Innovate Ballymun is the prototype and test programme under the auspices of Innovate Dublin and once developed the model will be replicated across other disadvantaged communities in Dublin.
Ballymun, in North Dublin, is the site of one of the largest urban regeneration projects in Europe. It was originally the most significant high-rise housing estate built in the Republic of Ireland in the 1960s to address severe housing crises in the Dublin area. The Ballymun Towers comprised of seven separate buildings, each one fifteen stories high, with ninety flats to each tower and six to each floor.
By the 1980s, Ballymun was experiencing severe social problems which necessitated the development of a new 10 year housing plan for the area. This intensive physical regeneration, which was started in the nineties and involved the demolition of several of the Ballymun Towers and the construction of 2,800 new houses and apartments as well as facilities for retail shops and public amenities, is now coming to an end.
In 2013 the landscape changed, the regeneration programme came to an end and short-term supports were retained to develop the physical and social aspects of the area via Dublin City Council. However, the tasks of social regeneration are still pressing for an area with acute indices of social deprivation. In the spirit of social innovation - new ideas to meet unmet social needs in the public good – the Innovate Ballymun programme was developed to drive a new phase of sustainable social regeneration.
Innovation is seen as a major driver for economic growth and community development. It is the vehicle to ensure greater accountability in terms of social, economic and environmental outcomes in the area and will play an active role in delivering activities within these areas through new forms of innovation and increased participation of the local community.
To this end, the Innovate Ballymun Programme is committed to ‘social innovation for community regeneration’. This is being achieved through an active and integrated programme of research & insights into the issues facing the local community, awareness & engagement regarding the most critical issues that emerge, and the creation of new solutions to address these issues which include social exclusion, discrimination and various forms of inequalities.