The Sitric Picnic |  Community garden event held on Sitric Road from 2005 - 2016

The Sitric Picnic | Community garden event held on Sitric Road from 2005 - 2016

The Lifeline Project’s founding principles are rooted in an ongoing programme of community based research which began in 2005 with the establishment of the Sitric Compost Community Garden in Stoneybatter, Dubin 7. The Lifeline Project proposal was conceived in response to challenges which emerged in a series of public consultations conducted in October-November 2007 by the Grangegorman Development Agency to support the future redevelopment of the former St. Brendan’s Psychiatric Hospital Site.

This unique development will combine a new campus for Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) and a range of Health Service Executive (HSE) services, including upgraded facilities for the ‘indigenous’ residents (long term, institutionalized psychiatric patients) and HSE primary care facilities on this 82 acre site.

During the public consultations the highest ranking needs raised by the community as stakeholders in the development were: 

  • Free access to the site

  • Preservation of 50% of the natural environment, 

  • A car free campus 

  • Public transportation services

  • Community sports facilities

  • Social inclusion

  • Sustainability

  • Local opportunities for lifelong learning

  • Improved primary care facilities

The Grangeorman Development consultations became the catalyst for a programe of multidisciplinary research conducted by Desireland in collaboration with the DIT Students Learning with Communities which continues today. 

The Dublin City Development Plan calls for a strategic network of green infrastructure and studies commissioned by the Grangegorman Development Agency (Health Needs Assessment 2009, Employment Study 2009) further elaborate on the needs of in the NWIC for preventative health care strategies and new forms of employment. Lifeline Project research explored these local needs and the untapped resources of Dublin’s NWIC. Inspiration for the proposal is based on a selection of international case studies, and the evidence that supported their development, arguing for the productive use of residual urban space to support health and well-being.

The Lifeline Aims



Expand public capacity through collaborative community based research that calculates the value of local knowledge, culture and heritage.


Make creative use of local waste streams (people, space, materials, systems) to support community development and generate employment.


Develop the Lifeline greenway and other community proposals/projects that are practical, relevant and of immediate use to Dublin and other European cities.


Establish a hub dedicated to recording and studying the importance of nature in the city and the impact of urban design on quality of life to inform future development.


A film produced in 2010 by Gregory Dunn to argue the case for protecting the Midland Great Western Railway cutting for development into a greenway. This site was subsequently redeveloped for the Luas Cross City. In the process a significant amount of biodiversity was lost.

We are now proposing a new route for the Lifeline that would reactivate the former path of the Royal Canal into Broadstone and replace the natural habitat that once flourished on the Midland Great Western Railway site.

The Lifeline Project Work Packages

The creation of an exercise friendly inter-modal transport network

The Luas Cross City travels through the MGWR cutting, a two kilometer long corridor which starts at the former railway station in Broadstone, travels north through Cabra, meets the canal at Phibsboro and continues along the Royal Canal to an active railway station at Broombidge. This corridor was the initial map of where the Lifeline would run. Since then we have re-developed a new map based on pockets of green territories throughout the North Inner City, which we aim to connect and develop into a green corridor.

International trends in sustainable urban design promote the integration of public transportation and green infrastructure. By combining the Lifeline with the development of a multi-purpose landscape  (cycling, walking, running, games, casual play) we could create a world class exemplar for Dublin. As well as promoting exercise, connecting parks and re-invigorating residual spaces in the NWIC, it would develop a network of green infrastructure proposed in the current Dublin City Development Plan.

The development of a fertile ribbon of biodiversity and experiments in urban bioremediation

A second tier of the corridor could act as a productive ribbon of biodiversity. This would provide a wide range of environments and a stimulating backdrop for the Luas commuter. Different from a park this ‘living laboratory’ would provide opportunities to prototype sustainable bioremediation technologies in action research projects overseen by DIT.

Ongoing research programmes would create a spontaneous opportunity for local residents, schools and organisations to explore the simple and beautiful solutions natural systems can provide for complex urban problems . Activities could include the testing and regeneration of soil and water (run off), zero waste strategies that convert biodegradable waste into fertiliser, training in organic food cultivation, edible forest gardens, bee keeping and gardening to promote biodiversity, etc.

The promotion of civic engagement and local knowledge in sustainable development

Health of the individual and community is the most basic gauge of successful sustainable design. 60% of the determinants of health are behavioral, social and environmental. By investing in design that enhances community life enormous healthcare savings could be made while substantially improving our quality of life. International research confirms that robust reform of this nature requires an inclusive community led process. In response the EU has recently launched the EU Cohesion Policy 2014-20 to facilitate the development of Community Led Local Development.

Community-led Local Development” (CLLD) is a specific tool for use at sub-regional level, which is complementary to other development support at local level. CLLD can mobilise and involve local communities and organisations to contribute to achieving the Europe 2020 Strategy goals of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, fostering territorial cohesion and reaching specific policy objectives.”

The main aims of this joint approach by the ESI Funds are to simplify and expand the use of CLLD as a development tool. The CLLD will:

  • Encourage local communities to develop integrated bottom-up approaches in circumstances where there is a need to respond to territorial and local challenges calling for structural change

  • Build community capacity and stimulate innovation (including social innovation), entrepreneurship and capacity for change by encouraging the development and discovery of untapped potential from within communities and territories

  • Promote community ownership by increasing participation within communities and build the sense of involvement and ownership that can increase the effectiveness of EU policies

  • Assist multi-level governance by providing a route for local communities to fully take part in shaping the implementation of EU objectives in all areas.” (2014, Cohesion Policy 2014-20 Factsheet, European Commission)”


A film piece created by Katie-Jo Teevan of Thesestories productions. Katie followed the work we’ve been doing for a series of months in 2019, including a trip to Dunmore Country School where we hold part of our Bee Stewardship Course, excursions to the Lifeline route, events & workshops.