The public realm is another term for the public spaces or areas between the buildings – the streets, spaces and movement corridors which will form the framework of Docklands. It is the stage upon which the drama of communal life will unfold. It encompasses both the built and the natural environment; with these elements working together to create a living space and an ambiance that will be unique to the area.
Public open space will provide a visual balance to the highly urbanised built form in Docklands. The amenity value of open space is important and will enhance the appeal of an area for investors, tourists and business. There will need to be a strong correlation between open space areas and community services and uses, to maximise positive relationship between the various uses in Cork Docklands
The River Lee will be the link between the city centre, the Docklands, Blackrock, Mahon and beyond. This important setting of the waterfront invites activity; encompassing a diverse mix of uses such as walking, jogging, cycling, cultural education, appreciation of nature, art appreciation, sitting, dining, socialising, water access, community functions, evening activity and providing interactive means for children and young adults.
Other key elements in the public realm will include the proposed sub-regional park to be created which will consolidate the Marina area as the premier recreational and leisure area in this part of the city. Landscape Architects OKRA and REDscape were lead consultants on the Landscape Masterplan design of the lands surrounding the Marina as a high quality amenity space. The Marina Park Masterplan was adopted by Council in July 2013 and detailed design of the first phase of the park is currently underway.
The additional creation of plazas, linear parks, pocket parks, with associated public art features, will also help to enliven the Docklands area as it is regenerated. The Cork Docklands Public Realm Design was completed by Mitchell & Associate Landscape Architects in 2011 and is being implemented on an incremental basis with the Interim Monahan’s Road Environmental Improvement Scheme part of this design process. Works proposed under this Part 8 planning application include a new cycle way along Monahan’s Road, a new public park as well as new lighting, kerbing and road/junction realignment at the western end. It is intended that the works will improve pedestrian and cycling connections with the Marina and will upgrade the physical environment which should help to attract business to the area.