Architecture, Building and Planning - Theses

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    Evaluating cultural learning in virtual environments
    Champion, Erik Malcolm ( 2006)
    There is still a great deal of opportunity for research on contextual interactive immersion in virtual heritage environments. The general failure of virtual environment technology to create engaging and educational experiences may be attributable not just to deficiencies in technology or in visual fidelity, but also to a lack of contextual and performative-based interaction, such as that found in games. This thesis will suggest improvements will result from more research on the below issues: 1. Place versus Cyberspace: What creates a sensation of place (as a cultural site) in a virtual environment in contradistinction to a sensation of a virtual environment as a collection of objects and spaces? 2. Cultural Presence versus Social Presence and Presence: Which factors help immerse people spatially and thematically into a cultural learning experience? 3. Realism versus Interpretation: Does an attempt to perfect fidelity to sources and to realism improve or hinder the cultural learning experience? 4. Education versus Entertainment: Does an attempt to make the experience engaging improve or hinder the cultural learning experience? This doctoral thesis outlines a theoretical definition of place, culture, and presence that may become a matrix for virtual environment design as well as a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of appropriating game-style interaction to enhance engagement. A virtual environment was built using Adobe Atmosphere to test whether cultural understanding and engagement can be linked to the type of interaction offered. The thesis also includes a survey of evaluation mechanisms that may be specifically suitable for virtual heritage environments. In its review of appropriate methodology, the thesis suggests new terms and criteria to assess the contextual appropriateness of various evaluation methods, and provides seven schematic examples of game-style plot devices that lend themselves to evaluation. The test-bed is the evaluation of a virtual archaeology project in Palenqué Mexico using theories of cultural immersion as well as computer game technology and techniques. The case study of Palenqué involved five types of evaluation specifically chosen to assess cultural awareness and understanding gained from different forms of interaction in a virtual heritage environment.
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    Understanding the emerging commercial property cycles in China
    Wu, Hao (University of Melbourne, 2007)
    This thesis examines cyclical behaviours in the commercial property market system in China since it started to emerge in the early 1990s. It shows the importance of the economic transition in explaining commercial property cycles in China. Although the price mechanism that underpins the emerging Chinese property market system has started to play a dominant role, the transition process from the planned economy to the market economy has influenced the inter-relationship of the commercial property market system, causing low effective demand and supply lag through land supply, money flow, investment behaviour, planning control and change of urban built form. This has altered the cyclical behaviour of the commercial property market at the aggregate level. The basic driver remains to be the state-market interplays in relation to market behavioural changes. To answer the research question, two commercial property markets, namely Guangzhou and Hainan, were chosen for studying the equilibrium and adjustment processes using semi-structured interviews and statistical data. Standard property cycle theory was applied and special elements of the imbalanced nature of the process of structural change were also introduced in the analysis. Using a general equilibrium approach to analyse the selected commercial property markets, the study recognises the important role the state plays in the balance of space demand and supply at the submarket level. Within a structure of office markets, which concerns space utilisation and asset investment, the study compares various time series indicating office cycles and features relating to performance. Within the same structure, data from semi-structured interviews are also examined to provide insights on the market changes and their underlying mechanisms. Commercial property cycles in China and in mature markets have significant differences. This is mainly due to the differences in their underlying structural settings. The moving of the Chinese economic structure towards a market-led system may reduce the level of behavioural differences between mature and emerging property markets. However, the state remains to be the most influential factor to shape commercial property cycles in the process of transforming commercial property sectors and urban physical built forms in China. The study identifies close links between the economic transition and office cycles in selected markets. And the impact of the state on office market cycles is significant. It also shows the volatility and length of the recession are correlated to the economic base of each office market. In place with a simple and small-scale economy such as Hainan, the scope of the 1990s property cycle is significant. The adverse effect tends to be prolonged in these cases. The approach of the state economic reform is a key driver in amplifying or reducing the scale of property cycles. This is evidenced in both Hainan and Guangzhou markets in initial upsurges and later recessions. The state's deliberate attempt in creating and altering the market structure, either radical or gradual, has substantial impacts on the stability, hence cyclicality of the Chinese commercial property market. It is the fundamental change in the property rights system in China and the imbalance of socio-economic and urban physical structural transformations that drive commercial property cycles in China. Key words Commercial property Cycles Transition China State
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    Client and contractor attitudes to prequalification and selection processes for construction work
    Mills, Anthony John (University of Melbourne, 2002)
    Pre-qualification is a process of screening contractors prior to tender using a predetermined set of criteria. The criteria should be such that the decision maker can reduce risk factors in the choice, and also have a high probability that the firm will complete the project within time and cost, and also meet the appropriate quality standards. Pre-qualification criteria are intended to provide clients with a framework, understanding and methodology for pre-qualifying and selecting only those firms most suitable for future projects. Pre-qualification in some form has become almost standard practice within government procurement processes. The primary objective of this research is to examine the pre-qualification processes used by public sector clients in order to examine the effectiveness of their procedures. The justification for pre-qualification has been that it improves the quality and certainty of the construction process. The objective of this research is to determine the attitudes of contractors and clients to pre-qualification. The issue is to examine if the perceived advantages of pre-qualification outweigh the perceived disadvantages and thus provide some indication of its worth. This research identified two significant research questions. The first question relates to the effectiveness of existing pre-qualification criteria. Many past researchers have suggested criteria that client's consider to be important, however very little research has considered the perceptions of contractors. The success of pre-qualification is partially dependant on the attitudes of contractors, because they are stake-holders in the process. This research shows that clients and contractors often hold very different opinions on the importance of pre-qualification decision criteria; this is likely to undermine the effectiveness of the pre-qualification process. This represents a gap in past research that needs to be investigated. This research used a questionnaire to elicit the views of both clients and contractors to commonly used pre-qualification criteria. The second research question examines the effectiveness of the selection decision-making process. Once a project has been identified pre-qualified contractors are shortlisted down to a small group that are latter invited to tender. Past research established that the selection decision is highly subjective, and possibly adhoc. This research used semi-structure interviews and a series of case studies to investigate selection decision-making processes of public sector clients. The results show that a number of decision factors can be identified, and that their influence is dependant on the circumstances in which the decisions are made. The main conclusion is that stake-holders have different attitudes to the value of pre-qualification, and that this may have affected its success in the past. This research suggests that pre-qualification and selection decisions should be managed using a quality management process. All stake-holders must work more closely together in order to resolve their differences, and use benchmarking practices to more effectively manage the pre-qualification and selection environment. This research has important implications for clients that are seeking to reduce their dependence on low-bid selection procedures, and increase the use of partnering and alliance arrangements. Keywords: Contractor selection, pre-qualification, non-price selection, tendering
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    Sets, series and suites : composing the multiple artwork
    Selenitsch, Alex (University of Melbourne, 2007)
    Many artists produce compositions consisting of a group of works, where each piece is a separate work as well as a contributor to the composition of the group. Analysis of such compositions from various disciplines, and the complementary invention of creative works by the candidate have been combined to reveal three distinct strategies in such compositions: SETS (where works share explicit criteria); SERIES (where works exhibit a predictable difference) and SUITES (where works provoke complementary differences). In this study, the three strategies are articulated through the following methods and formats: Firstly, each strategy is discussed through an essay which deals with origins and derivations, that strategy's formal properties and its individual compositional procedures. The essays use examples of multiple works from a wide range of disciplines: literature, printmaking, painting, sculpture, and music. These examples are presented as relatively pure versions of each strategy. Secondly, the properties uncovered in the essays are summarised as a Matrix, which provides a means of both comparing and separating the three strategies. The matrix is intended to apply to all creative disciplines and to be used as both an analytic tool and a creative checklist. Thirdly, a number of well-known architectural works are analysed through the properties outlined in the Matrix. The works range from complex single buildings to groups of buildings. The analyses show how SETS, SERIES and SUITES can be mixed in a multiple composition. Fourthly, three architectural projects by the candidate show how the strategies of SETS, SERIES and SUITES can be applied as a project proceeds, as a planning tool for a multiple work, and as formal control. The projects are presented as individual reports. Fifthly, commentaries on these projects from the point of view of the three strategies are presented as essays; these also include related comments on the nature of architectural design practice. Sixthly, analyses of the SET, SERIES and SUITE characteristics of the candidate's three architectural projects are presented as matrix charts and Venn diagrams. To widen the discussion, the common strategy of theme and variation is redefined using the principles uncovered in examining the strategy of sets. Related effects of multiplicity such as translation, metaphor and performance are also noted, and to widen the context of compositional activity still further, the perennial problem of the multiplicity and unity of the arts is discussed in the light of the three strategies. The study concludes with observations on the diffuse nature of the methodology, on the potential of the Matrix for both art and non-art situations, and on potential future works.
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    Room to move : the politics of protecting the place of alternative culture
    Shaw, Kate (University of Melbourne, 2005)
    At the same time as changing global political-economies of land use are displacing low-income people from inner-cities, changing socio-cultural forces are inspiring marginal communities to resist. This research focuses on a relatively benign level of marginality in alternative cultures, whose loss of place in the inner-city has produced mobilisations in Europe and Australia claiming their right to the city and to difference in central, public space. The coincidence of interests between alternative cultures and cities reliant on their cultural economy has prompted some city governments to turn to their planning and heritage systems to protect their valued, and valuable, cultural diversity. But unexamined use of planning control and heritage protection can cause as many problems as it solves. The very question of protecting the place of alternative culture raises fundamental paradoxes. Advances in the last forty years in planning theory and interpretations of cultural heritage have prepared planning and heritage professionals for an exploration of new ways of treating place. Can inclusive planning and heritage practices facilitate continuity of ways of life, and contribute to a diversity of uses and meanings in the city? The paradoxes are negotiated in different ways in different contexts, and some of the stories from this research demonstrate that nuanced interventions can facilitate the continuity of alternative cultures, by creating or maintaining the conditions for their evolution and allowing them room to move. When it becomes clear that the paradoxes can be negotiated then the question changes from `can it be done?' to `what does it take?', to produce such responses not only to the place of alternative cultures, but to other areas of marginality with less symbolic capital but just a great a claim to the city. The thesis argues that marginal gentrifiers have a more important role in these processes than is usually allowed. As neither the cause nor victims of gentrification, and as participants, often, in alternative cultural and political movements, they have the resources, ability and, sometimes, willingness to mobilise in interests other than their own. Their capacity to modify the passage of gentrification comes from being part of both the political-economic and socio-cultural changes that are shaping the cities and regions of the twenty-first century, and from reflexive understandings of themselves as part of a new cultural politics of difference.
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    Lives & legacies : exceptional Australian garden-makers of the 20th century
    Vale, Anne Virginia (University of Melbourne, 2009)
    The proposition presented in this thesis, is that in order to examine the various influences on garden-making in Australia during the 1900s, it is important to include a breadth of writers and practitioners. Through the 1900s, garden-making progressed through exciting and interesting phases, often dictated to by international and national events of significance, such as wars, drought and fluctuating levels of affluence. Numerous creative individuals responded to the prevailing circumstances by promoting their particular interpretation of what 'a garden' was. Only a few have had their activities recorded. The promotion of these 'few' has presented a narrow view of garden-making in Australia during this time. A number of methods have been adopted for this study in order to determine which individuals would be included. Once the individuals to be discussed were determined, they were collated into four themes according to the particular era in which they operated and their philosophical approach. This thematic representation depicts various facets of garden-making that occurred within the period under discussion. The study identifies a variety of influences that shaped an individual's work; it explores how they subsequently exerted their own influence and any legacy that may be attributed to them. The study concludes that many individuals, rather than a select few, contributed to a rich and highly diverse history of garden-making in the 20th century. These creative visionaries and pioneers established a legacy that is of particular importance to Australians. This contribution to current knowledge improves our understanding of why and how we have gardened in the past. In turn, this informs the creation of a practical and philosophical framework towards garden-making into the future
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    Perceptions of the visual effects of prescribed burning regimens in the context of botanical gardens: Studies in Australia and Chile
    Villagra Islas Paula A. (University of Melbourne, 2009)
    This thesis investigated how people perceive the visual impact of prescribed burning regimes on remnants of indigenous ecosystems at the Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne (RBGC), Australia. Due to a desire to improve the conservation of biodiversity and develop more positive educational experiences and people-plants relationships an increasing number of new plant displays can be observed in various botanical gardens around the world (loner 2007; Oldfield 2007). These include ecosystems subjected to the effects of natural disturbances, such as fire, either natural or manmade. The visual and ecological consequences of controlled fires in botanical gardens can create a landscape mosaic of both burnt and unburnt areas which are under constant flux. Theories and previous studies undertaken in the context of botanical gardens (Neilson 1985; Schroeder 1991; Ballantyne et al. 2008), changing landscapes with focus on fire-prone environments (Anderson et al. 1982; Taylor and Daniel 1984; Ryan 2007), and more naturalistic and dynamic representations of nature (Kaplan & Kaplan 1989; Gobster 1995; Appleton 1996; Nassauer 1995b; 1997) suggested that people's perceptions of these newer and dynamic exhibits can vary in respect to the physical attributes of the landscape, the visual effects of landscape change, characteristics of the perceiver and the landscape meanings that can arise from the experience of such environments. The objective of this thesis, therefore, was to explore how these aspects interact and to understand how people perceive the landscape changes that occur in botanical gardens subjected to controlled fires, as either unsightly representation of nature or as part of natural processes essential for the development of natural systems. The study was limited to two areas where botanical gardens display collections where fire plays a role. These are Victoria, Australia (where the RBGC is located) and Central Chile, both of which are subjected to wildfires and controlled burns for, different purposes and with different effects. The methodology evolved from various landscape assessment models and landscape documentation techniques. Content and statistical analysis methods were combined to create a mixed-method approach, specific to . the research goals. In short, the methodology consisted of repeatedly photographing remnants of indigenous ecosystems at the RBGC, Australia, before and after prescribed burnings and using these photos for interviewing people from Australia and Chile. The interviewees were experts and non experts in fire practices and have different degrees of familiarity with the study site. Data collected was analysed using various descriptive statistics, content and multivariate analysis techniques and correlation analysis to explore relationships between verbal descriptions and preferences for landscapes. Findings, therefore, were based on advanced landscape categorizations that allowed the relationships between landscape characteristics that change over time, characteristics of fire management practices, landscape meanings, landscape preferences and sample groups to be explored. Perceptions of burnt and regenerating landscapes were found to vary along characteristics of fire (fire intensity) and landscape characteristics (evidence of fire, colour, complexity, legibility, openness of landscape and beauty) associated with 13 landscape dimensions (hot burn/cold bum, burnt/unburnt, dead/alive, dull/colourful, plain/contrasting, rusty coloured/green, achromatic/chromatic, useless/useful, shallow/deep view, messy/neat, common/distinct, close/open, ugly/beautiful). People's knowledge about fire practices (experts vs. lay respondents) and familiarity with fire dependant environments (Australian vs. Chileans) impacted people's responses as well. The analysis of the interrelationships between these variables suggested that the different fire intensities - hot, moderate and cold - undoubtedly influence people's perceptions of landscapes over time. Overall, the effects of moderate and hot fires increased landscape preferences over time. In addition, it was found that people's aesthetic responses were in line with ecological values over time. Healthier landscapes that provide habitat, are in the process of re-growth and are productive, received the highest scores. It was found that the characteristics of healthier landscapes (e.g. semi-open scenes, brighter and contrasting colours and moderate complexity) are more preferred by people regardless of their previous knowledge and experiences of those landscapes. Both the most and least preferred settings convey different meanings, mostly depending on peoples' expertise of landscape management practices, their familiarity with landscapes that naturally look burnt and cultural differences. Based on these findings, suggestions for the design and management of botanical gardens and considerations in the design of future fire landscape policies were made. In summary, the findings of this thesis add to the understanding of people's perceptions of landscape change in a fire-prone context. The research revealed responses to burnt landscapes and discussed their influence on preferences and landscape meanings. Particularly in the context of botanical gardens, the findings contribute to the limited literature that informs us of people's perceptions of changing and dynamic plant displays as tools of communication about nature. Overall, this research contributes to the literature in relation to research on social responses to fire, botanical gardens and perception of ecological landscape change
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    The use of the grid system and diagonal line in Chineses architecture murals : a study of the 14th century Yongle gong temple with further analyses of two earlier examples, Prince Yide's tomb and Yan shan si temple
    Wang, Huijuan (University of Melbourne, 2009)
    Yongle gong is a Daoist temple built between the middle of the 13th century to the end of the 14th century in Shanxi province, China. The temple features both figural and architectural mural paintings. The figural paintings are among the most highly regarded examples in China. Conversely, the architectural paintings have scarcely attracted any scholarly attention so far. To understand the depiction methods used in the architectural paintings of Yongle gong, this analysis aims at approaching the design and depiction process from the artist's point of view. Therefore, painting principles from ancient Chinese texts are studied. Two particularly relevant principles were identified: Jing ging wei zhi (graphic composition) and Xiang bei (the three-dimensionality of buildings). Two methods seem critical for the implementation of these principles, namely Hua ge or Fang zhuo referring to the use of the grid system, and Yi qu bai xie and Yi xie bai sui referring to the use of diagonal lines. Yet their original meanings and graphic expression have not been subjected to thorough analysis. The methodology of this study will be to use the painting principles and their methods of depiction as a framework for an empirical graphic investigation of architectural mural case studies. It is expected that the understanding resulting from these analyses will clarify the meanings of those painting principles and exemplify their depiction methods. Three research questions guide this thesis: 1. How were architectural murals composed graphically? 2. How were diagonal lines used in architectural murals? 3. How can the meaning of Jing ying wei zhi, Xiang bei, Hua ge, Yi qu bai xie and Yi xie bai sui be interpreted in relation to architectural murals? This study of Yongle gong's architectural paintings investigates how the grid system was used for the murals' overall design and how diagonal lines were employed to depict the three-dimensionality of buildings. The findings in Yongle gong's architectural murals are then tested against the depictions of the murals of Prince Yide's tomb (8th century) and those of Van shan si temple (12th century). These tests confirm the meaning of the term Jing ying wei zhi and the relevance of the grid system, Hua ge or Fang zhuo, for the mural layout. The term Xiang bei refers to the illustration of the three-dimensionality of buildings and relates to the use of elevations and diagonal lines. Its division into Yi xie bai sui and Yi qu bai xie is studied in relation to the use of parallel and converging lines. Key words: Yongle gong; tomb of Prince Yide; Van shan si; Jing ying wei zhi; Xiang bei; Hua ge; Fang zhuo; Yi qu bai xie; Yi xie bai sui
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    Judgement-centric understanding framework: Planners' use of professional discretion during development management processes
    Omar, Marsita ( 2017)
    One aspect of urban planning decisions that remains an ongoing research endeavour is the question of planners’ use of professional discretion during development management processes. While developing body of literature at least within the academic circles of planning signify use of professional discretion as decision enabler for the application of planners’ ‘creativity’, ‘outward facing thinking’ and use of ‘non-routinized judgement’ in framing relevant policy goal, little evidence is available however to illustrate how these key features are essentially used as basis for better use of planners’ professional discretion in actual planning practice. It is the aim of this research to establish better understanding professional planners’ use of discretion during development management processes, beyond the ‘discretion-power’ research discourse (Booth, 1996). To deliver this aim, judgement-centric understanding framework was developed as an alternative analytical framework and exemplified its usage in actual planning settings. The inquiry is guided by the need to establish understandings different types of professional discretion planners use during development management processes, including circumstances of where use of professional discretion best assist in the achievement of respective planning goal in actual planning settings.
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