Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Heart Health Through Play

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posted on 2024-03-29, 22:57 authored by Katelyn de Agrella

This thesis proposal addresses the global heart health crisis and focuses on improving heart health in New Zealand, particularly within the built environment. The research findings demonstrate that designers can enhance heart health by creating urban and architectural public spaces with playful atmospheres, a community focus, and physical activity and stress reduction opportunities. Through a comprehensive approach, including exploration of theory and case studies, the study site and design led the research at different scales. The thesis ensures a contextual solution to improved heart health in urban and architectural realms. Playful design tools, such as sensory and community-oriented approaches, successfully promote physical activity and reduce stress. The findings are validated through various testing methods, including theoretical research, case studies, and participatory research. The importance of urban interventions, sensory design, and inclusive community design is highlighted. The research emphasizes mixed land use, accessibility, and the transformation of underutilized public spaces into human-centred environments. In conclusion, this thesis proposal provides significant urban and architectural findings applicable to Nelson and other small cities, offering practical strategies for improving heart health, urban vitality, and community well-being through playful design strategies.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License


Degree Discipline

Art History

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Architecture (Professional)

ANZSRC Socio-Economic Outcome code

200401 Behaviour and health

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

4 Experimental research

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Alternative Language


Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Design Innovation


Hopewell, Hannah