‘Fernleigh’ was one of the first higher-density developments in the outer suburban area of Dublin. Design work on the scheme followed the publication of Draft Residential Density Guidelines which allowed Local Authorities to consider higher densities and a more sustainable use of development lands. Previous residential developments in the area were traditional three and four-bedroom semi-detached and detached houses at densities of 19 to 25 per hectare (8 to 10 per acre)
Fernleigh housing development comprises a total of 367 units in a mix of 211 houses, both two and three storey, 72 apartments in two block types, and 84 duplex units. In all there are 17 different unit types ranging from one bedroom to large three bedrooms including some special units. This results in an overall density of 45 units per hectare (18 per acre) The objective from the outset was to incorporate a higher density and a mix of sizes and types of residential units within a layout that would provide a sense of place and identity within the development. An access route leads through a progression of enclosed squares and open spaces providing a series of easily identifiable enclaves with interlinking streets and courts. The surface finishes and textures of the roads and shared surface cul-de-sac areas identify the hierarchy of the road pattern.
The layout incorporates substantial traffic calming measures such as priority junctions, raised crossing points, pinch points and shared surface layouts to create informal spaces in the street and a series of “green routes” allows pedestrians and cyclists to circulate freely across the site. Small corner apartment blocks of 6 apartments on three storeys are used as highlight buildings and a crescent of double-sided duplex units in combination with a large block of 9 apartments form a strong edge to the central open space. Duplex units are double sided to ensure passive surveillance of open spaces and parking areas. Houses are terraced with end of terrace corner units providing direct supervision to side roads and parking courts.
A variety of methods have been employed in order to deal with the level of parking provision required in order to avoid large clusters of parked cars and also to minimize the impact of the resulting extent of hard landscaping with planting. The parking is grouped, either as banked parking on the street or in parking courts provided in selected locations providing secure overlooked parking. Throughout the scheme on-curtilage parking has been provided to the side of any end of terrace or semi-detached house where practical. The central open space area and the provision of a number of small pocket parks and green spaces have been used to enhance the principle of a "green route" through the site. The nature of the layout is such that informal planted areas associated with parking areas and tree planting are a feature of the development.