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XSECTION 2013/14 3

xsection journal team 2014 xsectionjournal@gmail.com Editor: Pete Griffiths, Programme Leader and Senior Lecturer, Bachelor of Landscape Architecture Assistant Editor: John Allan, Graduate Landscape Architect, Jasmax, Auckland. Sub Editiors: Meg Back, Fiona Ting Design & Production: Nick Sisam, Michelle Ineson, Morgan Taylor Web Production: Julie Greenslade, Lauren Vincent, Shayne Noronha, Chloe Nelson Advisory Board: Matthew Bradbury, Programme Leader and Senior Lecturer, Masters of Landscape Architecture by Project. Garth Falconer, Director Reset Urban Design, Auckland. Melissa Clark, GHD Urban Design Leader, Auckland. xsection journal is published annually by the Department of Landscape Architecture, Unitec Institute of Technology. Advertising statements and editorial opinions expressed in xsection journal do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Landscape Architecture and its staff, unless expressly stated. Copyright to all work included is retained by the authors. Copying or transmission of any part of this publication or the related files in any form, by any means (electronic, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) is restricted to educational use only, with appropriate referencing. No part of this document may be used without the prior written permission of the publisher. Š Copyright 2013 xsection journal Publisher: Unitec Institute of Technology, Faculty of Creative Industry and Business, Department of Landscape Architecture, Carrington Road, Mt Albert, Auckland. ISSN 2230-6277 print edition ISSN 2230-6285 online edition Cover Image: Doc Ross

Anthony Wain


Dr Hamish Foote


Dr Dan Blanchon


John Allan


Gary Marshall


Dr Diane Menzies


Delwyn Shepherd


Chris Bentley


Doc Ross


Lester Mismash


Stuart Houghton


Jillian de Beer


Frith Walker


Sally Peake


Rachel Brandon


Breck Gastinger


Rau Hoskins


Mike Thomas


Alistair Newsome


Natalie Couch


Fiona Ting


Reuben McPeak


Morgan Taylor


Michelle Ineson


Nick Sisam


Amanda Tisdell


Olivia Koch


Andrew Priestley


Dave Parker


Blair Clinch


Florian Strauss Matt Lay



Rudolf Iseli


Meg Back


Brad Congdon



FOREWORD WORDS Anthony Wain Pr LArch BSc(Hons) HORT MA (LArch) MILASA, Director: Planning Partners. Anthony Wain has successfully practised landscape architecture for over 25 years. He has worked in many diverse fields in more than 17 countries around the world


irstly, I commend your initiative and efforts to stimulate debate between practitioners, officials and academics. In my experience, outside the university environment there is sadly little generosity between professionals in intellectual transfer or shared experience, and for the sake of the profession and individuals it needs to be cultivated and a forum created for all parties passionate enough to test their opinions and possibly relearn certain things that once were true, but may now be obsolete. It is, of course, disconcerting that even in such a small profession as landscape architecture, officials, practitioners and students all tend to operate in their own comfort zones and become competitive and compartmentalised, or in the case of academia, competitive and departmentalised! Practitioners are often forced by the circumstances of reality and earning and living, to cultivate themselves, rather than the profession, perhaps in order to survive in an overtraded field. Ironically placemaking is of necessity a co-operative process, which at best even includes the end user. Much of a landscape architect’s duty is to motivate and catalyse a multidisciplinary team to act in unison, and produce a place of seamless function, form and ambience. But even this process is in practise subject to value engineering and other unsympathetic influences. Academia may be a little more protected and idealistic, but inevitably the students are thrown to the wolves, usually pressured practices, developers, or commercial corporations, and then ironically find themselves isolated and in competition with each other for limited work. Few landscape architects can achieve the kudos and hence confidence to be sufficiently uninhibited to give their intellectual capital away freely. Moreover few are bold enough to question themselves and their long held opinions. I went to a colloquium the other day in Paris on the 400th birthday of La Notre, where Laurie Olin spoke and waxed poetically on his landscape vision, shared not only with others in his office, but to virtually anyone who was willing to listen. He actually motivated placemaking landscape architecture as an imperative component of organised living space, one fostering civility and utility. Truly challenging and inspiring even at my age! He also spoke about success and failures which few landscape architects do, but on the other hand doctors do all the time to avoid failing again! In fact you will find that a need for debate and revelation will be a repeating factor in your student and professional life, or if it’s absent, you may lose your youthful passion for landscape and may easily drift out of the profession into what your parents might call a proper job, in accountancy or worse. I am convinced that academic research in placemaking or the communication of its findings is a missing link in sharing the multicultural analysis of “places” and how to make and sustain them.







working with the community for the community


1st year




peer review


breck gastinger

2nd year






what was. what is & what was possible

rau hoskins

3rd year





sustainability & the public realm

the land

mike thomas

4th year


whose place?



who is this all for?

student competition


sense of place evolves 47


“baetsch� in the city

final word



wynyard quarter


site matters

refrences 101



nce again the question of what the theme of xsection will be arises. xsection is a magazine unique in its ability to use a range of media, from a variety of submitters, to explore a theme pertinent to contemporary landscape architecture.

At the start of the year we were attending at a half-day seminar by David Engwicht, “New Tools for Local Government”. There was a certain irony in the fact that the organizers believed we were from a large hotel management company - but that can be explained at the end. As the talk began Engwicht declared ‘‘placemaking! Every other person today claims to be an expert on placemaking…’’ The audience of mostly local body officials sighed in agreement. We pricked up our ears - what did they mean by placemaking, and why did it seem to be the new buzzword? Project for Public Spaces describes placemaking as ‘‘a multi-faceted approach to the planning, design and management of public spaces. Put simply, it involves looking at, listening to, and asking questions of the people who live, work and play in a particular space, to discover their needs and aspirations.’’ Engwicht discusses the reasons why your living room is more welcoming than that of a show home. The Metropolitan Planning Council of Chicago sees this as having ‘‘the potential to be one of the most transformative ideas of this century’’, but is this something that can this be successfully measured or reproduced? Considering placemaking as the core objective has the potential to completely turn around the way we view our design opportunities or constraints; as designers, planners, or even local government officials. As Engwicht says, is the problem speeding cars? Or is it that a group of total strangers have colonised the space we considered to be a core part of our home territory? Is it really about wanting our sense of place back? If Meurk and Hall (2000) can create a series of parameters to predict the ecological performance of an area of indigenous forest then conversely can we measure or predict the parameters that contribute to contemporary placemaking? We know why we feel comfortable in our own home. But why did one visit to see the altered Judges Bay, a redeveloped inner harbour bay, close to the city and sandwiched between a posh suburb and a railway line, lead to a whole summer of return trips back there with family and friends? The question expands even further when considered in the context of New Zealand, especially given the bi-cultural nature of our country. Most New Zealanders feel a deep connection to the land regardless of their background. However with the Maori word whenua meaning both land and placenta, it alone denotes a significance of place, deeply woven into culture. Consider also the phrase ‘‘mana whenua’’ - ‘‘territory rights’’ or “power from the land” and it becomes apparent that for many New Zealanders land is integrally connected to our sense of place. Are there specific differences or considerations to placemaking in New Zealand compared to other countries? How do landscape architects in New Zealand respond to this challenge, especially as we face one of the largest contemporary rebuilds undertaken in the world with post quake Christchurch? Just as Engwicht states that children use their physical environment as more than just physical elements, but also the repository of their memories and affections; the research of Ken Taylor has explored the notion that culture and memories play an integral part in our enjoyment of our landscape. Can theories and principles of placemaking contribute to rebuilding a Christchurch that the residents will recognise, enjoy and identify with? Meanwhile The Auckland Plan estimates that around 400,000 additional dwellings will be required by 2040. How can the principles of placemaking help Auckland achieve this objective and yet still be ‘‘the worlds most livable city’’? The irony was that the ideas of placemaking presented by Engwicht in the seminar that day would be equally applicable to the management of hotels - every one values the feeling of a home away from home, and it would be a very successful property indeed that could consistently supply that. But it was as landscape architecture students we left that meeting totally enthralled, about not only making clever designs, but also making actual places. The third issue of xsection aspires to continue the established tradition of combining the thoughts of students, academics and practicing landscape architects in articles, peer reviewed research papers, photo essays and interviews while critically examining a subject pertinent to the industry. Given the complexity and possible enormity of the subject of contemporary placemaking, it’s possible no other format or publication has the potential to explore it as fully: research it, debate it, illustrate it. Placemaking: what is it really? How do we create a contemporary sense of place?



INFLORESCENCE WORDS Dr. Hamish Foote & Dr. Dan Blanchon Dr. Hamish Foote, DocFA, Lecturer, Unitec Institute of Technology Dr. Dan Blanchon, BSc., MSc (Hons). Auck., PhD. Auck. PAINTINGS Dr. Hamish Foote refer to page 100 for footnotes


ow can still life painting explore the traditional notions of ‘good’ and ‘evil’ in the relationship between indigenous and exotic species? It is through the relationship between culture and nature that places are made. As such our contemporary sense of place in New Zealand has been heavily influenced by the creation of Neo-European environments abetted by ongoing intervention1. This process of becoming is fluid and dynamic and in New Zealand it has resulted in a place where exotic flora and fauna abound. The creation of a sense of place – introductions of foreign flora and fauna. From the beginning of New Zealand’s brief European history there has been a procession or perhaps more accurately a flood of introduced flora and fauna. Charles Darwin (1773-1858) observed, At Pahia it was quite pleasing to behold the English flowers in the gardens before the houses…honeysuckle, jasmine…On an adjoining slope fine crops of barley and wheat…fields of potato and clover…every fruit and vegetable which England produces…gorse for fences, and English oaks2. As a result of this and a temperate climate, New Zealand is now one of the weediest countries in the World. As Darwin relates: “In many places I noticed several sorts of weeds, which, like the rats, I was forced to own as countrymen. A leek has overrun whole districts, and will prove very troublesome…The common dock is also widely disseminated”.3 In the 1860s acclimatisation societies were formed, importing and liberating a multitude of animal species for shooting, food, or as reminders of “home”4. Many species failed to naturalise, including partridges, grouse, ptarmigan, nightingales, robins and foxes. Most species, however, did successfully establish, including red deer, fallow deer, possums, wallabies, hedgehogs, rabbits, hares, mallard ducks, canada geese, most of which became pests to agriculture, horticulture or the natural environment. Early settlers introduced familiar plants; most of these species were accidental introductions, but many were deliberately introduced as horticultural plants, with a smaller number introduced as pasture species5. On average, one plant species has naturalised in Auckland every 88 days in the time period 1870-19705. Currently, 2536 naturalised plants are listed for New Zealand, of which 300-500 are considered to be “serious environmental weeds”6. There are at least 24,744 non-native plant species in New Zealand, but this number is likely to be an underestimate7. Invasive plant species have a range of effects on the environment, particularly competition with native species reducing biodiversity, providing alternate hosts for pests and diseases, reduction in water quality, causing erosion and flooding, decreasing land access and negative human and animal health effects8. The effects of invasive species on our landscapes are now managed nationally by the Ministry of Primary Industries, Department of Conservation and councils under several pieces of legislation, but mainly the Biosecurity Act 19939. Efforts are made to prevent incursions by new invasive species at the border and to eradicate or control those pest species already in the country. A number of initiatives are underway to manage pests, including the National Pest Plant Accord (NPPA)10, an agreement between the horticulture industries and biosecurity agencies to ban the worst invasive plants from sale and distribution. The Wildlife Act 195311 lists a range of mainly vertebrate animal species that are deliberately not protected or are declared noxious, allowing their control. COLLECTION egg tempera on gessoed panel4



Fine art practice has always provided a means for communicating a sense of place In our own history there are the ancient rock drawings of South Canterbury that depict the now extinct species of moa and giant eagle that made such an impact on our early residents12. To facilitate the process of New Zealand’s colonisation by Europe, painting was enlisted to depict a South Pacific haven complete on occasions with depictions of the ‘noble savage’. Fine art practice was also harnessed by the Natural Sciences during the 18th and 19th century voyages of discovery. The legendary equine painter George Stubbs (1724-1806) gave Europe the first glimpse of the Australian kangaroo with his 1772 painting The Kongouro from New Holland. Interestingly Stubbs had not seen a kangaroo in the flesh. He worked from the spoken accounts of those who had, as well as a preserved kangaroo skin, which he inflated13. Closer to home writers and artists alike demonstrate the currency of these issues. Ngā Uruora, the Groves of Life and Theatre Country14 by Geoff Park and in the theatre, Dr Buller’s Birds by Nick Drake are examples. In the art world there has been a procession of exhibitions concerned with the implications of exotic and indigenous species mingling. Pages from the Book of Bird Song by Warren Viscoe and The Odyssey of Captain Cook by Marian Maguire are two notable examples. How art practice has represented the place created by invasive species The issue of invasive species in particular has received attention by artists who have engaged and sought to raise awareness of this by-product of globalisation. The Weeds Drawing Project15 curated by Manukau School of Visual Arts academics Grant Thompson and Frances Hansen is one such example. The work of contemporary European artist Madeline Von Foerster such as Invasive Species II exhibited at the Strychnin Gallery in Berlin 2008 is another. In Von Foerster’s own words the collision of culture and nature are emphasized, Humanity’s relationship with nature provides an impassioned narrative, with such topics as deforestation and human-caused extinction sounding a recurring thematic knell…the artworks could be described as “living” stilllifes…but on a deeper level, they are visual altars for our imperiled natural world16. The work of both graphic artists and photographers has also been harnessed, as a social marketing tool, to raise awareness and alter behaviour. In New Zealand the MPI in an attempt to control the invasive freshwater alga didymo initiated in 2011 an education campaign, which relies heavily on the visual medium. The success of this approach is reflected in the Ministries findings, the main things that convinced people to make the change were: seeing a poster (51%) or a brochure (48%)17. Theories and opinions regarding our sense of place are tested and debated and as such, definitions are contestable and fluid as Darwin’s aforementioned observations attest. Species of flora and fauna move between the categories of good and evil as globalisation ensures the intermingling of ecologies e.g. gorse in the context of England was a benign and practical presence. Relocated to New Zealand and a warm temperate climate however and the species now raises the ire of farmers, and heads the list of noxious weeds in this country. Partly as a result of this, the generalisation that natives are good and exotics are evil contributes to, and influences our, contemporary sense of place. Society’s perception of good and evil species has received attention by sociologists, for example, Sociozoological systems ranks them according to how well they seem to “fit in” and play the roles they are expected to play in society...Good animals have high moral status because they willingly accept their subordinate place in society…however bad animals have a low moral status because their subordinate place is unclear or because they no longer remain quietly out of sight and distant from people18. The same authors point out that we construct images of good and evil, friend and foe, desirable and undesirable, respectable and disreputable, and a myriad of other morally laden dichotomies18.

When a national icon such as the Kauri tree is threatened as in the case of Kauri dieback a new urgency arises. The gravity of this situation has prompted Tangata Whenua, the Ministry of Primary Industries, Department of Conservation and an assortment of councils to hastily establish the Keep Kauri Standing organisation. The use of powerful imagery as an attention grabbing, communication and awareness-raising tool is a key component in their attempt to avert disaster. The use of painting as in the case of this project recognises and capitalises on the power of imagery as a dynamic way of engaging and raising awareness. It is hoped that the exhibition and publication of the images presented in this paper, along with the accompanying writing will not only support the Kauri dieback campaign but also serve to raise awareness regarding the precarious nature of New Zealand’s ecology. There is the potential to draw attention to the ramifications of human enterprise on a fragile delicately balanced world. While we may rejoice in cultural diversity and potential hybrid vigour the investigation highlights what it is we may lose through the mingling of the exotic with the indigenous. Case Studies In the author’s own fine art practice colonisation and the relationship between species has been a long-term preoccupation. The 2002 exhibition of paintings Biota focused on the practice of introducing exotic species in particular the activities of Sir George Grey (1812- 1898) on Kawau Island. Not all of Grey’s introductions went as planned. Many species, the zebra for example, failed to acclimatize and perished whilst the wallaby , possum and others went on to become pests. In the paintings comprising the Biota series and also those of the Inflorescence investigation there are repeated visual references to the aforementioned historical works by the likes of Stubbs. This appropriation is intended to reinforce the notion of colonization and also hint at the subjectivity of the European eye. The bias of the colonial gaze is revealed in many of the early depictions of New Zealand, which bare an uncanny resemblance to European landscapes of the day. The Paintings The five paintings, that form part of this investigation, focus on colonisation, in particular the intersection of exotic and native species. A number of specific relationships, some parasitic others commensalistic or mutualistic are depicted in order to tease out this notion of friend or foe. What is revealed are a number of unexpected and paradoxical relationships that challenge traditional assumptions of good and evil. The inclusion of flowers in a domestic setting is intended to indicate the English coloniser domiciled in New Zealand. The background tongue and groove panelling is typical of 18th century interiors whilst Willow Pattern was the quintessential crockery of the Victorian era. Polished oak or mahogany furniture reinforces this theme. Collection A typical English style posy or ‘nose gay’ in colonial setting. The arrangement however challenges the normative domestic spectacle by virtue of the inclusion of species either categorised

as noxious weeds or so abundant to be deemed common. The work depicts agapanthus (Agapanthus praecox subsp. orientalis), an invasive plant of bluffs and coastal areas19, dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), tree lupin (Lupinus arboreus), a native of California, now invasive in New Zealand and Chile20, Dietes, bracken (Pteridium aquilinum), Muehlenbeckia and assorted grasses, which were collected from the environs of Bethells Beach (Te Henga) on Auckland’s West coast. The radical diversity of these species, some native and others exotic, illustrates how ideal environmental conditions, can contribute to our sense of Auckland as a place. Predation As the title infers this work features a parasitic relationship: the exotic Asian paper wasp (Polistes chinensis antennalis) is known to prey upon a range of native invertebrates, including the common copper butterfly (Lycaena salustius), and the monarch butterfly caterpillar (Danaus plexipus)21. The monarch butterfly is technically native, but is thought to have self-colonised New Zealand, perhaps within the last 170 years22,23. The Asian paper wasp was first recorded in New Zealand in 197924, and has quickly become widespread in northern New Zealand and the top of the South Island21. This species also has a beneficial effect, its main food source being the cabbage white butterfly (Pieris rapae)21, a pest of horticultural crops in the brassica family and of native brassica species such as the endangered Cook’s scurvygrass (Lepidium oleraceum)25. The contrast between the archetypal New Zealand bracken and an English vase refers to the ‘strangeness’ inherent in the intersection between cultures. Pollination The focus of this work is the mutualistic relationship between two exotic species: the bumblebee (Bombus ruderatus) and red clover (Trifolium pratense). Several species of bumblebees were introduced from the United Kingdom into New Zealand in the late 1800’s for the pollination of the fodder crop T. pratense. Four species, including B. ruderatus, are still present in New Zealand, and are known to almost exclusively pollinate non-native plant species, including some noxious weeds26. One species, Bombus terrestris, has been suggested as having possibly contributed to the spread of an invasive plant, agapanthus in Tasmania27. Several bumblebee species, including B. ruderatus, are in decline in the United Kingdom, and it has been suggested that it may be possible to reintroduce one or more species still found in New Zealand26. The flower arrangement also includes an assortment of other roadside weeds such as tree lupin, wild carrot (Daucus carota) and assorted grasses. The tree lupin, a native of California, is now invasive in New Zealand and Chile20, and like other legumes, is a nitrogen fixer28, which can add nitrogen to usually lownitrogen ecosystems, potentially adding to water pollution29 or even facilitating invasion by invasive grass species30. As such this work along with Collection provides an overview of Auckland’s unique ecology, an ecology, which prompted Landcare Research scientists to call Auckland “the weediest city in the world”. As with the Willow Pattern china the vase dates from the late 18th century.

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Habitation The relationship between the endemic giant weta (Deinacrida mahoenui) and the noxious weed gorse (Ulex europaeus) is the main focus of this image. The latter is the primary habitat and food source for the endangered Mahoenui giant weta, formerly a tree-dwelling species of native forest31, but they now largely inhabit gorse bushes. The gorse plants at Mahoenui are now strictly protected, which is unusual for this invasive plant species, which is usually controlled using herbicides, fire, grazing, or more recently a range of biological control agents32. Dense prickly gorse foliage is often the only protection for weta from predatory mammals present at the site33. The depiction of gorse reinforces the overarching theme of colonisation, in particular the creation of NeoEuropean landscapes by colonial immigrants, to assuage loneliness. Also featured are Muehlenbeckia and flax both of which, as with gorse, provide habitat for giant weta – in this instance D. rugosa34. The inclusion of the common copper butterfly and its food plant the aforementioned Muehlenbeckia further reinforces the notion of close relationships between species. The larvae of the endemic common copper butterfly feed on a range of endemic Muehlenbeckia species, but interestingly will preferentially feed on Fagopyrum esculentum, an exotic plant used in viticulture to promote biological control35. Ramification This image concerns the relationship between the feral pig and NZ kauri (Agathis australis) in particular the implication that the former may play a role in the spread of the pathogen, which causes kauri dieback36. The conservationist Stephen King succinctly defines the potential ramifications of this infestation and in turn the impact on our sense of place, Kauri are one of the largest rainforest trees on earth and they are to New Zealand what the pyramids are to Egypt and Stonehenge and cathedrals are to England. They’re worth more than tourism; it’s about our identity37. The Berkshire and Large Black breeds of pig (Sus scrofa) depicted, are English domestic breeds, corresponding to a common view that the first pigs released in New Zealand came from there. Feral pigs in the South Island in particular are derived from 14 breeds from Polynesia, Europe and Asia, nine of which were English breeds and it is likely that the pigs released by Captain Cook were of Polynesian and Eurasian origin38 HABITATION



Discussion Bringing together the exotic and the native in the same place creates a surprising ambiguity of relationships What makes the character of our place so unique and noteworthy is the remarkable and unusual biota. The case studies give us a sense of this. Perhaps the most interesting aspect is the surprising ambiguity within many of the relationships between species of flora and fauna. The protagonists in these fascinating relationships alter and shift between the categories of good and evil. Four of the images explore this ambiguity. The image Predation focuses on the seemingly malevolent exotic Asian paper wasp preying on the iconic monarch butterfly. Paradoxically this particular wasp assumes the role of benevolent saviour whilst preying on, what is considered to be a real or potential threat to New Zealand’s cultivated and native brassica plants, the cabbage white butterfly21. The focus of the image Pollination is the introduction of species and on occasion their failure to achieve the anticipated outcome. As previously stated a number of bumblebee species were introduced with the specific expectation that they would pollinate pasture species such as red clover. In the case of the latter the most successful coloniser in Auckland, B. terrestris, is considered to obstruct pollination, robbing the flowers. The bee depicted on the other hand, B. ruderatus with the evolutionary refinement of a long tongue, successfully performs the function39. Habitation dwells on the unlikely collaboration between the aforementioned exotic ‘bad’ species Gorse and the ancient but now endangered endemic ‘good’ species D. mahoenui. In this instance preconceptions concerning value are challenged as the former provides an ideal habitat and food source for the latter. This notion that a vilified species, gorse, may in actual fact perform a valuable ecological function in New Zealand is perhaps controversial. The relationship could by default be considered ‘obliquely’ mutualistic as the provision of habitat for an endangered endemic species has resulted in ‘Protected’ status for gorse in Mahoenui31. The inclusion of the native common copper butterfly in this work adds another layer to the paradox. The native Muehlenbeckia also depicted is a recognised food source but curiously the common copper prefers the exotic species Fagopyrum esculentum35. Finally, Ramification concentrates on the perilous outcome of the intersection between exotics and natives. Feral pigs, potentially spread the invasive Phytophthora attacking kauri. This topical issue demonstrates an iconic native being killed by what is probably an exotic disease, which is perhaps spread by the exotic pig34. Control of invasive species can be hindered at times by public resistance to control efforts, for a range of reasons including fear of pesticides, animal welfare issues and viewing the organism as a resource40. Another difficulty is in defining what is ‘non-native’ and convincing the general public the non-native organism requires control. In New Zealand defining something as ‘non-native’ is perhaps easier than continental countries and/or those with a long history of human occupation. Harmfulness of the species and human 12

responsibility for its spread can be considered more important than its ‘non-nativeness’. There are different perspectives on how invasive species are viewed and “responses to them will depend on the lens through which we are looking”41. Good vs. evil depends on place Our sense of good versus evil depends on place as the distribution of gorse so aptly illustrates. Along with gorse in Auckland there are many other weeds. As we drive to Bethell’s beach the road through native bush is garlanded with a myriad of exotic weed flowers such as those depicted in Pollination. The Bethell’s landscape is also weedy as the image Collection reveals. The weeds in these works define place. The monarch is also a special contributor to the New Zealand experience. The ambiguity and strangeness of relationships is again evident as this species, relatively recently self-introduced22 but technically native, is being attacked by a human introduced wasp. The relationship between the exotic pig and kauri, in particular the proposition that the former may play role in the latter’s demise36 is perhaps one of the most emotive of suspected detrimental relationships. The spectre of Kauri dieback has highlighted the precariousness of existence and the irreplaceable contribution species make to our sense of place. Occasionally this process of colonisation has possible unexpected benefits. Some of the bumblebee species so quintessentially British, are now endangered there. The New Zealand population is a reserve that may permit the reintroduction of bumblebees to their country of origin – a coming home of sorts. This notion of good and evil is reflected in the dichotomy of biodiversity and biosecurity. What is biodiversity and ‘good’ in one place easily becomes a biosecurity issue and therefore ‘evil’ in another. This exchange works in both directions. Our treasured pohutukawa is an invasive species in South Africa42 and interestingly, one species of Muehlenbeckia, M. complexa, is an invasive plant species of California’s northern coast43. There is the perception that non-native species have a detrimental impact on the character of a place, with some suggesting that “places can lose their sort of cultural identity”40. It would seem on examination of the assembled paintings that a black and white assessment of the positive or negative implications of colonisation is difficult if not impossible to achieve. A steady acceleration of the process whereby the exotic and the indigenous mingle is perhaps inevitable. It is therefore imperative that we do our utmost to prevent new invasive species from arriving and manage the impact of those already here, while allowing ourselves to celebrate cultural diversity and the hybrid vigour that defines our place. Acknowledgements The authors would like to gratefully acknowledge funding from the Faculty of Creative Industries and Business Research Fund. We thank the anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments on the manuscript and also Trina Smith and Sally Tagg for technical support. RAMIFICATION egg tempera on gessoed panel4

SUSTAINABILITY AND THE PUBLIC REALM WORDS & DIAGRAM John Allan & Gary Marshall Gary Marshall: Bachelor of 3-Dimensional Design Unitec, MLA Lincoln, Senior Associate at Jasmax John Allan: Graduate Landscape Architect at Jasmax IMAGE Meg Back


ustainability of the public realm is an inherent part of place making. Contemporary ‘best practice’ approaches to public realm design in central city environments tend to focus on the prioritisation of pedestrians through the integration of traffic calming measures such as ‘shared spaces’ and pedestrian tables. Where possible, these spaces are accompanied with ‘green infrastructure’ elements like rain gardens and constructed wetlands. While these approaches help to address localised effects such as automobile dominance of the public spaces and water quality, they fail to address deeper issues relating to sustainability such as fossil fuel dependency and the need for continued economic growth. This article describes how best to understand and intervene in a complex system such as the public realm and presents three emerging practices that challenge practitioners to think more broadly about how their designs contribute towards sustainability. Sustainability – The Root Cause “Instead of tackling our worldviews to address the problem of growth, we choose the symptom of climate change as the problem” (Logan, 2013). The modern environmental movement gained prominence through a number of key publications - none more important than the seminal book The Limits to Growth (Meadows, Meadows, Randers, & Behrens, 1972). Published in 1972, this study used the most advanced computers of the day with the best data available to model the planets “behavioral tendencies” with regard to the variables of world population, industrialisation, pollution, food production and resource depletion. Three scenarios were tested, two of which concluded that the contemporary global economy would over shoot and collapse during the first half of the twenty first century. Repeated analysis has bought the same results and the fact that human civilization cannot grow indefinitely on a finite planet remains irrefutable (Diamond, 2005; Greer, 2008; Meadows et al., 1972; Randers, 2012; Tianter, 1990). 40 years on, the central premise of The Limits to Growth has yet to manifest within mainstream approaches to sustainability and many, if not most, ‘green’ and ‘sustainable’ projects and design frameworks fail to recognise or respond to it.


In 1997, the lead author of The Limits to Growth - Donella Meadows - developed a theory identifying the most effective leverage points for intervening in a complex system – a point where a small change in one part of the system can have an instrumental affect on the system as a whole (Meadows, 1999). Meadows proposed twelve leverage points, organising them in increasing order of effectiveness. While it may seem counter intuitive, the least effective leverage points are ‘top down’ system parameters that tend to involve the ‘numbers’ and ‘structure’ of a system – the amount of land in conservation, the allocation of budget, the size of buffers, and the physical structure of the system. While these components have an enormous effect on defining the character of a system, they rarely affect the behavior of the system. Despite these observations most public realm design work attempts to intervene utilising ‘top down’ strategies. The most effective leverage points within a system are bottom up strategies concerned with the ‘DNA’ of the system and the nature of how a system self organises. In the case of human systems, including the public realm, the DNA involves ‘the goals of the system’, ‘the mindset or paradigm out of which the system arises’ and ‘the power to transcend paradigms’ (Meadows, 1999). Meadows’ demonstrates that the most effective leverage points within a system are the underlying patterns that govern how a system behaves rather than the outward manifestation of the system itself. Put another way, the most effective leverage points within a system are those that address the underlying causes of how a system performs – the paradigm, values and behavior’s of people within the system rather than the effects of the system such as climate change, resource depletion, loss of water quality and biodiversity loss, or the dominance of the public realm by automobiles. This article maintains that based on the available evidence, the current paradigm and values that preference economic growth, coupled with fossil fuel dependence cause these effects (Greer, 2008; Meadows, 1999; Meadows et al., 1972; Tianter, 1990). Designing The Public Realm - Contemporary Best Practice Renowned architect and urban designer Jan Gehl states that “giving higher priority to pedestrian and bicycle traffic would change the profile of the transport sector and be a significant element in overall sustainable policies” (Gehl, 2010). The approach of putting people ahead of the cars in the hierarchy of transport prioritisation has

appealing clarity and has worked to great effect in many city centres around the world, particularly those with an urban morphology pre-dating the automobile. This is evidenced in the growing interest in cities such as Copenhagen and Melbourne, which have been retrofitted to prioritise the life between buildingsi. Guided by a ‘Public Life Survey’ completed by Gehl Architects in 2010, Auckland has also just begun a similar undertaking in the quest to become the worlds most livable city. Gehl’s work demonstrates that provided that time and budget are available, top down strategies to upgrade the public realm can modify the attitudes and behavior of motorists towards pedestrians and cyclists. However, it remains unclear how pedestrianising an inner city affects broader regional mobility challenges such as congestion, or societal dependence on fossil fuels for the movement of goods and people. Current trends in contemporary placemaking also suggest that most practitioners agree with James Corner’s approach to the public realm. With a focus on brownfield sites, Corner views the current shift in ‘first world’ cities from an industrial economy toward a service economy, as an opportunity for ‘a totally new landscape of leisure’ (Rhodes, 2012). These brownfield remnants are the accepted detritus of industries left redundant as cities everywhere continue to outsource labour, materials and manufacturing to low cost, offshore alternatives. While a number of Corner’s earlier writings and theoretical designs demonstrate a refined understanding and application of ecological systemsii, his more recent built work seems less concerned with these ecological processes and ignores the broader socio-cultural systems and economic processes that create the brownfield sites in the first place. For all their appeal, these pedestrian scale, walkable, ecologically considerate, ‘leisure-scapes’ are unquestioning of the societal behaviours and values of economic growth, globalisation and fossil fuel dependency. In many cases these ‘best practice’ public realm strategies prescribe pedestrian priority and urban renewal in order to improve the economic competitiveness of the city and are justified on the basis of economic growth through increased consumer spending. For example, the ‘Pedestrian Pound’, a recent report commissioned by British charity organisation Living Streets, claims that making places better for walking can boost footfall and trading by up to 40% (Lawlor, 2012). Increasingly, these projects appear not as life changing innovative public spaces but as stage sets for high-end global retailers and corporate headquarters that provide few benefits to residents and fail to trigger the more effective leverage points within the system – Auckland is no exception.

Corporate financial headquarters that are entirely dependant on the ongoing growth of the global market place appear through veneer of green (infrastructure) – literally i

Søholt, H. (2004). Life, spaces and buildings: Quality criteria for good public spaces and the working methods dealing with public life. Paper presented at the Walk21-V Cities for People, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Because these strategies rely on centralised, top down approaches to planning, design, funding and implementation, they engage the least effective leverage points in a system. Worst of all, public realm strategies that fail to recognise underlying causes unwittingly contribute toward a positive feedback loop that continue to reinforce the economic processes that generate brownfield sites and will continue to undermine efforts towards designing a public realm that can contribute towards sustainability in any meaningful way. ii

Terra Fluxus in: Waldheim, C. (Ed.). (2006). The Landscape Urbanism Reader. New York: Princeton Architectural Press. Or various writings in Corner, J. (Ed.). (1999). Recovering Landscape. Essays in Contemporary Landscape Architecture. New York: Princeton Architectural Press.

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Where Corner, and other ‘landscape urbanists’ such as Alan Bergeriii appear to be comfortable accepting the inevitable urban decay that results from the pursuit of growth, others are exploring public realm strategies in cities that have been less successful in making the transition to the service economy. The poster child of declining cities – Detroit, is faced with such challenges. To many, and rightly so, these challenges are seen as opportunities ‘to re-think the civic landscape as a greater system with the potential to be reproductive, generative and structural’ (Desimini, 2013). Through her work at StossLU, landscape architect and theorist Desimini proposes productive and multi-functional landscapes that clean air, water and soil, make healthier urban environments, and generate resources for food, energy, commerce, and habitat (Desimini, 2013). Desimini’s approach maintains the green infrastructure of Corners ‘leisure-scapes’ and adds a layer of utility to the landscape - highlighting its productive potential – suggesting uses such as urban farms, algae-culture, aquaculture, hydroponics and energy fields. Robert Thayer, landscape architect and theorist observes that as transportation using fossil fuels becomes increasingly expensive, a shift will inevitably occur - ‘more local goods will be created and consumed, it remains to be seen whether this contraction in the scale of the instrumental landscape will be matched by more localised ownership, or by continued globalisation of corporate systems of production and distribution’ (Thayer, 2004). Thayer’s observations regarding localisation of economies highlights the potential of Desimini’s utilitarian, productive landscapes and offers clues as to where public realm practitioners should be applying their trade. The work of StossLU in Detroit remains reactionary and like many other approaches to the public realm relies, for the most part, on ‘top down’ mechanisms for validity, funding and implementation and the question remains how similar strategies can be implemented to build resilience in cities to transition into a post growth phase and shift toward more localised communities. While the design of our public realm will never exclusively affect ‘system change’, the following design strategies offer insights into how public realm design can trigger the most effective leverage points that, intended or otherwise, highlight emerging practice and suggest future directions and considerations for sustainable placemaking in the public realm. Public Realm Design – Emerging Practice And Future Directions The following emerging practices and future directions are loosely organised into the overlapping frameworks of Tactical Urbanism, Adaptive Muddling and The Commons. iii

Berger, A. (2006). Drosscape: Wasting Land in Urban America. New York: Princeton Architectural Press.


Tactical Urbanism And Adaptive Muddling “A great many small experiments must be conducted, and quickly. Many need to be far-reaching; some will fail, but all will inform a larger process of societal adaptation to a new biophysical reality” Raymond de Young and Thomas Princen. Tactical Urbanism couples temporary interventions in the public realm with long term planning by developing low-cost, lowcommitment, incremental changes to the city with the intention of leaving in place or implementing permanently, those interventions that work. An approach described as ‘Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper by Project for Public Spacesiv. One of the most recognisable examples is the ‘parklet’, which emerged out of the now global ‘Park(ing) Day’ event. In San Francisco a number of parklets have proven to be valuable assets for adjacent retail stores, cafes and the general public, inspiring council to create legislation to retain them and encourage the creation of morev. In this instance, tactical urbanism provides a bottom up mechanism for implementing Gehl’s pedestrianised city and allows citizens enact their democratic right to express a change in values at local scale. The Enabling Cityvi initiative emerged out of Toronto Canada in 2010 and has been documenting how participatory democracyvii can influence the public realm through ‘place based creative problem solving’. Where most public realm strategies rely on the governance of representative democracy, Enabling Cities highlights the inherent advantage of incremental change made by local citizens within their own community. Their goals include celebrating the creative community and using public spaces as sites of experimentation, highlighting numerous tactical urbanism projects. Adaptive Muddling, a framework developed by Raymond de Young and Stephen Kaplin that recognises the trial and error process of muddling through a problem, is an inherent human quality and forms part of our evolutionary success. To recognize that design is in essence muddling, allows us to take risks and accept failures as learnings. Adaptive muddling first requires acknowledgment of the problem that tends to be ignored or denied – the limits to growth - and the implementing at a small scale, multiple ideas simultaneously in order to explore, test and refine them. Rather than simply testing incremental and marginal change, adaptive muddling emphasizes experimentation and “encourages exploring, and thus pre-familiarising, for life-changing adaptations” (de Young & Kaplin, 2012). Where Tactical Urbanism provides a strategy for design intervention in the public realm, Adaptive Muddling provides the lens needed to focus on more effective leverage points of a system – values and behaviours. The Commons A commons approach to governance is based on shared resources ‘that are neither the private property of separate owners nor the property of a single public entity. Rather, the participants in a iv

Project for Public Spaces website: http://www.pps.org/reference/lighter-quickercheaper-a-low-cost-high-impact-approach/ v

‘Pavements to Parks’ parklet policy and manual - http://sfpavementtoparks. sfplanning.org/parklets.html) Park(ing) Day involves design teams reclaiming one or more metered parking spaces for a day to create a ‘parklet’ (http://parkingday.org).

commons serve collectively as stewards for managing shared resources’ (Brecher, 2013) Working largely in Buffalo, Academics Deborah and Frank Popper suggest that the time has come to embrace some form of negative growth. Their Buffalo Commons project and later their Smart Decline concept starts with the acceptance of resource constraints – a change in economic paradigm - which in turn enables structural interventions that allow a city to more easily ‘Reorganize space; remove unneeded infrastructure; rethink transportation, energy, and food options; encourage industrial and other heritage tourism; and, above all, rightsize themselves in authentic, resilient ways (Heinburg & Lerch, 2010). Popper’s work demonstrates that meaningful responses to sustainability emerge and are enabled through a change in values relating to physical constraints. This change in values enables new models of shared ownership and co-governance that can lead to innovative strategies to landscape management and regeneration. For example, ‘Blotting’ is a Smart Decline strategy that allows landowners to purchase unused adjacent lots for a nominal cost to allow for amalgamation of lots over time while concentrating the remaining built infrastructure in strategic locations. While blotting is no doubt far from the minds of most Aucklanders today, an evolved version targeting underutilised inner city spaces, such as the many carparks distributed throughout the city centre, could offer a promising strategy for the ‘ambiguous’ spaces that Manuel de Sola-Morales argues will play a ‘more significant role in everyday social life’. In his ‘Hypertrophy of Public Space’ theory de SolaMorales asserts that ‘the good city is one that is able to give a public value to what is private’, imagining a city where the public and private realm are indistinct by ‘bestowing an urban public character on buildings and places that would otherwise remain solely private’ (de Sola-Morales, 2008). Conclusion Sustainability of the public realm is an inherent part of placemaking. Many if not most contemporary green and environmental design initiatives and public realm practitioners fail to address the underlying cause of the many challenges we face today our current economic paradigm and fossil fuel dependence in particular - instead focus on the effects that manifest themselves in climate change, resource depletion, loss of water quality and biodiversity, the dominance of the public realm by automobiles etc. Meadows’ leverage points offer a framework for considering where best to intervene in a system. The emerging practices and future directions of Tactical Urbanism, adaptive muddling and the commons, while divergent in their intent, highlight a range of common themes. In particular, they question our current behaviors and values and leverage small scale, bottom-up initiatives that emphasize experimentation and the practical application of theory. These frameworks provide fertile ground for future place making initiatives in the public realm of our inner cities. vi



Participatory Democracy, sometimes called Direct Democracy, is where citizens vote directly on policy decisions, rather than electing an official who makes the decisions. See Ross, C. (2011). The Leaderless Revolution: How Ordinary People Can Take Power and Change Politics in the 21st Century. New York: Penguin.


WHOSE PLACE? WORDS Dr. Diane Menzies Adjunct Professor, Unitec, PHD Lincoln, MBA Canty, MBUS: Dispute Resolution Massey, DIP LA Lincoln, Dip Hort (Dist) Lincoln, Life member of NZILA IMAGES Meg Back, Dr. Maria Ignatieva. Although landscapes have been planned and made for several thousands of years, only in the blink of an eye, in relative time, has landscape architecture been a profession. Following Frederick Law Olmsted’s adoption and promotion of the title over 100 years ago, landscape architecture has been taught in universities in Europe and the USA, and more recently in many countries of the world. When the principles of the profession were established in the USA and Europe by the then leaders, western culture and values were privileged. Researchers, writers and promoters of the profession were almost exclusively western and professional principles and practice became entangled in western values. This was not critical when those cultures were western. However, as practice expands in countries such as India, People’s Republic of China, and those countries where indigenous cultures have a very different concept of landscape, the western cultural values enmeshed in the profession put practice and culture in conflict. The landscape architecture profession now needs to tease theory and practice from cultural values in order to recognize and enable non-western cultures to confidently express their values in landscape planning and design, so that their contemporary places resonate and connect to their cultures. This paper examines the issue of monocultural teaching and practice, the challenges (even oppression) perceived by those who seek recognition of diverse cultural values, and some possible ideas for change. This is a serious issue because if the profession fails to extend beyond tokenism by recognising other cultural values in practice, then those from non-western cultures are likely to turn their back on the profession. This is already occurring in New Zealand where some Māori perceive landscape architects as unresponsive and disinterested in Māori cultural values. An alternative scenario is the maintenance of the status quo, and the continued global proliferation of the same ‘High Streets,’ meaning the ubiquitous designs derived from the same design values, dominated by the one culture. Landscape diversity will instead become landscape poverty. Our profession will be responsible for such landscape degradation.


andscape architecture is a trap. It lures the unsuspecting student into thinking that their learning is about professional theory and practice from around the globe, rather than primarily from the western sectors. It lures the English speaking practitioner into thinking that they have received the body of landscape architectural knowledge from the world’s practitioners and writers, when non-English writers from cultures as diverse as Persia and Japan have rich archives of writings on landscape planning and design, but which have not been translated. It lures those who are not from western cultures into thinking that their cultures cannot be part of landscape practice, because landscape architecture is about western values. This is a false and unfortunate misunderstanding. It is false because landscape is a cultural construct and although much teaching, writing and practice is currently set in a western cultural framework, there are other understandings which respond to different cultural frameworks. Western based landscape architecture theory, writing and practice omit a large proportion of the world’s cultures, yet seem to be promulgated as the only understanding of landscape architecture. There is other knowledge, developed over centuries in China, Japan and by other eastern cultures which interpret nature and landscape in different ways. There are indigenous cultures throughout the world who understand landscape and nature in very dissimilar ways from western culture. We landscape architects who work with and between other cultures therefore need to recognise this misunderstanding for what it is: western culture rather than universal landscape understanding, and take vigorous measures to understand, recognise, respect, and learn from as well as practise



recognising and privileging non-western cultures in their appropriate place, so that the profession has a richer and much more diverse international practice. This is one means to achieve contemporary spaces that provide an authentic sense of place and home, and that reflect and connect to the people who live there. This paper sets out to examine the issue of mono-cultural practice, the examples of recent concerns expressed, and some moves to address the issue. The Mono-Cultural Concerns Chinese landscape architects and particularly more recent landscape architecture students1 have complained that contemporary teaching and practice in China does not reflect or respond to Chinese culture. That may be true because the profession now has as its contemporary base western-derived landscape understanding. In an interview of Chinese professors of landscape architecture reported in Landscape Architecture Magazine the following was noted: Some of the people who lead China’s most influential programs studied in the United States, and some of the programs have strong connections with American academics. Tsinghua University’s landscape architecture program was established with the help of a team of American landscape architects led by Laurie Olin, FASLA, of the University of Pennsylvania.2 However, recent scholarly work on landscape architecture theory from China reflects the different values Chinese people hold. It places importance on, among other things, naming places, or landscape features, such as rocks. Chinese, in contrast to western culture, emphasize poetry, emotion and symbolism when considering landscape. Chinese culture shares the attention to the visual or aesthetic aspects of landscape with western cultures, in contrast to many indigenous cultures, where intangible aspects may be more important. Meng, in a philosophical address explored poetry and events which are associated with landscapes as a means of interpreting and recognizing landscape values. Such thinking responds to the centuries old traditional Chinese understandings of gardewn and nature.3 He and others have explained that it is not only feng shui that encapsulates Chinese cultural understandings of landscape. There are many different philosophical understandings which have been promulgated over the centuries.4 Feng sui is an ecophilosophy which is relatively well-known in the west and has been adopted for centuries in China, but even this philosophy’s greater currency does not imply that it is part of teaching or mainstream understanding of landscape architecture in other parts of the globe. The more recent integration of Chinese culture into landscape architecture theory coincides with other activities such as the reprinting of an early Chinese writer on garden design5 and 1

Students at International IFLA student charrettes over a number of years, at IFLA Asia Pacific conferences such as in Japan in 2002, and at Shanghai Jiaotong University in April 2013, pers. comm. 2

Jost, D. 2013 LAM February.www.Landscapearchitecturemagazine. com/2013/02/08/the-great-exchange/ accessed 6 September 2013. 3

Meng Zhaozhen, 2013. Keynote paper, Jinzhou conference, China, May 2013.


Meng Zhaozhen, pers. comm., April 2013.

This cultural confidence was not always present in recent years. Although some Chinese landscape architects were selected by clients in China,10 western landscape consultants were frequently sought for landscape planning of prominent cities, and design of key city sites.11 In addition, landscape architecture had been removed from the university curriculum, and prior to its removal the focus had been on garden design as opposed to design of larger scale areas. Such larger sites in the public realm were instead planned and designed by Government. The clientled selection of western consultants may have been in part a symptom of the emerging elite city movement which seems to require that top cities have a sky tower (preferably the highest) and at least one exuberant Norman Porter building (as much as the lack of locally trained landscape architects). The more difficult to address issue has been the teaching, and thence practice, of landscape architecture following western cultural constructs. This can be explained by the training of the new teachers in America (primarily) where cultural diversity has been less of an issue. However, as those teachers have gained skills and maturity, more and more examples are occurring of planning and designs which not only have a Chinese cultural base but are also a fusion of ecological planning and green infrastructure management. Such designs12 create landscapes which reflect and value local places, rather than the apparently western inspired impositions. As Professor Hu Jie explains in an interview13: The first thing we face is our environmental problems, and right now, Beijing, and the whole of China, is in a period of fast development. As landscape architects who work on large scale development, our responsibility is to keep projects environmentally sound. It shows our respect for nature, and environmental quality. 8

Yao Yi-feng, ibid, page 83-85


Dai Qui-si, Wang Zhi-yang and Guo Xuan, ibid pages 114-119


Example are Zhou Gansshi’s carefully crafted work for a condominium development in Suzhou and Sun Xiaoxiang’s extensive botanic garden design work 11

One such example is the designs by Vincent Asselin of Canada in four key Shanghai parks. 12


For instance Hu Jie, Professor, Tsinghua University and consultant for the Beijing Olympic Forest Park



The book Yuan Ye was written in 1642 by Ji Cheng. Chinese Landscape Architecture 2013, Vol 29, 212, 08


Fu Fan ibid, page 54-69


anniversary celebrations and activities to recognise the author and publication; and the recognition of landscape architecture practice as an ‘A’ grade profession by the Government. While describing this as a renaissance of Chinese culture as it applies to landscape architecture may be making too much of the steps towards privileging Chinese culture in Chinese design, there is certainly much more interest and confidence in maintaining cultural integrity. A review of an edition of Chinese Landscape Architecture, the main professional journal,6 demonstrates this growing interest and confidence. The publication includes The Predicament and Prospect of Research on Chinese Traditional Gardens,7 discussion on landscape architecture from a cultural geographic viewpoint, 8and an article on classical landscape architecture design courses in which there is a need to explore and enhance the meaning and quality of landscape and that in turn requires teaching reform.9

www.asla.org/contentdetail.aspx?id=20102/accessed Sept 6, 2013.

Another important philosophy is to study traditional Chinese landscape and culture, and to design from our tradition and bring the tradition of old historical landscapes to today’s contemporary design. Even when we call a project a contemporary project, it has to have elements from Chinese culture. So, while we talk about projects, we always focus on two areas. One is to study local culture. Another is to bring in modern ecological research and technology. The consideration of Chinese culture and the landscape architecture profession in China is an example of just one culture which has initially applied the western cultural approach of the profession but is now considering teaching and practice with respect to their own culture: researching and debating cultural aspects, and considering teaching reform, at least to address some issues. Japanese landscape architects have maintained cultural traditions in landscape architecture with less intrusion of western cultural values. However, a leading Japanese landscape architect,14 noted recently that the imposition of western culture and lack of recognition and privileging of local culture was a leading issue for many landscape architects in Asian countries. Indigenous Culture Western cultural dominance of the landscape architectural profession is a particular issue in Aotearoa-New Zealand where landscape architecture has been practiced as a primarily western cultural construct despite the requirements of the Treaty of Waitangi to observe principles such as fairness and reciprocity. Indigenous understandings of nature and landscape are largely overlooked. Māori ways of perceiving landscape may currently be referenced in the form of a few Māori words, or as Māori patterns: tokenism. This is not necessarily deliberate cultural imperialism (although this has also occurred in AotearoaNew Zealand). It has come about because the profession has not recognized the dominance and role of western culture in professional teaching and practice.

understanding of landscape. Practitioners have often taken the view that if not working for a Māori client, or there are no clear Māori cultural issues prevailing, then there is no need to think further about cultural issues, and no need to consider the different way that Māori understand landscape. This is a mistaken view as Māori as well as other cultures live in, use and appreciate all aspects of landscapes. This theme is highlighted in a report of the Waitangi Tribunal into the claim known as Wai 262, concerning the place of mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) in contemporary New Zealand practice. The report notes: ‘.. Māori remain sidelined from decisions about key aspects of their culture. Laws and policies give others control of taonga such as .... traditional knowledge, and places, and flora and fauna that are significant to iwi and hapū culture and identity. And there is little place in those laws and policies for core Māori cultural values such as whanaungatanga and kaitiakitanga.’16 The report puts forward a framework for recognition of Māori values and culture in conservation, heritage and resource management, among other aspects.17 Recognition of indigenous landscape values was recently supported by a resolution at the International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA) Congress in New Zealand in April 2013. The resolution stated: We, the landscape architects of 41 nations of the world, commend the following resolutions to international, national, regional and local decision makers and assert that: 1. All landscapes of intertwined cultural, natural, urban and rural systems, including land and water, are important to people´s identity and quality of life and therefore must be respected. 2. We support the proposed UNESCO International Landscape Convention and urge all nations to engage with the process and support this inspirational convention, founded on local charter actions. 3. We recognize traditional and indigenous knowledge and wisdom held by people of the world, which contributes to understanding landscape and can guide decision making at this time and for our shared future, 4. We acknowledge that the profound connection between people and place roots culture to landscape and that our future requires our effective action and collaboration to sustain the wealth of the landscape world-wide.

Western thought and western culture is not landscape architecture. It is instead landscape architecture as taught by European and American practitioners, based on their cultural constructs. We now must develop ideas and approaches which recognize Māori ways of doing things, and not simply privilege the discipline’s origins. We must look to the intangible, the naming, the narratives and stories, the events and histories which are part of the cultural construct of landscape for Māori. And we must also do so in ways that recognize contemporary iwi Māori rather than attempting to mimic the traditional. Interested and concerned practitioners have over the years contributed ideas on ways to address this issue, or have undertaken sensitive and sophisticated work for Māori clients which recognize the client’s values. 15Despite this work the profession has scarcely changed thinking and Māori values are largely unacknowledged, or treated as a design opportunity for a site rather than an underlying difference in culture and

With the obligations of the Treaty of Waitangi and the support of the Tāmaki Makaurau Declaration, as well as examples of how other cultures are now privileging non-western cultures in landscape architecture practice, the time is right and due (some would say overdue) for the profession in New Zealand to lead bold change in practice.



Hiko Mitani, winner of numerous local and international awards for landscape design of sites such as the Kyoto State Guest House and grounds, and Japanese delegate for the International Federation of Landscape Architects, pers. comm. 2013. 15

These include Alan Titchener, Di Lucas, and Neil Challenger at Lincoln University.

Waitangi Tribunal Ko Aotearoa Tēnei Factsheet 1 Key Themes, Waitangi Tribunal, retrieved from www.waitangitribunal.govt.nz, October 1, 2013. 17

Thanks to Phil Wihongi for identifying this relevant information.

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Ideas For Change Māori landscape architects have been exploring ways that landscape, and the landscape architecture profession, might be reconceived in terms of Māori culture. They have based interpretations on concepts such as mauri and wairua, as well as Māori religious beliefs and customs. They have found this a challenge as all who are undertaking this work received their initial professional teaching in terms of western cultural constructs. This group have also found their colleagues often slow to adopt the very different values and approaches with which they have been grappling. Such thinking and work undertaken by Te Taua-Nuku (Māori landscape architects and aligned professionals group) was explained by Damian Powley at the IFLA Congress in April.18 He spoke about fostering the development of kaupapa-Māori aspirations within landscape architecture. His presentation included a ‘Māori landscape response which relies on empirical - place bound observation.’ Powley emphasized the role of people as a means of engagement with place, and described a landscape assessment methodology which recognized Māori cultural understanding of landscape. This work and other presentations at the international conference were supported or lead by Māori landscape architect Phil Wihongi who is also working vigorously to change thinking and practice. However, as a reflection of the New Zealand profession’s current lack of commitment to Māori values and culture, Te Tau-a Nuku is affiliated to Ngā Aho, Māori designers association, rather than the New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects. On a more positive note, landscape architecture students have ventured into this contested construct, exploring ways to design that respect and recognize contemporary pressures on the urban landscape. Josephine Clarke presented a challenging paper derived from her final undergraduate study for the IFLA Congress proceedings,19 which sought to overcome the invisibility and lack of engagement with Māori in design by demystifying the engagement process, and provided some practical ideas for doing this. Her Māori clients had confirmed that her approach was extremely useful and empowering for them. Another paper by Ben Mellor, based on his Victoria University of Wellington Master’s thesis, provides a stream day-lighting design which explores the various Māori states of water, and ways to represent and enhance an urban stream, without the need for interpretive signs or Māori patterns. Mellor challenges European tradition and culture through his proposed engagement with water, rather than, as he understands it, the western response to landscape intervention of standing and watching.20 While both students were tested in their work by the overarching western cultural bias of our discipline’s teaching, they nonethe-less have taken steps where others too timid have yet to venture. Indigenous Contribution An interest in landscape architecture and cultural values and interpretation has been expressed by Māori leaders to encourage our profession. In the keynote presentation to the international participants at the Shared Wisdom conference, Dr. Malcolm Paterson, Ngāti Whātua’s resource manager, emphasized the link between Māori and the land and water through pepeha, or tribal acknowledgement, in which identity is derived from landscape features. He described pioneering land sculpture by an ancestor, Titahi on a massive scale, echoing the moko, and carving patterns on the land. He also spoke of resourcescape and namescape as important issues for Māori, as well as aspects of hospitality and guardianship of the land, but noted the disempowerment of Māori in resource management. Ngāti Hine kaumātua Kevin Prime recently presented a comparison of the western landscape architecture approach and compared this with a Māori understanding of landscape features, aspects and whakapapa. His interpretation does not simply translate words into Māori but takes a Māori perspective as well. He urges landscape architects to recognize these different perspectives. At the same conference at which Prime presented his interpretation of Māori ways of understanding landscape,21 others gave accounts of their work on landscape aspects such as Takere Norton and Iain Gover of Ngāi Tahu, who have developed a database of Māori place names. The information is recorded on GIS maps which allow verification, accuracy and the inclusion of narratives to add to their tribal knowledge base. Ngā Whenua Rahui’s chair Sir Tumu Te Heuheu reminded the same conference that all the cultural mapping and recording of landscape history was about people. This of course returns the issue of landscape back to the construct. A cultural construct is about people and their culture. Landscape is not a commodity or an object. It is based on people’s understandings, beliefs, memories, values and perceptions. 18

Powley, D. 2013. Ki Te Whenua Tuturu: Towards the Maori Landscape; IFLA50 Shared Wisdom in an Age of Change, April, Auckland.


Clarke, J. 2013. How Do We as Designers Design with Cultural Integrity? IFLA50 Shared Wisdom in an Age of Change, April, Auckland, pages 172-179.


Mellor, B. 2013, Expressing the Unseen Representing Maori Heritage in Wellington, IFLA50 Shared Wisdom in an Age of Change, April, Auckland, pages 217-235. 21 Maori GIS Association conference Place 2013, August 17 and 18, SkyCity, Auckland.



The recognition of the links between people and landscape, the intangible aspects which contribute to a cultural landscape is a concept well accepted by UNESCO, and a category for inscription as a World Heritage Site. Aotearoa-New Zealand’s maunga Tongariro is inscribed as both a natural as well as a cultural landscape. Other sites in the world are being listed solely as cultural landscapes. Such landscapes are often maintained by belief systems and cultural knowledge helps to sustain those particularly special landscapes. This in turn recognizes the relationships people have with landscape and the intertwining of people and landscape. Steps For Change When contemplating a strategy for change that has been resisted for many years, strong leadership is needed together with an action plan which is monitored for progress and change. The issue, as in China, needs to be addressed in different ways. It firstly must be addressed in educational institutions so that the teachers understand that their western values are being privileged to the discomfort and disadvantage of Māori students. The small numbers of successful Māori students and Māori landscape architects is a symptom of the profession’s current myopia. This same pattern is repeated in other countries where western values are the basis for landscape architecture. There are very few Aboriginal landscape architects in Australia, few First Nations landscape architects in Canada and in South Africa, African landscape architects have yet to be trained to practice there.22 This situation may seem a puzzle because indigenous peoples’ cultural understanding of landscape is integral to their belief systems and an essential part of who they are. A key reason for this is that those students do not feel their values and ethnicity are accepted, and look elsewhere. There are steps underway to bring about change. The Landscape Architecture Department at Unitec in Auckland has a Māori Advisory Committee led by a Māori lecturer and practitioner,23 and have appointed an educator to develop and implement a Māori strategy to achieve change. In Wellington, Victoria University School of Architecture has a Treaty Committee24 which has a strategy for bringing about change in staff values and knowledge which includes language training and surveys each year on the inclusion of Māori values in teaching and research. Lincoln University has also given attention to Māori language and student projects for iwi Māori. Despite this, change is frustratingly slow. The profession itself, the New Zealand Institute of landscape Architects, could increase the emphasis and pace of this change in a number of ways which might include among other things: • Taking responsibility for bringing about change • A Māori landscape values document 22

At least up till 2012.


Richard Mann is Chair.


Chaired by Christine McCarthy


• Annual workshops with specific groups, such as Māori social scientists, on making change • Special advocacy and support for Māori practitioners • Inclusion of the Māori landscape group in their executive deliberations • Requiring registration for practitioners to demonstrate conversance with Māori cultural value • Requiring education providers to demonstrate steps to change through accreditation reviews • Dissemination of Māori place names for adoption by the profession • An annual survey of practitioners to monitor change There are many other ways to bring about change that could be considered in the fields of research, teaching and learning, practice and communication. Most particularly though, commitment and action is needed rather than a lengthy and debilitating consultation exercise. Conclusion The landscape architecture profession in New Zealand has tended to resist change. It has not widely adopted an understanding of cultural landscape and tends to uncritically follow legal interpretations of landscape, which in turn confirm western culture. None of the current New Zealand profession’s information privileges Māori values. Teaching and research generally (but not exclusively) follows the western pattern. This is not unsurprising as most landscape architects in New Zealand have a western, largely European, cultural heritage. Some regard promotion of Māori ways of doing things as a professional aberration at best. Even planting native plants was deemed in Christchurch by some members of the public as an attack on local people’s English garden heritage. Our profession is not far from mainstream values, where arguments about landscape are perceived as attacking people’s heritage, or even an attack on nationalism. So fundamental is the New Zealand cultural link to a myth of forest and lush green scenery, to beaches, sunshine and surf that our landscape is perceived as an important part of our identity. We landscape architects have been smug for too long about our professional principles and practice, and are losing our professional leadership to others, who will interpret landscape without reference to our profession. We need to set strategies in place to bring about fresh changes to our profession. I see this as needing rapid affirmative action: through Māori language, Māori sections of the profession, and different thinking. For too long we have overlooked our western professional monoculture. We now must work feverishly to bring about cultural diversity and inclusiveness. This is our bi-cultural place so it is up to our landscape architecture profession, if we want a future, to take urgent action.





s a landscape architect we design for people and their relationship to place, and we must take into account their needs, wants and biophysical requirements. As a long standing local resident I had to proceed with extreme care confident that I had a strong understanding of place having raised a family and lived in the Muriwai Community for 22 years. I am privileged to live in Muriwai, which is located 38km north west of Auckland’s CBD on the west coast of the Tasman Sea - it is an old seaside holiday village. The community comprises of about 2000 residents and current planning regulations mean it cannot grow. These people are both young and old and together they form a transient social presence in the Muriwai community. The key to this population is its connection with nature. The people who live here, and those who visit, do so precisely to enter into and become part of the natural system that it offers. A large proportion of this area comprises of wilderness, with a rugged coastline, Regional Park, DOC reserve, plantation forest and farmland and is at the end of a no exit road. It is the complex relationship that the people of Muriwai have with the edge that brings this dynamic and open landscape to life on multiple levels. The erosion processes acting upon the sand dune system at Muriwai beach operate across a range of temporal and spatial scales. The coastal systems at Muriwai are part of the greater Tasman coastal system, which in turn operates within global weather systems that begin and end elsewhere. The Muriwai shoreline forms part of a high energy coastal system. Consequently, Muriwai coastal system experiences long periods of erosion followed by periods of accretion. These periodicals however, are impossible to predicate. Currently the area is experiencing a long period of erosion.



My first community project began in coastal erosion in 2002. I was trying to stabilise the surf lifeguard tower located on the fore dune of Muriwai Beach. I quickly learnt that any solid object such as logs and wind-cloth fences collected sand and built sand dunes. This was nothing new and I found out through research that historic work by the New Zealand Forest Service had used similar methods of fences in the 1950s to 1970s. I next translated the fence method to plants that might hold the sand in place. Again nothing new. A botanist by the name of Dr Leonard Cockayne had gone to France in 1909 to look at such methods and introduced the marram grass (Ammophila arenaria) to New Zealand to do just that. The short comings of Marram grass is that it builds bigger, taller sand dunes, Cockayne’s method which in conjunction with Muriwai’s coastal location at right angles to the prevailing westerly winds combined with the spherical 0.05mm sand particles of the Muriwai sands results in highly mobile sands equalling large volumes of shifting sand. In the end, the environmental conditions of this nonlinear system won – we moved the surf lifeguard tower; in fact we moved the tower three times in three years. This introduction of working in the community for the community spurred me onto forming a sand dune restoration group and this coincided with the commercial reproduction of Spinifex sericeus an indigenous sand binding plant. At this point I was introduced to Jim Darm from the Bay of Plenty who was achieving great results in sand dune restoration work in the Bay of Plenty. I have lead many working bee days in the late autumn on the sand dunes of Muriwai. However it is not as simple as planting existing eroding sand dunes along this West Coast. The Muriwai coast is part of a high energy coastal system best described as a high energy dissipative beach and all these system are connected. The first part of the restoration process is an assessment on the eroding sand dune. These sand dunes were highly modified in the 1930s when Woodhill Forest was planted by the NZFS dune modification was carried out until the late 1990s. We then bring in machines and reduce the height of the sand dunes, flatten the top, widen the base and where possible create an incipient fore dune. When planting we used twice the number of Spinfex sericeus plants to address the mortality rate creating plant colonies which improves survival rates. As a temporary measure against the equinox winds we often place rectangular hay bales on the seaward side of late plantings. What I have learnt over the years is nothing is permanent when working with non-linear systems.


My latest community project started with a phone call which went like this: “we need a landscape resource consent for the new surf club at Muriwai but we have no funds to pay you with yet.” As a surf club member I was honoured to be asked. When designing this community landscape it was essential to connect the landscape on many levels into the existing broader community spaces. This was achieved by avoiding visual barriers to enable people to be drawn in and safely enter into these spaces. This promotes activity and social interaction between the various spaces and community events. This landscape has enabled a strengthening of community relationships with all the local community user groups who occupy the new centre. The design called for many activities to occur simultaneously. This has resulted in seven different landscape spaces which can all be used at once. The project has been driven by Tim Jago who is visionary in his thinking. We needed a new surf club due to erosion and the community has never had a hall. Tim’s solution was to combine the two and build a Community centre which also houses the Muriwai Surf Club and other community groups such as the Muriwai Sports Fishing Club. Four and half years later we now have a state of the art complex, which has seven permanent tenants. I worked with an amazing team of people all of those key people have succeeded beyond belief with a “can do” attitude for the community. Probono work can be a humbling experience from the architect Jasmax to the contractor of West Auckland. I project managed the landscape installation over a six week period with a zero budget yet we pulled off a $150,000 landscape. We are indebted to Porter Hire for machines, AC Diggers for machines, operators and materials, Treescape for materials and cartage - those are the big companies involved in the project and the 100’s of hours of volunteer community labour through working bees. The site is 300 metres from mean high tide springs in a very exposed location and within the Muriwai Regional Park. This has resulted in many restrictions on both design and materials. These restrictions were not seen as hurdles but rather as challenges which required the landscape architect to think outside of the square. I would not have achieved the results that I did if it weren’t for the community supporting our project and backing the project with man power, machines and materials. The landscape is by no means completed that will take another two autumns and many more hours of volunteers. As a landscape architect it has been my most rewarding job to date and I have thrived on the curve balls it threw at me.

UTOPIA WORDS & IMAGES Chris Bentley Landscape Architect, Director Boffa Miskell, Shanghai


lacemaking has always been a significant component of landscape architecture, whether it be defining the form of a city such as the planning of Central Park as the centre of New York City or the reference to something of cultural significance within a pocket park. Designing spaces that respond to site specific elements/ natural and iconic manmade features or historical and cultural references are essential components of creating places that are memorable, meaningful and special. Successful placemaking is achieved through good design and often involves very simple, strong but understated design solutions. This is evident in most of the award winning projects worldwide. I have worked most of my life in New Zealand and have had the good fortune to work on plenty of projects that are good examples of placemaking. It is however my most recent experience, working and living in China as part of the world’s largest urbanisation movement that is probably most relevant and certainly most interesting to this topic. Working in China is very challenging and one of the biggest issues facing the country and landscape architects working here is how to create a sense of place within the rapidly changing new urban areas. You may have heard stories of taxi drivers in Shanghai saying that they struggle to know where they are in the city; it is so large and constantly changing such that they need GPS to find their way home. I work on projects all over China and have been to many cities. Local Chinese I meet are often amazed at the number of cities that I have visited. Unfortunately it usually involves a flight followed by an hour long drive into the faceless city centre returning to the airport in the evening on the same roads. My memory of these place is a blur because of the little amount of time I spend in a particular city plus the roads and buildings, even vegetation, look the same. Most of the cities are starting to look the same. The roads, conform to national standards for road cross sections and they are so large in width that everything gets dwarfed by their huge scale. Much of the architecture is standard and similar materials are used everywhere. To make the picture worse, many Chinese property developers love classical European architecture and dictate that their developments are to have a traditional French or Italian style. Having painted a fairly gloomy picture there is a change occurring and some local government agencies and enlightened developers are now looking to establish an identity with new districts and want a sense of place or at least a uniqueness for their developments. Some of our latest clients are looking for local culture reference in placemaking.


So how do we design to create a “sense of place” in China. The following examples of recent work show the process of building on elements of local culture to design for new communities, how we go about explaining the cultural connection and how this is expressed in the design language. We have two projects in Guangxi province and before starting them I took my holiday in that region which is stunning. It borders Vietnam, has 26 indigenous cultures and diverse landscapes of national and international significance including the “Dragons Backbone” rice terraces and the “Detian Waterfall” which is the second largest cross border waterfall in the world. It straddles the borders of China and Vietnam. Guangxi Cultural Street The site for this mixed use residential and commercial development is very steep and looking at the architectural masterplan they propose to flatten it. One of our concerns was to retain some of the natural landform character as well as build on cultural references. Our recommended architectural master plan shows buildings sited in response to the topography and a perspective of the villa housing located within a terraced landscape utilising storm water as a feature by creating a series of terraced waterfalls. Bali Lake Jiujiang Bali Lake is in the centre of Jiujiang New District, Jiangxi Province, China. The area is rapidly developing with new infrastructure but currently lacks community recreation facilities and any identity. The area is low lying and wet with many lakes rivers and ponds making the area famous for fish and rice. Jiujiang has a deep cultural background with 2000 years of history. Many great philosophers lived here and passed down poems and literature making it a place famous for its cultural heritage. Our concept embraces the famous essay by local philosopher Tao Qian “Peach Blossom Spring”, which reflects the Chinese vision of “Utopia”, and translates it into a landscape metaphor that forms the basis of the design. Tao Qian’s imagery has informed our creation of a contemporary Utopia. The park connects northern residential communities, including the Jiujiang Cultural Arts Centre via a journey through a series of wetlands and lotus ponds (which treat stormwater runoff from the roads) to reveal the spectacular Round Lake Park. The Round Lake Park is framed by a circular waterfront boulevard, the focus of which is a large fountain at the centre of lake. Surrounding the waterfront boulevard are the various activity zones. The three entry mounds planted in peach blossom trees provide a striking entry to the utopia-inspired Round Lake Park. These show placemaking is an integral part of designing new urban spaces in China.


WHAT WAS WHAT IS AND WHAT WAS POSSIBLE WORDS & IMAGES Doc Ross Doc Ross’ work has been widely collected publicly and privately, and exhibited around the world, including an exhibition and auction of Contemporary Australian and New Zealand Photography at Sotheby’s in New York


ith my photographs of Christchurch post-earthquakes, my agenda is not to create or capture memories. Instead I prefer to look for symbols that reflect the current and ever-evolving state of the city and its people. They tend to reflect that these are dark times for many, in what is now a somewhat divided city, a darkness that is also the seed of hope and even wealth for others. This is a time of extreme unfairness for some and a time of unequalled opportunity for others. I want my photographs to be a constant reminder of this place we have to endure now in a hope that they will be both a documentation of what was, and that they will remind or inform how we felt in that time. When contemplating the question “how do we create a contemporary sense of place in Christchurch" I feel in many ways that is to a great degree out of our hands, for our place in this time has been dictated by past disaster, and (some would say) potentially by future disasters of the city planning variety. The loss of the traditional control we have over how a city evolves caused by the CCDU-controlled blueprint for the city makes the micro elements more important than they may have been prior to the quakes. It will be around the fringes where we can make a difference. The government gives us what they believe is what we want and need in a city, but we may well have to apply the frills to the sandpaper underpants they give us for a city. Architects, designers, planners and Governments should all take the time to consider and respect each others views and remember that they are not re-building a place for themselves, but for those very others with whom they may well disagree! The danger for them is that photographs will forever record their successes and failures, and show us what was, what is, and what was possible.


THE LAND WORDS & IMAGES Lester Mismash BArch (Hons), Adjunct Lecturer, Unitec Institute of Technology


omfort exists in places we feel oriented, and we settle where we find meaning. We never stray so far from the familiar as to not feel connected; or if we do, there is an acknowledged or perhaps unrecognized, constant desire for a distinct character of place – a unique physical reality that at some time, embedded itself in our identity.

Almost ten thousand years ago man spread over a great part of the world. Anthropologists refer to this time as the beginning of a revolution, when we transitioned from a wandering, temporary existence of hunting and gathering to an agrarian, sedentary life of settlement. We shifted from small nomadic hunting bands to form denser, more permanent villages, and began to reveal our presence in the world. Nature once had the ability to constantly direct the huntergatherers’ patterns and behaviour; but now the settled man manipulated nature to dramatically reduce this effect. This revolution initiated man’s profoundly different relationship with the land. Within our newly realized relative stillness, our landscapes began to feel familiar and became refuges against unknown wilds. The making of familiar ground created relief from unlimited space, a place of respite from the expanding horizon, and our own niche beneath endless stars. We formed deep connections with a certain quality of light, the moisture in the air, the smell of the earth. An intuitive knowledge of rocks, trees, water, and the lay of the land developed; we could define our place in the world holistically. In addition to an intensified sense of place, creating dwellings and villages also established a level of separation between man and the wild. While a cave dwelling was still of nature and acted as an extension of the land, man’s early autonomous structures constructed a new, provocative distinction between inside and outside. Dwellings introduced order and form, expressed our understanding of the land, and fostered the beginning of complex social interactions. As we built this man made world within our natural world, we gained the perspective to contemplate nature as a separate thing from ourselves, and we began the expanding process of forgetting or perhaps denying our role as an integral part of nature. The physical form of the land and the climate of a specific place communicate unseen forces. The mountains, the desert, and the sea hold the power of timelessness and of time; knowledge we desperately want to understand as it witnesses the instantaneity of individual life, as well as the long histories of our families. Within this passing and keeping of time the land moves, and then rests, in rhythms we cannot predict and in ways we cannot reproduce. This omnipotent quality of the land led to an anthropomorphized interpretation of its unpredictability and power. Myth and religions developed embracing the land as sacred, so gods and spirits could unleash their wrath upon man, superseding and releasing us from the inexplicable nature of an overwhelming force. Man recognized a living essence in the land, the trees, the water, and the sky that demanded reverence. In the Roman culture, these animistic manifestations of reason evolved into sophisticated guardians of place. Romans reacted to certain unique characteristics of place through manifesting spirits. These spirits reflected the qualities of landscapes; their presence gave hilltops meaning, guarded rivers, and made the trees their home. The spirits animated, explained, and lent their personalities to areas that became highly valued. Stone temples and prescribed paths through the landscape stand as a response to myths born of the specificity of place. We immortalize what we value most, through making, telling stories, and keeping histories. Many cultures have perpetuated an animistic belief system in which nature



holds spiritual or ancestral meaning. Their deceased exist in nature, so leaving or disrespecting the land abandons a deeply felt, living relationship. Beliefs rooted in the land continue a cycle of life and death connected to a place. The land links and maintains a connection between generations of people and binds their culture. This cyclical understanding blurs the western-based linear sense of time. “Maori land has several cultural connotations for us. It provides us with a sense of identity, belonging, and continuity. It is proof of our continued existence not only as people, but also as tangata whenua of this country. It is proof of our tribal and kin group ties…of our link with the ancestors of our past and with the generations yet to come. It is an assurance that we shall forever exist as a people, for as long as the land shall last.” ~New Zealand Maori Council For the Maori, immigrants meant encountering new forms built without a deep understanding of the land or its history, and witnessing these new cultures manipulate the land to suit their traditional concepts. In New Zealand, the natural response of immigrants to recreate a foreign landscape into a familiar image cleared forests, planted unfamiliar plants, and released domestic and predatory animals upon the land. Roads and trains connected many days of distances into hours, and introduced new ways of using the land. Most poignantly, the new inhabitants demonstrated land was an entity that could be owned by man, even a singular man, where previously no material value could be understood for a place of spiritual and ancestral importance. Cultures often respond to outside influences through exchanges of ideas, symbols, architectural forms, and technology. The Maori responded with the meeting house, a structure evolved from the chief ’s house in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. While its formal necessity was the result of new social adjustments from colonization,

the meeting house retained a distinct relationship to the history of the land. Even today, it creates a metaphorical manifestation of the connection of a people to place, to ancestors, to the past. The Maori may interpret the ridge beams and rafters of a meeting house as the spine and the ribs of an ancestor, but its greater meaning is not contained in its form. Meaning comes from the artwork throughout these structures as symbols of family and ancestral heritage. Carvings and weaving do not decorate Maori buildings; they define them. It is this connection of a people through the land with time and history that truly separates indigenous cultures from Western culture’s obsession with the present, and feelings of disconnection. For the Maori, a sense of place and sense of community do not interconnect with the land of New Zealand, they are indistinguishable from it. “I conceive that the land belongs to a vast family of which many are dead, few are living, and countless numbers are still unborn.” ~Author Unknown
 Island cultures differ in their examples of dwelling throughout the Pacific, yet there is a common thread that links them. The traditional structures in which they live or gather do not stand still. The act of building, of constantly renewing their connection with the land shifts them, acknowledging growth, decline, and change. Many of their buildings behave cyclically; thatched roofs blow away in hurricanes or entire buildings purposefully decay into the ground as a body would. New generations rebuild and adapt the remains of previous structures on land where ancestors once walked, shed blood in battle, planted crops, hunted and fished. The Maori often build as a community, strengthening relationships, and empowering place. The process of reconstruction passes down skills through generations, and reinforces a life cycle mentality to a detailed scale. Even pieces of wood are often repurposed; the notched marks of their past responsibilities telling their story.





This attitude is in stark contrast to a common Western tradition of valuing the building as a temporal memorial in which it stands apart, safe in perpetuity. The people of Western cultures shift in response to wars, religion, economics, or climate and have no ancestral history uniting them to a land from one generation to the next. The buildings of these cultures exist without a constantly reaffirmed connection to place or personal significance to future generations but act as containers of a specific moment in time and evidence of technological and artistic achievements.


As we discard these ideas and move towards a globalized cultural identity we lose important place specific, restraining attitudes. In general, we have pushed away the intuitive, harmonious response to land and forgotten how to achieve expressions of locality. Metaphor is a communication tool inherited by many generations of many cultures who maintain strong ties to the land that can pull us back to remembering. These metaphors form the stories of ancestors, and gather ecological, and cultural significance into meaningful narratives anchored in a culture’s unique geographical location. Metaphor has the ability to transfer our personal relationships with nature, like the long white overwhelming clouds of this land, onto new surfaces, and into new situations. In doing so metaphor provokes us to reconsider all a cloud is when expressed in smooth white concrete that navigates shadows in a new way and floats just above arm’s reach. This cognitive shift displaces our rational understanding of one concept with something provocative. Both the subject used as reference and the receiver of the reference transform and connect; a new concept is born from seeing a cloud in the context of built form. However, metaphor means nothing if not understood, so its intentions must be grounded in culturally meaningful reference. The true power in metaphor lies in its ability to stimulate our imagination and leave determinations guided, but open-ended. It is precisely this polysemic nature, which leads not to ambiguity but to significance through a dependent relationship on source and cultural interpretation. We have been building with the belief new architecture could emerge independent of past associations and independent of the environment. However if we re-evaluate our present concepts and attitudes in relation to the environment in which we live, if we listen to the stories, and engage the metaphors, the meaningful forms will come from seeing the new in terms of the old, carrying the history of the land and ideas of its ancestor’s forward. Our actions whether synchronous or oppositional to the land are part of an undeniably complex natural system. Our self-imposed feelings of separation as we travel across the land without touching it, and pass through the night in city lights forgetting the stars is sub-systematic, and paradoxically connected to nature. Through an alienated lens, we view cultures that live in harmony with the land as virtuous, and remain nostalgic for that state of innocence before our ‘fall from paradise’. Our dialectic journey has gone from a direct dependence on the land to a growing, indirect dependence. Is our focus on creating a global culture, and using technology to extend beyond our evolutionary comfort zone a necessary distraction from more than just the wounds of disenchantment from the land; but the deeper cut of disconnection with a localized life system? Can we simultaneously work harder to perfect synthetic realities, and maintain a global attitude while cultivating a personal and cultural identity with place? The land that held mysteries and intimidated us with immeasurable forces now appears fragile, and we stand questioning our role in the system, afraid of its limitations. Ultimately, the level of our understanding of the land configures our expressions of specificity in time and place. Perhaps the beginning of understanding starts by remembering the land is not something to look at, to own, or travel through but something in which to be, for a very long time.


WHO IS THIS ALL FOR? WORDS Stuart Houghton Associate Principal Boffa Miskell, Auckland IMAGES Meg Back


lacemaking as a term has become not only a ubiquitous mots du jour amongst those responsible for planning, designing and managing our cities but also an increasingly sophisticated and highly organised, controlled and managed city activity, enacted by a broad collective of professionals that may include planners, designers, artists and other creatives, event and project managers, publicists, risk advisors, traffic management, planners and various local government officials amongst many, many others. Here in Auckland efforts have been led largely by the efforts of Council-controlled organisation Waterfront Auckland at the Wynyard Quarter and elsewhere across the waterfront; and by Cooper and Co, private developers and long term landlords of the Britomart Precinct; as well as the Heart of the City business association through their Big Little City campaign and wider events portfolio. The physical infrastructure of place making is being supported by significant resources and outreach to Aucklanders through both mainstream and social media. Those Aucklanders who work, live or regularly visit the city centre will have noticed the difference, and have become accustomed to an ever growing range of events and offerings that seek to activate the public spaces of the waterfront and city. These efforts are without doubt commendable and have been instrumental in forging new connections between Aucklanders and their city centre and waterfront, highlighting the transformational change and new dynamic that is occurring in public life and urban renewal more generally within the city centre. Aucklanders are learning to love their central city; to want to be there, even though they may have no reason to. This approach to the development and management of the public realm has become so successful that place making and, more generally, the need for ‘activation’, are starting to become not only the leading catch cries but the major driving force in public space development in this city. Where is all this leading us? Already within the design professions it often seems we are heading towards a dumbed-down understanding and dialogue around the role of public space that appears to regard it as merely a blank canvas or empty stage that must be activated. The consensus view is that if a space isn’t activated, it cannot be successful. And, increasingly, if you don’t have a comprehensive placemaking programme in place, how can you be sure that this activation will occur? Even people themselves start to be regarded as something to be managed, programmed and activated to ensure a successful public place. The Role Of Public Space There is a danger that this new conventional wisdom around place making and activation of public space has become so de rigueur that it becomes an end in and of itself. This place making dialogue tends to overlook many of the other societal qualities and functions of public space that should be considered fundamental to urban life.



Whatever happened to designing spaces that can simply become just great places to be? Places to just inhabit, to dwell and spend time not money; that provide respite from activity even. What about public spaces that are unprogrammed places of encounter, exploration, wander and wonderment? Surely we should be interested in providing public places that can support spontaneity, unscripted and unstructured play and activity as much as that of the organised kind. We need spaces that provide for freedom of use and expression by all sorts of people, both individuals and groups, and happily accommodate different groups and activities at once. We need spaces that people can make their own; use in ways that they see fit which often cannot be foreseen by designers and others involved in shaping our public places. Shouldn’t this sense of freedom in public space provide something of an energising, engaging, tactile and visceral counterpoint to the detached and predictable world of the virtual we all now inhabit? Lastly, don’t we need to make sure we are providing public places that cater for all? Places that only cater to the interests and values of select groups or that cannot be enjoyed without spending money are not genuine public places. Good Places Take Time Underpinning all this needs to be a clear understanding that public space is not a consumable product to be designed and delivered perfectly formed and functioning on day one. This point is illustrated well in considering people’s perceptions of the recently completed Lorne Street shared space outside the Central Library. The resultant space is perceived by many in the Auckland planning and design community, as well as the wider public, to be an unsuccessful place that is empty and bland, devoid of any activity, not helped by the disused St James Theatre down one side. There have been calls for the space to be redesigned or ‘to be greater activated’, that it is not being used. But this view overlooks the ways in which different groups are finding opportunities to use this space in ways that work for them and also serve to enliven the public realm in the ways desired by those who scorn of its emptiness. Good places take time to grow and evolve. They need time to allow the people that inhabit them to take hold of them and recreate them as their own. Places cannot be designed and delivered to order. They have to be allowed to happen, to grow and change from the direct efforts of those who live, work, spend time in and care about them. In the case of Lorne Street, some groups have found opportunities for public life where others have only seen failure. What for one person is a useless, empty, bland and purposeless space has become to others an opportunity to skate away from the tut tutting of the masses or the perfect place for skint students and back packers to sit and utilise the library’s free wifi in the dappled light and refreshing breeze of a warm summers afternoon. These are authentic and genuine uses and users of public space and they should not be overlooked in favour of more orderly or organised public activity. We should be careful to ensure placemaking does not become a tool for displacing social activities considered undesirable with ones considered desirable or appropriate by an influential elite. We should also make sure that where efforts are put into the organised and managed activation of public space, this does not kill off or dissipate a culture of genuine public life in favour of commercialised, institutionalised and sanctioned activity in public. Being in the public realm of the city must be different to visiting a theme park, shopping mall, sport stadium, performance venue or other highly staged and managed social space. So What Does All This Say About Us? We need to be comfortable with the idea that a healthy city is a diverse, dynamic, messy and unpredictable place. It should be capable of supporting public life that is organic and unscripted, spontaneous, inclusive and fundamentally democratic. The city must be a place for all; a place that allows for difference, tolerates messiness and imperfection and encompasses the widest range of possible uses and users. The social value of the encounter, the ability to brush up against others different from oneself, is a fundamental attribute of city life that suburban Aucklanders need to become comfortable with if this fast growing and increasingly diverse and metropolitan city of 1.5 million individuals is to get along and succeed as a city of the twenty first century. That Aucklanders are at best somewhat unaccustomed if not downright uncomfortable with mixing with others of a different kind is one very big social reason why we should be investing in public places. We should understand and talk about these public places in the broadest terms possible – it is not just how we value and use our streets and squares, our parks and beaches. It is also about getting people out of the personal bubble of their private car and moving through our public transport stations and interchanges and onto our trains, buses and ferries. It is about the community interaction that happens inside the public institutions of our schools, child care centres, our libraries, swimming pools, recreational and community centres, art galleries, museums and all other public buildings and institutions. All of these things are capable of bringing diverse groups of people together and help form a stronger social glue that sticks us together. That we are often uncomfortable with each other should not exactly be surprising in a city that is mostly a disparate and far flung collection of suburbs. These suburbs are largely so lacking in diversity and so strongly segregated along stratified socio-economic lines that everyone knows their place in the house price pecking order thanks to the regular league tables



published almost weekly for the benefit of all by the New Zealand Herald. This lack of a shared existence is made even more pointed by the fact that the vast majority of Aucklanders only move around their city by private car. These social and cultural divides are evident in much recent debate about public life in our city. It is especially telling where people express sentiments around ridding areas of activity considered undesirable or considered not to belong. These sentiments can be seen as a thread running through the debate on many issues in central Auckland and the city as a whole; be it ridding Queen Street of drunks or homeless, clashes between the fashion establishment and shopkeepers of more recent immigrant origin over shoebox shops and sheesha smoking on High Street, or more micro and seemingly trivial issues such as the complaints and looks of disapproval from some directed at the messy eating spectacles that unfold every day at the northern end of Elliot Street thanks to the presence of an extraordinarily popular Dominos Pizza. More broadly we see the same thing in the thinly veiled us and them NIMBY attitudes driving the unitary plan debates around intensification of residential neighbourhoods, or the revealing attitudes expressed by some in discussing the recent announcement of a Te Papa North museum to be located in the Manukau CBD in preference to the central city waterfront. There seems in all of this a somewhat disturbing inability to tolerate, relate to or accept the different customs, behaviours or lifestyle aspirations of others. The fact is Auckland is experiencing immense population growth and demographic change. In a city where more than half of its residents were born outside of New Zealand, coming together is all important and we all have to learn to get along. The public realm of the city must fundamentally be a place for everyone. Broadening The Place Making Dialogue As designers we should be broadening the current conversation beyond place-making as a vehicle for entertainment and leisure that is highly staged and managed to developing a genuine culture around our public spaces that is inclusive , provides for freedom of expression and open-endedness, tolerates and embraces difference and messiness and helps to brings people together and feel connected in everyday and extraordinary ways without there being the constant need for organised place making initiatives. For a sense of what it could be like to live in such an Auckland, we need look no further than the


happenings of those few months in September and October 2011 when the city played host to the Rugby World Cup. On the opening night in particular, Aucklanders thronged into their city centre from all reaches of this sprawling suburban region of 1.5 million people for the opening night celebrations. Our run down trains were so overloaded they couldn’t cope. Up and down Queen Street crowds were spilling from the pavements into the gutter and eventually people took over the streets. People kept coming back day after day for the duration of the tournament; just to be a part of it. More than anything else, those halcyon days demonstrated to Aucklanders what living in a connected city of 1.5 million diverse denizens should actually feel like. It was a taste of living in a real city; a palpable feeling of living in a place that is much more connected both physically and socially with something bigger than our everyday private lives. This feeling of being connected to something bigger than oneself is part of what makes everyday life in the truly great cities of the world not just tolerable but at its best a daily uplifting and life affirming experience. This aspect of public life is what we should be striving for in the Auckland of the 21st century. There is clearly a role for place making in helping forge new connections between Aucklanders and their city; bringing people together and encouraging them to engage with places and each other in ways their everyday lives don’t naturally provide for. We should celebrate and continue the success we are achieving with our current place making drive. But we should remember who this is all for. This is not about activity for activities sake but to foster public life for a greater purpose, to foster an open and inclusive public space culture in this city that unites and binds us together. The city needs to be a place for all. Our understanding of what makes successful public places can’t be limited to cappuccino urbanism or the city as a recreational playground. The real placemaking project for Auckland needs to go further than keeping people occupied of a sunny Sunday afternoon. It needs to be about transforming our public spaces of all kinds and right across this city into lived-in places that are loved and cared for by Aucklanders of all persuasions as they go about their everyday lives in this increasingly diverse big little city. City life is fundamentally a shared collective existence. Provide public places that take care of this, and the place making takes care of itself.


SENSE OF PLACE EVOLVES WORDS & IMAGES Jillian de Beer Managing Director of de Beer Marketing & Communications


ow can we retain a sense of local place? The idealised notion of how communities relate to a specific sense of place is set against geographic fragmentation and disruption. Time-space compression and convergence - the condensing of spatial distance and time through technological innovation, and the acceleration of time, transportation and social experience between places – has given rise to the movement and communication across space and place, to the geographic stretching out of social relations, the elimination of borders, and the disruption of horizons. It has produced social effects of insecurity, isolation and disconnectedness. In a world of constant movement and change, people need a strong sense of place, or locality, as a sanctuary or place of stability and connection. The underlying meaning of place, and the revealing of natural and cultural heritage, is interpreted as a desire for security of identity and a sense of belonging. There is a need to think of ‘sense of place’ in terms of how it relates to global-local time, feelings and relationships. People have multiple identities, and belong to numerous communities of interest. Communities form from networks of friends and connectedness through common interests and shared purpose. They increasingly choose a place to meet, participate, be inspired, contemplate and create, and therefore add rich social dimensions to the interactive cultural expression and experienced identity of the place. A place can be seen as a unique point of intersection – attracting people and communities of interest to a particular location, enabling place-specific events, and producing transformational expressions and experiences that would otherwise not have happened.Cultural identity and ‘sense of place’ is defined by interaction with and sensory response to land, water, sky, objects, textures, colours, sounds, tastes, aromas and people. The intersection of social networks, of activity and dialogue, that become shared experiences in a


place, are greater than the place itself. There is consciousness of the place and its links with the wider virtual world, connecting the global and the local. Community-based research indicates that “people”, “relationships”, “communities” and “a village feel” are increasingly what people state is most important in their lives. Authenticity, cultural expression, inclusion, and a sense of intimacy are central to the ecosystem of engagement and participation. The role of arts and culture can uncover and enhance hidden identity — through story, bringing to life the unique meaning, value, and character of the physical and social form of a community. This identity is reflected through the community’s unique character or sense of place. A community’s sense of place is not static; it evolves over time, reflecting the variety and kaleidoscope of social values within and around the community. In this way, the community character of a city, town, neighbourhood or street can be viewed as a continuing narrative of a place. Community builders, designers, artists and community participants can come together to bring life to this narrative through: an expression of the historic, economic, and cultural context of the community; a commitment to the strengthening and enhancement of the community’s identity; and the implementation of design frameworks, and actions that support and enhance this evolving identity to be connecting, meaningful and memorable. Community identity and character is strengthened through 360 degree thinking, understanding of multi-cultural dimensions and interests, matched with collaborative decision-making; and the integration of arts and cultural assets (people) with creativity, and the balancing of intergenerational social values. The global movement toward

democracy has created extraordinary opportunities for the voices of individuals to be heard and seen. “Social influence”, enabled through social media, has opened up a sea-change of a global nature, on an unprecedented scale – and is at the very heart of where society is heading.

know. Two main trends defining change now and within the next decade are 3D printing and renewable energy. We are witnessing the reclaiming of knowledge systems and making with our hands, matched with new ways of knowing and new ways of learning.

Since the 2008 economic crisis and the Arab Spring unrest, the world has experienced unprecedented change. People and the social experience has become core to new innovative enterprise models. We must look to people and communities as active “participants” in creating a sense of local, with heart, vibrancy and a sense of belonging.

The demand for constant innovation to meet the aspirations and needs of communities requires cross-disciplinary collaborations, inter-disciplinary experimentation, and innovations that bridge art, science and design within collaborative, sharing-based “value ecologies”.

The paradigm shift - from traditional hierarchical and linear approaches to business, design and manufacturing production – has moved to flat, flexible disruptive models formed around the participating customer, maker, and community. Participation, openness, sharing, and mass collaboration emanating from small-scale initiatives is shaping our future “now”. Creativity and innovation are contributing to social solutions, health and well-being, and education. However, institutions and systemised forms of education are no longer keeping up with what people need in regard to ways to learn and

Society, the culturally elite, and Councils can no longer think in terms of constructs or objects. The desire for engaging, participatory environments and collaborative communities that harness an individual’s and community’s collective knowledge and experience for the good of people and planet, are now shaping the approach to creating and designing for today and the future. ‘Sense of place’ is organic and emergent. It evolves as participants, makers and curators of a space continually add value. We must embrace the value ecology - an environment of experimentation, value creation, participation, sharing, generosity of spirit, and belonging. It is now about the “we”.


“BAETSCH” IN THE CITY WORDS & IMAGES Paul Woodruffe MLA Unitec, Lecturer, Unitec


n February 2011, Austrian architect and product designer Walter Klasz should have been taking up his residency as a visiting designer at Unitec Institute of Technology in Auckland. Instead he was still in Innsbruck nursing his two young children who had a bad case of chicken pox. I was his friend, and was also to be hosting the New Zealand trip trialling his innovative kayak design the “Backyak” on our beaches, lakes and rivers while staying in a genuine Kiwi “bach”. Later that year I was sent an invitation to compete for a commission to design an “Urban Acupuncture” in one of five central and eastern European cities; these were to be design and or art interventions placed or performed within urban areas of the cities. This was a site-specific, artist as activist project called “Culburb” funded by the E.U. Cultural Fund, the name referring to culture and urban space. Its aim was to use art and architecture to create sub-urban interventions within areas experiencing social problems. It was intended these artworks would help to bring people from different ages and cultures together, and create stronger awareness of issues surrounding identity, place and belonging. Walter and I entered the competition for the Vienna site. After some email exchanges of ideas and drawings, it was decided that since he did not experience a Kiwi “Bach” here in NZ, why not make one in Vienna? I knew the effect that a genuine Bach (as opposed to the often expensive and ostentatious “beach house”) can have on people, and thought the philosophy and methodology of building a Bach could work for this kind of project. The use of local recycled building materials (as in an authentic Bach) could help create relationships within the local community. Our drawings and ideas were successful in winning the commission for the Sandleiten site in Ottakring, Vienna. It would also become part of the SoHo in Ottakring Biennale, a cultural festival of music, performance and visuals arts supported and funded by the district of Ottakring in Vienna, a working-class area that was known in the 1930’s as “Red Vienna” due to its mayor and council’s support for social housing projects. In preparation for the project I obtained the financial support of Unitec’s Faculty Research Fund, this enabled not only myself to travel to Austria, but also Master of Design (visual arts) student Fats White. Culburb would provide the accommodation, materials, lunches and some local beers. Other staff members jeweller Ilse-Marie Irl, and designer Simon Gamble provided me with small-scale sculptures to embed into the structure.



Fats is an accomplished ukelele player, as well as an artist and film maker, and could, along with the small sculptures, introduce a uniquely NZ flavour to the project. To ensure the locals in Vienna did not think we were building a replica of an 18th century composer using architectural construction, we had to re-name the project “Baetsch”, as this is the phonetic sound in German closest to our word “Bach”. As it turns out this is highly appropriate as it distinguishes this new European variety from the traditional Kiwi one. The site in Ottakring was a small park called Nietzchplatz, across a narrow street from a large social housing estate home to an uneasy mix of older local Viennese and new migrant families from Bosnia and Turkey. The park is edged with large trees and frequented by a small group of men who drink around the public seating at one end of the park. I arrived at the park fresh off a twenty five hour flight, and in 23 degrees and under brilliant blue skies, Walter had already arrived in his little Fiat towing an illegal weight of framing timber. We had decided to construct a simple frame using new timber to ensure structural integrity, and public safety. Onto this would go the old pieces of buildings and interior furniture we hoped the locals would donate. We braced the frame with two sets of old skis to get the ball rolling. Once we knew our design had been chosen we enlisted the help of Prof. Veronika Kotradyova and some post -graduate students from Bratislava University, an hour away by train. Veronika, a mutual friend, had expressed an interest in using the project as an exercise for her students as they were studying Interior Design and this project would present some significant challenges for them. Vojtech Vlk a Czech photographer and old friend of Walters, was also asked to work as the project documentary photographer. Veronika and the students would prove to be invaluable in the construction process and Vojtech in creating a high quality photographic record. We placed signs at the entrances of the park and distributed flyers asking for old pieces of furniture and buildings to go towards the construction. At first this was quite slow, and we worried about having to use new materials, but slowly a pile began to emerge and this sent out the signals we wanted. Star of the growing pile was a 15th century iron door from an old church renovation. This was accompanied by an old wooden door, iron shutters, a red vinyl couch-thing, three bed bases and an assortment of objects from the apartments near by. Once the frame was up the floor was laid using wooden palettes donated by the supermarket across the street. This attracted the first swarm of children on pushbikes and scooters. A meeting was held with Walter, Veronika and myself with the students from Bratislava sitting in a circle on the new floor visualizing what could be done with this space. We discussed among other things, a design philosophy based on how we would make a building that is both an outside and an inside space, a description used by Unitec Professor and Architect Mike Austin to describe a Bach. From this starting point we established that we would have a wall of doors, a wall of seating, a wall for food and drink and a wall for a sound system, one wall would be symmetrical to offset the chaos we expected. 48

One of interesting things to emerge was that despite the language difficulties we communicated; I spoke no German or Serb, only some of the Slovakian students spoke a little English or German. I worked on the wall of doors with a post-graduate student with no English. There was much gesturing and it must have looked like a bad pantomime, but we managed to solve the problem of how to use a large red chair as a door lintel, and how to hinge iron shutters with bent screws to create a door only children could enter. Fats lead the children’s graffiti corner with bright colours and large black markers, and the building materials kept coming. A snowboard made a perfect bar top and a couple of beds made the wall of seats, the roof was covered with the remains of an inflatable boat. After three days it was finished and we set up two boards to announce the activities we had planned; two screens made from bed sheets over wooden frames for image projections, a Ukelele concert from Fats, a dance competition for the children and a local DJ concert. At night the photos taken by Vojtech of the construction and the previous days activities were projected onto the screens, as were images I had taken of baches on Rangitoto Island. We had a generator tucked into bushes some distance away, so we could use a donated mini-cooker to serve Goulash and Glowein from the centre of the Baetsch, which attracted more people, as did the four crates of local “Ottakring” beer we were given to sell over the snowboard bar for a Euro each. Fat’s ukelele playing brought the drinkers from the edges of the park over, one had a guitar and we had an impromptu concert from a man who once had a voice and a talent. Old sofas were placed in cluster next to the wall of seats and every evening it was a wonderful night of music, film, story telling and beers. We wondered why so many eight to twelve year olds were still around at 9.30, but we realized that the parents were quietly sitting on the park seats taking it all in. The older Austrian residents and the young Bosnian and Turkish families all came and mixed using the Baetsch as a conversation starter, fascinated how their junk had been used to make this thing. Ten days is all we had to make this happen, it was never intended as a permanent structure, and when this time was up we had to explain to the children who were our biggest fans that it was time to pack up. The local authorities would not allow us to keep the Baetsch open to the public without adult supervision. They wanted it boarded up, no one else did. A group of about eight children staged a sit-in and refused to leave, they made protest posters and wrote letters stating their anger at the Baetsch closing. What we did to get them to leave was to allow the memories to be accessible. We did this by leaving the interior completely intact, removing only the perishables, the old lamps and furniture stayed with a power cord so it could be lit up at nights. We then used five rolls of industrial “Gladwrap” to wrap all but the roof, sealing within the wrap children’s posters and letters, protecting it from the coming autumn and allowing it to become a light sculpture, a glowing mysterious lantern in a darkening park. If you pressed your face to the plastic wrap you could see the warm wood interior with its books, chairs, donated paintings, odd glasses, cups and saucers, just like an old Kiwi bach.

WYNYARD QUARTER WORDS Frith Walker Place Manager, Waterfront Auckland IMAGE Rachel Brandon


aterfront Auckland holds the vision, and leads the integrated urban regeneration of Auckland’s CBD waterfront over the course of the next thirty years, as the key placemaker and place manager. The team operates on a design-led approach supported by the (award-winning) Urban Design Framework, a sustainability strategy, strategic market-driven release of land, special leases, covenants, and incentives, to create high-quality public amenity and balanced mix of green and hard space, open and built space, public and commercial space. However underpinning this a determination to value people, and enhance their experience of this area by providing a space filled with activities, attractions and places that welcome visitors and sustain locals. This determination is represented in the inclusion of place as an integral part of its planning. A place based approach (for which the organisation is gaining a strong reputation) aims to assist all stakeholders in achieving shared project outcomes - integrating actions, priorities and budgets and facilitating the efficient and holistic development of the area. Such an approach was established from the start of the Jellicoe development planning, with strong focus placed not only on good design, but also on research into who used the area, who could use the area, and on what would keep local industry strong, as well as enable Auckland to readily enjoy this primary aspect of its identity. From this early work an annual programme was created; designed to establish the character of the new spaces as well as create reasons for regular visitation. This programme of children’s workshops, food trucks, Christmas illuminations, markets and evening outdoor cinema has etched the new waterfront into the hearts of Aucklanders. All of these take place on spaces that were designed with the human scale firmly in mind. Auckland’s waterfront now has a community of people who regularly visit and love the area before the first residential dwelling has even been built. It is generally felt that there is a renewed pride amongst Aucklanders for their city now that they have seen what human-focused design and placemaking can offer them.


Placemaking is not currently widely recognised in NZ but is gaining substantial ground overseas; with its ability to not only foster ownership of a place by the individual, but also encourage community building and public interaction. In NZ it is clearly evidenced in well-nurtured areas such as K Rd. It is a mixture of art and science based in sociology and human behaviour, and when you think about it, something that has been around as long as people have been trying to live in community groups, or neighbourhoods, if you prefer. Its focus is on ‘doing and implementing’ rather than ‘talking and planning’. Placemaking, in its essence, doesn’t require extensive time – rather careful thought by the right kind of minds, good support, trust in the process and flexible structures. It is based in the culture of how people work together – an ongoing, ever evolving process of trialing and listening. An additive approach that is founded on taking the time to watch and listen to those for whom we are making spaces. To quote Mr Ethan Kent who was recently on our shores “You see a lot through observing”. Many elements made up the first stages of the development, which saw significant parts of the CBD waterfront open to the Auckland public for the first time. Queens Wharf, home to both the Cloud and the newly refurbished Shed 10, offers a renewed connection not only to our industrial past, but also to the vista of our incredible harbour. The Wynyard Crossing opening bridge connects the formerly isolated Wynyard Quarter back to the CBD. A new playground attracts families. Refurbished concrete silos anchor the space and echo the area’s industrial past whilst serving as a unique exhibition space. And long-standing locals such as wooden boats, tankers and the fisheries industry continue to both represent the Waterfront’s established maritime character as well as interest and delight newcomers. The revitalisation has, to date, been lauded by locals, visitors, and Waterfront Auckland’s international peers, with one of New Zealand’s most well known musicians heard to say “it’s like I have been asleep for 10 years and when I woke up Auckland had turned into the city I had always hoped it would be.”

However the question of how to measure the success of placemaking is currently a major topic of conversation around the globe. As Project for Public Spaces would say, it is an additive process and not its own discipline – one based in how we work more than what we are doing – so acquiring data is difficult. Further to this PPS is leading (through the Place Leadership Council) a conversation around the creation of metrics and shared language. This project will hopefully serve to strengthen this global work, and enable all comers to understand and engage with this topic. If it becomes its own expert process, engulfed in specialist language, then we are in danger of it becoming another specialist silo – which somewhat goes against the core principles at work here. It is not a new thing, and not simply another ideology. Placemaking is about reclaiming social systems and knowledge in order to enable local people to connect with, and connect via, their public spaces. Waterfront Auckland has a unique mandate not only to build but also to manage the spaces for which it is responsible. This affords (and requires) the organisation to consider the impacts and the outcomes of its developments from every viewpoint – ensuring that our concern remains the success of the area in the very long term, and for the betterment of the City as a whole. Central to this success is a determination to value people, and a resulting ability to enhance experience of this area by providing a space filled with activities, attractions and places that encourage movement and interaction. This speaks of the deeper intention behind our design and programming – there is a strong ambition within Waterfront Auckland to engage our audiences - inform, welcome and, above all, create investment in this new area. Investment, of course, from a commercial perspective, but also on a personal level – a belief in the capacity of this area to be a catalyst for the growth and potential of the city, through the people that make it. To the Waterfront Auckland Place team, placemaking is founded on a belief in the desire of the majority to live in supportive, connected environments. And maybe that’s not such a bad thing to believe in.


SITE MATTERS WORDS Sally Peake NZILA President, Principal at Peake Design IMAGES Glen Jansen


n this brief discursive article, I will explore how our view of sense of place as practicing landscape architects has changed over time and how this has affected our ability to create sense of place. I should also add that this will be a very personal view and reflects my own journey as a landscape architect and urban designer, although I hope it will also be provocative and relevant to today’s students and practicing professionals. I will start with my ideas on what is and isn’t sense of place - and this means omitting the contemporary part of the question, which may be considered an oxymoron. This is because for successful placemaking to be present it has to be contemporary or relevant – that is “belonging to or occurring in the present” . By this I do not mean that it has to be “timeless”, more that it has to respond to those people using or passing through the space on a personal level. This is in contrast to the definition in Wellington City’s Our Sense of Place, which considers that “sense of place is defined as its unique character or essence”, or Place + Differences = Sense of Place. I have a problem with this definition because it ignores the personal and emotional components of placemaking that I consider to be essential. In terms of how the concept of landscape architecture and sense of place has evolved over time, my 1907 edition of The English Flower Garden and Home Grounds (first printed 1883) , William Robinson says of landscape architects, “stupid term of French origin implying the union of two absolutely distinct studies one dealing with varied life in a thousand different kinds and the natural beauty of the earth, and the other with stones and bricks and their putting together”. This indicates firstly that English landscape gardeners thought that landscape architects were redundant, and secondly that design of gardens, parks, and civic spaces (and discussions about sense of place) were firmly about how best to imitate nature. In the background were debates about art and science or “human – environment relations” . By 1948 landscape architecture in Britain was strongly established as a profession and more influential in relation to wider environmental and social issues. However, debates over the role of technoscientific rationality and aesthetic values continued and the role of “nature” was still important in providing sense of place. Nevertheless, landscape had moved beyond design of gardens and civic spaces, and was considered to be about “the relationship between the use and beauty of nature” and its “proper adaptation” (with reference to protection and planning) . In this way, placemaking had moved beyond imitating nature and was now interconnected with social and cultural influences.



Over the intervening decades (dating back from the 1960’s and 70’s) our perception of landscape and its meaning have been thoroughly canvassed through research and practice. And, more recently, Francesco Repishti explores humanenvironment relations in Shifting Landscapes where he notes final acceptance of “the conflictual interaction between human activity and the environment” and considers the concept of landscape to include “every physical, human, cultural, social, perceptive and economic element”. Clearly in my mind, therefore, sense of place is much more than our relationship with nature or place, even while our understanding of human-environment relations and what constitutes landscape or landscape architecture continue to be debated. For example, it has been suggested by Thwaites and Simkins that techno-scientific rationality and dualistic human-environment relations are a constraining influence to understanding place experience, and that this affects landscape architecture’s “capability to develop landscape conducive to the achievement of human fulfilment” (if in fact landscape architecture can be expected to achieve human fulfilment?). Certainly, understanding how place is experienced is fundamental to the design process, but I suggest this lack of understanding is not the only reason why our contemporary public places are confused, complicated and overdesigned. A particular problem, in my opinion, is the design and implementation process itself, which has become regulated and over complicated. Indeed, design method has become its own area of study, with analysis/synthesis problem solving models and tools often perceived as a defining characteristic of the design profession. As a result we often get locked into rigid procedures and complicated methods that hinder both creativity and design (including inclusion of users and other stakeholders in design). With regard to the implementation of designs, similar processes occur in the name of efficiency and transparency with formulaic and formalised production processes replacing unique place-based construction, including apprenticeship and craft traditions. On a more personal level, I have always been interested in the extent to which a “responsive” design contributes to a valued and used place, and this formed part of my research and Master by Design studies at Unitec, where I explored ways of providing personal investment in public space (and, more specifically in that case, streets). By this I don’t mean only physical investment, but also (and perhaps more importantly) ‘imaginations’, where individuals and groups are able to develop their own physical and personal relationship with a place, not prescribed by regulation or use. In addition, I propose that we need to look at using a generative design and implementation process, one that enables a place to be adapted by users and be flexible over time. To take this a bit further, I suggest there are four key parts: Firstly, providing for ‘imaginations’ means creating a place that offers a range of un-defined uses and flexibility for different users and experiences. This recognises that Auckland has different user groups with different backgrounds and that we 54

should not impose our preconceived views on how places will be conceived or valued. Above all we need to provide space for imagination, uncluttered by ‘stuff ’ (or at least have ‘stuff ’ that is open to interpretation and use). Secondly, and coupled with this, is the idea of unregulated use and development. I firmly believe that we should have undeveloped places and gaps in our cities, both for ‘imaginations’ and in order for a city/place to be robust. Cities need to be able to change over time (to grow and adapt to changing circumstances) and, in my view, creating stylised and completed places stifles imagination and precludes adaptation. For examples, I think of the early British community gardens that were commonly perceived as wasteland but were valued and used by children and schools to learn about the natural environment; and the successful Greening the Rubble and Gap Filler programmes in Christchurch where temporary design has enabled positive sense of place and engagement by the community. For these reasons I have to confess that I am not a fan of codes and covenants on open space, which tend to lock in designs and regulate use of places. How can we encourage personal investment personalise in such places? Where is the ability to provide for emotional attachment? And how can they change or adapt over time? Thirdly, we should not fear intuitive design. Apple Inc. has firmly demonstrated the continuing success of its products through the use of good design to meet the needs of its consumers. At the heart of the company’s success is the simplicity of using its devices, which virtually eliminates the need for an instruction manual - users find their way with ease and benefit as a result. We could learn from this – in the design and planning of our towns and public places. We need our places to be legible and responsive, and we need to be open to the idea of collaborative and non linear design processes. We also need to provide for existing and future users and their values and attributed meanings of place, without imposing our own conception of order or values. Lastly, we need to look at embracing more flexible implementation processes to optimise place-based solutions and decisions. More and more, we rely on drawings and load the ‘front end’ of the design process with a rigid end plan. As a result we increasingly divorce ourselves from the site and potentially limit design solutions to those that most suit the selected implementation/construction process (often at a higher cost). Procurement options other than preselected tendering are rarely considered, so that working with an artist, craftsman, client or contractor to develop a unique and site specific design is extremely difficult. Most commonly this is also the process prescribed by Council, which is also likely to require acceptance of the lowest price. So, to tie back to the start of this article, while I think as a profession we are strong on dealing with “the stones and bricks and their putting together”, I fear that we have not come far in embracing “the varied life in a thousand different kinds and the natural beauty of the earth” which are fundamental to us both as landscape architects and our creation of sense of place.


INTERVIEW Breck Gastinger IMAGES Steve Hall Š Hedrich Blessing IMAGES Meg Back

Breck Gastinger earned his Master of Architecture (2003) and Landscape Architecture (2004) degrees from the University of Virginia. His graduate work was recognized with numerous honours including the AIA School Medal for design excellence and the Stanley Abbott Award for excellence in Landscape Architecture. Breck has worked at Nelson Byrd Woltz since 2000; he has managed a wide range of large-scale projects from university master plans and built work, to national design competitions and urban parks. Major landscape master plan work includes, Eastwoodhill Arboretum; Monticello, home of Thomas Jefferson in Virginia; and the multi-award winning Orongo Station Stewardship Plan in Gisborne, an ambitious plan for ecological restoration and cultural interpretation within a working sheep farm that is serving as a model for other farms in New Zealand.


XSECTION: What is your first memory of place? BG: I grew up in Kansas City, Missouri. I was remembering

back to when my sister was born, I was three years old. It’s an old suburban neighbourhood in Kansas City with no fence lines, big trees and shade. There are very nice street trees in Kansas City and I remember playing back and forth amongst those houses. I had to go over to the neighbour’s because my sister was going to be born, so running in and amongst those spaces. There’s also a great park legacy in Kansas City and one of my favourite places growing up is Loose Park. It’s a big English-style park built in the early 1900’s with big sweeps of lawn and chances to run and places to fly kites. There’s a little duck pond there and my dad had given us these little pond boats. We would sail them across and run back and forth. There’s a spot where there are stepping stones to cross, and one time, running too quickly to go and catch that boat, I just totally missed one and just pssshhhhhhh! Right in the pond. First memories of place…

XSECTION: It’s actually amazing how far we can remember back in quite good detail…

BG: It’s something I try to watch for in my own kids, trying to

imagine what they will remember. They will have memories from 3 or 4 but you never know which one.

XSECTION: They can be quite random BG: Yes, what we think is important or special as adults is totally different for them.

XSECTION: Given those sorts of memories what do you think needs to be built into a place? BG: I think that the notion of building “place” is a tricky

one, I think in some ways “place” happens whether you like it or not, kind of like ecology. An ecology is present even if it’s desolate or empty, the term doesn’t imply a judgement on the quality or function of the ecology. Likewise, “place” is the set of conditions that describe human interaction with our environment. It doesn’t say anything about whether it’s a good place or a bad place. I guess the important question is whether or not the qualities of place are ones that inspire us, or engage us, or suggest some kind of better collaboration as human beings and so “place”… I guess “place” happens. Shit happens and I guess “place” happens. So I think “place” is one of those tricky ones - the more you try to set out and make it, the further away you can get sometimes.

XSECTION: Do you think there needs to be a lot of collaboration between people during the making and designing process? BG: Not necessarily. I think that certainly there can be many,

many benefits that come out of that kind of collaborative process and I think sometimes the process is just as important as the end result. The process can create connections that last well beyond even the park or the streetscape, or whatever the project may be; it may be more important that people

actually talk to each other and start to understand themselves as a community. However, when it comes to designed environments, there are also many examples of either places that were designed with no collaborative spirit that function as incredible places (Thank you, Jane Jacobs!) and then those that are the end result of a highly collaborative effort and they… they…

XSECTION (in chorus): just don’t work? BG: Yes.

One successful example to consider is the Citygarden project in St Louis, which was the product of a commission from a private organization that paid for the design and the construction, and then gave the park to the city of St Louis. Because they structured the project in that way, there was minimal public interaction or design input. We talked with the organization about whether we thought that was a good strategy or not, but they’d seen so many situations where you open it up and then you end up with a design that can end up watered down trying to appeal to too many different people or voices. And yet the project has become a highly successful urban environment [Xsection: and it’s beautiful!] and it was a confirmation that our profession has the skill set and capacity to collaborate to create successful public places. It actually was a big team. It’s not like the project was the hand of a single ‘ ‘genius designer’; it was a huge collaborative team of consultants, the owner, and the city, even though there wasn’t a big public engagement process. One really great confirmation that this process can work is that Citygarden was recognised with the Amanda Burden (Urban Open Space) Award, which is not a just a design award, but actually a a national award that is given out to a public space for its positive social and cultural contributions to a city. We didn’t make a big deal out of it, but it’s sort of interesting that the project happened with little public engagement, and yet it has still been very successful in doing all of those things that you would hope to have gotten out of that process. All that being said, we don’t try to model that everywhere each project is different; we try to find ways to adapt and work in many different fashions.

XSECTION: That seemed to be the case with Young Nicks Head

as well; you worked with a lot of different experts and local experts.

BG: Absolutely. Working at a great distance takes either a tonne of ego or a tonne of humility. I think we’re on the humility side of things because we just can’t pretend to be experts at everything everywhere.

Working in different locations you want to actually align yourselves with the people who really know what’s going on. The great benefit of coming at a distance is that you can ask the question that might be a little bit silly or impertinent and that’s an advantage for anyone right? To maybe turn what might be some sort of traditional thinking on its head a bit, because we can all get kind of stuck sometimes in our own patterns.

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So it’s been really fun to play that role of both team builder and navigator but also provocateur and asking lots of questions and putting people together that might not have worked together in various situations. Nick’s Head was a huge team, everyone from ecologists and farmers right down to the craftspeople. Incredible craftspeople. One of the great joys was getting to work with them pretty directly, in some cases bypassing many standard ways of drawing or documenting work because you were working directly with the craftspeople who were doing it. Nick’s Head doesn’t have a big thick set of working drawings in the way you might expect on other projects.

XSECTION: we were talking to [someone from the industry] the other day and he was ragging on the process that you have to go through. It seems like you completely bypassed that for Nick’s head?

BG: We don’t always get to work that way but there have been

several projects where we have had that benefit. It’s almost like a really old way of working; sometimes you get some dazzle or flags, and you’re literally marking out lines in the field; it’s a really fabulous way of working. We also had really good collaboration with the surveyors. At Nick’s Head we might go and stake some points in the field and then have the surveyors mark those in and we would work further in CAD. Later we would then send back another set of points and they surveyors would stake them out, it was really great. There’s an incredible digger driver down there that we worked with, Kerry Teutenberg, he looked like he was in ZZ Top, he has a long beard and stubbies. We found out after a few years of working with him that he didn’t read contour plans like we did, but yet he’s incredible with what he does. You tell him to put in a track or a swale and he’ll do it like nobody’s business. So it was pretty fascinating to figure out ways to do highly constructed shaped land forms without necessarily a contour plan. We did do those but we were also working with the surveyor to physically stake, or in some cases, literally draw the contour plan on the ground and he would work to that. It was actually the most precise grading that we have probably ever done.

XSECTION: Do you do your designing back in the States then get over here and find you have to adjust it for a whole lot of variable of place? BG: Sure, sometimes, but I think our training has served us well,

I think that if you have a good sense of grading and topography and scale then it’s kind of amazing how it works out. There’s always a leap of faith- you’re drawing something and you think you have a sense of what it is, but I’ve been more surprised than not that it actually works out, that it feels like what you had hoped. It hasn’t happened so many times when you’re like “oh, that’s way wrong…” I don’t know quite how that works, but I keep going with it. It definitely requires some testing and staking things, practicing. I think our education did a good job of giving us good mental records of the sizes and scales of places and knowing what a hundred feet tall is or knowing what certain distances are, being able to relate it back, having a good visual library of other places that you can compare that to.

XSECTION: A spatial library I guess BG: It’s really good knowing the length of your pace, so that even

when you’re on vacation you can say’ “hmmm how big is that

plaza?”. Though it makes for, sometimes, a funny way of walking (Xsection at this point accuse Breck of marching his kids across plazas while on holiday but he takes it in good humour).

XSECTION: What do you think you need to know specifically to practice in NZ? BG: Well I think that coming from afar definitely requires that

humility and respect. What is fascinating to me about working here is that whether it’s cultural layers, or ecological layers and systems, or geologic time it all seems so very close to the surface and active and alive. So working here is to be quite open to hearing and learning and thinking about those layers. It’s all very present in this place. It seems like a country that’s still so very young and becoming and figuring itself out and that’s pretty exciting.

XSECTION: So how do we create a contemporary sense of place? BG: I don’t know, I haven’t framed it that way before, ‘Place’ is

one of those things you don’t want to look straight at, you want to catch it out of the side of your eye. I think if we feel some confidence about our values and the way that we listen to layers of ecology, cultural history and landscape, our understanding about what makes for good scale spaces for human interaction, that that will put us in a good spot. But I definitely do not think that there’s a formula, it’s not a formulaic kind of thing. I’ve had a bit of internal wrestling with the term ‘Placemaking’; I’m still struggling with it. I feel like it’s ... you remember “The Dead Poets Society”, that movie with Robin Williams? There’s a teacher at the beginning of the movie who lectures his students “here’s how you can judge the quality of a poem” and he has them draw a graph…It’s silly, and it totally kills the magic of poetry. I feel like “Place” is a little bit like the poem. “Place” is something where we can do our best to set the stage, maybe prepare the conditions for good human space to occur, but you can’t make it happen, it has to actually be lived. It’s a lived thing, it’s not a constructed thing. You can try to take your best shot at it, but you need a little bit of luck and a little bit of the right conditions and it does need to become itself. I think we have learned from the examples of the new urbanists: one may try to employ all that we know of scale and place - and it should work but there are other conditions that might hold it back. At Citygarden there are a lot of different kinds of spatial configurations and we were really purposeful about creating a variety of spaces, but it’s not very defined about how they could or should be used. One of the really fun aspects of going back to visit is seeing something random like the Police recruits using the curving bench for doing push-ups - forty people doing pushups all on a park wall, or there might be an exercise class taking over a part of the park. I was there one time and this heavy metal band was getting their photo-shoot and just behind them there were ladies sipping chardonnay at the café and then just next to the band is a huge group of African American kids who were playing in the water having the time of their lives. If we had tried to design for that it probably would have just been a disaster, maybe it’s like the pond boat, you have to trim the sails and let it go. 59

INTERVIEW Rau Hoskins IMAGE Meg Back SKETCH Tosh Graham

- Hau, Ngapuhi, Ngati BArch, MArch(Hons), Academic NZIA Rau Hoskins is a director of the designTribe architectural practice specialising - design. He has over 20 years experience working with Maori in kaupapa Maori community-based design projects and has for the past 15 years specialized in - educational institutions in the wider Auckland area. He has the design of Maori also worked extensively as an urban and cultural design consultant, as well as in iwi liaison capacities on a range of large public projects. - Capability Rau is a co-opted member of the Housing New Zealand Maori Committee and remains active in Maori housing advocacy and papakainga design projects. Rau teaches part-time at the Unitec Department of Architecture and, with colleague Carin Wilson, has been active in researching both traditional and hybrid Maori dwelling construction techniques. In recent times, Rau has played a major part in developing the Auckland Design Manual, with his work on - design principles. the Te Aranga Maori


XSECTION: Where or what is your first memory of place? RH: Probably the first place memory is in Whāngarei where I

was brought up and that would be - I was about two years old, we were moving houses, I think we walked from one house to the next house as far as I can recall; that’s really my earliest memory of place, Bank St, Whāngarei. But I guess that my over riding “placeness” at this point of time in my life is our family land, whānau land at Whangaruru harbour and our marae Whakapara which is just inland. I’ve been lucky to be involved with the marae in designing our meeting house back in 1998 and now our dining hall which is due to start construction, all going well, in December, this year. I think from a personal perspective, the Māori renaissance has provided a huge backdrop for sense of place because the renaissance asks Māori people to locate themselves primarily within hapu - hapū as in being ‘local place’. When anyone goes to learn basic Māori, whether they’re Māori or non Māori, they will be asked to develop a pepeha for example “ko Huruiki te Maunga, ko Whakapara te awa ” and so of course that requires people to do some research or to think if they’re not Māori then where or what is my mountain, is it Rangitoto etc? Apparently Māori are the only culture in the world who have such a systemised place making oral device [the pepeha] and there’s been some research on this. Stating your marae, your maunga, your hapu, your awa, is reinforcing this notion of place. Of course what comes with that is Kaitiakitanga, but also what comes from that often is a sense of loss, for example you might state your maunga but the maunga is not in hapu ownership or in tribal ownership, or its been quarried away and it’s an ‘inverse’maunga. You can state your awa but it might be one of the most polluted awa, for instance in Ngāti Porou they talk about “ko Waiapu te awa” but that’s one of the highest topsoil content rivers in the world in terms of sediment and that can be quite difficult; you can’t suddenly jump the fence and choose another awa. So what comes with this placemaking device is potentially a lot of good activity, good kaitiaki activity, but often a sense of powerlessness too. Ko Waiapu te awa but what can I do? The regional council sets the water quality measures and the fencing of waterways and deforestation and all that other sort of stuff… What I try to do with non-Māori people is encourage them to develop not just a pepeha but to think about a place which is special to them, whether it’s an ancestral farm that they used to have or still have. Then I kind of challenge them to say if you want to become indigenous, if you look at the process of becoming indigenous, if in 500 years time your family is still in this area; you will have a whole lot of other values than you have now. Things will have moved on and hopefully deepened, so how can you lock in that indigeneity through land tenure or connection? In Pākehā society there’s always this sense of loss, often associated with a family farm that’s been in the family for many, many years and then some uncle sells it because the children don’t want it or needed the money or what ever; then there’s this pining “we used to go there as children but it’s gone now….” What I say is that the Pākehā law has got some very interesting and useful techniques for holding land in trust, if this place is really special to you, don’t allow it to go to uncle Jimmy, create a trust and say it’s the MacGregor family trust or whatever and then once it’s locked

up you can begin to build relationships with the mana whenua, become co-kaitiaki, and you can say if we’re digging into this place then we care about this place; what are the relationships we need to develop to deepen our relationships with mana whenua and shared interest: air quality, water quality, soil quality…?

XSECTION: How would you define the term mana whenua within this context? RH: Well the term mana whenua has been developed to

acknowledge a range of tribal groups who have had a historical interest in a piece of land; they may not be the primary mana whenua, they may not be the current ahi kā but they are mana whenua. The Auckland region is very pertinent in the use of that terminology: when we see the relatively recent conquest of the isthmus by Ngāti Whātua in about 1750, we see what we have is a process of intermarriage and also of other iwi being displaced to the periphery. They didn’t go away - all their names still presided. So what happened in the old Auckland city days prior to the amalgamations was that Ngāti Whātua had a pre-eminent status within Auckland City because of their role in creating the city in the first place, the invitation to Hobson in 1840 and so on and so forth. With the new Auckland region, the 8 councils and 21 iwi groupings, you’ve got a democratisation of iwi interests going on and the notion of mana whenua has gained greater currency. But from a design perspective, an urban design or landscape design perspective; what it requires is both the council entity and the designer to have a good historical understanding so that they can acknowledge primary mana whenua status and wider mana whenua status. If you are doing that, you are showing that you do understand some nuance in status - mana whenua status. So the Te Aranga Māori design principles which we have just uploaded to the Auckland Design Manual web site as of yesterday (Oct 1, 2013) do start to point to some of these nuances and are asking designers and client groups to be mindful of these situations where there is definitely a primary grouping.

XSECTION: Have you explicitly laid out guidelines? RH: Yes, you can view the design manual online http://www. aucklanddesignmanual.co.nz/design-for-auckland/auckland-asa-unique-place

Essentially the whakapapa of those principles goes back to 2005 with Te Puni Kōkiri contacting me at the time and saying we’re a bit worried about the Urban Design Protocol and its lack of kaupapa Māori dimension. I’m saying well I don’t want to personally write a chapter or just a personal response, lets get a group of people together, so in June 2006 we got a national hui together in Waitākere city, a group of people involved with resource management, with iwi governance, etc and there was really interesting set of responses, but essentially they said we don’t want to just be a chapter in the Urban Design Protocol, we don’t want to bolt onto something, to an initiative which is essentially a western approach to landscape but we do want to pursue or own strategies here. So then in November, 2006, at Te Aranga Marae in Flaxmere (Hastings) we developed the core of the Te Aranga Māori landscape development strategy with was to be and is, a web based set of resources which could help to inform iwi and hapū cultural landscapes design strategies. So for instance Ngāti Whanaunga could develop their own cultural

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landscape design strategy based on their hapū management plan or their iwi management plan that they had already developed.

XSECTION: So place is very strongly integrated with design? RH: Yes! Iwi management plans and hapū management plans

record sacred spots and they record sensitive locations, wāhi tapu and whatever else but they don’t record the next layer that would talk about the desire to record the number of x-species because of this cultural narrative and the need to remember this name, this name and this name, which have been overlaid by Pākehā names; and daylight those names, daylight those ancestors, daylight those kōrero. So that was where [the guidelines] went to, and then last year with three projects: AMETI, Quay St and CRL, we were able to bring, to distill from Te Aranga Māori Landscape Cultural strategy, a series of principles which we trialed with iwi. We have further consulted with iwi in the last three months as well, to the point where we are comfortable to release these as part of the Auckland Design Manual. Essentially what we are saying is in any given development, but particularly in shared landscapes, if you’re serious about making a difference for Mana Whenua primarily, then there are a series of approaches that you can utilise. The first of course is mana /rangatiratanga; you can’t as a designer or a client make a meaningful mana whenua contribution to the cultural landscape without mana whenua being engaged in a way that they are happy with. Let Mana Whenua determine how strong/how full /how early that relationship is and then you can begin to collaboratively apply the other principles. The next one is whakapapa, really about names and naming; then we move to tohu, an acknowledgement of the wider landscape and those wāhi tapu beyond the subject site. A good designer, a good landscape architect or architect will acknowledge context, but they will acknowledge context normally in a Eurocentric way. You need to acknowledge context from a mana whenua perspective, which is to the horizon, which is seeing the unseen, which is acknowledging a world that exists in the mind, a world which still sees maunga as this when in reality they are this… so acknowledging that whole world which is not necessarily seen. Then we move onto mauri: the acknowledgement of the spiritual life essence of living and non-living things and opportunities to restore Mauri, protect mauri, enhance mauri. Then moving on to Te Taiao, the bringing back of natural, living environments particularly to urban areas, acknowledging that the ultimate expression of taiao is mahinga kai or the actual act of food gathering, or weaving species, or pā harakeke. The 6th principle is mahi toi, which is that once you have this rich palette of information, stories,


pūrākau, kōrero, ancestors’ names, species then you can start to respond as a landscape architect with all this richness and work with iwi appointed artists or designers to start to give expression to all that stuff. Then the last one, the one I think has been undercooked in the past is that ahi kā dimension, and that is, well, you have this really cool environment, these neat species, you’ve got this sculpture here and this building there; how can you negotiate a living mana whenua presence in this space, whether it is through a joint venture commercial development, through a puna wai where wai ora is utilised regularly for blessing purposes or whether through a particular pa harakeke where this resource can be provided for local weavers. Whether it’s a whare waka where waka culture can be properly supported, on the waterfront for instance. So it’s saying ok, in a post settlement environment you can have commercial discussions with iwi that you couldn’t have had 10 -15 years ago. An interesting and relevant point is that with the city rail link there’s a lot of land going to be purchased. Some of that land is going to be sold again eventually because its been bought for plant purposes, so it’s not required for the corridor but it’s required for all the machinery and whatever else at one end or other. Once you come to sell that land, instead of going to the open market talk to iwi, talk to mana whenua about how could iwi and council combined, or Auckland transport and iwi, look at this piece of land in terms of maximizing ahi kā opportunity. Could there be a Ngāti Paoa iwi headquarters here or whatever else?

XSECTION: Do you need consensus to make design decisions? RH: I think drilling deeper into the notion of consensus,

in the realm that I’m talking about, you do need a quality working relationship with mana whenua, that’s a pre-requisite to making design decisions which will have resonance. The premise is that if you get it right for mana whenua then mātaawaka will also appreciate that. When Ngā Puhi walk through Ngāti Whātua territory they don’t expect to see Ngā Puhi represented there but they’d like to see mana whenua represented there. Because they know when they’re back in their territory what it feels like to be disenfranchised, or conversely enfranchised by appropriate development. Those environments work better for Pākehā, deepening their sense of place; and they work better for tourists/manuhiri, who have seen western architecture or North American landscape architecture done better elsewhere. They’re hungry for the unique dimension and they’re more worldly and they’re more interested in indigenous expression. That’s the difference that they’re hungering for; when we’re in the States we walk past McDonald’s and we don’t go ah! McDonald’s, how amazing! This is hunger for something unique.

XSECTION: So for overseas landscape architects, coming in to the country to work on projects, what do you think they need to understand about New Zealand to practice here? RH: Well they need to understand as much as they can about

mana whenua and Māori culture. We’re doing a project at the moment with some Australian architects, a 20 year master plan at the Auckland museum and a couple of the key team members are Australian architects who did the art gallery development here. Our job as wider team members is to try and inculcate them in Māori culture as best as we can, given the time constraints, so we’re organizing a wānanga up at the museum with Mana Whenua. Firstly, because it’s the right thing to do. Secondly, because we’re trying to give our Aussies as much of a feeling as they can get in the time that’s available. It’s a hearts and minds thing. I think for any overseas designer I would think a marae experience; not a tourist marae experience but a mana whenua marae experience would be an essential pre-requisite. This is not only fascinating but you’ve pretty much covered all of our pre-prepared questions, without us even having to ask most of them, which really shows how pertinent your point of view is to placemaking...What do you think of the term “placemaking”? In the context of this discussion placemaking is about the creation of a space, which transcends neutrality and becomes a place that resonates in the hearts and minds of mana whenua. And as I said, if mana whenua are happy and engaged then the flow on effects, the ripples go on out to everyone else. I think the notion of place is really about drilling into the depths of

what it means to make space meaningful for mana whenua.

XSECTION: Which brings us to our final question: How do we create a contemporary sense of place? RH: I think there’s this notion of mua and muri. Another

project we’re involved in is called Te Ara Mua: which is future streets. That’s about making our streets attractive for pedestrians, cyclists, safe for all users, memorable places; places which connect to ancestors, events and environments. A contemporary placemaking approach is never going to be about returning something to exactly how it used to be but it’s acknowledging those dimensions which are meaningful, remembering those in contemporary ways, and acknowledging all the other dynamics which are crowded in on those spaces. When we talk about Te Ara Mua, we’re looking back to look forward. I think that’s the critical issue with colonisation –is that in the physical realm we get so much overlaying, what is often required is a peeling back; but not just in a literal sense of peeling back, but peeling back from a design sense and saying how do you develop a lens or a series of lenses which enable you to look into all of those dimensions and bring them forward in a way which is meaningful for everybody. I think if you begin to look and see some places that have been made in this post-colonial design context, you can start to see some glimmers of how you might create a contemporary sense of place. They are the places that have had really solid Mana Whenua engagement and they’ve had designers, whether they’re Māori or non-Māori who have been really receptive. So spaces are beginning to come through. But there’s a hell of a lot more work to do…


INTERVIEW Mike Thomas IMAGES Meg Back Mike Thomas is a Principal at Jasmax. He has led their landscape team for the last eight years after relocating from a four year stint in Hong Kong and China where he led teams of designers on international projects and design competitions. He has over 17 years’ experience as a landscape architect, working predominantly in New Zealand. Mike was the founder and manager of Jasmax’s Christchurch branch for three years. Now, back in Auckland, he has an overview of landscape design projects throughout New Zealand, including NZTA and Auckland Transport projects, campus masterplans, streetscapes and civic plazas. He has a particular focus on Christchurch where he is contributing to the design of The Terraces, Burwood Hospital, St Andrews College and others.


XSECTION: What was your first memory of place? MT: Oh crikey that’s kind of interesting. I remember making

a startling discovery when I was at Lincoln University. I was an adult student, I started at 26, and we were doing landscape geology with Phil Tonkin - famous guy; really, really good. He enlightened me to the fact that everything is always on the move. You have to slow your thinking down to geological scale, and when you do that you can understand how things are actually put together. So we ended up going on a field trip in the Southern Alps and all of a sudden I saw an alluvial fan that was the same shape as the hole in the mountain above it. And it just went “ding”, okay that’s how it works and so that’s how this place got here, so it wasn’t in any way manufactured. It was just, I guess, a light bulb moment where I thought okay, I get this, I’ve got to start thinking in geological time frames from here on in. I think doing that helps you very much understand place and how something got there. Its story, and its temporal nature; it helped me a lot with designs from then on. I started to think of everything as fluid and in a frozen state. Or everything is in a frozen state and some things are less frozen, so it’s all on the move - you’re just capturing it at that time. So place is very ephemeral, you’re living in it for that moment and then it will be something else. And I guess you can just speed that up if you bring culture into it.

XSECTION: So when you are thinking of place, our next question is pretty much what you were referring to: how do you approach the process of design given what you just said? MT: On the process of design I think we’ve got a really big

responsibility as designers of the landscape. I think we’ve actually got the biggest portfolio of them all, and you know, I don’t say it aloud too much but I look at buildings sometimes as holes in the landscape. There’s a landscape and then a building just came along, so they’re the things that came later and they’re our construct and we may not all agree with how they’re done, but they’re a kind of a representation of who we are. So I think it’s our job to keep the memory of places going. So it would be very easy, if we weren’t here doing what we are doing, to lose all touch of who we are and where we are, and all of that. There would be no reference back to the nature of place. So it’s our job to look between the pores and the cells and everything and see what place is all about. We should be able to describe it and then respond to that, not make up something new. It’s your interpretation - that’s the design; so the cleverness is in being good about saying I understand, I can describe this place. Then the fun is in what I do with that info.

XSECTION: Do you look back on past projects and think about how they’re working, and how you could have done it better? MT: Always. And it’s always in the implementation. I have no

regrets over the ideation or the interpretation. I always have regrets over the other half of the project, how I converted that into the built outcome. It’s pretty much always a disappointing process because your expectations are way up here and it just gets chip, chip, chipped away until you end up with something and go ah, that will do, I’m worn down, I’m officially worn out and I can’t fight anymore. It might be different in some practices. Other companies are probably different because they take

complete control of their projects, but they work in medium size projects. A lot of ours are run by professional clients. That’s their job, they’re clients and they get project managers in and you’ve got all of the engineers and all these people 2, 3, 4, 5 times removed from your thinking and by the time you get to the contractor there’s a big gulf between you and them. And it’s really so hard to get close to them and nobody’s going to pay you to do that. We’ve got one in Christchurch. We’ve got this really beautiful idea to bring the memory back into the place, but they want all the stone to be carved in China. No! This is all about craft, about love of craft. We want someone with a hammer and chisel crafting every tiny bit, and we want people to know that. We don’t want it done by a machine or by a person that has no concept of Victorian architectural heritage in Christchurch. It’s a fight we have all the time. Mark Whyte is the guy we want to get to do all the stone work. He’s probably the leading stonemason and artist. So we’re getting him, but they’ll probably look at it and say this stone’s $250 a sq metre, Chinese bluestone is $90 landed on shore, and with a smaller carbon footprint. It’s all down to money and the idea is not important, it just gets watered down. I think the secret is in the quality of your communication, that’s everything really. I won’t say it’s easy to come up with the ideas, but you’ve got to read the landscape, come up with the idea, and then that’s half of it. The other half is how you communicate and get everyone on board. If you can’t communicate through words, imagery, your drawings, and your passion and what you say, then all of that’s for nothing. Another big chunk of it is how to get it built, and if you’re not really clever down that end then it will all be for nothing. I sound gloomy, but we’ve just had all sorts of knocks in the teeth from never quite getting things built the way we want.

XSECTION: Back to Christchurch, do you think building in memory will be essential for the sense of place down there? MT: I think so. For the Terraces project, the Oxford Strip, there’s

a bunch of buildings that we’re doing and a big courtyard in the middle and some lanes. And I think that one day everyone’s going to go, shit this is a nice shiny city, I love this, but what was it again? Because they do that now, and (I’ve only just moved back up to Auckland so I know Christchurch really well) everyone feels guilty because they look at somewhere and go, well where am I, and what was there? And they feel bad because they can’t remember what was there, we’re going to lose all that, and we need to build memories. We kind of have to build false memories really because there’s no other way to do it. What I wanted to do was actually build it out of recycled materials, but that’s just too hard for people, that’s just a bit too adventurous, so what we’re going to do is recycle some bits. Mark’s taking bits of buildings all the time, and we’re going to slice them up and put them in, hopefully. His job is, he goes around replacing bits of the Arts Centre and the Cathedral and all of that. We’re going to get bits of those, and we’re going to make new bits. We’re gong to put them in the ground and then wear them down like an old set of steps. We’re going to make memory. Engineer which ones we want to wear and become dishes, catch water and get a bit mouldy, or bits like that, and



others are going to be hard wearing so that you get a sense of old and new, worn and rustic.

XSECTION: Yep. So you’re almost making new memories… MT: Yeah, so you have to engineer them, we couldn’t see any

other way of doing it. I think for something like that, the names will be the cut lettering in the stone, so that you know where you are and there’s all these other clues. You wouldn’t do that in Auckland but you’d do that in Christchurch because there’s a custom of that. There’s a lot of hand carved elements, it’s a very crafted city, and it’s the best example of Neo-Gothic architecture in the world. It was the biggest collection of it, and most of it’s all gone now.

XSECTION: Well up-cycling. It’s very trendy at the moment. MT: But the problem with Christchurch was first they were

just smashing everything down, and then pouring it into the harbour for the new wharf extension and they’re probably still doing it. All the buildings have to be crushed up on site and put in a big pile and then taken away. Nothing gets pulled apart, oh there are a couple of people who were pulling apart houses, but commercial buildings are being smashed to bits of rubble and then taken away. It’s a real shame. They were beautiful but all those memories are disappearing. If you actually took a building apart it’s got to be worth so much more than intact, each bit of it you know… I think we do need to redefine the city, but in a positive way, as a nod to what was good. For example when we went for the Avon River project we - I should have bought it with me… [starts drawing]. There was this diagram that Gary did a beautiful job of producing, and it went like this… The idea was it was a timeline, and there were these icons. This is about the Avon River and this is now. The Avon River is now a tourist destination or something to look at, a back drop. Whereas before it was food, it was transportation, it had spiritual value, it had all these other sorts of values, and we could bring all of


those back. And then there’s the ecology, the aquatic life, and getting boats on it. So what we’re saying is that this point here, now is the start of a new relationship on the River - and it’s a shared one. And Ngāi Tahu comes back in. So you could say at this point here Ngāi Tahu was told to bugger off and we took it over and started putting in waste, and at this point it started to became a conveyor of waste and all that sort of thing. So our thing was about a new relationship with the river, if there’s any step to change in Christchurch it needs to be that. What we discovered was that Christchurch is actually a system, and the Avon isn’t just a river, it’s a system. That became pertinent because you’re never more than a metre or so away from water wherever you’re standing. It’s right below you, flowing, 40-80 year old crystal clear, freezing cold, water. And you can dig a hole and it will bubble up, anywhere in the city, it’s amazing. You’re standing on a system the whole time but nobody knows that. So if you did something with that, like the Romans did or like in Italy; there are little springs popping up in the middle of plazas and you walk up and put your bottle in and you’ve got fresh water. That was our vision for the city; to have that popping up all over the city so you can go anywhere and get off your bike, fill up your bottle and off you go, it would have been awesome.

XSECTION: It would give you real guardianship too, you’re not going to mess with that water if you like to drink it. MT: See I would go to a city like that; I’d like to travel and go

to somewhere like that. Then building on other memories, we wanted to turn the city into an arboretum. It’s already kind of there, there’s loads of space for natural habitat, though not everybody buys into it, it’s a shared culture. To turn the whole thing into an arboretum would be of world interest. If you could go to Christchurch and travel through this huge tree museum, it’s kind of there already. You could take just a bit further, so those are the kind of ideas. It was all about building new memories, saying - right, what’s good here? Let’s make that better.


WHAT IS A PLACE TO YOU? Alistair Newsome 1ST YEAR What is a place to you? Maybe the answer is just a fleeting mental image or feeling associated with a certain place and time. Can’t quite put your finger on it? That’s because you’re trying to define something ephemeral and elusive that changes depending on context; who’s asking, why and when. Placemaking requires context and history to combine. Something has always shaped the way we respond to a particular space and that something can only be experience. Experience as an individual or as a collective or community. Perhaps it’s something you touched or were physically involved in or something you read or observed. As humans we rely on this experience, or memory, to shape who we are. How as landscape architects, can we begin to unlock that network of shared and individual responses to create a common vision of something that reflects what resides within this myriad of people who are involved in and connected to a placemaking project? Such a network has no physical boundaries or definition. When we engage in placemaking we are attempting to harness what has gone before along with the future aspiration of the landscape stakeholders to design a new history. Or should we really Design? Every place has a history before we start any investigation or design, it already exists. We can’t change that, we can reinterpret it but we can’t change it. Once we have made a place it has a renewed history and narrative. So perhaps the answer for designers is to interpret a narrative rather than to design a finished product. A place might be a grand central area, pivotal to the lives of thousands of people or it might be extremely modest in terms of present usage or past intervention; but it still has a history and it has it for a reason. It may be a history of human success or failure, of good or bad decisions, neglect, change or transience, little or no human intervention at all. All of these are distinct in the designers’ palette; they all imbue each site with a unique set of responsibilities for any designer in order to make it a place. To shape and sculpt a site without simply imposing design or designing on the residents, visitors

or the landscape itself is far from straightforward it is the key to successful placemaking. In the case of Oratia Reserve who could, or should, have input and why? What does this place mean to those involved? What has defined Oratia as a space up until now and how can we hone that definition going forward? Undoubtedly a place that still enjoys a link to its early colonisation by Croatians and those from Victorian Britain, today Oratia could arguably be viewed as a bridging point, both physically and metaphorically, between many disparate entities; east and west Auckland, urban and rural, historical colonial and modern multicultural, C19th Europe and C21st Pacific – the crossing point between a modern city and a wilderness. In terms of physicality, on one side the site borders Auckland’s western suburbs and the other side plunges almost straight away into rain forest and Piha. So which wins? Or, perhaps more prosaically, how do we meld the two? A central tenet of contemporary placemaking is arguably the bottom up approach of involving and consulting the local people, who, unsurprisingly in the case of Oratia have expressed a multitude of sometimes conflicting needs and desires. As Joan Clos i Matheu stated “the value of the public good affects the value of the private good” and in the case of Oratia Reserve the narrative is arguably even more complex. Oratia Reserve is a public space but it’s more intimate than that, it’s a very local public space, it doesn’t necessarily belong to Auckland as a whole. There needs to be consideration given to an inner Oratia and outer Oratia within the space. The two elements need to be constructed to complement each other, to compete but not to dominate each other. Auckland needs to be kept at bay to some extent, or at least kept under control in order to allow some of the bucolic charm to remain. The same can be said of the Waitakere Ranges; we can’t deny the relevance of Oratia’s urban fringe location in favour of an idealised notion of untamed forest or coast taking precedence over human need. The reserve

must have seating; it must have the apparatus of human presence, food, warmth, shade, comfort, community. It must accommodate activity in all seasons. If we can approach a site like Oratia armed with a comprehensive understanding of the experience and memory of the site and of the people linked to it we will continue to act imperfectly but hopefully with a broader and deeper sense of responsibility to process and drive placemaking in a responsible, sustainable way that doesn’t simply add a veneer of design to a place, but one which makes a genuine attempt to get under the skin of the site, and of the community in a positive and meaningful way. The idea of placemaking is still used as a tool that reflects how we view ourselves as a society and a culture. It can still be a reflection of contemporary and to some extent mainstream social ideology because that is in itself a reflection of what we collectively hold dear and true as a society; our shared experience. To consider any site such as Oratia from the point of view of memory or shared experience “raises issues and questions that are not merely architectural but also moral, ethical, and philosophical” and requires the design approach to be centred around “unveiling—uncovering as well as anchoring—histories and memories”. Previous governments may not, and indeed did not, value landscape or legislate in the same way as we would expect our current and future governments to. Effective and sustainable land management, urban redevelopment and heritage planning are obvious examples of where publicly accepted wisdom is vastly different from one generation, or government, to the next. Certainly now a ‘bottom up’ approach of public consultation and involvement in placemaking alongside legislative bodies and government gives more credence to the legitimacy and driving force of participatory design. As we involve the local community throughout the process of placemaking, however, the danger is always in not interpreting their collective narrative properly. Arguably the success or failure of a placemaking project “arises from its capacity for establishing dialogues with, and presenting questions about the past (and the future)”. Sometimes the discussion is enough to achieve something in terms of community engagement. To plan for months, years, even decades gives a project its own shape and life. As part of this process we may ask ourselves what are the prevailing ideas or ethos regarding placemaking, what environmental or cultural issues draw us to certain conclusions at any given time? These will change, they always do. People change, political ideology changes, memories change, landscapes change.

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PROCESS AND HEALING Natalie Couch 1ST YEAR I saw this site as having a strong presence of European settlement and the powhiri process seemed appropriate as a framework for design here, as its purpose is to bring people together. It would also acknowledge the presence of Te Kawerau a Maki, and would identify their mana whenua (guardianship and genealogical connection), as well as providing an inclusive and enriching experience for the present day inhabitants, most of whom may not have experienced a powhiri (formal welcoming). It seemed appropriate too that this would occur here; a gateway to the ranges, the sea and the many significant and sacred sites the local Iwi hold close. I am particularly interested in the potential of the “medicinal grove� of native plants that can rehabilitate land and people in tandem. Land was often a cause for clients requiring healing, yet the land itself often required healing not necessarily separately from the clients healing. This draws a direct link between the landscape and the health of the people culturally associated with it. I believe it is by experiencing processes and ceremonies such as these that more understanding and respect will be fostered between Maori and Pakeha, and these relationships will be nurtured and developed.



AMETI Phase 2 is an Auckland Transport initiative to improve connectivity to Eastern Auckland. With only two access points over Tamaki River, there is much pressure on the currently dominant private vehicular transport system. AMETI P2 proposes expanding one of these access points, Lagoon Drive, which cuts through Mokoia Pa headland and runs adjacent to Kaihiku, Panmure Lagoon. Expanding the road by an additional two lane will have adverse affects on Panmure community. For Panmure, rather than an increase in connectivity, the community will see a further disconnect from their largest public space, Kaiahiku. Cutting away Mokoia Pa headland will disturb Ngati Paoa tupuna remains – an action similar to digging up a cemetery. These factors demonstrate AMETI P2 priority of communities East of Panmure over Panmure itself; and in doing so relies on the existing four lanes of private transportation – a transport model that AMETI and the wider Auckland need to move away from. The designer’s alternative proposal converts two lanes of existing private vehicular transport to the proposed AMETI P2 bus way. Throughout Lagoon Drive, stormwater interventions treat contaminated water coming off the AMETI P2 site, as well as from the wider area, in a public wetland situated at the bottom of a catchment zone. The public wetland will be situated in existing Panmure Domain land, amongst YMCA, Panmure Pools, the skatepark and Lagoon Drive itself. The design takes cues from the large scale of landscape the site is surrounded by, with Maungerei Mountain in view and Tamaki Estuary feeding into Kaiahiku tidal lagoon. A large expanse is sunken and shaped into bunds that form freshwater and tidal wetland zones. The elevated boardwalk becomes the public space, also functioning as pedestrian and cycle access along Lagoon Drive. Huge Kahikatea swamp trees signal the new public wetland, the presence of water that characterises this place, and reflect the scale and mana of the surrounding landscape.



Building an open space focal-point within Panmure for the coming together of people; community and connection; the creation of a space that wasn’t. Lagoon Link Park was motivated by the lack of a public space anywhere near Panmure’s retail centre, as well as the loud disjunct between this centre and the eminent Panmure Lagoon. The park bridges many restrictions as well as Lagoon Drive itself. Bands of terracing step down the hill and across the roadway speaking of a pedestrian crossing, while creating distinctive plateaus of alternating community garden and unprogrammed space. A wide promenade fronts the new band of eateries, providing space for alfresco dining as well as a viewing platform across the park and its activities. The park’s formation will counter the further separation of Panmure from its Lagoon as is being experienced through the widening of Lagoon Drive in the AMETI Phase 2 constructions. It will also see community prioritised, with focus being returned to the people, where it should always have been.


ARTIFICIAL NATURE Morgan Taylor 3RD YEAR Design proposal for a subdivision in Karaka, Auckland which focuses on the integration of storm water infrastructure and public space, to benefit the community at a local level through the sustainable management of natural resources and enhanced amenity values for the community. Exotic tree species planted around native kahikatea trees provide bright autumnal colour and strike a strong contrast between the native vegetation. The exotic tree species emulate the artificial nature of the ponds, acknowledging the infrastructure built into the ponds forming awareness for the community around storm water management. Raised timber boardwalks protect the planting and create a sense of direction for the public alongside the ponds.



The Auckland waterfront is highly manipulated, reclaimed land, structured and gridded in contrast to the historical meandering coastline. The water and working wharfs are intrinsically linked to sense of place in the Downtown prescient where commerce, transport and entertainment draw large flows of people to the area. In reference to this, the port has influenced the formal layout of the site. Ordered and structured but in a constant state of flux, ingoing and outgoing are represented by seasonal crops and a changing plantscape. As a window to the harbor, these linear planter beds and grassed slopes are aligned to take in the best view shafts and aspects, while maximising movement and transient pedestrian flow. The Lower Hobson Street Flyover is earmarked for removal under the City Center Master Plan yet, by embracing this potentially condemned piece of infrastructure an additional urban layer is created, providing a green pedestrian connection from


Downtown to the central CBD. The Flyover planting is exclusively native or endemic to the Auckland region and entirely edible, medicinal or species key to increasing fauna populations. Biodiversity is enhanced through apiculture, invertebrate habitats and a variety of ecosystems with many native flowering species and specimen trees. Through growing food and developing the community values associated with planting and production in an urban context, cultural and social boundaries are bridged. This project aims to educate, familiarise and inspire people who use the site to consider the vital connection between cultural, individual and city prosperity and the food or fuel required to sustain it. A bold, linear layout with quirky edible and rotational crops links the working wharf, New Zealand’s productive landscape and existing infrastructure, in doing so reflects past understanding, present experience and future expectations of place.

VULCAN LANE Nick Sisam 3RD YEAR Vulcan Lane contributes significantly to Auckland’s inner city in terms of its streetscape and as a social meeting place. A unique atmosphere is apparent through both its pedestrian nature, as well as a wide variety of architectural styles ranging from ornate Victorian facades through to more modern buildings. The lane has served as a pedestrian thoroughfare for over 120 years and has adapted to changes in commercial development of the city through to present day. It was with this in mind that the intervention in Vulcan Lane was focused on respecting the historical and architectural nature of the lane. The space is a successful destination as well as transitional space during the day, but becomes less used during the evening, with entertainment and hospitality using only a small portion of the lane. In order to continue to allow for the large numbers of people passing through the site during the day, the main design move was focused on the planes above the ground level, which would also reinforce the enclosed nature of the space. The use of metallic outdoor scrims was chosen as these are transparent during the day, allowing the lane to remain open and light filled during the day. The metal scrims are at varying levels and will have an overall theme of projections that are capable of change. Projections were used in order to easily change the environment rather than using more fixed structures. The bench seating used is also intended to be moved to the side of the lane, through the use of recessed, where they can then be flipped up displaying artworks on the underside of the bench’s that are hidden during the day, which is intended to create a gallery effect along the side of the lane. Being able to clear the lane entirely of fixed furniture was also intended to allow the bars and restaurants to more fully utilise the lane at night, as well as allowing for the lane to be used for smallscale events and encourage a more diverse hospitality, entertainment and cultural area.


Elusive spaces, such as abandoned lots, degrading post-industrial sites, or areas under bridges, stand in contrast to the methodically planned, readily definable spaces that make up the majority of the city. They seem almost like mistakes that were never erased from the landscape. Because of their absence of a designated use or order, “such spaces hold spatial and programmatic potential for realization of what is thus far unseen or unimagined, both in the eyes of cities, economic and development forces, as well as in those of its users” (Sola-Morales, 1995). Similarly, the implied lack of regulation and proprietorship that both causes and results from exclusion from composed urban fabric, brings freedom and opportunity for engagement on the part of the user. This freedom is part of what makes “genuine public space, and an open city” (Sola-Morales, 1995). “Users of public spaces should be given the opportunity to activate themselves as agents of change in the city fabric” (Ruskeepaa, 2010). Possibilities to alter function, materials, or configuration of urban public space, the opportunity to imagine and introduce an alternative usership, and the potential to temporarily feel a sense of proprietorship in the public realm. Flexible urban areas that are yet to have their full spatial potential exploited in the form of full development that are able to respond to the city dweller are few and far between. These places are the last personalizable public spaces.




The intensification of agricultural land use has occurred as farmers have responded to economic consumer and exporter demands. With the advancing urban environment, intensification of farmland and loss of habitat, the wide range of biodiversity, community and cultural connections we once had in the rural landscape are disappearing rapidly. The intention of the project was to establish strategies and frameworks, by way of species regenerative projects that help mitigate the impacts that rural processes have on waterways and help future proof farming practices through the expected urban and rural growth. Analysing the farmed, cultural and environmental aspects of a dairy farm gave vital information on the type of design moves that needed to be made in order to reconnect the farm with the community and significant cultural characteristics. Integrating these elements into the farm landscape through restoration projects established a new sense of place for the community and cultural aspects within the rural sector.


MINIMISE MAXIMISE Andrew Priestley 4TH YEAR This research project demonstrates alternative strategies in the way golf courses are designed. These alternatives aim to minimise negative impacts on the environment and maximise biodiversity. The project has focused in the first instance on identifying the unique ecological aspects of a particular site. Having established these potentials and problems the focus is then turned to the integration of a design that works with the existing landscape to achieve these objectives; ecology (which relates to maximizing biodiversity and minimizing negative impacts), amenity and finally playability. Through the process of design and balancing the three objectives, there is a greater focus on understanding the existing conditions of the landscape as opposed to a normative approach whereby generic strategies are imposed. The potential, which could manifest in any environment, is a golf course, which is truly unique and one that could not appear elsewhere. All the perspectives have a poetic sense in the way they capture the typology of this golf course and the outcomes it has aimed to achieve. They demonstrate the key strategies on each individual hole in a way that the viewer can imagine being in the moment, playing that shot or that hole.



QUAY NODES Dave Parker 4TH YEAR Throughout waterfront cities worldwide, there is a growing sense of disconnection between waterfront and city, leaving the waterfront as an underutilised space. This project focuses on Quay Street – the disconnecting space that lies between Auckland city and it’s waterfront. Auckland’s waterfront is comprised of local nodes, each having a unique character and sense of place. The nodes with the strongest senses of place utilise and emphasise the surrounding heritage and character through the retention of archaeological elements, patterns and materiality. Three nodes along Quay Street were focused on in more detail, as their unique characteristics were not fully utilised or emphasised. The consistent goal for each space was to create a public connection with the water, its fluctuations and the maritime uses that inhabit Auckland’s waterfront. Conveying this connection, poles float on sea level and protrude through the fixed spaces above to portray the fluctuations of tidal levels, giving a sense of connection to the water below. By capitalising on the historic factors and the character specific to these local sites, this begins to create a unique sense of place.


TAKAPUNA’S SUBURBAN WATERFRONT Blair Clinch 4TH YEAR The suburb of Takapuna and the iconic Takapuna beach share the same context, however their sense of place is disparate from each other. By investigating, analysing and improving the broad scale factors that influence both the suburban centre and the beach such as public transport and coastal processes, it formed opportunities for public space expansion and a shift to pedestrian prioritisation which allowed for the manipulation of site scale factors including slope, constructed elements and material use to further improve the broader scale connections as well as the pedestrian and public space connection between the suburb of Takapuna and Takapuna beach. This public space expansion and pedestrian prioritisation draws the pedestrian and public characteristics of Takapuna beach into Takapuna suburb, whilst scored concrete, dune planting and emphasising of view shafts in Takapuna suburb further emphasise Takapuna’s coastal context. Through investigating how to connect Takapuna beach to the growing suburb of Takapuna it lead to the protection and improvement of the unique characteristics of both Takapuna suburb and Takapuna beach. Through extending these characteristics between the suburb and the beach it did not completely alter either’s sense of place, just further enhanced them through emphasising the outstanding characters of each entity. Conveying the sense of one ‘place’ directly contributes, and is a part of, the sense of another local ‘place’, suggesting that all ‘places’ are linked in some way, and those factors that link them are of the highest priority for landscape architects to analyse and improve through landscape architectural implementation.


TERRA NOVA AYITI Florian Strausse IFLA ZVI MILLER PRIZE Being one of the poorest countries in the world, Haiti has to face big challenges over the next decades. New homes are needed for the many people who have lost theirs due to the excruciating earthquake in January 2010. But also the rapid growth of the Haitian Population, mainly concentrated in the metropolitan region of Port au Prince, raises the need for further residential development. Nearly all Haiti is deforested. The resulting high risk of landslides concentrates all thoughts on new development on the few plains of the country. But these plains are highly affected by the periodically returning hurricanes and flood events. Finally these plains are the most fertile areas of the mountainous country and therefore the only chance to get emancipated from food imports. Port-au-Prince, the countries capital is located in the “Cul de Sac Plain”, once the most productive agricultural area in the former French colonies. Today most of the agriculture in the plain lies fallow. Landslides, earthquakes, liquefying soils and devastating flood events have struck Port-au-Prince for centuries. Especially the sprawling northern settlements in the Plain are highly exposed to soil liquefaction and flooding. As the pressure on the government to create new homes is rising, there are the first residential and industrial projects being developed in and around Zoranjé, a former social housing project in the north western Plain. The current practice, to elevate the ground level in the plain by 1.5 meter through dumping and compacting gravel arises several questions. Is this raise enough to protect the inhabitants from flooding and liquefying? Can anything be grown on the compacted foundation which would give the inhabitants the opportunity for small scale urban agriculture? From this starting Point, “Terra Nova Ayiti” proposes several landscape interventions in the vulnerable “Plain de Cul-de-Sac”. The different elements like biodrainage strips and irrigation channels with riparian vegetation are simple and proofed agricultural techniques which were not only cheap but easy to apply. The interaction of these elements decreases the risk of flooding and soil liquefaction, and increases meanwhile the productivity of agriculture and biodiversity over the upcoming decades. The design of a landscape, which can be both urban – with an improved resilience - and agricultural – with a high productivity – takes into account that the future of Haiti, and especially of the Cul-de-Sac plain is still uncertain. “Terra Nova Ayiti” imagines a resilient framework of landscape infrastructures, buffering extreme rainfall events and storm surges, stabilizing the weak soil, creating habitats and raising the agricultural yield. The proposal does not draw a picturesque design of one possible future situation in the plain, but a system, that is flexible enough to absorb all different thinkable scenarios. 94

REVEALING KINGSLAND Matt Lay, Rudolf Iseli, Meg Back & Brad Congdon Kingsland Urban Design Competion Winner


evealing Kingsland is a design project that looked to revive a part of the main street of Kingsland and the historic church on the corner of New North Road and Sandringham Road. The primary focus of the project was to reveal and revitalize the exterior of the church and touch lightly on the surrounding landscape while making the area more accessible for pedestrians and for people who gathered before church or social functions. Kingsland is an iconic area of Auckland, with many aspects of history and culture interwoven. Our group’s philosophy was to recognise those narratives in a simple form which integrated the past, the who of the here and now, whilst also seeding a resilient response which could be implemented in a cost effective manner while being responsive to the needs of the future. This was not an area that would suit an expensive looking makeover. To enhance the Kingsland sense of place a sympathetic reaction was required that integrated the current feel of Kingsland and celebrated the past and the people. Our first reaction was a simple effective palette of materials to enhance the existing forms, yet still be contemporary. Existing bitumen flows into aggregate concrete, bluestone used in different directions and forms to delineate areas, and recycled boards to complement the character of Kingsland, while also ensuring the existing buildings still sit comfortably in their new environment. Ti Kouka, the hardy cabbage tree, is an established part of both cultural lore (”Cabbage Tree Swamp”) and the ecosystem, while contributing strong upright form as well as a more park like atmosphere. The intriguing coil patterns of the stain glass windows can be carried through as shading on the replacement glass pergola, while the forms reproduced in metal meld themselves cleverly to bike stands. The driveways still exist, however the woven pattern of blue stone paving flows from the driveways all the way across the road, providing a visual cue for both pedestrians and passing motorists. The church (or rī rotu) is the first building that motorists and pedestrians notice as they enter the main street of Kingsland from the eastern end. It is a tall, historic building that dates back to a time when it was a vital part of the local community. It has a sense of faded grace as its sits on the corner and it has the appearance of a country church as opposed to a large grandiose church as found in other parts of Auckland. It is this understated elegance that was key to the landscape design. Careful considerations were made to not block the views of the church from the footpath or main road while also providing a level of protection for pedestrians from the main roads. The three different areas each have a different function and subtle differences in design. Each area features the same material palette including the cabbage trees, basalt, and worn/upcycled wood, arranged in ways to compliment the church, reflect the past and the people, past and present. The placement of furniture is not entirely defined in this concept as the area needs to be responsive to use needs, but aggregate concrete and worn wood combinations can be combined with metal, or further art work continuing the theme from the entrance sculpture while performing other functional uses (e.g. to screen from road or sun). The areas tie together to create a cohesive statement, a park like atmosphere, valuable amenity for church or community functions (such as craft or farmers markets), and a distinctive gateway that tells the visitor “You’re in Kingsland now”. However each of the areas could also be built as a stand-alone project and still markedly transform the area. Continuing the strong theme of revealing Kingsland: the culture, the history, and the ecology using the palette of materials gives clues of how it could be extended in the future; an example of this may be to extend the cabbage tree pits into planted swales along the front of the platforms as the area becomes less vehicle dominant and more road becomes available for development. We aimed for a simple, and yet resilient response; design that forms highly useable and visually pleasing spaces, that recognise the narrative of the area, and yet remain responsive to the inevitability of the future.




section 2013 turned out to be a journey, where we made a number of discoveries; not just about placemaking, or sense of place, but about the industry, about people in general, and most of all, about what makes a landscape. To follow the xsection mission of promoting rigorous discussion across the boundaries of the industry, we attempted to leave no stone unturned, infiltrating meetings, going to functions, visiting offices, talking to not just landscape architects but architects, photographers, artists, planners, ecologists and anyone else we thought might have an opinion. We collated images, articles, interviews and thoughtful, learned journal articles which we passed onto far more qualified people for double blind peer reviews. In a striking moment of synergy two top personalities wtihin the field, Ethan Kent of Project for Public Spaces, and David Engwicht of Creative Communities both visited Auckland early on in our journey and xsection members were lucky enough to attend their talks. We didn’t just get enough material, we actually collated too much, leading to the online edition stepping up this year to become an exciting new product in its own right. First and foremost we discovered landscape architects care. They care very deeply and on our visits around the offices we would often be exposed to the most esoteric of conversations, with contemplation of time, memory, culture and how that was bound up into the landscape. In general people were extremely generous with their time and especially their intellectual property. Our thanks to them all. They felt deeply about “place” and were willing to share. There were lively philosophical discussions where commercial reality was left behind and ideology was debated. It had not escaped our notice that placemaking and sense of place were indeed different things, and this sparked up many a debate. When discussing “placemaking” there were often two camps, those who felt that a place could not be designed without local consultation, and those who felt the trained designer should be the one who knows best how to ensure a place could function. So who is right? Both sides have created extremely successful spaces. And placemaking it seems can be an ongoing activity. Is the Wynyard Quarter a success because it is activated, or is it activated because it’s a success? Some said it was only after the question was posed that they started thinking deeply about what placemaking might really be. The idea appears to be developing just as the industry is. Certainly culture is coming the fore as landscape architecture moves from being purely a western construct to where it is accepted that a landscape can be valued in many different forms. In New Zealand the incorporation of the Te Aranga Maori design principles, themselves startingly in sync with placemaking theorem, into the design manual of our largest city signals a move to forming a sense of place through a greater recognition of the narrative of a site, the culture, the names, the ecology, the people. As Wayne Rimmer of Opus said: “successful placemaking is based around a more complex process involving listening, understanding, interpretation and integration of existing community values. It is a process that allows a community’s collective thoughts to become an agreed vision. It is this shared vision as a part of the placemaking process that will help to expose, define and enrich a communty’s layers that either previously may have existed and been lost, or perhaps have never had the opportunity to be realised.“ If culture, memory and narrative are what builds sense of place, perhaps placemaking is the mechanism by which we can build them in...


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Profile for X-Section Journal

xsection Journal | Issue 3  

Placemaking: How do we create contemporary sense of place? 2013 Unitec Landscape Architecture Publication To view more articles, intervie...

xsection Journal | Issue 3  

Placemaking: How do we create contemporary sense of place? 2013 Unitec Landscape Architecture Publication To view more articles, intervie...