Square pegs and round holes: Dublin City’s experience of the RAPID Programme.
Murphy, Mary (2008) Square pegs and round holes: Dublin City’s experience of the RAPID Programme. In: Metropolitan Governance Work Shop European Consortium for Political Research, April 2008, Rennes, France.
This paper is concerned with the governance of spatial inequalities in metropolitan areas. As in other countries, Irish metropolitan areas are characterised by significant socio-economic inequalities. Despite various local initiatives Ireland has yet to achieve an effective model of urban or metropolitan governance capable of reducing these metropolitan socio-economic inequalities. This paper reviews, by way of an evidenced-based Dublin City case study, an Irish metropolitan governance process designed to counter specific metropolitan spatial inequalities - the RAPID (Revitalising Areas by Planning, Investment and Development) Programme. The paper begins by situating the analysis in literature relating to globalisation, governance, multi-level governance and new localism. It proceeds to briefly outline a profile of Dublin as a city characterised by high levels of spatial-economic disadvantage and an ongoing process of badly managed planning and development (Redmond et al 2008). To review the experience of recent innovations in metropolitan governance and their effectiveness at tackling social exclusion this paper utilises evidence from three recent evaluations/reviews of the Dublin RAPID Programme supplemented with stakeholder interviews1. Having analysed Dublin’s experience of innovations in metropolitan governance the paper concludes by outlining the key lessons for broader metropolitan governance theory and practice. These include the problem of geopolitical fragmentation and the difficulties of working in highly complex patterns of local administrative governance processes, the degree to which vertical and horizontal arrangements have hampered rather than assisted strategies to mitigate spatial social inequalities and finally key issues of community capacity and political participation.
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