Authors: Eoin O'Mahony*, University College of Dublin, Philip Lawton, Trinity College Dublin
Topics: Urban Geography, Europe, Urban and Regional Planning
Keywords: urban, redevelopment, Ireland, hoardings
Session Type: Paper
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Grand Ballroom E, Sheraton, 5th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded
As the role of the real estate industry becomes increasingly manifest in different urban contexts on a global scale, we see an ever-increasing array of new symbols being added to its repertoire. Drawing upon Dublin case studies, this paper sets out to analyze the relationship between the production of urban space and associated symbolism, with a particular focus upon stylized hoardings surrounding new buildings. As the economy of Dublin changes following a protracted recession, urban redevelopment is taking place under new conditions. This includes an increase in the role of international players, related to finance, design, and representation. Here, in an effort to differentiate their product, developers invoke idealized visions of the future city through the projection of imagery and messages on stylized hoardings. This ranges from digital renderings of the future, to eye-catching slogans, and the simple use of street numbers. We argue that the use of street numbers is of note because it emphasizes how what is normally seen as wholly rational – that of the number – becomes utilized as a feature of distinction. Crucially, we argue that the use of stylised hoardings and numbers contributes to the production of abstract space. It renders invisible the processes of production, ranging from different forms of finance, to the materiality of construction work and, more broadly, who does the work of the city. While always open to negotiation and disruption, the effect of these stylized hoardings is to normalize the dominance of the real estate industry in the city.