Creative Arts and Industries

Find a supervisor - Urban Design

Academic staff specialising in urban design have a wealth of experience and expertise in a wide range of research topics.

Dr Lee Beattie

Dr Lee Beattie holds qualifications in urban planning, urban design and environmental science and is currently the Deputy Head of the School of Architecture and Planning. Teaching expertise includes studio-based urban design, urban planning, and economic development. His research programme is focused on urban design, urban growth management and housing intensification. He has recently involved in a number funded research projects related to urban growth management and housing intensification in Pacific Rim cities.  Lee supervises doctoral in a range of topics related to urban design and urban planing. 

Lee is actively involved in the urban planning and design profession in New Zealand.  He is a member of the Auckland Council's Urban Design Panel, an Auckland Council Independent Hearing Commissioner, a member of Planning Quarterly (Journal of the New Zealand Planning Institute) and the Salmon Resource Management Act 1991 Editorial Boards.  

Research interests:

  • Urban design implementation issues
  • Developing, implementing and evaluating urban planning policy
  • Urban growth management issues
  • Economic development and housing 
  • The implementation of the Resource Management Act 1991

Contact Lee Beattie


Professor Errol Haarhoff

Errol Haarhoff holds qualifications in architecture, urban design and urban planning, and is currently responsible for the Master of Urban Design programme. Teaching expertise includes studio-based architecture design and urban design, urban design theory, urban settlement history, and the history of the modern movement. His research programme is focused on urban design, urban growth management and housing intensification. He has recently led a number of funded research projects related to urban growth management and housing intensification in Pacific Rim cities. He is currently part of a large national research team and leading a research project: Shaping Places: Future Neighbourhoods. Errol supervises doctoral in a range of topics related to urban design. He is a member of the New Zealand Institute of Architects and the International Planning History Society. 

PhD candidates supervised include: 

  • William Thornton (USA): "Differentiating Small Urban Spaces as a Type and as an Idea"
  • Alexander Gomez Torres "Environmental Crime Prevention and Urban Design in Public Places in Columbia
  • Namita Kambli (India): "Digital Media and Urban Place"
  • Wen Liu "Plan Making and Market Investment in Delivering Residential Intensification: Case Studies from Auckland, New Zealand"
  • Jing Ma (China): "Green Infrastructure and Urban Liveability: Measuring the Accessibility and Equity".
  • Natalie Morgan (NZ): "Quality of Urban Life and Housing Satisfaction: Understanding Housing Choices, Trade-Offs and the Role of Urban Amenities"
  • Andrew Munya: "Implications of Urban Form on Suburban Food Production Potential: A case study of Auckland, New Zealand"
  • Charles Walker (NZ): "Accrediting Agencies: Towards a practical ethics for accreditation and recognition procedures in architectural education"
  • Nerida Campbell (NZ): "The Reluctant Capital: The Fabrication of Colonial Auckland"
  • Olufunto Ijatuyi " Planning and Design for Positive Ageing in Place: A Case Study of Auckland"
  • Robin Skinner (NZ): "Representations of Architecture and New Zealand in London 1841-1860"
  • Diane Brand (NZ): "Colonial Urban Design in Australia and New Zealand" 
  • Allan Balaara, "Climate, Modernity and Architecture in Ghana"

Contact Errol Haarhoff

Dr Kai Gu

Kai’s research interests are urban morphology and urban design; methods for characterising and managing the urban landscape; and urban planning and design of Chinese cities. He has published numerous papers and has a book in press on the subject of urban morphology and architectural typology.

Contact Kai Gu

Dr Manfredo Manfredini

Manfredo’s research interests focus on the intersection between spatialisation processes and information flows. He explores the emergence of new critical architectural and urban design issues affecting the transformations of contemporary physical environment in their peculiar disciplinary articulation of contemporary social and cultural transitions, technological enhancements and physical diffusion/agglomeration processes. To address this challenge, he is interested in extending the concept of tensional field, in projects which articulate new ways of living, advent media[ted] space, and convergence and distribution of individual and collective activity patterns, with site-specific cultural, social and environmental patrimonies.
Current PhD co-supervisions include:

  • Adrian Lo: ‘An Investigation into the Multiplicity of Intermodal Nodalities in Eisenman’s Casa Guardiola’

Contact Manfredo Manfredini

Dr Marjorie van Roon

Research Interests

  • Ecosystem management and restoration
  • Low Impact Urban Design and Development (LIUDD)
  • Water Sensitive Design
  • Integrated catchment management (ICM), integrated river-basin (or watershed) management
  • Coastal management

Recent research includes the restoration of wetlands and integrated water systems in several Dutch cities, plus ongoing clarification of the aquatic ecosystem health improvement from LIUDD in Auckland. 


Doctoral thesis
"Low Impact Urban Design and Development: ecological efficacy as a basis for strategic planning and its implementation", 2010.  


Recent and current PhD research topics supervised:

  • "Application of low impact and ICM to improve water quality in Bangkok"
  • "Water Sensitive Planning Practices for Colombo, Sri Lanka”
  • “Waterfront design in catchment and sea level context in Auckland”
  • "Role of sense of place in influencing conservation participation in Malaysia” 
  • “Coastal tourism influence on coastal resilience in NZ”
  • “Coastal wetlands contribution to climate change adaptation in Auckland"

Contact Marjorie van Roon