Southern Regional Assembly RSES LowRes

2.2 | The Strategy A key component of the RSES is to strengthen the settlement structure of the Region and to capitalise on the individual and collective strengths of our three cities, our metropolitan areas, and our strong network of towns, villages and rural communities. Our cities are the pillars on which to base the RSES settlement and economic strategy. They can play a significant role, individually and collectively, to rebalance the disproportionate growth of the Greater Dublin Area. All three are targeted for significant growth by at least half, i.e. by 50-60% to 2040, whereas Dublin has a planned growth of just above the national average (20- 25%) to 2040. Cork is the State’s second city and the largest urban settlement in the Region. With almost a fifth of the State’s population located in the Cork Metropolitan Area, it is larger in scale than the Limerick-Shannon, Galway and Waterford Metropolitan Areas combined. The NPF recognises this, stating that “Cork is emerging as an international centre of scale and is well placed to complement Dublin, but requires significantly accelerated and urban focused growth to more fully achieve this role”. Limerick is the largest urban centre in the Mid-West with notable strategic assets including its location between Cork and Galway on the Atlantic Economic Corridor with excellent connectivity to Dublin, to Shannon International Airport and to the port and energy related facilities of the Shannon estuary. Waterford, the principle urban centre in the south east, is unique in being connected to a network of large and strong urban centres. Both cities are also very important drivers of national growth, are of international significance, arekey regional centres and require significant investment and growth. Each of our three cities has very significant potential individually - however, the combined potential of our cities (together with Galway) is a powerful proposition for regional and national transformation. The emphasis on urban growth in the RSES is driven by wider economic benefits and, for environmental reasons, to make the most efficient use of resources. This requires a focus on compact growth. The RSES also focuses on growth of settlements throughout the Region to improve accessibility, to conserve energy and to maintain the role and character of smaller towns and villages. It is essential

for smaller settlements tomaintain their role and character through public and private investment. Care is needed to match proposed rapid growth with adequate, accessible and timely new services. The RSES also aims to improve the quality of life in our diverse rural communities, valuing them as dynamic, resilient and outward looking areas of potential. A healthy, broad-based economy is essential to resource a high- quality environment and to realise the potential of our Region, both rural and urban. To a significant extent, the success of the RSES can be achieved through businesses and communities already in the Region. Our cities provide a basis for the international economies of scale to compete on a global basis and employment opportunities will be encouraged in and around our cities, towns and rural areas. Safeguarding our environment is an important strand of the RSES, to benefit future generations and to promote quality of life. In the long run, both development and protection of the environment must go hand in hand to safeguard the quality of life in the Region and attract new activities. The RSES welcomes appropriate development to bring about beneficial changes in the way our cities, towns, villages and rural areas relate to each other, the natural environment, and the population they serve. The combined effort of the local authorities and their communities, economic sectors, government and state agencies is needed to achieve action on climate change – to implement objectives for Compact Growth, Sustainable Travel and Place-Making to reduce travel demand between residential areas and centres of employment, education and commerce. The RSES takes a progressive approach to conserving and enhancing the natural and built heritage and the natural resources of wildlife and landscape. Our most valued assets must be protected from overuse and pollution. Equally, it is important to care for the general countryside, coastline and urban environment. A ready supply of development land at appropriate locations throughout the Region will ease the pressure on vulnerable assets while encouraging economic progress. TheRegion’s dispersed settlement patternand its peripheral location in Europe makes it particularly dependent on efficient communications - good rail, road, sea, air and telecommunications links are of the utmost importance. The RSES seeks to enhance public transport and improve communications across the Region.

Our cities are the pillars on which to base the RSES settlement and economic strategy.

Southern Regional Assembly | RSES


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