Architecture, Building and Planning - Theses

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    Managing the planning and implementation of greenways from top-down in the Central Zhejiang City-Region, China: who is in charge?
    Chen, Junxian ( 2023-11)
    In 2010, China introduced the modern greenway concept, envisioning regional-scale greenway networks that serve multiple functions. The objectives were twofold: to alleviate the scarcity of urban green spaces without encroaching on land designated for development, and to strengthen the rural-urban physical and functional connections within city-regions. The planning and implementation of greenways at such a grand scale involves a diverse array of actors and a web of institutions. Given that China’s authoritative governance system is characterised by top-down decision-making along with the institutional complexities, it is important to understand who is in charge in Chinese regional greenway development. By integrating insights from institutional theories and organisational theories, this study develops a conceptual framework to examine the interactions between actors, institutions, organisational characters and resulting greenway outcomes. The Central Zhejiang City-Region, with its two successive greenway stages, was selected as the case study area. Data were gathered through thirty-nine semi-structured interviews, government documents, site observation, and spatial information from various sources. The main findings show that the regional government played a central role in regional greenway planning. However, its influence waned during the implementation phase since county governments dominated greenway projects as the capital suppliers, regulators and implementers. While the planning process was open to planning institutes, external consultants, and greenway user representatives, their presence mainly served to justify the aspirations of governmental actors. SOEs and sitting tenants were empowered to engage in the implementation process due to their access to funding or land resources for greenway construction. Nevertheless, their participation took place in the “shadow of hierarchy”, with the state taking a lead. Given that modern greenway was a new concept, greenway actors were inevitably confronted with existing regulative, normative and cultural-cognitive institutions, which raised transaction costs and posed constraints to greenway development. These institutional constraints were compounded by political pressures from the region and political leaders, driving actors to take strategic actions to develop greenways within a narrow timeframe. The key organisational actors, Local Greenway Coordination Offices (LGCOs), were also restructured to be more powerful, double-hatted, cross-agency and inclusive in order to overcome such institutional constraints. As reflected in the greenway outcomes, the Central Zhejiang Greenway Project does not appear to be an ongoing initiative that considers the long-term social and ecological consequences. Rather, it is treated as a political mission driven by campaign-style governance. The challenge still lies in establishing a complete set of supportive institutions and effectively enforcing them to safeguard the enduring value and sustainability of greenways for both communities and the natural environment. The findings from this study shed light on the complex institutional process underlying regional greenway development and its impacts on the urban and rural landscape.
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    A data-driven investigation on urban form evolution: Methodological and empirical support for unravelling the relation between urban form and spatial dynamics
    Tumturk, Onur ( 2023-06)
    Investigating the patterns of urban development and transformation and unravelling the principles behind these processes are critical for understanding how cities evolve under different physical conditions. While socio-economic, political and cultural forces undeniably shape the patterns of spatial change and persistence, urban form should not be perceived as a passive resultant or a mere consequence of these processes. Quite the contrary, urban form plays a determinant role in establishing the spatial conditions that influence future development patterns by constraining some choices while facilitating others. Recognising the scarcity of systematic, diachronic and quantitative studies on urban form evolution, this thesis is driven by an interest in understanding the relationship between urban form and spatial change. It aims to develop theoretical, methodological and empirical support for unravelling the influential role of urban form in guiding spatial dynamics. The thesis develops a diachronic and quantitative methodological framework to investigate how urban form conditions created by plots, buildings, streets and land uses affect the patterns of change and persistence in three different grid cities: Midtown Manhattan, New York (US); City Centre, Melbourne (AUS); and Eixample, Barcelona (Spain). As part of the research, three longitudinal morphological datasets were generated, drawing upon a rich array of historical cartographic resources and geospatial databases to enable a comprehensive assessment of urban form evolution within each city between the 1800s and 2000s. Through quantitative analysis of urban form and its association with spatial dynamics, the thesis demonstrates that urban form conditions have a measurable impact on the patterns of physical and functional change. This understanding contributes further to the fact that design does not exclude the possibility of change but may even favour it under particular conditions. A rigorous and evidence-based understanding of the interplay between urban form conditions and patterns of spatial change empowers practitioners and policymakers to choose particular forms and structures over others, guide the long-term evolution of urban form and improve the adaptive capacity and resilience of the built environment.
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    Evaluating the Effectiveness of Integrated Transport Solutions in Reducing Traffic Congestion in Melbourne
    Xinlei, Yuan ( 2023)
    Melbourne is often considered among the world’s best places to call home. It has a low crime rate, a thriving economy, first-rate medical care and schools, and exciting cultural events and venues (Li & Dodson, 2020). There is growing concern that Melbourne’s infrastructure is not yet adequate to handle our present and future transport needs despite the development boom the city is experiencing at present. The city’s rapid and unparalleled expansion has severely strained transportation infrastructure. The current study examines the congestion and potential solutions to mitigate congestion through integrated transport modes that allow seamless micro mobility in Melbourne City. The study will use a descriptive methodology to answer critical research questions. The researcher used both quantitative and qualitative techniques. The primary method of data collection was the use of survey data analysis. Data was analyzed through descriptive and content analysis.
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    Rethinking the Inflexible City: what can Australian planning learn from successful implementation of ‘temporary uses’ across the world?
    Perkovic, Jana ( 2013)
    Temporary uses have been identified as a low-cost, participatory, and economically beneficial method of managing urban change. As planning practice increasingly deploys temporary use, good outcomes require an understanding of how the two interact. Using the case study methodology, this thesis examines the ways in which formal planning practice can encourage, support, complicate and hinder informal temporary urbanism. The thesis does this by analysing the experiences of four agencies facilitating the implementation of temporary uses worldwide, examining their interaction with the planning system, and identifying common constructive and obstructive policy mechanisms. Temporary use projects can be initiated without high levels of support from formal planning; however, having to comply with the formal planning process is a significant hurdle. Traditional planning does not make provisions for short-term urbanism, imposing costly and time-consuming processes incommensurate with the short duration and low cost of the temporary use. Applications for change of use, requirements for building safety triggered by the planning process, and the perceived arbitrariness of the decision-making process are the biggest hurdles that formal planning imposes on temporary use. Temporary uses are best supported through dedicated processes, staff, and relaxed regulations. The findings confirm that temporary uses are a successful method for finding opportunity in situations of uncertainty and crisis. Formal planning practice can strategically deploy temporary projects to achieve long-term planning objectives. These findings should spark more debate about, research on, and experimentation with temporary uses.
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    The Impact of Public Transport Network Design Strategies in the Reduction of Urban Inequalities: A mapping and policy analysis case study of Bogota, Colombia
    Silva Faneca, Andrea ( 2023)
    The reduction of urban inequalities is one of the most difficult challenges to be addressed nowadays and strategic urban planning can play a vital role in this quest. Due to the complexity and the several factors that are involved in the reinforcement of urban inequalities through urban planning, this research focus on accessibility strategies in transportation planning and its concordance with equity theories. Considering a sensitive scenario, such as Global South cities, with rapid urbanisation processes occurring in the last decades, a mapping analysis will be developed by the author aiming to overlap key socio-economic and geographic data from Bogota, Colombia, in order to support a policy analysis from the city’s most recent Master Plan, focusing on public transport network design strategies and its impact for low-income inhabitants. The study found that Bogota’s Master Plan does present proposal strategies to improve accessibility to public transport network, although, based on the capabilities approach, the results found that there is no substantial improvement in equity levels through transportation planning for low-income groups in Bogota. Furthermore, it is important to understand the strategies developed in cities aiming to reduce inequalities, in this case, by improving accessibility as a provision of opportunities for inhabitants to have access to basic services, but does not considers the importance to provide the capacity to use these opportunities, as a fundamental aspect to generate meaningful impacts in inequality levels.
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    Towards a cycling future: Exploring the institutional barriers to the implementation of safe cycling infrastructure in Melbourne
    Symons, William ( 2023)
    Safe cycling infrastructure is key to achieving higher rates of cycling in cities, a transport mode which offers wide-ranging health, social, environmental, and economic benefits. However, many Anglo-American cities are dominated by car use and lack safe cycling infrastructure, which reduces the viability of cycling for transport. Developing a better understanding of the barriers to the implementation of safe cycling infrastructure represents the next major frontier in cycling research. This thesis identifies the institutional barriers to the implementation of safe cycling infrastructure from the perspective of local government staff, using Metropolitan Melbourne as a case study within the Anglo-American context. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with nine local government staff members involved in the cycling infrastructure planning process, with their responses analysed through a theoretical framework of institutional dimensions. The institutional analysis revealed a complex decision-making environment with an interplay of institutional factors. Institutional barriers to the implementation of safe cycling infrastructure include a lack of funding, strong car culture, transport governance power imbalance, outdated and car-oriented design guidelines, and high burden of proof on cycling as a transport mode. Furthermore, this thesis identified a stronger car culture in middle and outer areas of Melbourne relative to inner areas, but a consistent politicisation of the infrastructure decision-making process throughout the metropolitan area. By providing a better understanding of the institutional environment within transport planning, this research will help policymakers to navigate the decision-making environment while attempting to overcome the barriers to implementing safe cycling infrastructure in Melbourne and other similar Anglo-American cities.
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    Environmental Experience Design Framework for High Density Urban Housing of Middle Income Occupants in Bangladesh
    Chowdhury, Sajal ( 2023-06)
    The size of middle-income groups has steadily increased around the world. A Least Developed Country (LDC), Bangladesh's capital and hub of business, Dhaka, ranks as Asia's 11th fastest-growing megacity. The middle-income group in Dhaka drives economic growth, outpacing other income groups. Since housing in Dhaka is unaffordable and socio-economic constraints limit their choices, middle-income households usually live in compact or congested domestic environments (i.e., high-density housing). For housing affordability, housing providers develop small-sized dwelling units (flats or apartments) for middle and lower-middle-income groups instead of targeting upper-income groups, considering mainly physical design components (e.g., size, layout and configurations) in architectural design decisions. Architectural design solutions may not improve occupants' mental well-being without clear perceptions of users' physical and psychological responses. According to the initial survey and literature review, indoor environmental quality deteriorates in congested domestic environments and affects occupants' mental well-being (psychological responses, such as comfortable feelings). The literature review revealed that each element of a household living environment positively or negatively impacts occupants' physical perceptions and psychological responses. Thus, the design of a domestic indoor environment affects occupants' mental well-being which needs to be incorporated into architectural design decisions. Occupants' psychological response can be promoted by changing domestic indoor conditions and adjusting their subjective perceptions of household experiences. Knowledge about the household experiences of middle-income occupants (as users) is still elusive in Bangladesh. This study explores users' household experiences of psychological perceptions and physical responses in order to formulate customised design outcomes that can improve the mental well-being of occupants. To comprehensively understand middle-income occupants' domestic experiences, high-density urban housing has been selected for the study context in Dhaka. Mixed mode research design combining qualitative and quantitative strategies, incorporating literature reviews, structured questionnaires and semi-structured interviews, was conducted for numerical (association rules mining) and contextual (text mining) analysis and interpretation. Data was collected from fifty domestic units (flats or apartments) in urban housing in Dhaka. Therefore, in-depth data interpretation through machine learning algorithms (Association rules ‘Apriori’) has been conducted considering the correlation between twelve environmental design factors and ten spatial attributes, including occupants' preferences or restrictions aims to contribute to an architectural design methodological framework for middle-income occupants in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Occupants' narratives and photos serve as background evidence to extract design preferences or restrictions in domestic settings based on their socio-cultural aspects of environments. According to the study, different domestic spaces (e.g., master bedroom, child bedroom, attached toilet, common toilet, kitchen, dining room, living room, balcony and corridor) have different physical and psychological responses to their occupants. Considering the overall analysis, users' psychological perception determines design preferences. However, demand is also refined by the context in which users exist. It is pertinent to note that socio-cultural aspects of environmental factors influence occupants' perceptions in their domestic settings. Users continuously perceive their surrounding domestic living environments through physical responses and psychological perceptions. As a result, users' future design preferences differ from one space to another in a domestic setting. This study identified user behavioural patterns and concluded that seasonal changes, location, functionality, frequency of usage and attachment (i.e., user experience) of the spaces surveyed affect users' physical and psychological perceptions of comfort feelings (as mental well-being). It argues that environmental design solutions alone may not be sufficient to enhance occupants' physical and psychological response unless the users' socio-cultural context are considered. Occupants’ preferences are formed and decision-making is guided. Architectural design parameters can be prioritised by evaluating occupants' experiences in their domestic environments. Understanding such middle-income occupants' experiences within their residential environments is vital for determining and shaping architectural design parameters or factors. Not only that, but it states that only numerical data cannot accurately predict fundamental preference factors in architectural design decisions. The contextual analysis confirmed some numerical variations through users’ sentiments. From a users’ contextual perspective, occupants seem to view some spatial factors as more relevant to their psychological comfort than other environmental factors. This is because spatial factors such as functionality and usability directly influence how occupants interact with and use them. These preferences are also correlated with middle-income residents' complex socio-cultural contextual situations. These preferences can be applied to architectural design articulation to improve the association between users' physical and psychological needs and demands (subjectivity and objectivity) in their domestic living environment. This ‘Environmental Experience Design (EXD)’ framework combines three factors - user context, physical and psychological responses (as mental well-being i.e., moods/feelings/emotions) and design aspects (spatial and environmental) in the high-density domestic environment for middle-income occupants in Dhaka. EXD frameworks contribute to systematising architectural decision-making as tools and prioritising domestic environment design components by assessing occupants' physical and psychological needs and demands through their household experiences, which is the underlying motivation for this study. Consequently, these outcomes contribute to initiating a 'Customised Design Outcomes' approach in Bangladesh's housing sectors that may meet today's diverse housing market demands. Even though this methodological framework integrating machine learning algorithms is aimed at middle-income occupants of Dhaka, it may also contribute to other architectural design domains locally and globally. Implementing the EXD framework through occupant experiences can also be used to build state-of-the-art housing developments or retrofit high-density housing to improve occupants' psychological perception in their living environments.
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    Access, participation, and inclusion: the gender-disability-violence-service planning nexus and the role of integrated planning policy in addressing the right to adequate services
    Yon, Alicia Prisca ( 2023-06)
    This thesis is built around the help-seeking experiences of women with disabilities facing violence in peri-urban Australia; their socio-spatial barriers to mainstream social services; and how an integrated policy approach, including the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), could improve their access to those services. I invoke several human rights-based theoretical imperatives that support the argument that all humans, irrespective of their identity, are entitled to certain inalienable rights that enable them to participate fully in everyday life. These include the ‘right to the city’ (Lefebvre, 1996/1968), ‘intersectionality’ (Crenshaw, 1989) and ‘just diversity’ (Fincher & Iveson, 2008) to conceptualise an integrated policy framework to address the interlocking inequalities of gender and disability as compounded by violence and locational disadvantage. My narrative unfolds through an examination of one of the NDIS trial sites (Barwon) in a peri-urban setting in the State of Victoria, Australia. I specifically explore how the NDIS reliance on its service interface and partnerships can drive an integrated approach to the design and delivery of violence response services. I employed a multi-method approach involving policy diagnoses and interviews. My findings revealed a mismatch between need and service provision and confirmed a lack of consideration of non-physical barriers and diversity in service planning. The main themes derived from my empirical analyses (broader access, holistic integration and transformative representation) were paired with my theoretical themes (recognition, redistribution and participation) to establish the right to the reimagined peri-urban city for producing counter-space to exclusion. I argue against the right to the city’s universalism in favour of a relational and targeted approach. Shifting current planning thought, discourse and practice from abstract homogenous constructions of the female disabled body to a fuller understanding of its complexities and associated oppressions (violence) and discrimination (locational disadvantage) and their relationship to access is fundamental to achieving the right to the reimagined peri-urban city.
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    Leaving no one behind in the race to net zero: Renters and the renewable energy transition
    Cummins, Jemima ( 2023)
    Climate justice is now recognised by policymakers around the world as a vital part of climate change strategy. The renewable energy transition in the housing sector has the potential to reduce energy bills and improve quality of life for everyone. However, it is imperative governments take active measures to ensure the benefits of the renewable energy transition are equitably distributed. Dwellings in the private rental sector typically have lower rates of energy efficiency and renewable energy technology than those which are owner-occupied. Renters are therefore more susceptible to rising energy prices, which is likely to get worse with climate change as more frequent and intense weather events place an upward pressure on energy consumption. This minor thesis investigates how government policy addresses the renewable energy transition in the private rental sector from a climate justice perspective. Research methods comprise qualitative policy analysis and interviews with key stakeholders. Two Australian inner-city municipalities with a high proportion of renters serve as case studies. Based on the findings, a more tailored policy approach towards the private rental sector is considered necessary to ensure no one is left behind in the renewable energy transition.
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    Public transport and disruptive technology. How the past shapes future urban possibilities
    Lawrie, Iain James ( 2023-07)
    Emerging new mobilities innovations in ‘Mobility as a Service’ (MaaS) and connected autonomous vehicles (CAVs) have the potential to disrupt existing public transport systems. Key literature suggests societal outcomes will be optimised where public transport is integrated with these new technologies to maintain a core role in a city’s transport offering; a ‘transit-fusion’. However, capacity to implement such policies differ significantly; cities are constrained by their past choices. Equally, fleets of private autonomous vehicles may offer very low-cost travel, complicating efforts to integrate the mode with public transport. The principal aim of this study is thus to understand how MaaS and ultimately fully independent CAVs may impact public transport in different city typologies. The research uses an adapted multivalent path dependence framework, addressing the research aim by considering the trajectory of three distinct urban typologies: Los Angeles, Singapore and Melbourne. The multivalent approach suggests outcomes will be influenced by an interplay of technical built form infrastructure, institutional governance arrangements and discursive ‘storylines’ held by policy actors. Historic and contemporary data on technical and institutional elements was gathered from documentary sources. Discursive data was gathered through interviews with policy actors in each city. Los Angeles and Singapore were selected as ‘critical’ cases, representing ‘least’ and ‘most’ likely cities to successfully implement ‘transit fusion’ approaches. Melbourne was selected as a representative case. The findings suggest that path dependent urban forms, governance and ‘storylines’ will have substantial influence over how MaaS and CAVs may emerge and interact with public transport. MaaS presents as a problematic approach, offering little advantage over the dominant existing modes in each city. The market for multi-modal MaaS is limited by public transport which is insufficient in Los Angeles and Melbourne and by transit which is too good in Singapore. MaaS, with current technologies is thus likely to have limited impact on public transport in these typologies – although it may have success elsewhere. However, the advent of fully independent CAVs has potential for disruptive change to public transport. This is facilitated by a complementarity between pre-existing infrastructure supporting private vehicles and the needs of CAVs. In this context, for ‘transit-fusion’ outcomes to succeed, clear alignment of institutional and discursive support is required. On balance this alignment was seen in Los Angeles and Singapore, but less so in Melbourne.