Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Designing for Inevitable Crisis: Resilient and Adaptive Housing Development for Climate Change in a Coastal Location

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posted on 2022-03-21, 01:37 authored by Bocock, Chloe

Climate change is globally recognised as the leading problem of the 21st century, with an abundance of scientific evidence to validate the concern. Climate change is a long-lasting shift of the average weather conditions that have come to define Earth’s local, regional and global climates. Climate change is caused by both natural and anthropogenic (human-induced) contributing factors. The human activity on Earth has caused a significant inflation in the amount of greenhouse gases emitted, resulting in higher heat retention and rise in surface temperatures. The most disruptive and disastrous impact of climate change is the rapid rise in the global sea level which is currently ascending at an unprecedented rate. As the oceans warm, they expand. This has been the primary contributor to the historic sea-level rise which has recently accelerated from around 1.7mm per year over the 20th century to 3mm since the 1990s. Sea level rise is causing land to become submerged underwater and requires new strategies for the infrastructure to deal with these unavoidable shifts. Because this issue is unprecedented, we as architects and designers must adhere and comply to this new norm by accepting the fact that this is our future, by designing for climate change, instead of trying to ‘fix it’. So, this prompts the question,How can housing developments be designed that are resilient and adaptive to coastal site shifts (sea level rise) caused by climate change?

The role of the design is to respond to the predictions of accelerating sea level rise and elevating threats of coastal flooding by providing an architectural response for safely inhabiting low lying coastal areas. Utilising resilient and adaptive elements within the architectural construct could aid in the future of sustainable living design that effectively reacts to the uncontrollable impediments and challenges the natural world presents.


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Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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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

Wellington School of Architecture


Gjerde, Morten