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Conservative Surgery and The Capitalist Masterplan

Deirdre Flood


Proposal: Community Centre
Location: Sheriff Street Park

Under the theme of Critical Care, this thesis investigates the effect of capitalist urban regeneration on the city. It tests the theory of Conservative Surgery on existing fabric as an approach  to treat symptoms of social and economic inequality caused by multiple iterations of a capitalist masterplan.

The Docklands of Dublin have historically been a capitalist entity. In the mid 20th Century, the shipping and warehousing economy of the Docklands declined, causing residents to suffer unemployment and deprivation. In the late 1980s, the Custom House Docks Development Authority created an urban regeneration scheme in the Docklands, with the IFSC at the heart of a new economy to replace the old. This regeneration scheme promised to tackle unemployment and deprivation in the Docklands, however the new wealth brought by the IFSC failed to provide significant employment or services for the legacy community that existed there. The result of this urban regeneration scheme is a division manifested most visibly by the development of two large gated apartment complexes along Mayor Street, forming a impermeable barrier between the new Docklands and the old.  

This thesis project uses the principles of Patrick Geddes’ theory of Conservative Surgery to intervene on the existing fabric of the modern Docklands, creating new routes which unlock the opportunity for social integration within a new Community & Recreation Centre. This centre, located in the underutilised park site will serve both sides of the Docklands community. The multi-use brief for this scheme is an opportunity to involve a variety of users, regardless of social and economic background. 

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