Achieving Regional Equality

Territorial inequality exists in Ireland due in part to the perception that metropolitan areas are privileged while other areas are relegated as ‘places that don’t matter’ and this contributes to an overarching ‘Dublin versus the rest’ political culture. This project explores how traditional urban-rural dynamics and inter-metropolitan dichotomies in Ireland might be realigned to support enhanced collaboration across regional cities, compact growth and regional economic opportunity to support those areas that have been left-behind by recent economic developments.

The new National Planning Framework and its corresponding documents—the Regional Spatial and Economic Strategies and the Metropolitan Area Spatial Plans—present the opportunity to strengthen Ireland’s ‘second tier cities’ to achieve regional parity and balanced regional development. However, a challenge exists in moving from a competitive co-existence between metropolitan areas to one based on collaboration in pursuit of regional objectives. Furthermore, little guidance to navigate the process exists.

Through a case study of Ireland’s southern region, this project observes, documents and theorises metropolitanisation processes as they unfold to offer insight into historic and contemporary roadblocks to implementation.

Research Partnership

This project is a joint collaboration between UCD and the Southern Regional Assembly (SRA) as Enterprise Partner.


This two-year project runs from September 2021 – August 2023. Follow us on Twitter @regequality for project updates.

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