Te Ao Hurihuri
At the heart of the thesis is the establishment of a new type of landscape practice based upon leveraging the power and potential of computational tools to serve cultural attitudes to land and land management. The research acknowledges that a new approach to landscape understanding is required, one that extends the current discipline’s mode of notation and representation/visualisation and ‘experience’ within the design process. It questions current forms of mapping and representational media and highlights limitations when communicating ‘non-traditional’ cartographic data, such as cultural and spiritual sites arguing that there are opportunities for a more holistic experiential interaction. By utilising a holistic approach influenced by key Māori kaupapa including kaitiakitanga, manaakitanga, and mauri, the research offers up a novel digital methodology that draws from a range of existing data (demographics, climate etc.) and initiates the creation or capturing of new data. This extended method of ‘bottom up’ data collection combined with virtual 3D modelling and visualisation, enables traditional understandings of landscape to extend to the experiential in the creation of an immersive, interactive and open collaborative 3D environment. This is further investigated through a process consisting of data conversion to mesh production for game engine use, incorporating diverse data sets to create new knowledge landscapes - an information-rich land model which in turn generates interactive 3D landscapes for end users. The process itself uses commonplace photogrammetry techniques as a means to capture selected areas of the cultural landscape recording both mesh and texture/image map. We then employ the software ‘Unreal Engine 4’ (Game development platform). The development of the gamification model allows location specific data to be ‘plugged in’ for landscape ecosystem monitoring also providing the potential for real time resource management. Future speculation of the cultural landscape enables climate events to be simulated and tested, giving an understanding of implications and risks with a view to local response and mitigation. From a design perspective the method/model allows designers to respond effectively with Māori end users and their real needs, potentially collapsing traditional modes of engagement and consultation between designer-client relationships providing a more bottom up collaborative approach.