Bí URBAN is a unique two day process of participatory research partnering six urban beekeeping projects with representatives from social projects, academics, professionals and citizens resident in Dublin’s Northwest Inner City, to create a hyperactive learning environment and foster trans-disciplinary exchange. Participants will use the principals of the bee colony as a starting point to explore six urban themes: HomeFood Health The Commons NavigationCommunication

Aims of the Workshop

  1. Repurpose Dublin’s Northwest Inner City as a learning environment
  2. Engage participants in two days action research and appreciative enquiry
  3. Document the process using a range of media for immediate and future reflection and analysis
  4. Create a new urban field of research, a local, national and international network of collaborators and projects to pursue in 2016

Project Description

Large parts of Dublin’s long-neglected North West Inner City (NWIC) are derelict with stretches of disused land alongside rail and canal routes, ex-industrial plots and inaccessible brownfield sites. At first sight they look like urban wastelands, pure and simple. But do they represent an opportunity?

The Lifeline

is a large-scale project-focused network established in 2008 to stimulate the development of a new city quarter devoted to urban ecology, sustainable design & planning, and enhanced levels of health & well-being in Dublin’s northwest inner city.

In 2015, the Lifeline is hosting a once-off action scence event at DIT Grangegorman. Bí Urban will use the example of urban bee populations to explore the broad range of concepts and ideas encapsulated in the Lifeline:, urban agriculture, biodiversity, food science, industrial ecology, preventative health strategies, community cohesion and wellbeing. We will do so by engaging leading researchers in these fields from around the world, but also by using innovative action research methods, to encourage participatory learning,

Bí Urban will celebrate 5 years of research and reflection. Data collected in 2015 during the process of our first micro-project, Bí, will provide context for the creation of a ‘space to safely disengage and learn to navigate and open up new ways of thinking, feeling, and acting.’ (Victor Fieldman, workshop design). Bí Urban will explore ways in which a long-term strategy, action research, and citizen science can be used to reconceptualise the urban environment and drive behavioural change.

Desired benefits and output:

Bí Urban will promote the aims of desireland’s Lifeline project to a local and international audience:

  • An experiment in best practice participative design and planning methodologies, as supported by the EU Cohesion Policy 2014-2020, the Aarhus Convention and other EU mechanisms.
  • Expansion of civil capacity through community engagement in topical issues through the use of policy and guidelines set by the EU for sustainable urban planning and ecological design.
  • Creation of a network of demonstration projects of immediate value to Dublin City Council, North City Dublin and other national and international cities.
  • Revision and remediation of residual lands and disused industrial sites in Dublin’s Northwest Inner City as exemplars in sustainable urban planning and design.  Adding value to the redevelopment (DIT, HSE, RPA) currently in progress and increasing community ‘buy in.’
  • Development of new areas of expertise, enterprise and job creation required to plan, build and service green infrastructure, urban agriculture and food security.

Bí Urban will consolidate and extend the community based research conducted by the Lifeline over the past five years. It will function as an exemplar of action science in Ireland. It will also lay the foundations for the collaborative development of the next phase of our project:

  • Strengthening local, national and international networking and resource sharing.
  • Developing ICT architecture and mapping strategies for the mutual benefit of all.
  • Providing a case study to support the development of Citizen Science methodology and application.


BÍ URBAN Process Designers

Prof. Victor Freidman

Paula Downey

Kaethe Burt-O’Dea


Participating Urban Bee Projects

ByBi Oslo & Pollinatorpassasjen Bumble Bee Highway

Open Systems – Barcelona

ByBi Copenhagen

Bee Creative partnership initiative – Belfast

Lifeline Project Bí – Dublin

BEELINES – Edinburgh


Bí URBAN is proud to support #EYD2015 and highlight the role design plays in enabling happy, healthy and dignified lives. The workshop has been generously Sponsored by Guinness Projects, Irish Design 2015, The Environmental Protection Agency, Dublin City Council and Dublin Institute of Technology