The Impact and Instrumentalisation of Art in the Dublin Property Market, Kerry Guinan

The Library Project
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In the last two decades the arts and culture have become a frequent facet of Dublin planning projects. This has manifested in the turn to ‘cultural quarters’ as a redevelopment strategy, in the new emphasis on high calibre urban design and in the proliferation of public artworks in regeneration areas. Nevertheless Ireland’s per-capita expenditure on the arts remains bottom in the European league, artists overwhelmingly earn under the national poverty threshold, and Dublin presently faces a major shortage in the supply of art facilities owing to the recent resurgence of its property market. The Impact and Instrumentalisation of Art in the Dublin Property Market therefore addresses the political substance of the turn to culture in Dublin planning, querying whether it consists a support for art’s intrinsic value or the mobilisation of art for regenerative purposes. Its case study is Smithfield, Dublin, an area designated to become a cultural quarter in the early 2000s. New research on Smithfield’s redevelopment analyses the roles of private developers, the community, and local independent art spaces - above all asking ‘who was the cultural quarter intended for and why did it fail?’ To support its inquiry, the paper includes new economic data detailing the impact the art organisation Block T had on residential property prices in Smithfield. Unravelling the problematic relationship between art and the neoliberal economy, The Impact and Instrumentalisation of Art in the Dublin Property Market intends to provide a critical foundation from which an alternative cultural vision of Dublin City can be formed. 

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Softcover

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