This Irish Research Council funded project set out to explore a different approach to planning in Ireland. Owing to the nature of the modern service-led economy, it will come as little surprise that cities are growing faster than less urbanised regions. However, in Ireland this trend towards unbalanced development was well established over five decades ago. This project grew out of a concern, that politically, Ireland is one of the most centralised countries in Europe. Local government finances reflect this reality (see Ger Turley piece), local planning in Ireland is underfunded. The result of this is a lack of coherence in planning at the local level. Local Area Plans tend to be reductive, deduced from constrained budgets at the local authority level, and devoid of real consideration of their place.

The Village Plan set out to develop a methodology to encourage the broadest possible public engagement in planning for the future development of a village from the bottom up. Part of this methodology involved the development of the ‘Village Plan’ App which introduced users to the environmental and social consequences of planning decisions. Over the course of six months, the project collected the wishes and wants of over 800 residents (close to 50%) of the village.

Download the report here.