Ireland contains some of the most attractive and inspiring places in the world - from the mountains and glens of the highlands to small villages peppered across the country and our great cities containing vibrant cultural quarters and stunning neighbourhoods.
But did you realise that many of these places have been shaped, protected or improved through town planners given our ambitions to create great places for people?
RTPI Ireland wants to show how planners work to improve the quality of life in our cities, towns and villages across the world. We want to reflect on the achievements of the planning profession and to share these successes with the Irish people.
That’s why we are working to try and find out what Ireland's best places are. We want people and organisations across Ireland to identify the places that are special to them and, more importantly, ask themselves why.
Is it the ease of getting around, the parks and gardens, the clean air or the sheer unspoilt beauty? We hope that this initiative will also go some way to help people realise the important and positive role that planning has played in shaping Ireland.
We want to hear about those places that have had positive and sustainable impacts socially, environmentally and economically; that show best practice in planning; that have benefitted from the role played by planners and the planning system; and that are seen as nationally significant and important to Ireland.
These could include one of Ireland’s six national parks which have been established to protect our most important landscapes and to support the communities that live there. It could be a regeneration area that has reinvigorated a town or and city and made them attractive places to work, live and enjoy. Or it could be a neighbourhood that has been protected because it is in a Conservation Area, or a new cultural quarter of city that has been promoted as great investment.
Cliffs of Moher
Whatever your choice, there will, no doubt, be a wide range of examples that you will be able to think of. You can nominate your favourite place online. The deadline for submissions is 8 June 2018.
All proposals will be then be examined by a special advisory panel who will agree the top ten, which will be announced in September. This panel comprises people with a range of interests and backgrounds including the arts, business, building conservation, architecture and communities. There will then be an online public vote to identify Ireland’s Best Place which will be unveiled in November.
The initiative is supported by Eoghan Murphy TD, Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, who neatly summed up the project in saying:
"I am delighted to support this initiative. The planning system has already helped to create many great places for people across Ireland and I am keen to ensure that it continues to provide high quality development in the future.
"Ireland's Best Places can help to showcase the good work that has been done already and stimulate a new generation of inspirational places across Ireland."
Let the debate begin!
Marion Chalmers is Chair of RTPI Ireland.