Shaping Places: Future Neighbourhoods
Urban design can’t come from the top down
9 July 2019: In this Ideasroom feature on Newsroom, Building Better researchers Marc Aurel Schnabel and Shuva Chowdhury from Victoria University of Wellington write about their BBHTC research project on using virtual reality tools for user collaboration in urban design, using a public-space development in Karori, Wellington, as a test case.
"Designing an urban environment involves confronting complex physical and social issues such as cultural contexts, economic situations, regulatory systems and personal and community preference.
"The design process should take these issues into account, but most of the design methods currently used by urban design professionals are ‘top down’ approaches where the designer, rather than users, dictates the process and outcomes."
One of the obstacles preventing a better relationship between designers and citizens is the lack of tools available to visualise the space through the planning process. Photo: Lynn Grieveson/Newsroom.
Waimahia Inlet affordable housing study
11 March 2019: A new study, Developing community: Following the Waimahia Inlet affordable housing initiative, by Building Better researchers Karen Witten, Simon Opit, Emma Ferguson, and Robin Kearns, is now available on the BBHTC website.
The Waimahia Inlet is a 295-dwelling greenfield development over 16 hectares in Weymouth, on the edge of Manukau Harbour. The Waimahia Inlet development is a partnership between the Crown, The Tāmaki Collective, and three community housing providers – Te Tumu Kāinga, The New Zealand Housing Foundation, and the Community of Refuge Trust (CORT) Community Housing. This consortium of Māori organisations and community housing providers (CHPs) shared a mission to provide affordable, good-quality housing, with a focus on meeting the housing needs of Māori and Pasifika families.
Virtual environments in urban design
4 February 2019: Designing an urban environment involves complex physical and social issues. The design decision-making process should be configured to deal with these complex issues, but most of the design methods used by urban professionals are top-down approaches, where the scope for involving laypeople in the design process is poor.
A lack of visual information and tools in the design process doesn’t allow end users to speculate on new design ideas before they are built. In addition, to address construction and the post-occupancy period details, design processes can become cumbersome. This level of detail seldom helps people to understand design ideas.
A new study by Building Better’s Shaping Places: Future Neighbourhoods team members Professor Marc Aurel Schnabel and Shuva Chowdhury, Victoria University of Wellington, develops a design discussion platform to produce urban forms by employing virtual tools.
Cultural landscape approach to design at ICOMOS
31 October 2018: Integrating Kaupapa Māori and Te Aranga design principles into design processes was the theme of a paper presented by Building Better researchers Jacqueline Paul and Jade Kake at the ICOMOS 2018 conference in Suva, Fiji earlier this month. The aim of the conference was to share knowledge, celebrate the rich culture of the Pacific, and discuss common issues of heritage conservation across the region.
Jade reflected on her experiences of the conference, finding some presentations troubling, while others were uplifting.
Virtual reality for urban design decisions
1 October 2018: A new study by Building Better Shaping Places: Future Neighbourhoods research team members Prof. Marc Aurel Schnabel and Shuva Chowdhury investigates using virtual reality (VR) to create user-friendly interfaces to generate and visualise urban form. Typically, current urban design processes can’t visualise urban form in real time during the decision-making stage. Virtual environment design instruments offer a realm to generate, visualise and analyse urban form. The researchers believe that engaging stakeholders using a VR design platform can reduce the gap between design intent and design outcomes leading to a more favourable design process.
Concepts of Neighbourhood: A Review of the Literature
27 September 2018: The Shaping places: Future Neighbourhoods research programme is focused on researching liveable and well-designed neighbourhoods, including houses, which contribute to successful towns and cities. It is seeking to develop our understanding of the principles and processes that create more successful neighbourhoods. This includes both the physical and social structure of neighbourhoods. Within this context, researcher Dr Natalie Allen has developed a literature review. This working paper is designed to offer a frame of reference for subsequent research into New Zealand’s neighbourhood context and to provide an overview of why considering the concept of neighbourhood is important.
Te Aranga Māori Design Principles
18 September 2018: Landscape architect graduate Jacqueline Paul (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Tūwharetoa), from the Shaping Places: Future Neighbourhoods team, and landscape architect William Hatton (Ngāti Kahungunu, Rongomaiwahine, Rangitāne, Ngāti Raukawa, Muaūpoko) write on Te Aranga Māori Design Principles developed by the Auckland Council in conjunction with mana whenua to provide practical guidance for designers shaping the city’s built environment.
Hape - Protect Ihumatao. Photo: Yamen Jawish
NZ 'not geared for affordable housing'
5 July 2018: Smaller housing developers are being locked out by bureaucracy costs, and experts say the government must connect people with expertise so affordable housing, particularly for Māori, can be built. Listen to Building Better researcher Ella Henry from the Shaping Places: Future Neighbourhoods team talking Māori affordable housing this week on Radio New Zealand's Nine to Noon programme.
Photo: RNZ, Claire Eastham-Farrelly.
Hobsonville Point high-density development
31 May 2018: Shaping Places: Future Neighbourhoods Principal Investigator Errol Haarhoff is interviewed about the impact of high density living on well-being and housing satisfaction at Hobsonville Point.
The suburb is unique in that it's the first of its kind: a greenfield built from scratch and founded on the principle of high density living, says Errol. And it seems to be working well.
The call of home for new graduate
28 May 2018: Jacqueline Paul, from the Building Better Homes, Towns & Cities Shaping Places: Future Neighbourhoods Māori Research team, features in this month's Landscape Architecture Aotearoa. Now that she’s finished Unitec the 24-year-old has just reached out to her local trust up North. Her next 10-year plan is to return to the Takou Bay area (where her father is from and grandparents are buried) to support her whānau plan their papakāinga (housing development on ancestral land) and marae development.
Jackie Paul at Te Ngaere Marae near Matauri Bay in Northland. Photo: Landscape Architecture
Jacqueline Paul - delegate at the UN 2018 Winter Youth Assembly
19 February 2018: Jacqueline Paul (Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāpuhi, Kahungunu) is part of the Building Better Homes, Towns & Cities Shaping Places: Future Neighbourhoods Māori Research team. She was a delegate at the UN 2018 Winter Youth Assembly from 14 to 16 February in New York. This Youth Assembly is a platform to elevate the voices of young people in international dialogues, empower youth to advocate for future generations, and mobilize youth as agents of impactful change. Jacqueline's participation in this assembly was supported by the Challenge.
Can higher density enhance liveability?
July 2017: Higher-density housing requires quality urban development to deliver liveable, walkable communities. A National Science Challenge funded survey in Auckland showed this is what people want from where they live.