Place-making Through Time: Future-proofing Tauranga Borough through the evolution of 'Place Identity'
The water’s edge is a vital element in New Zealand’s natural environments and established communities. Development of industrial infrastructure along this threshold, has left many coastal settlements stagnant and slipping into demise, negatively impacting the connection with the land and people, while industries continue to thrive. This research responds to this problem by exploring the potential of a place’s identity to become a catalyst to moderate the impact of industrial infrastructure on inner city consumption, community engagement and urban use. Tauranga City provides appropriate testing grounds for this research. It has an under-utilized and uninspiring city centre, that suffers from the impact of industrial domination. The lack of diversity in civic and community spaces and opportunity for community engagement and interaction with Tauranga’s water’s edge has encouraged its community to move out of the city into more vibrant neighbouring suburbs and cities. This situation is contributing to the gradual demise of Tauranga City. This investigation considers the studies of Tauranga’s original settlement and evolution to its current condition, before turning to literature on place-making and resiliency for both people and environments. Appropriate and relevant cases from architectural practice, which address these urban issues, have been selected. Applying these studies, a speculative design has been developed which also sources other literature for guidance and idea generation. This has resulted in a process of pro-grammatically representing place identity for spatial use, along with iteratively testing the organization and prioritisation of people and infrastructure within a city centre in a coastal context. Exploring the potential for prioritizing people over infrastructure, has resulted in the realization that we must engage, involve and consult with people to mediate the displaced developments of community and the impact of growth of industrial activity.