Central Dublin today sometimes resembles a smile with half the teeth knocked out. Busy and often beautiful, the Irish capital's center is nonetheless pockmarked with vacant and derelict lots, flotsam tossed up by a speculative property boom that stopped almost overnight during the crisis of 2008.
Such sights are common in recession-hit cities, but the Irish government and Dublin City Council believe the city's high level of vacant real estate is in itself holding Dublin’s recovery back. Not only does the glut of unused sites limit property supply in a city where prices are actually rising and vacancy rates lowering, it visually perpetuates a painful and partly inaccurate image of a town beggared by recent history. With a set of tough new property laws planned for this year, all this could change.