The text comprises the evaluation of relationship between the qualitative planning tools and the Irish housing policy in the pre-crisis period, during the crisis (2009-2013) and the recovery. The tools that affect housing are understood as spatial planning, including governmental regulations on densification of the development and the housing quality as well as the special tools such as the urban design. Those regulatory tools were deployed with aims to safeguard the sustainable and socially viable housing structures. The Irish case illustrates the considerable innovation in introducing new housing standards and challenges with their efficiency. This can be attributed to the lack of integration with other elements that shaped the market – financing and actions of the private market, low efficiency of planning or the lack of the scale effect for the model developments. Despite their drawbacks these tools are continuously being used, as their foundational principles are still valid.
The basic resource of urban planning is space, which as a result of transformation has a direct impact on socio-economic development and quality of life. The author’s purpose was to define planning solutions for urban spatial policy, which can raise the quality of living, especially in the residential environment. In connection with the above, the literature of the subject was analysed and examples of good spatial policy and urban development in the living environment were shown. Particular attention was paid to the planning solutions in Paris and Vienna, as well as to the examples of the new living environment creation in some Scandinavian cities.