Reflections on The City 200: What’s the one thing you’d change about the city?

Posted March 10, 2022 in Design

BIMM May 29 – Jul 5 – Desktop

As we publish our 200th issue, we glanced back at the ever-evolving landscape of Dublin and interviewed well known faces around town about their experiences in the city. 

These days Dublin feels less like a vibrant capital city and more like a tourist stopover.” – Grace Enemaku,  Design and Illustrator

Q: What’s the one thing you’d change about the city?


Grace Enemaku, Designer and Illustrator

I would make it more accessible for young people, particularly young people in the creative industry who are often in precarious work. I won’t even go into covid and the lack of security nets for freelancers and those in the events industry, as this has been something that has been going on long before covid.

Exploding rent prices have pushed many young people out of the country entirely as the cost of rent and the quality of housing you get in comparison to other capital cities is dire. And the closure of so many cultural institutions from The Science Gallery to the plethora of beloved nightlife venues has amplified the feeling that the government cares little for young people in this country.

These days Dublin feels less like a vibrant capital city and more like a tourist stopover. 



Aisling Phelan, Artist

I think Dublin would be a much more enjoyable place to live if people felt that the government cared more about its own people.

I know there’s been an increase in funding for the arts and they’re trialling the UBI scheme, but in terms of actual spaces for us to be, I’m certainly not alone in feeling like one by one they’re being taken away and sold to developers.

I’m probably not the most informed person to be saying exactly what needs to happen, people like Robbie Kitt, Sunil Sharpe and Phili Halton are doing a lot for us in bridging the gap between young people and the government or the DCC, and encouraging us to have our say in shaping the city. But if I did have the power to change one thing, I think it would be the circumstances that make many young creatives feel like it’s simply not possible to live and work here.



Eric Ehigie, Podcaster

If there was one thing I would change in Dublin, it would be the current situation pertaining to the homelessness crisis.

I believe the unfortunate position that so many of our homeless people are in- coupled with the challenges that confront them as a result of this- is a massive stain on our nations’ ethos of being an inclusive, equality-centred nation, that advocates for the rights and well-being of all Irishmen and women.

I sincerely hope that our political representatives play an active role in robustly confronting this issue, head on.



Aoife Ní Thuama Keogh, Designer

Like any city, there’s plenty that could change for the better, but for me, I’d like to see a shift in people’s perception of Dublin.

It’s such a vibrant city, and the people here are so resilient but understandably government policies and shifts detract from that. I want to see us get back to a place where our positives outshine the negatives. 



Zoe Redmond, Designer, Stylist and Maker

Every city has its problems, there is definitely a list of things that could be changed for sure.

Mainly for me, the rental market and the housing crisis. If I could change that, then I could afford to rent and live in the city I grew up in and love.



Barry Sun, Chef

Well, if I could magically improve the traffic I would!

I’d also like to see the Dublin city vibes and buzz spread out around the suburbs more – I think this is definitely something that is happening and you can see it in Smithfield, in Dublin 8 and even to a certain extent in Blackrock where my restaurant is.



Jialin Long, Photographer

When people say “Dublin”, I think the image people are likely to have in mind is a man who has a ginger beard wearing a woolly jumper and drinking Guinness.

I’d love to see much more contemporary representations of Dublin appear on everyday media.



Ayuba Salaudeen, Tola Vintage

I wish there was more things to do in Dublin.

I think there is not enough support for people to start their own brands and creating events. There is so much potential in Dublin.



Tara Kumar, DJ

I’d have a more diverse group of people in charge of the big decisions for the city, not just people who work in an office and don’t experience culture.

I feel like if there were more people from different sections of life then the city could thrive and not feel like it’s being erased of its culture.



Zoe Ardiff, Photographer

I’d love if there were more creative spaces for people to meet and network.

It’s so important for people to come together to feel inspired by one another, which at the moment is hard because working from home has become the norm.



Colm Keane, Chef, Owner of Daddy’s

I feel like we don’t place enough value on the beauty of the city. Beautiful art deco lamp-posts get taken down and replaced instead of preserved. Cobblestone is covered in tarmac. Signposts and electrical boxes block the views of the best buildings.

Stop all that and find better, smarter solutions. I’d also love a single bus route that went in a constant loop of the North and South Circular Roads.



Orla King, Graphic Designer

I’d like to have gallery and exhibition spaces open later during the week.

If you work 9-5 Monday to Friday it’s hard to pop to a gallery after work. It’d be nice to be able to meet a friend in the evening and chill somewhere that’s not a pub or a bar.



Taurean Coughlan & Kevin Roche, Two Boys Brew

I would like to see more emphasis put on the beauty of the city landscape during the planning process.

We have such a rich heritage when it comes to Victorian and Georgian buildings around the city and it seems big developers are allowed to rip them down to make way for bland generic block.

I’d love to see more pressure put on developers to restore or create buildings that enhance the beauty of the city.



Shaylyn Gilheaney, Stylist

Affordable housing!

If it could be implemented it would have a positive impact on the homelessness crisis and encourage young, creative people to stay in the city.



Shane Daniel Byrne, Comedian

I’d love to see more focus on creating a city that can be lived in as well as visited. I’d love free public transport, more pedestrianisation.

I would also like Dubliners to support our own. It doesn’t take much to just not shop and big chains. Same goes for where we eat, drink or buy coffee. Go indie or go home!



Killian Walsh, Creative Director

I want to say the need for a wildly expensive outdoor kayaking super-centre, but I’m going to sensibly say socially affordable housing for families and young people.

Less hotels and more (skatable) communal outdoor public spaces.



Interviews: Kerry Mahony & Eric Davidson

Image Credits:

Feature Image

Jialin Long by Raisha Dong

Shane Daniel Byrne by Brian Teeling

Colm Keane by Al Higgins

Jialin Long by Raisha Dong

Aisling Phelan by Samuel Jay Patrick


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