Facilitating Intercultural Encounters; through the negotiation between self, society, and place.

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Welcome One, Welcome All : The Hidden Diversity in Auckland

Through the era of globalization, the world has witnessed increasing levels of cultural flow exchanged between countries through migratory processes. While existing research presents the concept of immigration as many things – the result of forced circumstances; a tool for development and growth; the cause for resource depletion; a process of instability; a driver for innovative design — in this thesis, immigration is recognized as the catalyst for the development of complex cultural (collective and individual) identities. Housing this growing reality is a super-diverse city; Auckland. 

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Diagram: Models of Diversity Management implemented within Auckland

With a growing population, half of whom are born overseas, Auckland has been identified as the fourth most ethnically diverse city globally. While this is an asset, the confrontation and lack of interaction between multiple cultures can result in issues including misrepresentation, inequality, and marginalization. Central to these discourses is the built environment. In a multicultural city such as Auckland, it becomes the responsibility of decision-makers and designers to cater for various cultures and their sense of belonging within the city.

Therefore, this thesis is curated from the exploration into, and the symbiosis of, two key positions I hold when viewing the world: as an immigrant, and as an architect. The former explores the insights and critiques I have gained through the experiences of my migration journey. The latter seeks a process for designing ‘places’ that can represent and facilitate this evolution. 

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Diagram: The Four Phases of Migration into Aotearoa
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Diagram: Facets of my Self; an Immigrant's Identity

By extrapolating the concept of identity through the lens of an immigrant, this thesis reveals the extent to which migratory processes impact one’s sense of belonging in a new context. Central to this research has been the interrogation into the re-territorialization of public spaces. By searching for a methodology that can appropriately represent any given identity within a defined space, this thesis propounds public places as critical nodes of representation and cultural exposure. Not only are these spaces transformed to reflect and accommodate the ‘self’, but they also exist as places that hold new experiences for, and to inform society about, the diverse cultures within Auckland city.

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Diagram: Masterplan for Proposed Interventions; Places for Intercultural Encounter
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Diagram: Methodology to design Places for Intercultural Encounter