Energy Exchange

With increased growth predicted for Auckland, there comes an increase in the energy required to run the city. Auckland is already the country’s largest user of electricity.  Sustainable hydro electricity generation in NZ is vulnerable to weather fluctuations and the use of fossil fuel based generation is untenable for the future.  As a landscape architect this problem opens up areas for research and has the seeds of potential for the combination of open space design and efficient energy use.  For example... What if renewable energy technologies could help us to plan cities, suburbs and open space?  What if these technologies could be localised within regions?  This paper will explore possibilities around using renewable energy technologies as tools to help plan for growth.  A specific case study on Waiheke Island in Auckland will be used to test these ideas.

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City Landscape Citizen Identity: Auckland

Cities have long been associated with their geographic location, an iconic building or a special characteristic. While some cities seem content to be, many see their survival in a global context, pacing their future against other cities competing for investment, development, visitors and residents. The emphasis of this paper is on the city as place; on townscape and nature, to discover whether the unique landscape of a city as perceived by its citizens is indeed its competitive advantage. The city considered is Auckland, a relatively small city of 1.5 million, some 1000 kilometres from the New Zealand capital of Wellington (a city less than a third of Auckland’s population) and some 2000 kilometres from its nearest global rival in Australia.

The 100% Pure New Zealand brand has been successful in attracting visitors to New Zealand who expect to see and experience natural beauty. This though leaves a gap in cities as New Zealand destinations even though cities are where over 80% of our population now live. Auckland Tourism has recognised that while travellers arrive expecting to see mountains, sheep and hobbits, there is a level of sophistication in Auckland which can provide for culture and leisure as well as capital assets such as environment and landscape. This paper considers how the cultural and landscape assets of Auckland can be promoted as visitor attractions when they are city as opposed to country based. In addition how these assets as perceived by city marketers and branders are considered, compared with the understood landscape assets identified and enjoyed by those who live in Auckland. Are we promoting culture and landscape with integrity?

Two Unitec focus groups were used as part of a pilot study to identify what Auckland residents think of their city, how they value their city and from where do they derive their identity. The views of the focus groups were compared with the understanding and promotion of Auckland landscapes by Auckland Tourism marketers. The marketers and residents views were similar, both referencing similar landscape resources, and the current shortcomings of Auckland were also noted. While urban leisure assets and events are promoted to draw visitors from other cities in New Zealand, both residents and marketers emphasised the natural landscape assets of Auckland such as the volcanic cones and lava fields, the harbours, beaches and islands in the Hauraki Gulf as being important attractions and important for residents. These landscape features fit somewhat awkwardly with the 100% Pure New Zealand brand as they are Auckland’s capital assets, yet are part of the natural as well as the cultural landscape. The paper concludes that while strap lines and branding can be used as a promotional tool, a city’s landscape and culture needs a much richer description: one which can better be conveyed by images and authentic stories. Further, that the unique combination of environmental, cultural and particularly landscape assets can indeed become the competitive advantage of a city. Landscape and culture can be the driver of a competitive city.

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Public Spaces Along Auckland's Waterfront

The health of the Auckland Waterfront is predicated on occurances of public space within its physical and perceptual parameters.  This article suggests the importance of merging these parameters within future urban planning strategies by examining how public space may encourage the exchange of information.  

The intangible resourses which create and occupy public spaces are discussed as operators of exchange.  The Auckland Waterfront corridor is clearly defined by its physical area and general stakeholder interests.  Public transportation is presented as the impetus for new connective design strategies.  Recent historical urban planning strategies are briefly discussed to establish the originating of planning methodology and its societal effects.  Recent and current design initiatives by major stakeholders Waterfront Auckland and Ports of Auckland are investigated in methodology and resulting proposals.  Two appropriate case studies are investigated – Toronto, Canada and Wellington, New Zealand –  setting a precedent to approaching public space planning along an elongated waterfront in terms of scale and inter-district connectivity.

Based on observation, the limited connectivity of Auckland Waterfront is relative to occurances of public spaces – for whom they are designed versus how they are percieved – leading to public disconnection from the Waitemata Harbour and the Auckland Central Business District (CBD).  This article seeks to establish a continuing discourse for new urban planning methodology along Auckland’s Waterfront, where information creates public spaces along transportation nodes.  The implications of ignoring these issues will compound their effect on the public, eventuating further in unintended economic consequences.

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Revealing the Rainforest

Landscape architecture embodies the symbiotic relationship between society and environment and this human-nature interaction is manifest at its most profound within those places that are referred to as cultural landscapes.

Within the Asia-pacific region there is considerable diversity in both the environment and culture.  The region has one of the highest proportions of Indigenous peoples within national populations and the highest proportion of people living within traditional governance systems in any region of the world.  Together these qualities underpin the uniqueness of cultural landscapes in the Asia-pacific region.

The challenge of ensuring an appreciation and respect for these local cultural landscapes and adhering to professional ethics when working with local communities within an increasingly globalised landscape is an ongoing area of concern in the practice of landscape architecture and one that is therefore particularly relevant to landscape architecture education.

This paper considers the importance of enabling an exchange between students of landscape architecture and non-western world views set amidst a different culture and within an unfamiliar environment.  The case study outlines student experiences of the cultural landscape of the Penan within the Sarawak rainforest of Malaysia.  Although often viewed as wilderness, the rainforest is a place that illustrates the human-nature interaction at its most intimate and the patterns in the landscape that were and are being created as a consequence of this interaction.   

 “The real voyage of discovery lies not in seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes”   (Proust, 1913)

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Landscape & Cultural Exchange

Tourism, the world’s largest industry (Schevyns & Russell 2009), surpassed sugar cane several decades ago to become Fiji’s lead income earning sector ( With the significant emphasis on Tourism as a percentage of GDP and contributor to the balance of payments comes also great risk; Fiji is prone to both natural catastrophes (suffering 3 major weather events in the past three years) and political turmoil (elections this month returning the country to democracy for the first time since 2006). Tourism may also result in adverse social, cultural and environmental outcomes (Rajotte 1980). One of the country’s main challenges is to ensure a stable flow of visitors and to maximise the benefits for its people (Girard & Nijkamp 2009).

Sustainable tourism, or eco-tourism is often seen as a desirable product for improving benefits for all stakeholders in the tourism industry. This paper considers the question of the importance of culture as a facet of sustainability, with the objective of assessing the value of landscape architecture (theory and practice) in offering solutions for more beneficial outcomes (for all stakeholders). Examination of relevant literature, especially interrelationships between the disciplines of Tourism (including eco-tourism, sustainable tourism, cultural tourism), Anthropology, and Landscape Architecture (including placemaking, sustainability, cultural landscape) shows the value of a landscape architect facilitated “exchange” of ideas expressed through the landscape, by the landscape. Consideration of the theories show that application, recognition and interpretation of culture in (and around) the resort landscape, can increase sustainability while providing mitigation of some of tourism’s adverse effects. The resulting multidisciplinary solution has the potential to improve outcomes for all tourism stakeholders.

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Land for Sea

Having grown up on beaches, the experience, fulfillment and energy that we get from these sandy shores is unique. The way we all use our coasts, even off the beach and in the water, on a boat, under the water, these amenities that the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea offer us are some of the most valuable public space assets we have. The constant change and uncertainty within the moving sands, estuaries, and oceans is most interesting to some while the endless views and fresh salty air sees frequent visitors converted to residents. Together with the popularity and a high level of demand from these beautiful locations, are we becoming distracted from the reality of the coast as a natural and fragile environment?

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