variety of actors, characteristics and even locations. Although gentrification has gained popularity over the last decade or so, an alternate viewpoint holds that the often celebratory tone surrounding the concept is unjustified, with the process overall being harmful for a neighbourhood. The process has gone through three separate waves or periods of development since its emergence and debate still exists today over how and why the phenomenon is actually caused, with authors such as Neil Smith and David Ley contesting its foundations. This thesis looks at the relatively recent phenomenon of new-build gentrification, a process which describes the conversion of ex-industrial structures or previously under developed land to create newly gentrified landscapes which show all the hall marks and characteristics of gentrification proper. It is often the case that new-build developments are constructed on Brownfield sites where there are no indigenous population, however a dearth in research exists over how the process of new-build gentrification impacts on neighbouring communities. This research examines the impact of such developments on both the absolute and perceived employment opportunities of surrounding deprived communities. Thus it determines whether they act as a creator of employment, or whether they act as a barrier to the areas’ frequently un-skilled workers, thereby resulting in further marginalisation. The focus of this study is the Sheriff Street neighbourhood, situated in inner city Dublin. The research examines the impact of the re-development of the Dublin Docklands as Irelands International Financial Service Centre (IFSC) on the residents’ employment opportunities. Research involved analysing Census information for the area, as well as undertaking interviews with community members and representatives and also those responsible for the development and regeneration of the Docklands. This research will not only illuminate the problems that exist in the Sheriff Street community so that improvements can be made, but it will also highlight the achievements and mistakes of the authorities responsible for the development, thereby providing lessons for other city authorities and development agencies in the design and execution of comparable social regeneration projects. The current study demonstrates that the process of new build gentrification can impact the employment opportunities of neighbouring deprived communities. Whether these impacts are positive or negative heavily depends on the strength of the support structures and mechanisms implemented by the relevant authorities to ensure that the residents in the hinterland are not left behind by the new developments. It is vital that the opinions and concerns of the neighbouring community is taken into consideration at the initial phases of development to prevent the emergence of social, as well as physical divides, between the two communities. Social rejuvenation must be stated as a specific legal requirement from the outset to ensure that developers do not relinquish social responsibility for the entire area. Without this precondition, balanced regeneration will not occur.