Bridging the Gap
Traditional urban design approaches often develop neighbourhoods with a ‘top-down’ method, where minimal community engagement is used. Even projects that employ a ‘bottom-up’ approach can fail to connect with the community at a grass-root level. Although academics and planners widely accept public participation has had a positive influence on the urban design process, practitioners continually find roadblocks in the implementation of these policies.
Within this process of traditional urban change, this research will be aiming to use a variety of participatory design processes to assist locals in a community during a design process. This study focuses on ensuring public participation is the driving force behind a landscape architectural design that locals in a community can develop together.
In 2018 the Government announced that it would spend $1.5 billion over 25 years to revitalize housing in Porirua East (Fallon, 2018). This will change the demographic of the communities and put pressure on existing public services to keep up with the change in people and the identity of the community. The proposed site for this research investigation is Cannons Creek Lakes Reserve situated within the largest suburb of Porirua East, Cannons Creek.
This research uses methods that heavily involve community engagement with multiple social groups of Cannons Creek. Through the use of a strategically designed workshop process and participatory activities that maximise participation, residents of Cannons Creek are able to diagnose, dream, develop, and define their own design.
The findings of these workshops led to the creation of a consensus design that aimed to combine the designs of the social groups involved unbiasedly. The final outcome from the engagements was a consensus catalyst design that could be constructed and implemented within Cannons Creek Lakes Reserve.
This thesis demonstrates how landscape architects can push the boundaries of existing public participation processes to achieve positive outcomes for residents.