Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Hidden Territories: Integrating New Zealand Secondary Schools with Their Suburban Contexts

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posted on 2021-11-10, 21:22 authored by Clark, Kelly

High schools are a significant physical and social component within the suburban environment. These campus like institutions represent a marked change from the homogenous residential suburban environments they are situated within. These school environments posses many urban qualities such as building density and enclosure. This thesis investigates the physical relationship between high schools and the suburban environment and examines how this relationship can be improved. A review of the relevant literature has been conducted in unison with a graphic analysis of sixteen existing New Zealand High schools. Several concepts emerged from these investigations. Of greatest significance were the concepts of New Urbanism, of which the ideas of walkable and multi-use environments, and increased density were of greatest relevance. These ideas were found to align cohesively with those of Roy Stricklands City of Learning concept. Further, the graphic analysis revealed that the school and suburban environments are deficient in three key areas. These are permeability, the built interface between school and suburb, and the suburban environments functional segregation. The research then investigates how both physical and functional connections between school and suburb can be increased to correct these deficiencies. Cashmere High School, Christchurch, was selected for the design case study as it was representative of many of the salient issues identified. The research finds that permeability within the studied suburbs is poor; secondly it finds that school buildings are disengaged from their surrounding context. In addition it finds that school environments posses many urban like qualities such as density, variety and walkability. Finally the research concludes that school environments can be better integrated into their suburban environment.


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Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Master of Architecture (Professional)

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Architecture


McDonald, Chris