1/A brief thread in response to Conor Skehan's article in the @Independent_ie
2/City planning in Dublin, and elsewhere in the Western world, has long been recognised as a patriarchal discipline, organised overwhelmingly around the concerns of middle-class (white) men.
3/In fact, it was Myles Wright, the elite British town planning consultant who drew up the utopian 1960s suburban blueprint for the modern expansion of Dublin’s ‘edge city’ into places such as Tallaght, Clondalkin and Blanchardstown who famously stated:
4/"There is every sign that Irishmen, as sturdy individualists and democrats, will wish to use cars fully ... Achievement, step by step, of the best practicable conditions for greatly increased motor traffic is thus a main aim … and.. where to place new urban developments"
5/Just a few short decades ago, mass private car ownership was the ideological ‘fad’ of a select few. But they had the power to shape the city according to their heart’s desire. Unfortunately, we are living with that misdirected legacy today.
6/Later, in the 1970s and 1980s we had the wholescale destruction of the historic inner city as urban motorways were ploughed through mostly disadvantaged communities by a small cohort of middle-class men to facilitate their zeal for car access to the suburbs.
7/Did they know what was best for us? Why could they decide what was a proportionate level of loss or destruction? In these communities, as few as 9% of residents commute by car today and, for many, a bicycle is the primary mode of transport, not being able to afford a car.
8/As we enter a car-less climate-changed age, the Covid disruption lays bare the ideological irrationality of reorganising our cities around the needs of private motor vehicles and represents a precious opportunity to begin to right this historical wrong, before it is too late.
9/I suspect middle-class men will be reluctant to give up their privileges, appealing to ‘balance’, ‘proportionality’ and the concerns of the poor to justify business-as-usual, while ironically decrying those with the temerity to democratically challenge the status quo as zealots

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