The evolution of the city saw and increase in urban expansion in the 20th Century, and the Irish economic boom led to an upsurge in the construction of private homes. Standardised housing was implemented in the 1960s, and these regulations included specifications for density, public space, services, etc. Ballymun's high rise towers were the result of experimentations at this time. However, "the classic pattern that has occurred again is that a development pattern has evolved of rapid creation of new residential communities without adequate infrastructure or facilities" (Williams and Shiels, 2001, p. 27).
Previous plans to regenerate Dublin included the Integrated Area Plans (Kelly, 2005) and the Urban Renewal Act of 1986 (Suzanne, N. 2001) that came about as a result of the unwillingness of the private sector to enter many Dublin inner city neighbourhoods that had degenerated to dereliction. The government offered tax incentives to attract private business. This was successful in combating the decay of the Dublin cities, but those urban renewal schemes were only questionably effective in some cities. Because of the profit motive, architectural and design concerns were of little value to the investors. In addition, the economic benefits of the investment were mostly unavailable to the residents of those towns. This led to the newest Urban Regeneration Projects (2001).
According to the Egan Review and other organisations, regeneration involves the search for long term restoration and renovation of neighbourhoods, improvement of transportation systems, and involves an outlook of encouraging social inclusion and economic stability. These objectives are to be realised concomitant with ones of sustainable use of natural resources, such as energy and water. These objectives have necessitated the support of sound local leadership as well as concurrence among local, regional, and national policies (Carley, et al., 2005).
Brief History of Ballymun
The Ballymun population stands at approximately 20,000 and 44.6% of these persons are unemployed. It has even been suggested by some authorities that the true unemployment figure might lie in or above the 60% mark. One third of the population is below the age of 14, and over a third of the households are run by a single parent, while the national average is 10%. The percentage of children who attain a school-leaving certificate is only 7% (Environmental Appraisal, p. 43).
Before the Regeneration project, the city of Ballymun suffered from several structural, social, and economic problems. Many blocks of high-rise buildings were located in the city, and these were poorly constructed, having internal structural flaws as well as the disadvantage of being poor conservers of energy. This led to wide-scale removal by tenants, high levels of vacancies in apartment buildings, unemployment and drug problems. Voting turnout for local government elections has been as low as 15% (de Rossa, 1998). Social exclusion was also a significant problem in Ballymun that resulted from its spatially isolated location, as it was cut off because of poor links in transportation (Muir, 2003).
Ballymun Regeneration Ltd. took up the challenge and with the help of other environmental agencies, constructed an energy and environmental strategy