Towns and villages across this island of Ireland have in the past decade experienced rapid change and mixed fortunes. Many have, for example, been suffering from prolonged dereliction; a condition that has been exacerbated by edge-of-town developments, changing demographics including population decline, the (global) economic downturn and associated emigration and decline in disposal incomes, unsustainable suburban and one-off housing developments, and the new reality of the digital economy and e-commerce. While these trends highlight the changing needs and demands of society in terms of how we live, work and socialise, one cumulative effect has been increased vacancy as a result of the closure of retail and commercial units. Streetscapes across the island are losing their economic vitality. An often forgotten consequence of business closure is the loss of residential accommodation over the shop which, in turn, impacts negatively on the social viability of our towns and villages. Taken together, the beating heart of our towns and villages is slowly dying. This article aims to progress thinking on how to address the perennial challenges around the sustainable development of small towns and villages across the island of Ireland.
|Centre for Cross Border Studies
|Published (in print/issue) - 22 Dec 2016
- Irish Border
- network governance