High Ground, Low Ground: Explorations in Topography and Neighbourliness in Coastal Dune Settlement
The desire to live close to the ocean often brings about settlement that sprawls along the beachfront, parallel to the coastline. This settlement structure is problematic as it diminishes the importance of community while exposing beachfront housing to coastal hazards. The coastal dune settlements of Waikanae and Paraparaumu, where this research has been undertaken, exhibits this problematic settlement structure. Using these sites as a case study, the research seeks to re-examine the New Zealand coastal land settlement formation. It explores what could happen if the current coastal settlement pattern re-organised as a more social structure? The research is investigating an approach to settlement through re-examining the idea of neighbourhood by looking at its whole relation to the coastal dune topography, ecology, and wider landscape relations. However, not only does this research look at the social potentials of coastal settlement but how disaster planning can become a device to achieve this outcome. Essentially, it aligns itself with the attitude that flooding and coastal hazards should not just be looked at as an engineering problem but an opportunity to alter the way in which we settle coastlines in a way that builds community.