Geographers and planning: some reflections


  • Arnold Horner University College Dublin



In this ‘decade of anniversaries’, where 2014 was dominated by the drama of commemorating the centenary of the outbreak of a calamitous war, geographers and others may all too easily under-value other significant dates. For example, 2014 also marked the 50th anniversary of the coming into force of the 1963 Local Government (Planning and Development) Act, and was also the centenary of the Dublin Civic Exhibition whose associated planning competition resulted in the visionary Dublin of the Future. Spearheaded by the English architect-planner, Patrick Abercrombie, the latter was an ambitious unofficial agenda laying out principles and possibilities for the grandiose renewal of an ailing city (Bannon 1985). Notwithstanding its utopian dimensions, this seminal work (finally published in 1922) and the companion Dublin Civic Survey (1925) were profoundly significant influences, being repeatedly re-visited, as the suburban girdle developed and as the central city morphed during the middle decades of the last century (McManus 2002). Deservedly, if belatedly and perhaps all too briefly, the exhibition, the competition and Abercrombie were recognised in ‘City Assembled: A Moving Panorama inspired by the Dublin Civic Exhibition’, which was on display at the City Assembly Rooms in Dublin during early 2015 (McDonald 2015). More permanently, the University College Dublin Library, in association with the Irish Architectural Archive, has added to its digital library a unique collection of the three surviving competition entries, among them being the winning Abercrombie submission (UCD 2014).

Author Biography

Arnold Horner, University College Dublin

School of Geography




How to Cite

Horner, A. (2015). Geographers and planning: some reflections. Irish Geography, 47(2), 13–21.





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