A community’s character is shaped by both physical and intangible elements. It is the essence of a place and what one remembers long after leaving and that which is described to others. The image of a community is not static – it can and will change over time. The City of Dublin’s positive image is based on well-planned development, attention to parks and open space, and strong neighborhood identity. This chapter identifies ways to preserve and enhance Dublin’s character and environmental quality as the community grows and matures.
Elements of Dublin’s Character
Dublin’s character is defined by key physical elements such as topography, the built environment and roadways. There are also less tangible attributes that shape perceptions of the city. Residents enjoy a high standard of living due to exceptional municipal services, parks and recreational amenities, and excellent schools and community facilities. Together, these elements and others shape the image of Dublin as a desirable community.
The following summarizes some of the more prominent elements found throughout the city that together create Dublin’s image. While these major elements provide an overarching description of Dublin, land use patterns and road corridor design interconnect to form the physical and visual character of an area. Land uses are further defined through architecture, form and layout to shape the built environment. The Land Use Chapter includes the Future Land Use Map and general descriptions for the various land uses within Dublin. In addition, Special Area Plans address key development issues with design concepts and related information that form general expectations for land use development. Furthermore, the design of public roadways and corridors provides distinct visual impressions and shapes the perceptions of drivers and pedestrians. For information on roadway character and corridor designations, please refer to the Transportation Chapter.
Dublin’s significant natural features include: the Scioto River and its tributaries, Indian Run Falls, natural ravines and rock outcroppings, native flora and fauna, hardwood forest and woodlands, wetlands and vernal pools, and stands of mature trees. Important natural features should be protected and enhanced as a vital part of the city’s visual quality.
The Rural Landscape
Most of Dublin was at one time under farmland cultivation or used as pasture for livestock. Dublin’s agricultural roots evoke powerful images: open fields, stone and brick farmhouses, barns and outbuildings, and hedge rows and trees that define property boundaries. While areas to the north and west of Dublin remain in agricultural use or in fallow fields, continued development will require efforts to preserve these clear ties to the city’s historic past.
Dublin’s original crossroads settlement is a focal point and center for the community. The pedestrian-scaled character of Historic Dublin is defined by the tight pattern of streets, a mix of uses, the size and scale of historic buildings, and the relationship of structures to the street. The community has placed high priority on maintaining the character and viability of Historic Dublin as the heart and community gathering place of the city.
Dublin has a long and rich cultural and historic heritage. Through the Dublin Historical Society, the Dublin Arts Council and many other civic organizations, residents enjoy a wealth of information and events. The Art in Public Places program, the city’s first history book: Dublin’s Journey, community theater and events such as the Dublin Irish Festival promote Dublin as a special place.
Gateways and Entry Features
Gateways are points of identification that provide a sense of arrival. Many of Dublin’s gateways are signified by creative designs that feature landscape elements, stone walls and specialized entry signs. Freeway interchanges are Dublin’s major gateways, providing primary access for most residents, corporate citizens and visitors. Entrances to Historic Dublin, including the Bridge Street crossing of the Scioto River, also create a strong sense of arrival and boundary as the character and scale of buildings change abruptly. New developments have also created gateway “statements” throughout Dublin at the entrances to office parks, commercial developments and residential areas that provide a sense of identity. Identified locations should be emphasized in a unique manner to clearly distinguish the city’s major points of interest.
Roadway Character and Streetscapes
Certain roads in Dublin provide particularly striking views to greenscapes, the Scioto River and other scenic features. Among them are Brand Road, Dublin Road, Summit View Road, and Riverside Drive. As drivers’ first perceptions of the City, the aesthetic quality of Dublin’s picturesque roads and viewsheds should be protected and enhanced.
The design and maintenance of the public environment plays a major role in defining Dublin’s character. Streets, public buildings, public parks and other community facilities, sidewalks, lights, signs and landscaping are very visible and distinct features. Dublin’s public environment emphasizes attractive, high quality design and well-maintained features that should be continued.
Quality of Life
Dublin enjoys a high level of City-provided services and responsive public agencies. An array of public playgrounds and parks, nature education programs and reserves, bikeways and trails, and public facilities such as the Dublin Branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, swimming pools, and golf courses is available. A year-round calendar of special events and festivals adds to Dublin’s attractiveness. Dublin’s schools and the City’s solid income tax base provide stability and security. High quality residential and commercial development should also continue to play an important role in attracting and retaining new residents and major corporations.
Public Parks, Nature Reserves and Open Space
In keeping with Dublin’s “green” image, parks and open space are well-placed throughout the community with a full range of recreational and educational opportunities. Playgrounds, including universally accessible playgrounds, and ball fields serve a wide variety of outdoor recreational needs. In addition, neighborhood parks serve surrounding homes, while larger community parks fulfill the active and passive recreational needs of the city. Easy access to parks and natural areas offer a significant contribution to residents’ quality of life and should be emphasized.
Environmental Stewardship and Sensitivity
Dublin has long been an important leader in protecting natural resources such as trees, stream/environmental corridors and open spaces in the development process as an important aspect of quality of life. The City also places significant emphasis on historical sites, groundwater recharge areas, ponds, scenic views and other unique features by protecting them from the adverse effects of development. Codes and regulations have been established to enforce effective management practices for surface and stormwater runoff, stream corridor protection and tree preservation. To ensure that “It’s Greener in Dublin” in the future, it will be important for the City to continue as an environmental steward by adapting policies and regulations to encourage environmentally friendly development practices and public awareness.
Gathering Places, Civic Squares, and Focal Points
Public gathering places and community focal points contribute positively to Dublin’s image and provide a sense of community. These places include schools, playgrounds, parks, sites for public art, civic buildings, cemeteries, and monuments. They are important because they provide visual reference points and places for social interaction.
Dublin celebrates its history and cultural diversity through the installation of public art at highly visible locations throughout the community. Ranging from figurative and contemporary sculpture to two dimensional works, the community’s art collection is intended to be provocative as it stimulates contemplation, conversation and engages the mind and senses of residents and visitors. The artwork is intended to contribute to the landscape and character of the community by being fully integrated with the history and purpose of a site, resonating with viewers in personal and communal ways.
High Quality Residential and Commercial Development
Dublin’s built environment contributes positively to the community’s image. This image is characterized by high quality office buildings, well-landscaped areas and streetscapes, tasteful signs and graphics, appropriate lighting standards and quality architecture. Dublin’s future should include a focus on maintaining the high standards for which the City is widely known.