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MARS on Nuns Island - Persse’s Distillery Public Engagement

3D Galway Digital Model

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Imagining Nuns’ Island - Audio Journey

3D Digital Model

Research Articles


Reframing development in Ireland: making the case for an urban lab approach


Authors: Patrick Collins, Ulf Strohmayer, Mark Justin Rainey

In this paper, we map the evolution of approaches to development in Ireland since the formation of the state. With reference to the current national and international context, we make the case for the adoption of a transformational approach to development in one of Europe’s most centralized countries. We highlight the growing literature on socio-ecological approaches to growth and consider the potential for the development of an urban lab to enable a radical shift in approaches to development in Ireland. The paper shines a light on certain initiatives already underway in Galway, Ireland and posits their culmination in the delivery of an urban lab for the city. In particular, we cite the opportunities afforded by urban labs to better define growth (a more socio-ecological definition of innovation) and facilitate the co-authoring of development through place-based experimentalism at the local level.

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Assembling a Co-produced urban lab: The case of Nun’s island, Galway


Authors: Ulf Strohmayer, Patrick Collins, Mark Justin Rainey

This paper details the contextual and conceptual elements involved in setting up an Urban Lab in the city of Galway, Ireland. The paper specifies the set-up of a lab in the post-industrial area of Nuns' Island, through a detailed reading of pertinent ‘lab-centred’ literatures. It contributes to this literature by (1) analysing a lab in the explicit context of an urban regeneration project and (2) exploring ways in which co-production may be put into practice. Urban Lab Galway is anticipated initially to play a major role supporting the urban regeneration of an area adjacent to a major university, which also owns substantial buildings and land on the site, and is thus not surprisingly supported by the local university in question. The paper motivates and details the reasons supporting co-produced initiatives, critically exploring the potential and difficulties attaching to such practices. The paper ends in a sustained engagement with the concept of ‘creative destruction’ in the context of lab-based engagements.



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