Weaver park nominated for European urban park prize

Weaver Park graffiti







In a previous issue of The Liberty we celebrated the opening of Weaver Park, the first public park space to be created in the city in the last eight years. Since its unveiling, the park has become well-used and indeed well-loved by locals in the Liberties.

The park, designed by urban design and architecture company Áit, was recently nominated for a European prize for urban public space by the Centre of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona (CCCB).

“The Prize aims to promote an open, compact model of the city offering universal access and ensuring harmonious coexistence of citizens, mixed uses, sustainable mobility for inhabitants, and also citizen participation in the design of shared spaces,” the CCCB said.

However, within the first few days of the park’s opening, its Facebook page received comments from concerned locals reporting instances of graffiti, loitering and anti-social behaviour in the park.

While some anti-social behaviour is to be expected with any public park or green space, there had long been concern that Weaver Park would invite it because it lacks railings and gates.

Críona Ní Dhálaigh, local Sinn Féin councillor and former Lord Mayor of Dublin, says she welcomes Weaver Park into the community and is an avid user of its facilities. She says she raised concerns herself at the design stage about the open nature of the park.

“I will admit that I had concerns myself, and straight away I was thinking about the anti-social behaviour,” she says. “But if we were to only think of anti-social behaviour we would never build anything – and I believe that the level that we are having in the park is a lot less than we thought it would be.”

The park is still waiting for the CCTV monitoring that was originally promised. “That would make a difference, because with monitored CCTV like we have in some of our complexes, it means that if someone is acting anti-social, there’s a PA announcement that the gardaí or the park warden is on the way is on the way and we ask you to move on or desist from that behaviour,” Ní Dhálaigh says.  “I think that would help, but I genuinely don’t believe that not having railings is the cause of any anti-social behaviour.”

She praises the local community for their efforts so far in maintaining the park’s facilities. “There’s a good group there, particularly the skateboarders who take care of the park and when damage is done it’s usually the locals that will clean it up, or take care of it or report it.”

Her fellow Sinn Féin councillor, Ray McHugh, agrees: “You’ll never stop anti-social behaviour – you come up against it no matter where you are. I think the open nature of the park invites more people in to enjoy the facilities.”

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