PEOPLE & POLLINATORS
Andrea Reid 4TH YEAR
The exchange between people and pollinators is central to the way in which we live today. Our livelyhoods depend on them, as theirs do on us. Without pollinators, over a third of our food supply will cease. Fragmented habitats are resulting in disconnected habitat nodes for many Auckland species, including our prime pollinators.
One of our most common pollinators, the honey bee, is dying around the world at an exponential rate, their numbers depleting by half since the end of World War Two. The biggest causes are the increasing use of pesticides containing neurotoxins, vast monocultures with no cover crops, parasites and diseases such as Varroa destructor and our urbanised, almost flowerless landscapes. Recent research by French beekeepers’ association Unaf has found that urban bees are generally healthier and more productive than their rural counterparts as they enjoy the slightly higher temperatures, the wider variety of plant life for pollination and can avoid the ill-effects of agricultural pesticides.
This study is investigating how the fragmented landscape of a city can be healed using bio-corridors that connect people, pollinators and their habitats through enhanced and restored ecosystem services. Like a river and the blood that flows through our veins, our ecosystems need to connect and flow together to form a network that interacts and integrates into our growing urban metropolis. When an ecosystem becomes fragmented and disconnected it becomes stagnant.
Conserving and protecting the natural environment promotes community awareness of values inherent within the environment and this kaitiakitanga and love of the land can impact on and improve the health of a community.
The demand on the world’s natural resources is encouraging the move towards localised food sources reducing food miles, supporting the local economy, preserving green-space and creating community bonds and connections. Creating local food sources is often more difficult in an urban environment as there is pressure on limited land, but the recent flurry of community gardening is growing, connecting communities with each other and their major food source. Natural pollination in these community gardens is being impaired by the current fragmentation of the green network.
Connectivity of landscapes is highly scale dependent, so the Auckland region has been analysed at a multitude of scales, starting with the overall spatial distribution of habitats across the Auckland region, then refining to more localised areas to show examples of implementation. The scale at which different organisms interact with landscape patterns is also influencing this analysis. In fragmented landscapes, where patches of high- quality habitat are punctuated by stretches of poor habitats, a species with short-range dispersal such as the native kereru will struggle.
The project underlines the importance of linkages between conservation of ecosystem functions using a series of ecological interventions in highly urbanised land. This helps improve sustainable urban production systems, pollinator productivity, community connection and poverty reduction. This project is working on producing a set of tools, methodologies, strategies and best management practices which can be applied to pollinator conservation efforts throughout Auckland, and then hopefully worldwide. That, in turn, will contribute to realising a broader objective: improving the food security, nutrition and livelihoods of urban communities.
Michelle Ineson 4TH YEAR
Refining road based tourism to better utilise the sublime and poetic qualities of the New Zealand landscape has demonstrated the potential for benefits to arise that could not only improve the experience of the journey but also build both domestic and international tourism, in turn providing economic diversification to rural communities.
It is an established trend that populations are moving from rural to urban environments and that this internal migration is contributing to the pressures faced by rapid population growth in our major cities. This study explores the potential for tourism to contribute to the economies of rural towns with the overarching desire to contribue long term to rural sustainability. The development of themed highways as a means to showcase landscapes and generate income has been successfully perused both in New Zealand and overseas however, the concept of encouraging greater usage through enhanced facilities that challenge the existing vernacular is central in this investigation. In designing sites with the objective to improve the experiential qualities of travel, this research identifies aesthetic, emotional and economic factors that contribute to flow on effects that positively influence rural economies, communities and regional ecology.
The study is in two parts, the first develops a Central South Island themed tourism route that passes through as many small towns and landscape typologies as possible. The second phase sits within this route and involves designing a series of rest stops that reference the awe-inspiring characteristics of the landscape. As an over arching theme this research looks in to the concept of the sublime and how classical music, painting and cinema represent this effectively abstract construct, interpreting feelings of the awe, fear and unease evoked when confronted by powerful natural landscapes. The resulting design interventions draw from the topographical, geological and climatic qualities of the immediate site yet the theoretical framework allows this model to be transposed to any region where landscapes evoke the sublime emotions of astonishment, admiration, reverence and respect.
Lauren Vincent 4TH YEAR
In order for Auckland to develop into a ‘World Class Liveable City’, it simply cannot develop without close consideration to our waterfront; it is our biggest asset to the city underlining the past branding of ‘The City of Sails’. Examples of great design and development would be the Viaduct Harbour which was influenced by the Americas Cup and Sir Peter Blake. But in order for Auckland to really achieve Mayor Len Brown’s vision of the ‘worlds most livable city’ attention needs to be given to how the city could be designed as a people city, a city centre Aucklanders would want to use.
The project developed a strategy as a way of re-envisioning Auckland’s City Centre. Influenced strongly by methods of Jeff Kennet and what he achieved in Melbourne and also Jan Gehl, an expert in his field of city development and the leading force behind Copenhagen’s famous pedestrian streets.
The concept is based around a simple idea of the ‘Civic Space’, ‘The Pedestrian Street’ and ‘The Waterfront Space’. In doing this two public spaces are created that are connected by a pedestrian street. The aim is to create a place that people will want to use, a place that will draw Aucklanders back into the City Centre to experience a different surrounding, that will in turn create a distinctive Auckland Flavour.
CREATING MOTORWAYS THAT MEAN MORE TO OUR CITY
Russell Cooper 3RD YEAR
The Sou’Western Sanctuary project was developed out of the exploration of how green infrastructure could be incorporated into the future development of motorway networks.
It is the current view that motorways activate regions at a human level, easing congestion, allowing direct links, enabling resource flow – aspects that have become the defining points for regional success. Working on the premise that motorways act as the strongest regional link throughout Auckland, how can we hinge conservation values and ecosystem development on them? What if motorways activated the land around them on a vastly different level?
The chosen site has been developed to explore the way in which conservation sanctuaries could be developed in an urban environment. It looks to explore the way in which motorway systems might give back to the environmental fabric of a city, finding a way to suggest that an appropriate mitigation for capital works on roading development is the development of urban eco-sanctuaries. This design output takes cues from urban design to reinterpret pest proof sanctuary typologies as accessible recreation opportunities, valuable regional assets and integral community initiatives. The site at the Hillsborough Road off-ramp on the South Western Motorway was selected for its position adjacent to the motorway network, it samples a vast selection of topographic environments to present a variety of ecosystems suitable for a range of threatened plant introductions, including wetland, coastal broadleaf forest and exposed slope for scrubland development.
It was also vital that the development fed into a growing recreation spine to create a design that captures the mind and heart of the community, providing them with a sense of ownership and pride for the protection of native plant and animal species. The sanctuary would connect into the Onehunga Foreshore walkway development, providing a link into Mt Eden, through Monte Cecilia Park, suggesting future ability to walk between Auckland’s two main harbours.
The development sets up pest proof fencing around the site that is currently scrub and pasture grass, developing shade domes that allow for the presentation of understory plantings that will in turn develop seed banks and ensure the longevity of native species. Recreation opportunities are present, along with education and community involvement that could potentially see the release and protection of threatened New Zealand invertebrates, with a nod to the future of charismatic New Zealand species.
The design is an exploration of ‘Exchange’, idealising what we could give back to the landscape that we are building upon.
Robert Nairn 3RD YEAR
HOW CAN LOCAL PRODUCE BE BETTER DISTRIBUTED IN A LOCAL COMMUNITY THROUGH TACTICAL URBANISM?
Pukekohe is one of New Zealand’s largest agricultural growing hubs situated on rich volcanic soils 40 kilometres south of Auckland’s CBD. It is one of the countries largest urban growing cities with a current population of 30,000 expecting to rise immensly as Auckland’s residency crisis increases.
The majority of local produce grown in the district is distributed into the wider context of Auckland mostly through supermarket chains with only a small portion of it being available for direct distribution into the community of Pukekohe. The potential of the locality of the agricultural realm in Pukekohe could be better utilised, allowing the community to have direct availibilty to agricultural resources.
The underlying concept of this project was to apply tactical methods of design to an urban space that are reletively cheap, temporary and serve as a test. The idea was to create a market space for the distribution of local produce where the community can indulge in a more sustainable exchange of distribution from agricultural to urban realms. The site for this experiment is Devon Lane, a service lane intersecting and running parallel behind the shops of the two main streets in Pukekohe.
Activation of market space is frequented on weekends, with shipping containers to serve as stalls or storage for market necessities. Painted surface stripes that extend across Devon Lane have inset text at certain locations to provide awareness of destinations and also provide a linear arrangement for the layout of marquees.
Aynsley Cisaria 3RD YEAR
The loss of fertile land within the city creates a disconnection between people and food production. This project attempts to create a walkable, urban agriculture network connecting communities in south-west Auckland, where productive and cultural planting was incorporated within mitigation corridors, and fertile soil and food production were reconnected within the existing open space network.
The Mangere Bridge reserve was chosen to show how an exchange can occur between under-utilised public space for productive, community farms. With a Transit NZ designation for harbour crossing construction, this is currently a waterfront ‘non- park’ with drainage issues, major power and water lines, and no particular function apart from informal recreation.
Food is a gateway to conversations, and the corporate activity of growing food in our under-used public spaces can become a platform or layer from which landscaoe archiitects can address other important elements of community, ecology, and liveability, including the physical, social, cultural, and environmental health of the city.
REDEVELOPMENT OF ONEPOTO DOMAIN
Claire Liesching and Jonathan Cristal 3RD YEAR
The design proposal for Onepoto Domain responds to the needs of the domain users as well as to those of the environment, and aims to provide long term benefits for both. The concept for the ‘Onepoto Domain Wetland & Sanctuary’ is simple; in essence it is to create an urban ecological patch, which connects to the green infrastructure of its surrounding region.
This is achieved by establishing a new forest core (Mesic Zone) supported by a wetland buffer (Aquatic, Emergent, Saturated, Moist & Grassland Meadow Zones) creating a hub, which in turn connects to the already established forest corridor (Dry Zone - existing forest) that sits on the surrounding slopes connecting to a wider context.
The sanctuary with its new forest core will offer a site for food, refuge and breeding habitat’s for a variety of birds, fish, lizards and insects - encouraging the ecological functionality of a modern urban park. Whilst the active area will provide an opportunity for people to become physically immersed in the wetland experience.
Rachel Butler 3RD YEAR
Green infrastructure addresses urban and climate issues through a network of natural and semi-natural features to support and maintain ecological services.
This project aimed to strengthen the relationship between the built environment and ecological systems due to recent and proposed projects occurring between the upper Manukau Harbour and Waterview, including Puketutu Island Landfill Rehabilitation, Onehunga Foreshore Reclamation and the State Highway 20 completion. A key issue was identified in light of these projects along with surrounding industrial context to address air quality and the growing consequences of impermeable landcover.
Further analysis identified the potential to create a carbon sink to offset CO2 emissions, this paired with mapping of open space surrounding State Highway 20 developed a concept of linking the future regional park, Puketutu Island to Cornwall Park, incorporating Ambury Farm Park, the proposed new Mangere Bridge and the Onehunga streetscape by developing an urban forest. This would create opportunites for people to walk or cycle between two major Auckland parks, while also providing ecological habitat and a potential community education resource.
The second phase of the project zoomed in on one aspect of the original moves, focusing indepth of how an urban forest could occur in one of Auckland’s premier parks; Monte Cecilia. The vision was to connect to the nearby Cornwall Park/ One Tree Hill domain via a heritage and tree trail which embraced the history of both sites, creating a stepping stone on the trail from Puketutu Island. The obelisk of One Tree Hill is visible from Mangere, as are the iconic tree tops from the pines of Monte Cecilia. This provided visual links across the entire site while also providing momentum for the concept of further planting on Monte Cecilia to ensure this link would withstand future decades.
The final design built on the existing rich tree heritage on the site while embracing the slope to create a natural amphitheatre which is sympathetic to the surrounding landform.
Sofia Fourman 2ND YEAR
Currently pastoral land and a former airfield the landscape of Hobsonville Point has been developed for future urban residential development. Catalina Precinct is a section of the proposition intended to be a ‘park precinct’; a green extension off Bomb Point Park. It is comprised of a spine road and adjoining pocket park. The design reflects the connection of green spaces to existing vegetation links and patches to strengthen the ecological network for avian fauna.
This design begins by transforming the street into a vegetated corridor with patches in which birds can feed, rest and establish habitats. On ground level this creates a tremendous native forest environment, which contrasts greatly with proposed urban fabrication. The apartment blocks on both sides of the road face a wall of flora, the residents and visitors are able to appreciate the chirping of the birds and watch them scout the skies as they traverse through the space. A proposed pocket park is dense with native flora which is bisected by a curved path network with circular clearings. These clearings provide freedom for diverse recreation, from open grassy lawns to seating and a central bird basin water fountain for the enjoyment of both birds and people.
Visitors engage with the space either by walking or cycling. Native flora in a compact urban development draws both birds and people into the area; it is a rich habitat within a residential complex. One might even mistake the park for wilderness as they are confined by an assortment of immense trees with striking canopies closely resembling the native New Zealand forest.
Natalie Couch 2ND YEAR
Inspiration for this project evolved from the history of this landscape – the subtlety and significance in the layers of embedded memory. It was important to reveal hints of these such as the swathes of tuangi (cockle shell) midden and undulating green and gold on the shoreline.
Boarded pathways lead to resting places amongst tussock encouraging a space of quiet reflection and play. Like the meandering paths on the coast; most of the area is left for people to create their own tracks and gathering places. Simplicity of design intervention was intentional in the seating, shell, and sand pits that provide openings for the community to gather. This park is situated on the main road to the Marae at Onekiritia (Bomb Point). Envisioned as a resting place before arriving at the marae or continuing along the coastal walkway - the intention is to create an outdoor space for the community residents; Maori, Pakeha and Tauiwi (new citizens) to come together.