Architecture, Building and Planning - Theses

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    Green urbanism as a way of life in the Anthropocene: A characterisation of green urban life with its social-ecological and psychological determinants
    Madhu, Lakshmanan ( 2022)
    Scientists predict that in the current Anthropocene, climate change will have irreversible effects on the biosphere, affecting the lifestyles of many people. Some urbanists suggest green urbanism provides the quickest way to steward climate transformation of lifestyles and societies. They argue for a top-down application of expert knowledge on smart, sustainable, and secure cities and believe necessity, common-sense and technology will transform urban life. In contrast, psychologists suggest bottom-up processes of transforming attitudes towards pro-environmental action. They believe this provides individuals with the ability to cope and adapt to climate change. But barriers remain. Even whilst most Australians believe in anthropogenic climate-change, Australian per capita greenhouse gas emissions are one of the highest in the world. However, action on climate change is contested at all levels, shaped by the politics-of-place. Walking the talk is easier said than done. If green urbanism is a desired outcome, then what denotes green urban life to households? This study aimed to fill this gap. This transdisciplinary study sought to examine household green behaviours in context. The study took the view that households are multi-level agents within social-ecological systems that can collectively influence green lifestyle outcomes. Using an embedded mixed-methods design, an online survey comprising closed and open-ended questions was administered in Australia (n=768). A range of quantitative and qualitative analytical procedures was employed to examine the data. The study revealed several insightful findings. First, the multi-level geodemographic, sociodemographic, and psychographic predictors of green behaviours were described and found to be inter-correlated. Second, a typology of four behavioural spheres, private, public, lifestyle, and niche types, was uncovered. Third, six lifestyle segments of Laggards, Adopters, Cheerleaders, Contributors, Strivers and Trendsetters were identified within the population. Fourth, twenty variables formed the effective context from which five index measures were revealed: attitudes and dispositions, life-stage and mobility, cultural orientation and worldviews, socio-spatial comparisons and norms, and neighbourhood and its households. Together, these index measures determined the green lifestyle outcomes of households. Fifth, the spatial embeddedness of green urban life within Melbourne was uncovered in two areas defined by the CBD and Northeast clusters. Finally, a thematic analysis of open-ended responses uncovered ten domains of everyday life: climate, biodiversity, civic engagement, place, process, consumer lifestyle, waste, water, transport, and energy. It is in these domains of everyday life, care about climate change was meaningfully contextualised. In sum, this study defines community perceptions that can inform planning for climate change action. Its multidimensional and multi-level perspective has both theoretical implications for studies on pro-environmental engagement at individual and household levels, and applications for policy development and communication to motivate behaviour change in different segments of the population.
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    Japanese parking approaches through the era of automobility: Implications for post-capitalist urban futures
    Clements, Rebecca Jane ( 2022)
    Market-based car parking policy approaches have become firmly positioned within scholarship as progressive alternatives to the conventional approaches in car-centric cities that have entrenched car dominance. As urban advocacy movements promoting such approaches have grown and begun reforming urban policies, parking reform has frequently met political resistance framed through diverse and often narrow conceptions of equity that risk policy stasis. Furthermore, existing understandings of market parking approaches are often limited to theoretical or recent formations in Western cities, constraining political imaginaries. Japan's unique off-street market parking approach, applied nationally since the late 1950s and early 1960s, offers through its novelty, history, and scale an opportunity to think critically about the role of parking in supporting radically equitable urban futures. This thesis applies a post-capitalist critique to understandings of parking policy approaches and their relationships to political economy. The research adopts a critical urban theory epistemology and constructs a post-capitalist theoretical framework to structure the case study methodological approach. The analytical framework positions automobility and car dominance as facilitative of capitalist logics and power regimes. It examines parking through the lenses of replacing automobility, public-centred governance, mobility justice, and the potential to foster a street commons. Parking is positioned as a lens into the material manifestations of power in cities with an intrinsic role in shaping the relationships of cars in cities, and diverse roles in enabling alternative urban futures. The historical case study critically examines Japan's market-based parking policy approaches throughout the country's period of mass motorisation from 1950 to 2022. A comparative case study approach focuses on the cities of Tokyo and Kobe positioned as exemplar cases of spatial and transport urban outcomes. Multiple methods are triangulated to develop an urban governance history and empirical spatial analysis as a foundation for critical theoretical development. These methods include expert interviews, observation, and historical and contemporary policy content, textual, and empirical spatial analyses. This exploration of Japan's unique off-street parking approach reveals ways that integrated urban policies can embed logics that support post-automobility transitions through minimising car dominance and unbundling parking from logics generative of automobility. Attention to aspects of mobility justice such as accessibility, cost equity, and children's independent mobility reveal compelling alternative logics that support diverse rights to the city such as through walkable neighbourhoods and more shared street environments which foster more equitable and emancipatory street relations. However, the reciprocal state-business relations at play between the public and private sectors raise critical points of caution regarding governance capacities to protect public interests and shape urban futures. Through synthesizing these findings, this research positions urban parking systems and policy approaches as potentially generative of alternative post-capitalist logics, and compelling subjects for critical political economic analysis in urban contexts.
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    Aligning learning environments, architectural programming, and educational aspirations in Saudi Arabian public primary schools: a multi-scalar analysis towards evidence-based design
    Anteet, Qusai Mohammad M ( 2022)
    Public schools in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are undergoing rapid educational reforms to meet the state’s Vision 2030. This includes preparing students with the 21st century skills considered necessary to actively participate and compete on the global stage—an objective linked to shifting national prosperity away from a reliance on oil to developing a more knowledge-based economy. Initiatives have been undertaken by the Ministry of Education (MoE) to adopt progressive education models and develop digital curricula across the Saudi public school system. These changes raise questions about how current and future school buildings and classrooms can respond effectively to emerging educational aspirations and reforms and support diversified pedagogies. How can Saudi public primary schools be programmed and designed to accommodate emerging educational aspirations? To answer this primary research question, architectural programming is explored as a medium through which to bridge the gap between the strategic goals of education (i.e., education policy) and the design and use of school environments. In this context, the study investigates the dynamic links between learning environments (physical and social), educational policy aspirations, and architectural programming (research and design process), with the aim to foster better evidence-based school design into the future. Complex adaptive systems theory and resilience theory are applied to analyse transformative systems linking architectural, educational, and political issues of change and adaptation. The study proposes a panarchy framework to conceptually frame the research inquiry and highlight multi-scalar tensions. An ethnographic approach and discourse analysis are employed to develop insights into the values, beliefs and behaviours of stakeholders who participate in planning, designing, and using school buildings. Key participants include policymakers, MoE consultants with experience in public school planning and design in Saudi Arabia, architectural programming and design experts from the Saudi MoE and Riyadh Education Department (RED), principals, teachers, and parents. Qualitative data is triangulated using multiple methods, including semi-structured interviews, focus groups, photographs, architectural drawings, archival research, observations, and questionnaires. The data is discussed as narrative ethnography, taking into consideration cultural contexts and socio-spatial experiences. Findings are communicated in interpretative ways through various discourse and spatial representation forms, including floor plans, images, and texts. The study findings indicate that architectural programming is one of the most strategic places in the education system where pedagogical policy changes and schools’ socio-spatial environments may be linked. Transitioning educational practices from largely didactic instructional approaches to more student-centred and progressive approaches, as suggested in the Kingdom’s education policy agenda, could be aided by changing school buildings through updating systems of production. Finally, the study offers recommendations for aligning learning environments, architectural programming, and educational aspirations through improved multidisciplinary communication between educators and architects, and more coordinated change and adaptation between four panarchy scales: ‘global education’, ‘state’, ‘school’, and ‘learning environment’.
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    What if Safety Becomes Permanent? Architecture and Music as a Site of Transing
    Castricum, Simona ( 2022)
    ‘What if Safety Becomes Permanent?’ is about the rights, safety, and relationships gender-nonconforming people experience within the context of architecture and public space. Within the context of the global discourse on transgender civil rights, where cisnormative institutions often determine the parameters of the discussion, this work centres on the lived testimony of trans and gender diverse people. By exploring gender nonconformity through my personal narrative at the intersection of architecture, music and trans identity, I engage ‘world-building’ as a speculative, creative, and practical methodology in architectural and urban rendering offering pragmatic thinking to engage an accessible discourse of trans visibility in architecture.
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    Urban Fire Risk Reduction through Urban Form Management: A Case Study of the Mandalay Historical Precinct
    Phyo Wai, Aye Thandar ( 2022)
    Urban fires are physical and social events that can affect the built environment, destroy property, and cause potential loss of life and injury. The risk of urban fire increases if the incidents are combined with certain urban form factors. Urban form factors that can influence increased urban fire risk include high population and building density, flammable building materials, lack of separation distance between buildings and fire breaks, narrow street networks, shortage of public open spaces and firefighting water supply. Most cities in developing countries face at least one or more of these urban problems and therefore urban fire is a common threat in developing countries including Myanmar. In addition to this, the urban form of the historic or old city areas are highly vulnerable to urban fire due to multiple aspects of these urban form risk factors. However, research is limited for urban fire risk reduction through urban form management of historical precincts. Therefore, this research aims to explore how urban fire risk reduction through urban form management can be mainstreamed across government levels and sectors in the Mandalay historical precinct. This research used a mixed method approach and case study strategy by integrating quantitative and qualitative data and analyses. This research included field observation, policy evaluation and key stakeholder interviews. First, the existing conditions of the urban form in the Mandalay historical precinct were qualitatively and quantitatively assessed to investigate how the urban form of historical built environment contributes to urban fire risks. Two case study wards were selected for detailed assessment. Given urban fire risk reduction is directly related to three main sectors in Myanmar, the policy documents from (1) urban planning and urban form management (2) disaster management and (3) fire services sectors were evaluated in the second stage to find out how they address urban fire risk reduction. In the third stage, interview analysis was conducted to examine the key stakeholders’ views about urban fire risk reduction through urban form management in the Mandalay historical precinct. The results show that the urban form of the wards studied contributes to increased urban fire risks. It is found that the built environment of the case study areas is concentrated and largely unplanned particularly in terms of fire management. The traditional buildings, old street networks, and limited public open space facilitate the growth and spread of urban fire. In addition to these physical factors, social factors including poverty, limited awareness and misunderstandings of the public contribute to urban fire risks. Limited policy enforcement and implementation add to the vulnerability of the built environment. The thesis also found that urban policies pay limited attention to urban fire risk reduction and have limited consistency across different levels and different sectors. Most significantly, the disaster management policies do not specifically focus on urban fire safety, and it is mostly under the responsibility of fire services officials. Despite the officials’ interest in and awareness of urban fire risk reduction, their capacity is limited due to specific responsibilities, shortage of human and financial resources. Therefore, an increased awareness among institutions, greater collaboration and understanding among different levels and sectors of government, appropriate policy and legislative arrangement, capacity development and sustained financial support are proposed to reduce urban fire risk through urban form management in the Mandalay historical precinct.
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    How do informal settlements take shape? Morphogenesis in three Indian cases
    Chatterjee, Ishita ( 2022)
    Informal settlements are the primary means of meeting the demand for affordable housing in the global south cities. Yet, the urban design being produced by this now dominant form of production remains invisible in planning documents. We lack a comprehensive understanding of the forms of informality. This thesis identifies the gap in knowledge about settlement growth processes and aims to contribute to the discipline by studying the architecture and urban design of three informal settlements in India. The research adopts a multi-scalar approach that investigates the everyday logics, the particularities of the local context, and the structural processes that play out in the production of these settlements. With a methodological framework based on assemblage thinking, this thesis seeks to understand differences and similarities between settlements along with the agency of material and social actors. This thesis compares peripheral informal settlements from Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, to answer the following key research questions – How do informal settlements take shape? 1. How does the urbanisation process of the city impact the settlement’s morphology? 2. What are the different forms of organisation in the settlement and the politics of form-making? 3. What role does materiality play during the growth processes? The thesis provides a nuanced account of the interrelations between urban morphology, historical context and threats of eviction; it shows that informal settlement is not unplanned but emerges through complex negotiations between the urban poor, land mafias and the state.
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    Encountering Architecture Architecture, Audience, Communication and the Public Realm
    Davidge, Tania, Louise ( 2021)
    What new forms of communication can be developed to communicate architecture, city making and city shaping to public audiences? This thesis advocates for the urban spatial encounter as a communicative strategy that uses the medium of the public realm to engage audiences with architecture, the city and the built environment. Situated at the intersection of architecture, urbanism and public art, the urban spatial encounters are creative works that take the form of installations and events. They are designed to catalyse active conversations between architectural practitioners and public audiences; conversations that engage people with architecture and the built environment and the issues that shape them. The encounters traverse a broad range of sites and scales—from small-scale guerrilla spatial interventions into public space to a grassroots community activist campaign that took on one of the world’s largest corporations, Apple. Drawing on the fields of public art and play scholarship, this thesis argues that the urban spatial encounter is an effective medium for communicating architectural and spatial knowledge and practices, for increasing city-making literacy in public audiences and a means for affording citizens a place in shaping the urban environment. Through practice based research, this thesis aims to raise public awareness and catalyse discussion within the architectural profession on the value of scholarship and research into the public communication of architecture and the built environment.
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    An automated knowledge-based decision support system for managing non-conformances on Australia's large infrastructure projects
    Adio, Obafemi Adekunle ( 2022)
    The construction industry in Australia and most of the developed world has underperformed in its response to ongoing challenges posed by globalisation, increased competition, pressure to improve productivity, demand for better project performance, and pressure to deliver profit to stakeholders. A central underperformance area is a failure to deliver a project to meet a set of requirements agreed as part of the contract (non-conformance). The inability to adequately manage non-conformances and their attendant impacts often result in cost and time overrun, among others. The underperformance of the construction industry is also evident in the high rate of recurring non-conformances across projects, which may create ongoing maintenance challenges due to defects arising during the design life of a product. To minimise non-conformances and their impact, construction companies must capture, document, and disseminate knowledge and lessons from previous project non-conformances to translate them into improvements to prevent future recurrence of similar non-conformances. However, non-conformance lessons are currently unstructured and inadequately disseminated in the construction industry, with projects placing a high premium on experience. Different functional areas within projects sometimes operate in silos by circulating information within their immediate groups only. Disseminating knowledge and lessons from previous project non-conformances will result in more efficient and effective construction processes that will deliver projects on time and budget, reduce safety incidents, and meet all stakeholder requirements. Such dissemination will also help construction companies develop organisational intelligence to increase their competitive edge when bidding for new projects. Hence, this research developed an automated knowledge-based decision support system (KBDSS) for managing non-conformances on infrastructure construction projects. The KBDSS is equipped with artificial intelligence to classify non-conformances from across multiple projects in one place and analyse them. Project participants can thereby gain timely access to relevant information and knowledge from past non-conformances to enhance their decision-making. Four main questions underpinned this research: “How do construction companies perceive and rate quality in comparison to other project constraints?”, “How important are non-conformance lessons to the corporate strategy for future projects?”, “How are non-conformances currently managed on construction projects?”, and “How can an automated knowledge-based decision support system (KBDSS) for extracting, analysing, and disseminating non-conformances be developed for Australia’s infrastructure projects?” This research adopted the design science research paradigm to understand the theory of non-conformances, how it has been managed, and the existing gaps in theory and practice to develop a KBDSS that meets the expectation of the infrastructure construction projects. A total of 13,940 non-conformance data from 15 infrastructure projects by a tier-one construction company in Australia were accessed, with 11,334 of them thoroughly reviewed. A total of 60 interviews were conducted in the first instance with stakeholders in the infrastructure construction industry and participants from five major infrastructure projects across Australia with a combined value of over AU$15 billion. The roles of respondents included project managers, design managers, quality managers and project engineers. The 11,334 non-conformance data from the selected projects were analysed, revealing a lack of adequate classification and dissemination of non-conformance lessons using existing systems. The data analysis culminated in developing and validating the KBDSS prototype to support decision-making in non-conformance management on infrastructure projects.
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    The Minangkabau House: 'Spatial Opportunities' in Rural Western Sumatra, Indonesia
    Moezier, Aninda ( 2022)
    This thesis applies methods from gender studies to an architectural analysis of vernacular dwellings of the Minangkabau people in rural western Sumatra, Indonesia. It asks how the social and physical characteristics of the Minangkabau house become intertwined with the continuous reshaping of the villagers’ notions of home, matrilineal kinship and social relations, and gender roles. This thesis builds on prior research on the ‘Minangkabau House’, posing a critique of essentialist, binary notions of ‘tradition’ and ‘modernity’ implicit in some studies of vernacular architecture that focus on Minangkabau dwellings. Existing interdisciplinary literature has illuminated how embodied customary or adat principles of matrilineal social relations are tangible in house form and expression. However, some of these writings have misinterpreted the significance of the relationships between the Minangkabau house and socio-spatial transformation, which this thesis seeks to redress through a study of several house types. In addressing this problem, this thesis adopts two analytical lenses: ‘spatial opportunities’, as coined by the feminist geographer Ayona Datta to denote possibilities for empowerment embedded in space, and ‘intersectionality’ as proposed by the critical race theorist Kimberle Crenshaw to comprehend social experiences specific to an individual’s particular identity. The analysis is based on eight weeks of spatial ethnographic field research conducted in a Minangkabau village. Participant observation, architectural and spatial observation, and semi-structured interviews were employed to record the physical features of the houses and their surroundings, and the villagers’ experiences of dwelling as shaped by multiple factors including the physical settings, adat norms, and their dwelling activities. This thesis argues that encounters between the customary system of values and coexisting ideologies have produced socio-spatial opportunities by making possible a multiplicity of what villagers perceive as adat and of the ways in which they put adat into practice. Dwellers transform the embodied social opportunities that are expressed in the architectural, spatial and symbolic features of the house through adaptive decision-making and considering available options for empowerment that give rise, in the process, to new material expressions of architectural form and use.
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    Paradoxes and Paradigm Shifts in the Utopic Desire for High-rise Housing in Melbourne and Surfers Paradise, in Australia between 1945-2005.
    Shafer, Sharon Rachelle ( 2021)
    This study is about paradoxes and paradigm shifts in the utopic desire for high-rise housing in Australia between 1945-2005. Three different contexts that occasioned desires for high-rise housing were selected as case-studies for investigation: The Housing Commission of Victoria; Surfers Paradise, and Melbourne Docklands. The time-span is from 1945, tracing the post WW2 desire for public high-rise housing till 2005: a long enough period to examine paradigm shifts in the utopic desire for high-rise housing. The study adapted Thomas Kuhn’s paradigm theory to investigate paradigm shifts in the utopic desire for high-rise housing in the three case-studies. Three trends were drawn out in the analysis. Firstly, that utopic-desires for high-rise housing were paradoxical at a number of levels. Secondly, utopic-desires for high-rise housing were nomadic as they changed in relation to emerging problems and paradoxes. Thirdly, utopic paradigms were an expression of the political ideologies of stakeholders. The study established that by situating utopic-desires for high-rise housing within the political ideologies of stakeholders, utopic-desires became focused on addressing the needs of one group in society, overlooking other social groups’ needs. Furthermore, the study’s findings show that utopic desires don't lead to utopic solutions, and concludes that deconstructing contradicting utopic-desires may reduce the magnitude of paradoxical and heterotopic outcomes. This can be achieved by questioning whose needs are addressed, and by investigating how utopic solutions in housing may affect different groups in society and the larger context.