15 Comments on “Being a good neighbour”

  1. Jilly Says:

    Let’s be blunt, TCD is a terrible neighbour. I live not far from it, and its impact upon sections of Pearse Street and Westmoreland Row has been dreadful and long-lasting. All of those buildings it owns which face out onto those two streets are dead-eyed, dilapidated and give the general impression of an urban wasteland. This has become especially noticeable on Pearse Street, which has been considerably improved further down the street by renovations and rejuvenation which have genuinely made it much pleasanter and more liveable. But once you get as far as TCD-owned buildings, it looks like the 1980s all over again. One can only conclude that TCD doesn’t care about its neighbours.

    • Vincent Says:

      When one builds housing for thousands, and then make certain that they have to walk miles to buy anything. Given that opportunity in not confined to those who attend Universities, equally opening a sweet shop where there are thousands of kids could pay better, unbelievable as it is, than a Consultant Surgeon. But no, what was built, a fucking Gulag. Where the only business people were/are drug dealers, prostitutes, Ice-cream and chip vans.

      • Jilly Says:

        Sorry, Vincent, where are you talking about? The area on Pearse St south of TCD’s baleful influence is actually a thriving community of old and new residential buildings with lots of small businesses: I’ve never had to walk less far in my life to buy milk, bread etc., and we must be one of the last communities in Dublin that still has its own small hardware store, complete with friendly and knowledgable staff.

        The TCD-owned bit of Pearse Street and Westmoreland Street isn’t really a residential area in the same way. But it would still be MUCH improved if TCD would even just paint the window-frames and doors of their buildings, many of which are just rotting away. One of the problems seems to be that those buildings are accessed only from inside TCD, so their doors onto the street have been pretty much nailed shut, which along with the poor state of repair gives the impression that they’re derelict.

  2. Aoife Citizen Says:

    I basically agree Jilly although to be fair, the college did repair and refurbish of the Westland Row buildings andthe Pearse Street dereliction started with the council’s thankfully now abandoned road widening scheme. I do remember the irony of Dan Dooley’s having a poster in their window giving out about the state of TCD buildings.

    What would be unfair would be to generalize from the estates problem to a more general statement about the college: the TAP people make a huge effort to help local schools and to improve access, they really are super. Also, generally, Irish Universities are, in general, pretty generous with their grounds, in the US this is often locked down.


    • Trinity has always, rather curiously in my view, neglected its frontage on to Pearse Street. When I was a student it looked pretty much exactly the same as it does now, except that there were one or two shops which have now gone (I think there was a newsagent and an office materials shop, where I bought my first electronic typewriter). I agree that the whole street looks neglected and the buildings do appear to be derelict to the casual onlooker. As I think that many of them have been refurbished extensively inside, this exterior neglect is really curious.

      • Aoife Citizen Says:

        I looked at a Thom’s directory once from the 30s and it was sad to see what a hive of small retail and industry this once was. However, I amn’t sure it is correct to say the Pearse St buildings have been refurbished extensively, they have been stabilized, but refurbishment is on hold until the large plan for that part of college goes ahead.

  3. Vincent Says:

    Sorry Jilly, I was on about the area north of DCU, where granted there is some input from DCU, but you would also have to say it was about bloody time.
    Anyhoos, it went into the ‘reply’ to your comment.
    As to TCD, it existed up ’til very lately in much the same way as the Tower of London is built on stone taken from Normandy.


    • Vincent, I am not sure about ‘bloody time’ – DCU was at the forefront, right in NIHE days, of pressing for local regeneration, and it led this by introducing the first access programme specifically for Ballymun residents in the 1980s. True, it didn’t invest money in new buildings, but it can hardly be faulted for that, it didn’t have such money. But it led the campaign for public investment.

      • Vincent Says:

        There was a annex to UCD on your site well before the tenements were cleared and the area north was built.
        And anyway I’m not having a go. Only making the point that when creating vast estates or isolated estates then you have to at least allow that shops and other businesses can be created. Something that was denied. There would not be any point for you to be neighbourly and pushing a bit of business in that direction when all such activity was denied.
        And is to this day denied by planning fiat on estates outside towns.
        However, it is not a question of what you can do but what you can see. And both you and Limerick were to the fore of rotating from an inward, to an outward view. While in the case of TCD, a view of Ireland, for some.


        • Yes, your comments do have validity there, Vincent… – though I won’t take responsibility for UCD’s input into all this in the 1960s, when they were owners of the site that is now DCU! But I do agree that the planning process then in relation to Ballymun was atrocious, and that as far as I can see there must have been some responsibility on the part of UCD because a good bit of the new Ballymun was built on what had been UCD land.

  4. Donal_C Says:

    The first two universities on that league table are surprising. I had considered them as good universities (indeed, U Penn is outstanding) but with exceptionally poor relationships with their local communities.

    The University of Pennsylvania is one the eight Ivy League institutions. It ranks highly for all disciplines, and its business school is considered to be possibly the best in the world. I’ve heard stories from faculty there of having their offices broken into, and the dangers of walking at night despite the ubiquitous armed police presence on campus.

    The University of Southern California (USC), also known as University of Spoilt Children, educates the children of some of the wealthiest families in the LA area. I haven’t visited the campus myself, but acquaintances describe it as a compound campus, literally fenced off from its environment. That USC employs over 200 security staff suggests that relations with the local community are not always pleasant.

    Both schools suffer from the violence nearby. News of student victims of crime depresses enrollments. I guess that outreach programs are one way to address the uneasy relationships with local communities.

    More interesting is the league table of the most dangerous campus in the US – Harvard, MIT, and Yale feature, though clearly this ranking is biased in favor of (or, more appropriately, against) urban campuses: http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2009-09-18/how-safe-is-your-college/?cid=hp:beastoriginalsR6#gallery=713;page=1

    • Jilly Says:

      I think Donal puts a useful sense of perspective on this. Whatever our complaints here in Ireland about the relative neighbourliness or otherwise of the various universities, none of us here work on campuses protected from their local communities by armed guards!

      Obviously this is actually about a broader difference between Irish and US societies, but we should probably pause every now and then and be grateful that here in Ireland our universities aren’t fortresses designed to a) keep the locals at bay, or b) have ‘lock down’ procedures to deal with campus shootings. Everyone I know in working in US universities has to live with ‘lock down’ drills, armed security and a perennial fear of shootings. By comparison, we live in a very safe world indeed…


    • I can’t say anything of interest about the University of Pennsylvania, but I *have* been on the campus of the University of Southern California and have toured it, and it isn’t at all as Donal describes, the opposite really. It is not a compound or fenced off – indeed, it is geographically integrated with local communities, including some sports facilities made available specifically for residents of the area (which is quite disadvantaged). Catering and other retail facilities are also open to locals, and as you walk around the university you see local youths at play and other community activities. So in this case I can easily see how they have their place in this league table.

      • Donal_C Says:

        I wonder then whether USC has multiple campuses, or perhaps the situation has changed in recent years? Certainly the people I know who’ve spent time there describe a different state of affairs. Even the Rough Guide to LA states: “There have been a few small steps to integrate the campus population with the local … community. This effort is complicated by the fact that the campus resembles an armed camp, literally fenced off from the world around it (you can only enter by car through carefully monitored guard stations).”


        • No, Donal – there is one main campus. I have to say that not only is what you have quoted not true, it doesn’t seem possible to me that it ever was true. There is no wall, fence or other sign of a compound, residential areas are within the university area and passage is unmonitored and free. The only thing that is true is that it is a wealthy university…


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