School Research Seminar Symposium Event as iCalendar

(Creative Events, Architecture and Planning, Science Event Tags, Environment)

22 November 2018

8:30am - 2:35pm

Venue: School of Architecture and Planning

Location: Room 619 (421E), Level 6, 26 Symonds Street, Auckland Central

Host: School of Architecture and Planning

Cost: Free admission

Contact info: Cristian Silva

Contact email:

Warsaw, Poland (C. Silva, 2016)
Warsaw, Poland (C. Silva, 2016)

This is a one day session of presentations on research outcomes and insights about Urban Planning, Urban Design, Architecture and Geography. It will gather scholars, research students and practitioners of Urban Planning and Design, and cognate disciplines from the University of Auckland, Massey University, The Auckland Council, The Universidad Catolica del Norte (virtual presentation from Chile) and private consultants.

The fourteen presentations are sorted in three groups:

  • The geographical scale of the built environment (Cities and beyond)
  • The urban scale (Cities within cities)
  • the architectural scale (Cities from buildings and more)

All students, staff, scholars and practioners from both scientific and creative disciplines are welcome to attend.



Cristian Silva: Lecturer, School of Architecture and Planning, University of Auckland

Thursday 22 November, 8.45-9.00am

The GEOGRAPHICAL SCALE: Cities and beyond

Moving from data to knowledge: Harnessing the power of dense networks of environmental monitors to mitigate environmental challenges

Dr Jennifer Salmond: Associate Professor, Faculty of Science, University of Auckland

Thursday 22 November, 9-9.20am

ABSTRACT: Technological advances have led to the development of faster, cheaper, low power, high resolution environmental monitors which are easy to use. These instruments, when combined with new data quality control and analysis techniques to manage uncertainty in instrument performance and calibration, have the potential to result in an explosion in reliable data acquisition. Using a case study of population exposure to urban air pollution, this presentation examines the next steps that need to be taken to target our new found data collection abilities and discern when we have enough data to start making difficult management decisions. This will improve our ability to harness the power of the current deluge of data to solve wicked environmental problems, improve urban resilience and mitigate the impacts of environmental change.





What about Planet Ocean?

Prue Taylor: Senior Lecturer, School of Architecture and Planning, University of Auckland

Thursday 22 November, 9.20-9.40am

ABSTRACT: Over 70% of the Earth is covered by ocean. Of this, 64% is outside the jurisdiction of states. It is the high seas. The legal regime for the high seas is completely failing to protect ecological systems, leaving them at the mercy of exploitation and degradation. After 10 years of preliminary discussions, states began official treaty negotiations in September 2018.

This presentation looks at current efforts to establish Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) on the high seas. To accommodate an inter-disciplinary audience, this talk will strip away the legal theory, and focus on the contest between a business as usual versus a commons-based governance approach for the high seas and MPAs. 




City of Flows

Dr Sam Trowsdale Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Science, University of Auckland

Thursday 22 November, 9.40-10am


ABSTRACT: Experiments to develop the Water Sensitive City are becoming the norm as municipalities around the world pursue improved futures. Experiments are seen as a way to cut through red-tape and materialise utopian visons of sustainability, liveability and flourishing. They are considered an acceptable way to take risks with the promise of high-returns when successful. But who is doing the experimenting and who is being experimented on? Who gets to decide whether the experiments have been successful (or not) and using claims to what knowledge?

This talk explores the way power flows through Water Sensitive experiments and argues that the value of these experiments is not in the physical-chemical-ecological intervention but in the invitation to question institutional logics.


Water Sensitive Design: Minimisation of further aquatic ecosystem degradation with housing intensification in Auckland

Dr Marjorie van Roon: Senior Lecturer, School of Architecture and Planning, University of Auckland

Thursday 22 November, 10-10.20am

ABSTRACT: Auckland is experiencing unprecedented demand for additional housing as a result of record levels of immigration. Most of the 400,000 houses over the next 30 years will be built within the short coastal catchments of the region, largely on mobile clay soils. Yhese sites are vulnerable to run-off with attached contaminants, many of vehicular or construction-material origin.

The marine environment, especially the Hauraki Gulf, is highly valued for the local community’s outdoor lifestyle, international tourist experiences and marine industries. Ecosystem functionality of the Hauraki Gulf is declining as the city expands. Evidence is needed of methods that will enable expansion or intensification of residential neighbourhoods without further aquatic ecosystem degradation. Methods would ideally be cost-neutral in view of unaffordable housing costs.

This paper reports on fifteen years of multidisciplinary research in comparative residential catchments. It investigates whether a composite of changes in residential urban form and management including clustering of buildings, urban stream protection, stream riparian corridor re-vegetation in conjunction with at-source stormwater management techniques and 'water sensitive’ infrastructure, result in improved aquatic ecosystem condition.

A comparison is made between traditional and water-sensitive urban forms and between different phases of development over time within an individual catchment, or cluster of catchments. Evidence is presented of the superiority of a ‘water sensitive’ approach to urbanisation in terms of stream ecosystem condition.

Changes are needed in urban design: methods for the construction of house sites and drainage infrastructure, and post-construction management of the development site in ways that will optimise the retention or recuperation of terrestrial, stream and marine ecosystems.



__________________________________TEA BREAK 10.20-10.30AM___________________________________


The URBAN SCALE: Cities within cities

The Pinochet’s repressive urbanism: The violent neoliberalisation of the space in Santiago de Chile

Dr Francisco Vergara: Associate Professor, Universidad Catolica del Norte, Chile

(Virtual Lecture from Chile)

Thursday 22 November, 10.30-10.50am


ABSTRACT: This presentation illustrates how the Chilean dictatorship exercised a repressive urbanism in order to organise the city of Santiago for profit, and by arranging spatial transformations.

The first section presents a succinct explanation of the tight dependency between neoliberalism and urban development to exemplify how Chilean policy transformations were driven to give space to a neoliberal city. More specifically, it illustrates how this process undermined the understanding of the city as a collective construct, in favour of a hegemonic class focused on maximising profitability of social relations.

I am interested in highlighting the infringement of the article 25 of the Universal Human Rights Declaration as a way of understanding cities as alive environments and representations of human relations of the society, and under suppressions and abuses that continue even when the dictatorship period has finished.

These abuses are spatial, and expressed in several despoiled and plundered territories. Such territories determine the extent to which people can afford the benefits of urban life under logics of exclusion/inclusion, and define segregated areas segmenting the social body by the purchasing power of their inhabitants.

Therefore, this presentation argues for a theorisation of what was called 'repressive urbanism'. It employs a grounded theory approach with collated data from the case of Santiago de Chile. The presentation focuses on how urban policy changed between 1976 and 1987 and reflects on the socio-spatial consequences arising from such changes.


Interstitial spaces and you… and me: How the political contest for long bay, Auckland, illuminated and influenced broad political values in New Zealand

Samuel Nicoll Master Student of Urban Design, School of Architecture and Planning, University of Auckland

Thursday 22 November, 10.50am-11.10am


ABSTRACT: The concept of interstitial space is not new, however research into the various types of interstitial space has historically been fragmented between different disciplines.

The recently proposed solution to unify the study of interstitial spaces into one cohesive agenda is currently facing the difficulty of unifying this disparate body of knowledge. While a literature review indicates that the determinants of interstitial spaces are being successfully identified, the prior lack of a unified research agenda has promulgated a neglect to fully identify these spaces’ externalities. While there is a wealth of research into the social, environmental, and economic externalities of these spaces, their political externalities have been completely disregarded. This has occured in spite of being the most spatio-temporally, compelling externality which they generate.

Referring to the New Zealand Environment Court case, pertaining to the development of Long Bay in Auckland’s North Shore, a case is made for the ways in which these political influences manifest both locally, through the coalition of political interest groups, and nationally through the production of legally binding case law. Subsequent court cases, local government plans, scientific research, and urban design solutions are used as evidence to illustrate the far-reaching political implications of the contestable ‘pending nature’ of interstitial spaces.


The spatial attributes of open spaces in neighbourhood satisfaction. Evidence from Auckland, New Zealand

Salma Amirshekari: Razno PhD researcher of Urban Design School of Architecture and Planning, University of Auckland

Thursday 22 November, 11.10-11.30am

ABSTRACT: Neighbourhood satisfaction has been largely discussed in the understanding of how neighbourhoods’ developments support people's satisfaction of fundamental needs. However, this has been mainly referring to the physical and spatial aspects of the built-up space, diminishing the understanding of alternative ones such as public and open spaces and the policies behind them for their successful implementation. Indeed, there is still a lack of understanding on the specific characteristics of open spaces that become relevant in neighbourhood satisfaction, and how they emerge as outcomes of concrete policies that influence urban design at neighbourhood scales.

On this basis, this research focuses on the relationship between urban policies, residents’ experiences and expectation, and the existing open spaces relevant to neighbourhood satisfaction.

The main question of this research is: how do urban policies contextualise the spatial design solutions that are developed for neighbourhood open spaces and, in turn, impact on the neighbourhood satisfaction experienced by residents?

Using a Post Occupancy Evaluation approach, the research is empirically based on the Auckland City Centre and discloses residents’ viewpoints and policies behind understandings of open spaces. In addition to document reviews, a comprehensive online survey was also conducted with a random sample of 170 residents. This was carried out to visualise residents' experiences and expectations of the open spaces in their neighbourhoods, and to identify characteristics of open spaces that support neighbourhood satisfaction. 


What is really making us fat? The relationship between high-density and physical activity. A case study of Mayoral Drive, Auckland.

Jayesh Parekh: Urban Design Advisor, Urban Design Panel, Auckland Council

Thursday 22 November, 11.30-11.50am


ABSTRACT: The impact of the built environment on physical activity behaviour is an increasingly important aspect of urbanisation, particularly when discussing high-density and walkability. Although research in the area is considered to be in its infancy, it is commonly assumed that high-density residential patterns deliver more walkable environments, thereby increasing physical activity by sheer domino effect.

However, evidence now refutes this common assumption: it has been found that a notion to favour high-density environments does not necessarily correspond to an improvement in physical health nor decreased levels of obesity in many cities. This has been attributed to a number of variables including income, access to public space, perceptions of personal safety, and pedestrian infrastructure provision, among others.

Using a qualitative methodological approach that includes a secondary research review; observational analysis; and central/local government reports regarding walking and findings from previously conducted research, this paper questions the above notion in relation to the Auckland CBD area.

The study explores the motivations of walking in the context of assumptive principles to improve walkability including land-use diversity, high population density and grid patterned street layouts. The aim is to test a comprehensive nine-factored walkability model and analyse the results in relation to the improvement of overall physical activity, via walkability, along Mayoral Drive.

Finally, this paper provides a proposal for strengthening the current environment to better accommodate walking for future residents. In addition it seeks grounds for further research with an eye to preventative action, as opposed to a restorative/reactionary approach to the built environment's influence on obesity.



__________________________________TEA BREAK 11.50AM-12PM___________________________________



The typological process and the structure of the urban landscape: a typological approach to planning

Dr Kai Gu: Associate Professor, School of Architecture and Planning, University of Auckland

Thursday 22 November, 12-12.20pm

ABSTRACT: The idea of typological processes has been used to study the course of urban form change. The forms created in one period are different from those created in another. Stratified over time, similar types thereby generate distinct urban tissues.

The dominant urban-tissue types in a new period of urban development are conceived from the dominant types of an earlier period. Despite the increasing interest in the idea of typological processes, it has been slow to receive clear empirical support and its application in planning remains limited.

Major cities in New Zealand are under great pressures for change: this paper illustrates a typological investigation of the spatial structure of urban areas in Auckland. The research findings are used to support an alternative planning strategy that aims to achieve built environments that can adapt to changing demands in the future, whilst retaining much-valued established character.


Disruptive Mobility as a breaking ground of Future Cities

Dr Mohsen Mohammadzadeh: Lecturer in Urban Planning, School of Architecture and Planning, University of Auckland

Thursday 22 November, 12.20-12.40pm

ABSTRACT: This paper will investigate disruptive mobility as a driver of change to significantly transform our future cities.

Currently, around a billion cars are driven on the roads of the world (Golub & Johnson, 2017). During the last century, particularly after Fordism, cars have transformed cities. Cars have become the main mode of transportation, facilitating people’s movements within and outside of cities.

Meanwhile, a large amount of urban land has been allocated to address car-based mobility such as streets, roads and highways, parking spaces and petrol stations. During the last century, most urban plans and design projects prioritised car movements in shaping and reshaping the built environment of cities (Newman & Kenworthy, 2015). There is a pervasive expectation that emerging disruptive mobility will change urban transportation dramatically.

This paper will define disruptive mobility and its different dimensions, namely, the automation of vehicles, the electrification of vehicles and on-demand smart mobility services. These progressive technologies are generally considered as separate trends that will potentially transform urban mobility.

This paper will show that it is necessary to consider all these trends together to provide a better understanding of disruptive mobility and its impacts on cities.

Finally, this paper will explain that planners and urban designers should adapt in order to embrace disruptive mobility as a driver of change tofundamentally transform transportation planning, infrastructure planning, urban design standards and urban regulations.


Making space for innovation? Transport-planning decision-making within a neighbourhood design intervention

Dr Simon Opit: Postdoctoral Fellow, SHORE and Whariki Research Centre, College of Health Massey University

Wednesday 22 November, 12.40-1pm


ABSTRACT: Transport planning can sometimes prove to be unresponsive to innovation and to the mobility of new ideas. The governmental context, specifics of technocratic arrangements and statutory regulatory processes can stifle the uptake of new concepts, cause projects to stagnate, diminish in scale, or fail to be realised entirely. The exact causes of these less than ideal outcomes are multifaceted and difficult to determine. They involve a complex sociotechnical assemblage of various actors, institutions, resources and logics.

In this presentation I will report on how particular decision-making logics and practices have impacted on the design and implementation of Te Ara Mua: Future Streets, a neighbourhood-scale design intervention in Mangere.

Transport authority consenting processes within this project are presented as a case-study to understand how innovation and new ideas meet significant intuitional resistance. This research demonstrates how existing solutions within the transport planning assemblage generate ‘institutional obduracy’ through the everyday work practices of transport engineers. A network of ‘tools of trade’, regulatory provisions, organisational values and processes, and professional norms are found to shape and constrain the decisions they make.



__________________________________LUNCH BREAK 1-1.30PM___________________________________


The ARCHITECTURAL SCALE: Cities from buildings and more

The City as a School: developing an urban pedagogy

Dr Kathy Waghorn: Senior Lecturer, School of Architecture and Planning, University of Auckland

Wednesday 22 November, 1.30-1.50pm

ABSTRACT: This talk describes three approaches to an ‘urban pedagogy’: a post-graduate lab, an under-graduate event studio and a primary school performance walk.Ideas from Science and Technology Studies (STS) are then borrowed to think through to what is going in such a design research pedagogy, where the city is our school.

STS ideas of ‘hybrid research forums’ that coalesce under dimensions of ‘shared uncertainty’ and ‘material politics’, to engage in ‘collective experimentation’ with an impetus towards the ‘fragile democratisation’ of knowledge and expertise, are explored as the conceptual field in which this urban pedagogy takes place.

Considering design research teaching and learning associal labour set within these dimensions, re-frames the subjectivity of teachers, students and communities as collaborators in the work, and, it is suggested, prepares students for contemporary forms of expanded architectural practice.


Heritage for the future: Integrating Energy Retrofitting to Seismic Upgrades of Unreinforced Masonry Buildings in New Zealand

Priscila Besen: PhD researcher of Architecture, School of Architecture and Planning, University of Auckland

Wednesday 22 November, 1.50-2.10pm

ABSTRACT: Heritage conservation and energy efficiency have converged in recent years. While new construction has focused on improving thermal performance, the retro-fitting of existing buildings has just started to be strategic, considering building stock and poor performance. In this context, heritage buildings play an important role, given their cultural significance and lifespan, and emerge as strategic for implementing better design and construction practices.

Although energy retro-fitting was considered a threat to conservation until recent decades, it has now started to be recognised as a measure to help with the protection of heritage by ensuring healthy indoor environments for a longer lifetime. In New Zealand, however, there is a gap between heritage preservation practices and energy efficiency considerations.

Existing policies for heritage building adaptation only focus on other types of upgrades, such as seismic strengthening, fire safety and accessibility. In terms of industry practice, most refurbishment projects only include shallow improvements, without making deep modifications to energy efficiency and indoor comfort. With the Building (Earthquake-prone Buildings) Amendment Act 2016 taking effect in 2017, thousands of buildings are required to be retro-fitted over future years. This includes  approximately 2,000 Unreinforced Masonry Buildings (URM) of great historic significance.

While the requirements are only related to seismic retro-fit, there is now the opportunity to integrate thermal upgrades into these interventions in order to improve the energy performance and usability of these buildings in the future. 

This research analyses the possibilities of including energy upgrades as part of the seismic retrofitting of URM buildings in New Zealand. It proposes a range of levels of intervention and considers a respectful approach to the heritage fabric.

The energy upgrades will range from compliance with the New Zealand Building Code, up to achieving international energy retro-fit standards. These interventions will then be analysed in terms of their impact on energy performance and compatibility with heritage conservation principles.


Greening or Greenwashing: the lack of Living Roofs in New Zealand

Zoë Avery: Senior Landscape and Urban Planning Consultant, 4Sight Consulting

Thursday 22 November, 2.10-2.30pm


ABSTRACT: This paper outlines the relevance and benefits of 'living roof' uptake on new urban developments. It also explores the factors and constraints that restrain increasing implementation of living roofs in New Zealand.

Although living roofs are becoming increasingly common in cities throughout the world for their ability to improve climate change adaptation, energy conservation, food production and our ability to develop more sustainable and environmentally friendly living environments, their presence and application as part of urban design interventions is still lacking, or simply relying on interests of specific groups, people or urban designers. This is still more relevant in the light of increasing needs to pursue green infrastructure solutions, and pressing issues related to rapid population growth, advanced stages of urbanisation, often described as instances of urban sprawl, and alteration of natural environments defined by increments of hard surfaces, pollution and lack of contact with nature. In this vein, we need to be exploring ways in which we can holistically integrate living roofs into our cities in light of global urbanisation.

Currently, living roofs are rarely included in developments in New Zealand. If they are, most are being designed in isolation, resulting in living roofs that do not fully reflect the potential multifunctional benefits that can be achieved. They are often disconnected, inaccessible, consist of vegetation monocultures, lack robustness, and inappropriate for the location.

The aim of this paper is to select key living roofs in New Zealand and Europe and critically analyse their morphological aspects. In addition, informed by a professional architect, urban designer and planner, this paper explores the factors that explain what the key barriers are to living roof integration in New Zealand developments.

Findings highlight the design problems with existing living roofs in New Zealand, including lack of knowledge and education; increased cost of development, and perceived risk. Finally this research suggests that without encouragement and education, it is unlikely that living roofs will become commonplace throughout New Zealand. It is suggested that to improve the connection between humans, the built environment and nature, a living urbanism approach could be used for the design of living roofs. As shown in the analysis of case studies, the principles of living urbanism are seen in imperial cases in Europe. Living urbanism can also allow us to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the different living roof projects for further interventions to improve the multitude of benefits realised.



Cristian Silva: Lecturer, School of Architecture and Planning, University of Auckland

Thursday 22 November, 2.30-2.35pm