Broombridge to Broadstone
Courtesy of Kaethe Burt O’Dea

Broombridge to Broadstone, Dublin

The LIFELINE, is a community lead demonstration project. Its aim is to explore how a currently disused industrial heritage site in Dublin Ireland (Broombridge to Broadstone railway cutting) can be utilised to provide benefits for people living locally, raise public awareness and link into the development of a strategic network of green infrastructure in the north west inner city. The project draws in many different strands of research and action on preventative healthcare strategies, urban agriculture, zero waste strategies, enhanced levels of biodiversity and eco-literacy.


Three key objectives of the LIFELINE project:

1. Expand civil capacity through collaborative community based action research that explores local context, culture and heritage and the proactive use EU environmental policy.

2. Develop citizen lead demonstration projects, practical, relevant, and of immediate value to Dublin and other European cities.

3. Establish a foundation to support interdisciplinary healthcare design and community based participative research focused on behavioural economics, public health and the impact of environmental design on quality of life.


Courtesy of Kaethe Burt O’Dea

The LIFELINE is a site specific proposal for a multifunctional access route to the future Dublin Institute of Technology and HSE site at Grangegorman from the north. This linear park would begin at Broadstone, follow the disused link to the Midland Great Western Railway that travels north through Cabra to meet the canal at Phibsborough where it continues to follow the canal to the west of the city into the countryside west of Dublin. As a multi-purpose landscape the LIFELINE would provide a surface for mixed activity (cycling, walking, running, games, casual play) and facilitate movement in, out, and around the city, as the amenity could ultimately link into a circular greenway running alongside the canals, connect available parks, and create a green circuit around Dublin. LIFELINE has been actively working with the Railway Procurement Agency and would like to conduct pilot projects along the line during the transitional period before it is developed in the hopes that they can influence the development of a mixed use amenity.


Courtesy of Kaethe Burt O’Dea

A second tier of the park could act as a productive ribbon of biodiversity providing a wide range of environments and a stimulating backdrop for the traveller. Unlike a park, the experience of this space would encourage engagement and promote eco-literacy. Biological systems could be made available for active use by the adjacent neighbourhoods and passers by, creating a spontaneous opportunity to explore how natural systems work. Activities would include plant based ecological restoration of soil and water (run off), zero energy solutions for the conversion biodegradable waste into fertilizer, pilot projects in advanced organic food production, forest gardens, allotments, etc. Everything cultivated along this corridor could be edible.


In 2009, the LIFELINE entered into partnership with Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) who support project objectives by providing research under the Students Learning With Communities Program (SLWC). This relationship has introduced 'service learning' and new rigour to the project. Between 2008-10 seven DIT modules supported the community by participating in LIFELINE research.

On May 12 2010, a well attended and successful public event was held with keynote speaker Dr. Ing. Hein Van Bohemen, Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands. The intention was to stimulate future community engagement and share the research that had been done by the DIT students in 2009–10 to support the project. The event was very well attended with representation from the local community, local government, and DIT staff and students.  

On June 27th 2010, 35 enthusiasts took part in the LIFELINE spring clean and biodiversity study organised by the LIFELINE project in collaboration with Emlyn Cullen of An Taisce Green Communities Program. Weather in the cutting was tropical and the terrain was surprisingly wet considering the dry spell. Later, the participants discovered the springs that were creating and maintaining this unique patch of urban marshland. Dublin City Council sent Mary Tubridy to lead the habitat mapping exercise and several local residents provided valuable assistance.

Courtesy of Kaethe Burt O’Dea

Inspiration for this concept has been derived from an international range of urban ecological restoration projects and the evidence that has supported their development. Health of the individual and community being the most basic gauge of sustainable design development, the main aim of this research project is to support active civil participation in the development of inner city living and a the necessary shift toward a preventative model of health care within the urban environment.


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