Dublin's infrastructure will not be able to cope if its housing sprawl continues, according to a report published today by the European Environmental Agency.
It predicts that residential housing will have more than doubled in the greater Dublin area by 2025.
The EEA says Dublin is an illustration of a European-wide problem of urban sprawl.
The report's author, Ronan U'ale, says Dublin's outward expansion is unsustainable in terms of resources, services and quality of life.
The report states that the market has been allowed to drive homebuyers further and further out of the city, and that there are few constraints on the conversion of agricultural land to low-density housing.
The report states that the ideal purchase for Irish homebuyers is a single-family house in open countryside close to an urban area.
It recommends a more compact capital, with the development of a polycentric relationship with the towns of Dundalk, Newry and Drogheda.
It predicts most future growth to the northwest, along the line of the Dublin-Belfast corridor.