Believe it or not I think we are. It is of course a Dublin problem ( with a dash fo Cork and a small infusion of Galway) but let me delineate the problem first.
- Low quality housing has been taken out of the market
- It is no longer possible to get 1 beds through planning.
- Pre 63 bedsits have been removed in Dublin ( not that many elsewhere compared to Dublin)
- The lack of these is a direct contributor to homelessness in Dublin, people with some financial resources are competing and squeezing others out at the low end of the market now. IE blokes who would never have lived in a bedsit are squeezing out those who always lived in a bedsit…and in a tight market.
All of this means that 1 bed/bedsits for singletons, disproportionately but not exclusively male, are heading into perma short supply. These units cater for all sorts, the depressed, the sad, the cash strapped, the newly divorced or separated and shown the door. But there is no doubt that there is demand for one bed/bedsit type units at the bottom of the market. 2 bed small family units are in greater supply overall.
I do not think that these apartments should be supplied in grossly unmodernised NCR and Rathmines redbrickiana, no.
I think it is time for Foyer type apartment blocks.
These would contain a minimum 50 and sometimes up to 200 apartments in a block or multiblock complex. They must provide an element of shelter so there needs to be a 24 hour doorperson to keep undesirables at bay.
They would be located INSIDE the canals, by and large. I don’t think there is much demand out along the M50 somewhow. One or two in the Docklands SDZ would be a jolly good idea, even right on the river.
In other words, access controlled or lightly sheltered accomodation is what we need, today. 1000 units a year to market in inner city Dublin for 2 or 3 years.
There may be a lesser demand for ‘lightly sheltered’ or controlled access small family ( one/2 adult one/2 child and no more with internal creche facility to accomodate anti social working hours) units too but only if child minding is built in and usable from 6am to 10pm, not quite sure how to make that stack myself but it is not unrelated to back to education for single mothers as well as antisocial working hours etc, but it is not as high a priority) These small family units would be limited to a 4 year tenancy at most but the object is that childcare does not become an impediment to economic or educational access for a limited period
And to get these built and operable I think that a tax break incentivisation regime is required, believe it or not. And I would not be averse to seeing one signalled in the budget in October 2014. Tax breaks are not always bad, some of us remember teh state of the quays in Dublin in 1985 and 10 years later in 1995 when things were much improved. But I do not propose that Foyers are to be designated in ‘blocks’ like apartments were. The housing type should be stipulated and let the ‘market’ identify the sites.
I never thought I’d see the day when 2Pack signed up to the Pin to rail against the insanity of our tax incentivised and indiscriminate housing bubble but there you are. Said now.