Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Movement Through the Marginalised: An Urban Landscape Investigation

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posted on 2021-09-12, 22:26 authored by Bensemann, Freddie

In Western democratic society, urban public space has always been dominated by theMainstream user. The Marginalised, to being periodically shifted from one area to another through prevailing processes that gentrify and regulate space. These habitual processes directly and indirectly manage civic space eroding particular character evolved fromMarginalised occupation and expression, and in doing so, urban space caters to the needs and wants of the Mainstream.

This project investigates such a situation yet with such habits reversed. Through the landscape design of urban space the project asks can we design urban space to accommodate thesocio-spatial needs of the Marginalised whilst at the same time, support Mainstream users?

The investigation situates its research in Te Aro Park, a public urban space in Wellington City occupied predominantly by the Marginalised. From the homeless to the eccentric, the drug addict to the gang member, the space is often a considered a black spot avoided or uncomfortably and rapidly moved through by the Mainstream user. With a social hierarchy that has been flipped on its head the space exudes the diverse nature of Wellington with murals and public artwork that represent the Marginalised groups including local Iwi.

This project aims to use landscape architecture design to critically assess, seek and develop potentials for harmony of urban spaces exhibiting spatial and social conflicts between Marginalised and Mainstream citizens. It is an attempt through landscape architecture technique, to destabilize the binary between Mainstream and marginal, and therefore engender conditions for truly diverse urban spaces. In doing so the research discovers how designers can approach public space design problems while opposing the forces of displacement. The research additionally contributes an understanding of the underpinnings of trying to introduce new actors without displacement of the existing and more vulnerable actors.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License


Degree Discipline

Landscape Architecture

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Landscape Architecture (Professional)

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

Wellington School of Architecture


Hopewell, Hannah; Almoyna, Carles