Canvassing in Darndale. Lessons for Poppintree in Ballymun
21st February 2009
I canvassed Darndale last night for the first time and I think I was able to get a feel for the issues in the area. As usual, I received a very warm welcome from residents - most of whom didn't know me from Adam. They were delighted to see a politician at their door, rather than just a leaflet in their hallway.
I was very interested in the layout of the estate. When Darndale was built in the early 1970's it was set-out as a series of "Courts", which are houses that face on to an inner court-yard with a series of back-lanes to allow car parking. This layout was designed to foster community spirit, but in reality it didn't work. Residents could not see out into their back alleys, and the lack of supervision led to increased anti-social behaviour. Eventually, in the 1990's the layout was "reversed", the alleys were closed down and people's back doors became their front entrances.
The residents that I talked to last night in the Marigold courts were unanimous that the new layout was a big step forward for their community.
In Ballymun, many Courts were built in Poppintree at about the same time as Darndale. These courts have never been reversed, but from the evidence I saw last night, I believe that a reversal has the potential to be a major benefit to the quality of life of the residents of Poppintree.