Urban planning and design research

Research projects currently being undertaken, including projects in urban development, urban design, urban growth, urban planning effectiveness, urban morphology, and student travel behaviour.

Suburban Futures at the Urban Edge

Dr Lee Beattie and Prof Errol Haarhoff are currently collaborating with Prof Larry Murphy (Property) on a research project considering the factors which could lead to implementation of more sustainable/resistant peripheral urban forms of development in Auckland, Brisbane and Melbourne. The project considers issues surrounding the cost of development at the urban edge, the cost of infrastructure provision, transport and connectivity issues, travel demand, employment and housing opportunities and the appropriate forms of urban governance.

The History of Urban Design in New Zealand

Prof Errol Haarhoff and Lee Beattie are currently collaborating on a research project investigating and documenting the history of urban design practice in New Zealand. The research project charts the rise of urban design ideas and practice and how these ideas have influenced the practice in New Zealand’s architectural and urban planning professions. This includes how urban design principles and ideas have evolved over time in the New Zealand context, taking on board examples of international best practice, while seeking to create a distinct form of New Zealand urbanism.

Urban Growth Management and Urban Design Implementation

Prof Errol Haarhoff and Lee Beattie are currently collaborating on a research project undertaking a critical appraisal of urban growth strategies and their implications for ensuring high quality urban design outcomes within a number of Australasian and North American cities (Vancouver, Portland, Auckland, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth). The researchers are interested to learn from the experiences of these cities, and how their policies are leading to anticipated outcomes, including market acceptance and investment in higher density and quality housing typologies and sustainable urban form.

What does it take to make an effective urban planner?

Employers expect graduates to be able to operate as effective practitioners upon the completion of a professional programme of education. With the increasing demands on early career professionals, a greater understanding of the role professional education and training should play alongside of students’ lives is needed. Professor Dory Reeves is conducting an international  research project that will provide baseline data to identify what makes an early career urban planner effective: and to recognise to what extent programmes of study have been responsible, versus development attributed to other aspects of their lives.

From Urban Landscape Units to Morphological Coding: Exploring an Alternative Approach to Zoning in Auckland, New Zealand

Dr Kai Gu's research on geographical urban morphology is pertinent to both describing and prescribing the spatial structure and character of the built environment, but its application in planning and managing the urban landscape has been slow to develop. Based on the relationship between morphological periods and the stratification of urban form, the recognition of urban landscape units is fundamental to the understanding and planning of urban areas. Stimulated by the increasing demand for business and housing, the historical inner suburb of Parnell, Auckland is experiencing great pressure for change. The District Plan which underpins urban landscape development in this suburb on the basis of land-use zones has been of limited effectiveness in guiding change to the historical urban environment. In seeking more integrated development control, a morphological coding alternative is suggested which is derived from spatial analysis of the composite structure of urban landscape units.

Travel behaviour of students of the University of Auckland

Via questionnaires and interviews Dr Asif Khan hopes to gain an understanding of the travel behaviour of students commuting to the University in the mornings. While investigations have been carried out into journeys to work, students’ travel patterns have not been thoroughly examined. The findings of this research will be useful for the University of Auckland Travel Plan, and for potential changes to existing transportation policies for Auckland.