Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Paekawakawa’s Healing Corridor: An architectural approach to help the integration of immigrants in residential communities through biophilic-placemaking

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posted on 2023-03-09, 22:51 authored by Macovei, Irina

A settler nation, Aotearoa’s history has been shaped by waves of immigration. Colonisation’s enduring impacts have favoured a Pākehā narrative of ‘one nation, one people’. Consequently, assimilative policies towards indigenous Māori and immigrant minorities were adopted to legitimise British hold over culture and land. Today, globalisation and labour demand encourage immigration from non-traditional countries, diversifying our population and challenging this homogenous cultural system. Bi-cultural and multicultural policy shifts have fostered cultural pluralism and inclusivity.

This thesis aims to support culturally inclusive architectural practices and, post-covid, wellbeing centred immigration policies through developing ‘immigrant friendly’ architectural interventions in Berhampore, Wellington. With its rich history of immigration and social justice, Berhampore is an optimal site to empower migrant identities and foster intercultural exchanges through architecture.

This research engages Biophilia, Topophilia, Aotearoa Based Placemaking and Intercultural theory as well as policy in order to understand how architectural space can cultivate belonging and ground ‘displaced’ immigrants in their new environment.

It aims to demonstrate how biophilic placemaking, integrated with intercultural design values can encourage empathy, cohesion, reciprocity and a shared love and attachment to place between immigrants and their host neighbourhood. In the hopes of creating positive acculturation experiences for migrants and their host communities.

A design-led research methodology informed the research outcomes. Testing and iterating design concepts was done through, sketching, modelling, photography, mixed media and CAD software. Wellington based immigrants were interviewed during the research process and the insights applied to the design-led research outcome.

This research found that a community-oriented space programmed with shared activities; and grounded in locality through biophilic design practices and a deep understanding of site ecology and history, provides immigrants with a platform to nurture and foster place belonging. Identity formation is a place specific endeavour, and this research hopes to shed light on Aotearoa oriented approaches to integrating and welcoming immigrants, through architectural design.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

CC BY-ND 4.0

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Architecture (Professional)

ANZSRC Socio-Economic Outcome code

139999 Other culture and society not elsewhere classified

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

2 Strategic basic research

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

Wellington School of Architecture


Pedersen Zari, Maibritt