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Forum Journal (Summer 2013): Dublin Case Study


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This slide show is enhanced content for "Livable Historic City Cores: Attracting Investment to Cities" by John O'Brien in the Summer 2013 Forum Journal (Preservation in the City). To learn more about Preservation Leadership Forum and how you can become a member visit:

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Forum Journal (Summer 2013): Dublin Case Study

  1. 1. 1785 Massachusetts Avenue NW Washington, DC 20036E P 202.588.6296 F 202.588.6223 www.Pres ervationLeaders hipForum.orgForum Journal (Summer 2013)Takeaway for “Livable Historic City Cores: Attracting Investment to Cities”Dublin, Ireland:“Talent Hub” Strategy Based on Livability of the Historic City CoreBy John O’BrienDublin provides an interesting case study of a place that has leveraged itscultural heritage with other assets to create a “talent hub”—attracting worldleaders in knowledge industries to establish operations there while at thesame time becoming a hotspot for indigenous entrepreneurial development.Over the last three decades, Ireland has been very successful in attractingFDI, which now plays a vital role in the economy, accounting for:• 250,000 jobs directly and indirectly out of a total of 1.8 million inemployment;• US$150 billion in exports, or 80 percent of the country’s total exports;• 65 percent of Corporation Tax payments; and• 68 percent of business expenditure on research and development.This investment comes from the world’s leading companies in informationand communications technology, life sciences, financial services, andengineering, and increasingly from “born on the internet” content and serviceproviders including companies such as Google, Facebook, Amazon, eBay,Blizzard, and Electronic Arts. Indeed, the “IBM Plant Location InternationalReport 2011” ranked Ireland as the number one destination worldwide forforeign investment projects by value and number two worldwide for FDI jobs.Ireland’s Industrial Development Agency is the government body chargedwith attracting FDI to Ireland and working with existing investors to maximizetheir contribution to the economy. An important part of its job is to continuallymonitor trends in global investment and develop an appropriate response bygovernment and other public bodies to these trends so that they canmaximize the FDI contribution to the economy in terms of jobs and addedvalue.Activities increasingly depend on two critical factors: interconnectivity with therest of the world, and, above all, the availability of talent. Ireland’s competitivestrategy is based on four Ts: Talent, Technology, Tax, and Track Record.
  2. 2. 2It became clear in recent decades that for many of the world’s leadingcompanies that rely on a high creative input, their choice of where to locatewas boiling down to deciding on which city rather than which country.Therefore, while Ireland’s Industrial Development Agency continues topromote balanced regional development in line with the government’sNational Spatial Strategy, for many key projects success would depend onthe promotion of Dublin (the only Irish city classified by the OECD as a metro-region) as an attractive city location compared to other similar competingEuropean cities.Over the last 20 years, major conservation projects have been undertakenin Dublin, by both the state and city authorities, on important public buildingsincluding the Royal Hospital (1684), Dublin Castle, Collins (Royal) Barracks(1709), Dr. Steevens’s Hospital (1719), Custom House (1791), KilmainhamGaol(1792), and City Hall (Royal Exchange) (1769). A works project has beenongoing in the Phoenix Park, including the reinstatement of the main entrancegates and the return of the Phoenix Monument (1747) to its original positionon the main axis of the park. Conservation works have also been completedand new uses found for the former Bluecoat School (1773) and the churchesof St. George (1802) and St. Catherine (1760).But in the city as a whole, the track record on the survival and conservation ofthe historic urban fabric is more mixed, directly reflecting the changing socialdynamics of the city, the conflicts of the early 20th century, and modernredevelopment. Some surviving properties, particularly on the north side ofthe city, lost original fabric and details when they were converted to tenementoccupation (although this too is now an important part of their history). Privateindividuals and bodies have also done significant conservation work,particularly in the northern side of the city. One important example is theproject on North Great George’s Street, where conservation and newinterventions to replace missing historical fabric have helped to revitalize andreestablish the integrity of the street. Dublin City Council has published aconservation plan for Henrietta Street and recently started a program ofurgent conservation works on a number of properties in the street (UNESCO2010).The linking of investment promotion to a specific urban redevelopment projectin Ireland started with the establishment in 1987 of the Customs House DocksDevelopment Authority (CHDDA) as a statutory body to promote theredevelopment of historic but derelict inner-city docks areas of initially 11hectares. It was envisaged that the economic basis for the redevelopmentwould be the establishment in the area of an International Financial ServicesCentre (IFSC), and incentives were put in place to both encourageredevelopment and entice international financial companies to locate in the
  3. 3. 3center. While the CHDDA would be responsible for the development of thearea, the government mandated that IDA Ireland promote the center toinvestors. The initiative proved to be very successful, and today there are30,000 people employed in financial services and ancillary support activitiesin the IFSC. Dublin is now a center for international banking, fundsmanagement, and insurance, and the sector continues to grow despite theinternational financial crisis.In 1997, the CHDDA was subsumed into the Dublin Docklands DevelopmentAuthority (DDDA) with a broader mandate to promote the development of theentire Dublin docklands area consisting of 520 hectares. Since the DDDA’sinception in 1997, the area under its control has attracted more than €3.35billion of public and private investment and has seen the creation of 40,000new jobs. The number of residents in the area has grown from 17,500 to22,000, and 11,000 new homes have been built, of which 2,200 are eithersocial or affordable. In addition, the area has developed as a vibrant culturalcenter with a new theater and a new concert venue.In 2003, as part of a further urban regeneration initiative, the governmentformed the Digital Hub Development Agency, an Irish state agency, toestablish a digital hub in the historic Liberties area of the city. Its role is toprovide incubator space and support for largely indigenous, small andmedium-size enterprises while promoting the broader social and economicregeneration of the area. It currently houses more 90 such enterprisesdeveloping products ranging from mobile apps to online games.Dublin, as the major urban center in the country, had always attracted asignificant share of FDI into Ireland. By the mid-1990s, it was alreadyattracting major investments from an impressive range of internationalcompanies, including Intel, Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, and SAP, as well as majorfinancial institutions such as Citicorp, Merrill Lynch, Deutsche Bank, andHSBC. (See figure 1.1.) IDA Ireland recognized that this established trackrecord, combined with the exciting urban redevelopment of the city core,provided the opportunity to promote Dublin as a “talent hub” that would attractthe web-based knowledge industries of the future as well as encourage theexisting technology and financial services companies already establishedthere to deepen their investment and add more knowledge-based activities.To succeed with this endeavor, it was evident that Dublin would need tohave state-of-the-art data interconnectivity with the rest of the world. Whilethis would be largely supplied by the private sector, it was clear that somepump priming would be needed, so IDA Ireland sought and receivedgovernment funding to invest in a project, called Global Crossing, thatconnected Ireland to the transatlantic fiber network between the United
  4. 4. 4Kingdom and the United States and thus to the rest of the world. This madeDublin a credible location for investment projects that require the speedy andsecure transmission of high volumes of data at a competitive cost.A basic pillar for the promotion of Dublin as a talent hub was theconcentration of higher education institutions in the city. These include threeuniversities (Trinity College in the city center and University College Dublinand Dublin City University just outside the center); the Dublin Institute ofTechnology, also in the city center; and the National College of Ireland thatrelocated its campus to the heart of the IFSC as part of the urbanredevelopment project. These institutions educate 65,000 undergraduatesand postgraduates in the full range of disciplines, with a strong focus ontechnology and business. They also conduct a wide range of research, withfaculty and postdoctoral students drawn from varying backgrounds andnationalities; research activity has increased significantly since 2002 with thesupport of Science Foundation Ireland. While having good higher educationinstitutions locally can provide a stream of talent, it was clear that this, whilenecessary, was not sufficient to build a talent hub. Apart from the fact that (ashas been pointed out by analysts such as Florida) not all cities with gooduniversities retain their graduates, knowledge-based companies would onlylocate their regional base in a city that could supply people offering a widerange of skills and languages. Companies would need to feel that a Dublinlocation gave them access not just to a good local talent market but to aEuropean talent market; this would be based on Dublin’s appeal to “creativeclass” people, especially those in the 20 to 40 age group.Dublin is attractive to such people because it is seen as a livable anddynamic city with good nightlife and leisure facilities but also with a strongcultural heritage that was reflected in a regenerated city center and thesignificant investment (public and private) in heritage conservation overrecent decades.Recently, Dublin has successfully attracted most of the leading internetcompanies to establish operations to service the European, Middle East, andAfrican (EMEA) market from Dublin. Companies such as Google, Facebook,Linkedin, Zynga, Popcap, and Twitter have chosen to locate in the city centerin or near the urban regeneration area. Others such as PayPal, eBay,Amazon, and Yahoo have chosen larger sites further out of town, as havemany of the larger tech companies such as Oracle, HP, SAP, and Symantec.The importance of talent to these companies can best be illustrated byGoogle, which established its EMEA headquarters in 2003 in a building inthe Dublin docklands regeneration area. It currently employs more than
  5. 5. 52,000 people, all higher-education graduates, to support all of its products:search engines, consumer products (Gmail, calendar), advertising products(Ad Words, Ad Sense), right through to business solutions for majorcorporations.It also undertakes new product development through a dedicated engineeringteam and provides central support for the finance, payroll, legal, and humanresources functions. To do this effectively it operates in 45 languages andcovers 65 countries.It is also important to note that not all of the creative and innovative activityhas been generated by FDI. The Digital Hub has been highly successful innurturing and developing creative and innovative small and medium-sizeenterprises. The Digital Hub is currently home to more than 90 companiesemploying more than 500 people doing everything from developing apps formobile phones to web design to computer games. This is only onemanifestation of the strength of indigenous high-tech entrepreneurship inDublin that feeds off the nexus of multinational corporations, innovativeresearch in educational institutions, and the availability of venture capital.The success of the talent hub approach can also be seen by the fact that in arecent survey called “Hotspots” (EIU 2012), which ranked thecompetitiveness of 120 major cities worldwide, Dublin ranked first in theHuman Capital sub index and was tied for fifth (with Paris and Vienna) on thesocial and cultural sub index.The following chapters give many more examples—from diverse placesaround the world facing varied economic and social challenges—that furtherdemonstrate the role of heritage conservation as a major contributor toeconomic development.