Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Cohabitate: Urban Design for the Support of Coastal Biodiversity

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posted on 2022-10-09, 20:48 authored by Donaldson, Timothy

Is cohabitation with declining species and the incorporation of natural systems possible in an ever-expanding urban environment? This research question focuses on what is going to happen to the natural world if humans continue to degrade ecosystems at the current unsustainable rate. By incorporating nature into built environment design, we potentially alleviate the stress on current ecosystems by enabling nature to coexist with human structured designed environments. Design can be more inclusive of non-human species so that design interventions do not remove habitat, but instead integrate with it, or enable regeneration of it where it has already been lost. The research detailed in this paper is drawn from two separate areas: animal cohabitation strategies and nature incorporation into architecture/urban infrastructure. There is a lack of research into these two areas combined. An in-depth analysis must be done on both areas of study and how they are, or could be, related in order to move architectural and urban design practice into regenerative paradigms with a focus on urban biodiversity. Fully comprehending the scope of ecosystem/urban context relationships and the effect that they have on human society as well as wider ecology is important to this endeavor. The focus of this research is on coastal settings because of Aotearoa’s island context, because most Aotearoa cities are coastal, because limited work has been done in this field, and because important physical impacts of climate change tangibly relate to sea level rise, changes to the ocean (acidification), and storm surge events in coastal urban contexts in general.


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Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Architecture (Professional)

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

1 Pure basic research

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

Wellington School of Architecture


Pederson Zari, Maibritt