Together, discovering an Urban Ngahere

Auckland Tree View

In responding to the climate and housing crises across the motu, there is an opportunity to inspire a new urban form that celebrates green spaces and nature. With current densification limitations filling sites and reducing the urban forest canopy, a range of international responses can be considered and combined with a distinctly “Kiwi” approach, where trees remain a constant in an evolving built environment.

Existing mature urban trees provide many benefits, from the scientific and technical, to the emotional and phenomenological. A combined set of design solutions is investigated in this thesis, presented as a toolbox that enables an ecologically considered use of site. Creating opportunities that tie the experience of trees to a new, dense urban form, where the urban forest should be expanded. The Ngahere: more than just the forest or bush, but also an ecosystem and set of values.

For a nation of tree climbers...

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The Toolbox


The toolbox is a handbook, not a set of rules. to guide built environment professionals through a more sustainable approach to densification on a site and in communities. These tools are then expressed across a range of visual representations, architectural diagrams and sketches (well understood in the industry), and colourful scenes and sections that show the tools in context.

All Tools Page Wide no back cover
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The Vision


Communicating well to all members of society is essential to inspiring the uptake of the tools central to this thesis. If children can understand, architects can encourage developers and industry to make the necessary change.

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The Proof


Aimed squarely at proving the concept to developers, this scheme (one of many potentials) has a data based approach.

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The Story


This thesis sets down a clear imperative: avoid the concrete jungle, discover the urban jungle, and create the urban ngahere. This last step is the most important in the narrative: go beyond a traditional response to climate change, to one that encompasses a climate justice approach without sacrifice.

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