Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Community Participation in Urban Design - A Masterplan for Shelly Bay

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posted on 2021-12-08, 01:13 authored by Short, Jay

This research examines the role of community participation in urban design. It looks at developing more efficient methods of facilitating participation so that it can become more feasible for developers and designers.  A literature review and analysis of case studies found that community participation in urban design, in the developed world, is almost non-existent. In impoverished countries, however, it is more common - recognising that the commercial and political pressures of Western societies make participation in urban design difficult to justify.  The research then moves to its major case study - Shelly Bay. This area is facing a large development which has been highly protested by members of the local and wider community. One of the more significant reasons for the protest was the lack of transparency in the development planning stages.  So why does the public not have a say on the future of Shelly Bay? This thesis researches ways which developers, architects and urban designers can involve local community groups in the design of the environments they live, work and play in.  The research consists of two stages; Stage One uses traditional methods of consultation (surveying and interviewing) while Stage Two uses less conventional methods - presented as a workbook. The results from these participatory experiments have been used to produce a community masterplan proposal for Shelly Bay - ‘Shelly Bay 2030’.  This research concludes by stressing the importance of communicating and working with those who are most affected by the decisions made by urban developers. It recognises the challenges of reaching a level of collaboration but believes that the traditional surveying and interviewing methods should be standard in urban design. It also finds that a tool as simple as a workbook can be extremely effective in gathering public feedback.  Shelly Bay 2030, is strikingly different to the current development plans - showing the disconnect between the community and the developer. This research argues that if they were able to work together, it would be possible to create something which benefits everyone involved.


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Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Author Retains Copyright

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Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Degree Name

Master of Architecture (Professional)

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Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Architecture


Potangaroa, Regan