Safe spaces for youth

In 2009, a space that would provide ample amenity for children, young people and adults of all ages in North Dublin was unveiled: Father Collins Park.

Including everything from a circuit track, to a skate park, from an amphitheatre to a wetland, with our client Dublin City Council we co-designed and delivered the 55-acre Father Collins Park in Dublin’s North Fringe: Ireland’s first sustainable energy park and the first public park to be built in Dublin since 1890, leading the way in the planning of public amenities. Working with our partners Ar. Arq. (Argentina) this five-year project took the lead in demonstrating sustainable wind turbine technology in Ireland.

The park was awarded Best Public Space by the RIAI in 2010 and Best Use of Concrete in a Sustainable Context at the Irish Concrete Society awards 2010, as well as special mentions at the Opus and AAI awards (2010), and shortlisted for the Mies van der Rohe Prize in 2011.

What does this mean for youth?

Children are a great indicator of quality in urban planning and the built environment. The spaces they occupy directly contribute to physical health, behaviour and development, and a child establishes key skills by participating in play. By responding to the needs of children and young people in inner city suburbs like Father Collins Park – healthier, more active environments are fostered by providing access to independent mobility and freedom.

Comprising of two playgrounds, free outdoor gym facilities, five playing fields, a performance space and picnic tables – Father Collins Park equips the inhabitants of Donaghmede, Clongriffin and the surrounding areas with the necessary resources to thrive by engaging youth and enhancing their place in the community.

What does this mean for the economy?

Attracting and retaining a skilled workforce is critical to a city’s social and economic future. Cities that offer diverse and accessible activities are attractive and appealing to everyone, including children and families (Arup, 2017). By catering to young people’s wellbeing communities feel welcoming and more inclusive while free access to amenities like family friendly festivals and the weekly Father Collins Park Run break down barriers to enable opportunity for all, regardless of age or socioeconomic background.

Read more about the project here.