The Landscape of Social Housing. A Case Study in Tītahi Bay, Porirua
ABSTRACT The landscapes particular to the state housing areas in New Zealand which were developed between the 1950 and 1960’s, are known for their characterless landscape conditions. These environments are predominantly lacking in gardens and street trees, which contributes to the external perception of the area as degraded and neglected by the authorities. The spatial conditions, and the lack of growth and change since their inception, are arguably an indicator of spatial and social inequity. Under- privileged neighbourhoods such as these are known for poor well- being outcomes, and for anti- social behaviours. There are many socio- political factors contributing to poor outcomes for the people in these social housing communities. Most issues are beyond the scope of Landscape Architecture, but landscape architecture does have a role to play in the formation of landscape conditions which enable easily accessible positive encounters with landscape elements and nature. In the context of this research positive encounters with nature are seen as potentially aiding the well- being of individuals and the whole community. The case study area chosen for the research was observed and analysed, and landscape elements discovered, to be used as catalysts for a strategic redevelopment of the blue and green space, and connections within the neighbourhood. It was found that landscape features, such as an open stream, can be utilised to promote the (Re) connection of people back to the landscape. With small design interventions, in this case a streamside walkway, with a revegetation plan to enhance the aesthetic and ecological conditions of the area, improvements can be made to the perception of place. This strategy can be utilised in urban environments, with similar conditions to the case study area, to reveal the inherent possibilities of each specific landscape.