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Windows on a hidden world: Urban and social evolution as seen from the mews

Ruth McManus


The world of the mews, former stable lanes, is a unique environment hidden behind the bustling thoroughfares of the city. In looking at the evolution of mews over the past centuries, it is possible to identify elements of continuity and change in the urban landscape and its social structure. This paper explores the nature and origin of mews, their physical and social characteristics and evolution over time, as well as the unique planning issues which they face. Mixed land use and varied architectural styles give rise to a wealth of interesting juxtapositions within mews, but current planning guidelines are likely to have a major impact in homogenising their character and function. While the focus is on Dublin, comparisons are made with London's mews. These hidden back streets have always been ambiguous spaces which have taken on renewed importance in the context of urban densification strategies.

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Copyright © Geographical Society of Ireland | Home | Contact us | ISSN: 0075-0778 (Print), 1939-4055 (Online) | Last Update: November 10, 2021