Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Resilience in the Face of Sea Level Rise: An Architectural Response to Rising Sea Levels in Wellington, New Zealand

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posted on 2021-11-14, 08:18 authored by Hatch, Michael Barrington

Climate change is widely regarded as the leading global issue of the 21st century. There is now a general international agreement, supported by an overwhelming amount of scientific evidence, that the global climate is changing at an accelerated rate and that human-driven emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere is the main factor driving this trend. Arguably the most devastating impact of climate change on the human civilisation will be a rapidly increasing rise in global sea levels, which are currently rising at an unprecedented rate, placing hundreds of millions of people at serious risk of inundation in coastal communities across the globe. In the case of New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington, over ten percent of the city’s residents are at risk of displacement by the end of this century. This thesis aims to find a solution to resident displacement in the coastal city, addressing the question, How can a resilient residential dwelling be designed for the coastal city, in response to the encroaching pressures of climate change driven sea level rise? This research question and its subsequent design aims have been achieved through a highly iterative design process resulting the development of a connected network of amphibious dwelling solutions which provide the residents of the selected focus community of Kilbirnie, a coastal suburb in Wellington city, with the capacity to accommodate, adapt and thrive in the face of sea inundation. Hereby ensuring the social sustainability of the coastal community, currently at serious risk of displacement as a direct result of climate change driven sea level rise.


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Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Degree Name

Master of Architecture (Professional)

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

970112 Expanding Knowledge in Built Environment and Design

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Architecture


McIntosh, Jacqueline