Finding Happiness through Architecture
Cultural diversity has consequences for happiness. However, there is currently a gap in knowledge about how architecture can foster happiness in the context of New Zealand. New Zealand’s mid-sized cities are becoming increasingly culturally diverse, but happiness is shrinking. This is especially evident in Palmerston North, where the colonial-style city square fails to convey an identity that residents can relate to. This research investigates how a multiprogrammatic market located at the centre of Palmerston North can improve the population’s happiness, reflect and celebrate cultural diversity, and encourage sharing between cultures. The ‘research through design’ process involves qualitative data and analogue design tools. It is found that cities require centres that reflect and unite their populations. Architecture can achieve this by providing flexible and adaptable spaces, counteracting colonial aesthetics, incorporating expressive forms and engaging a human scale through the invigoration of the senses. Overall, the thesis serves as an example of how architecture can improve the happiness of culturally diverse populations.