The new DIT Grangegorman Campus reimagines Dublin’s north inner city.

Young people are the future. It’s why we cherish them and invest in them. That’s not to say that everybody would necessarily be thrilled at the prospect of 20,000 students arriving on their doorstep, which is exactly what will happen at the Dublin Institute of Technology’s formidable new Grangegorman Campus. Thanks to meticulous planning and a comprehensive vision of what the whole area will become, however, this dramatic swelling of Grangegorman’s population is being anticipated with something resembling excitement.

DIT has a long history in Dublin, dating back some 125 years, but the Grangegorman site has played an important role in Dubliners’ lives for even longer, particularly when it came to state institutions. It has played home to a workhouse, prison and psychiatric facility, and as such was walled off from the local community, and the world at large.

This new DIT campus will see the site reimagined and fully reintegrated; the initial response has been massively positive. Last year, the Grangegorman Development Agency received the Royal Planning Institute’s President’s Award, with the RPI commending the project as being ‘an exemplar of quality master planning and attention to detail’, pointing out many of its admirable facets, notably that the planning will directly serve different socio-economic groups, with good public transport connections and high quality heritage conservation.

At present, the campus already plays home to over 1,000 students of art, design, photography, social sciences and visual communications – that number will rise to the aforementioned 20K plus students and staff when the next phases of the development are implemented. What’s most immediately apparent is the diverse and multicultural nature of the student body, in tune with the surrounding area’s constantly evolving pan-global community.

Welcome to DIT Grangegorman

A short introduction to DIT Grangegorman for new students

The successful assimilation of this particular population explosion into what is (or at least was) a relatively quiet corner of north inner city Dublin is at the heart of what the Grangegorman Development Agency hopes to achieve. They’re in the process of creating a new go-to destination, the Grangegorman Urban Quarter, an area anchored in education but focussed on health and community, with DIT, the HSE plus local residents and business owners actively directing its future. If nearby Stoneybatter can be reborn as the chicest corner of the city, while retaining its unique flavour, then Grangegorman is more than ready to make the leap.

One good example of the projects’ dedication to inclusivity and connectivity is the new pedestrian walkway for students, linking up the campus and the nearby Prussia Street Shopping Centre. The campus is open to the public and the playground inside the gate at Fingal Place is already a new favourite destination for local children. Little touches can make a big difference.

Although still very much a work in progress, what’s already there is an exciting indication of things to come. The Phoenix Care Centre, a state of the art mental health facility, was the first building to open on the campus in 2013 and there are several new openings planned for this year. Next up: the Greenway Hub, home to DIT Hothouse, which supports startups, as well as the Environmental Sustainability and Health Institute. An Educate Together primary school is also in the offing and by the end of the year, a new HSE Primary Care Centre will also be online. All in, work will continue until 2020, and possibly beyond.

Claire is a Dublin-based journalist who contributes to a wide range of publications including The Irish Independent and Image magazine. She occasionally reviews restaurants, and loves a good crime novel.

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