Galway City Council Planning Department, Local and National Policymakers, Construction Industry
New housing is needed but instead of building only conventional suburban housing, we need different forms of housing in both the city centre and in the suburbs to cater for various household types and sizes. Higher quality design and construction standards than in the recent past are a necessity. Any new construction should be built in as environmentally benign manner as possible (see Green Building Design).
Rail Line Housing
The new housing at Renmore Barracks would involve the relocation of the existing military facilities to the edge of city. Some of the historical military buildings could be incorporated into the new development. A new pedestrian and cycle link to city centre (over Lough Atalia) and a new bridge over the railway line to Renmore could be built.
New affordable medium-density housing would also be built at the new suburban train stations at Ballyloughane, Murrough, Roscam and Oranbeg so as to encourage use of the train instead of the car. The new stations would be located within walking distance of existing suburbs and new housing.
New affordable medium-density housing would also be built adjacent to the new Oranmore Train Station. There would be a small retail component (grocery shop, etc.) to the development. Good pedestrian and cycling linkages with the existing village of Oranmore would be installed. See also ‘Suburban Rail for Galway’ section in this chapter.
A New Suburb
A new suburb of well-planned, medium-density, affordable housing could be established on the eastern outskirts of the city (possibly at Ardaun, as has been previously proposed). The new suburb could be developed in a similar manner to Adamstown, Dublin. Installing local amenities (playing pitches, schools, crèches, GPs, shops, etc.) as early as possible is preferable, ideally before the construction of housing commences. Good public transport links, quality bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure are crucial. The new suburb could be served by any future light rail system. Other elements that should be part of this new place are allotments (for vegetable growing), good landscaping and a suburban forest.
Some parts of these new developments could be built as car free neighbourhoods similar to Vauban, Frieburg in Germany (5,000 residents) and several dozen other neighbours across the world. Car free neighbourhoods involve designing places where vehicles are physically prevented from entering the streets where people live. There are exceptions (emergency vehicles, etc.). A few peripheral parking spaces are available (usually around one space for every five homes) and a few are reserved for car club vehicles.
Vauban (neighbourhood), Freiburg, Germany