Vacant and underused spaces are ubiquitous in Dublin. They contribute to urban sprawl, resource depletion, and negative visual and social impacts. For example, high rates of vacant homes create a false impression of scarcity, pushing up prices and rents to unaffordable levels and contributing to homelessness. Reusing Dublin is an online crowd-sourcing application for mapping vacant and underused spaces in Dublin.
Reusing Dublin was a demonstrator project from the EU FP7 TURAS project. It explored the ability of interactive mapping processes to engage citizens with local issues, gather useful local data, and co-create solutions. Reusing Dublin was launched in April 2015 and succeeded in engaging thousands of citizens with the issue of vacant and underused space in Dublin.
Engaged Research Partners
Peter McVerry Trust
Engagement method or activity
Action research case study that involved collaboration between researchers and subjects through participant observation and experimentation, facilitating direct engagement with problem solving coupled with in-field recording and assessment. The online civic engagement platform, facilitated by the demonstration phase of the TURAS project, was tested and monitored through a ‘learning-by-doing’ and ‘safe-to-fail’ experiment.
Project outputs and outcomes
The outputs are as follows:
- A web-based interactive mapping platform with associated active social media channels.
- Walking tours as part of Open House Dublin (2015, 2016, 2017).
- A cycling tour.
The outcomes are as follows:
- Reusing Dublin engaged thousands of people with the issue of vacant and underused spaces through the process of mapping and gathered together a database of over 1000 vacant and underused spaces.
- The project was adopted by Peter McVerry Trust in December 2016, who now use it to raise awareness of vacant homes, crowd-source data, and identify potential projects for bringing projects back into use.
- The Reusing Dublin team won a ThinkTech award from Social Innovation Fund Ireland and set up a social enterprise, Space Engagers. Space Engagers has won a place on the Dublin Climate KIC Start-up Accelerator. Space
- Engagers currently employs 4 people. They have developed an interactive mapping system that includes a smartphone app, web app and moderator’s dashboard.
- Interactive mapping projects are being tested for urban regeneration projects in country towns.
- The Space Engagers team is involved in running the civic engagement aspects of research projects in UCD. Space Engagers is now an integral member of a group, led by the National Housing Agency, seeking to bring all datasets on vacant and/or underused spaces together into a central repository.
- Space Engagers launched a revised version of Reusing Dublin in December 2017 for Peter McVerry Trust.
Longer term anticipated areas for Impact
- Economic Policy & Public Service;
- Societal Engagement;
- Health & Wellbeing;
- Professional services;
- New knowledge;
- Human Capacity.
Higher Education Institution:
Dr Karen Foley (UCD)