Architecture, Building and Planning - Theses

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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.
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    Towards a comprehensive framework for integrating embodied environmental flow assessment into the structural design of tall buildings
    Helal, James ( 2021)
    Urgent changes are needed in the construction industry to meet short term mitigation goals for climate change. Traditionally, operational environmental flows have been the primary focus of regulations and current attempts to improve the environmental performance of buildings. However, studies have revealed that embodied environmental flows are often underestimated and rarely considered. Embodied environmental flows are particularly significant in the structural systems of tall buildings due to the substantial influence of wind and earthquake loads on structural material requirements. This thesis presents a framework for integrating embodied environmental flow assessment into the structural design of tall buildings using comprehensive hybrid methods for life cycle inventory analysis and advanced structural design and finite element modelling techniques. An advanced software tool was developed to formalise the framework and automate the structural design, modelling, analysis, optimisation and embodied energy and embodied greenhouse gas emissions assessment of more than 1,000 structural systems. Through regression analyses, predictive models were constructed for the embodied energy and embodied greenhouse gas emissions per net floor area of 12 unique combinations of structural typologies and structural materials. These models were integrated into a purpose-made online dashboard, which enables engineers and designers to compare alternative structural materials (i.e. 32/40/50 MPa reinforced concrete and steel), structural typologies (i.e. shear wall, outrigger and belt and braced tube) and geometries (i.e. rectangular floor plan geometries) according to the embodied energy and embodied greenhouse gas emissions per net floor area of structural systems. Two case studies were used to illustrate the potential of the framework and software tool in reducing the embodied environmental flows of structural systems for tall buildings of varying heights. Results show that all considered building parameters are significant and cannot be neglected in assessing alternative structural systems for tall buildings based on their embodied environmental flows. The developed framework and software tool have been shown to provide the most precise and sophisticated integration of embodied environmental assessment into the parametric structural design of tall buildings as of yet. Through a simple and user-friendly interface, they enable tall building designers to utilise environmental assessment as a design-assisting tool, rather than as an appraisal method to evaluate a completed building. This will potentially lead to reductions in the environmental effects associated with the construction of tall buildings.
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    Human-built-forms’ coevolution via temporal-occupied spaces in Tmor-Da, an evolving settlement, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
    Ku, Yee Kee ( 2021)
    This thesis discovers a plausible association of human-built-forms' coevolution via temporal-occupied spaces [TOS] in Tmor-Da, an evolving settlement in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The evidence affirms that the key finding is a human-scaled microstructure of an internal agent-of-change with an occurrence of atypical TOS that abuts built forms. The specific relationship found is between a female dweller and her home, where she adapts the TOS area in front of her home for domestic activities such as chores. Over time, this type of TOS domestic area has a higher probability of being built over as an extension of her home. Consequently, her adaptive behaviour influences and affects her home, and together with other female dwellers who share the same adaptive behaviour, they collectively affect built-form changes in Tmor-Da. Embedded in this human-scaled microstructure is a hidden order composed of rules that adhere to the prescribed modalities; porosity in built-forms, human-scaled connectivity and flexibility of changing built-forms in their immediate setting. These co-adaptive rules allow the freedom or autonomy for dwellers to change the public/private state of space and adapt to human behaviour patterns in a place. Innovations are allowed to start at this human-scaled microstructure level. The allowance for these co-adaptive relations enabled by the complex duality of top-down and bottom-up rules, with interchanging roles between individual and collective people, negotiating between freedom and control activates a reciprocal relationship between humans and built forms. The occurrence of TOS is visible as a signal of this hidden order. The TOS serves as the adaptive mechanism that supports the coevolutionary and evolving human-built-forms' relationship that cultivate resilience and recursively self-generates the settlements over time. The human-scaled microstructure also links, creates and inculcates networks that increase the social capital among neighbours to evolve and thrive in their immediate setting first, then collectively influencing their settlement. This discovery enforces the argument that allowance for TOS can harness human adaptive nature to respond to unpredictable changes in this evolving human settlement. The activation of public/ private interfaces on TOS support the human-built-forms' coevolution relationship. The insights gained from this research lead to plausible strategies to design flexible (void) areas with the prescribed modalities and propose policies that allow rules for the occurrence of TOS. New explorations are open to ways that complement the nature of human adaptive behaviour, which activate communities to invent and reinvent their neighbourhoods to thrive against city fragmentation. Therefore, some rigid human-control factors embedded in the designed spatial layout of urban rules that may contribute to stagnated growth in cities can be loosened. This thesis demonstrated the benefit of critically integrating scientific knowledge with testing fieldwork findings before concluding. An overarching human-environmental adaptation theory guides the research with a system thinking approach. An analytical framework composed of Mehaffy's critical themes from `The New Science of Cities' investigated the rules and prescribed modalities of the hidden order. As a whole, this thesis provides some evidence, including statistics, to support Jacobs' assumptions via her observations of public/private interfaces study, which inculcates social capital of neighbourhoods to flourish. The discovery also extends De Landa's philosophical discourse of the centralised and self-organising coexisting processes, which sustain the complex dynamics of cities at the macro scale, to occur at the human-scaled microstructure level.
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    Desiring Karail: Morphogenesis of an informal settlement in Dhaka
    Shafique, Tanzil Idmam ( 2021)
    Informal settlements currently house more than a billion people and will house a billion more by 2030. They are pervasive, expanding and persistent. Some of them have slum conditions while others do not. Often described as ‘spontaneous’ or ‘autonomous’, they are produced without the explicit urban design mechanism of the state. The changes in urban form in these places suggest the existence of particular processes of design and production. Understanding such processes underlying the morphogenesis—the development of urban form—is the central inquiry of this research. Moreover, the research aims to articulate the dynamic forces that enable or constrain the production processes. To do so, the thesis investigates Karail, which has emerged as the largest informal settlement in Dhaka over the last 40 years. Spread over an area of about 35 hectares, it is a dense agglomeration with a population of more than 250,000. Even without state planning and maintenance, functioning neighbourhoods with a characteristic urban form has emerged. The question is how. Employing a mixed-method research framework, which included multi-scalar mapping, in-depth observation and oral histories of placemaking, the thesis has interrogated the morphogenesis by tracing morphological change, informal rules used and the agents involved. It analysed the underlying forces—the desires—shaping the urban processes. Assemblage thinking, derived from the work of Deleuze and Guattari has been used to produce narratives of Karail’s informal morphogenesis in terms of the urban form, its uses and the control of the urban production. Beyond the notion of ‘self-organization’, the concluding analysis pointed towards heterogeneous formative processes—a mix of individualised, collectivised and syndicated forms of organization. The concomitant entanglements of power between the State, NGOs, the surrounding formal neighbourhoods and the residents were of different orientations as well, often in alignment and in contradiction with each other. The thesis shows how the urban morphogenesis under investigation in Karail works as a sociospatial assembling held together by different desires, themselves appearing from within a landscape of narratives, capacities and imaginaries. It ends with a speculative impact of the findings on policy-making, upgrading and management of existing informal settlements and the episteme of urban design for future cities.
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    Spaces of Belonging: Indian women migrants' everyday spatial practices in Hyderabad, India and Melbourne, Australia
    Nadimpalli, Sripallavi ( 2021)
    Contemporary migration patterns are complex and diverse; the reasons for migration are multiple. Further, the relationships migrants share with different locales extend beyond places of origin and reception. In the context of globalisation, the social location of individuals within local and global networks, constrains and enables their spatial mobility and their level of inclusion and exclusion (Massey 1994). Against this backdrop, this thesis analyses migrant women’s sense of belonging experienced through their everyday spatial practices. The specific focus is on women of Indian origin in two contexts: as internal migrants within multilingual, multicultural India, and as international migrants to Australia. The spatial routines of these women are analysed using Hagerstrand’s time-geography notational diagrams to arrive at different migrant typologies of belonging. The emphasis is on movement (particularly habitual time-space routines) and the affective dimensions attributed to everyday spaces to arrive at a conceptualisation of place-belonging. Further, an intersectional lens is overlaid to understand the variation in these experiences of belonging with time and context, based on the migrant women’s complex identities. Place-belonging is shaped continually by both external structures and individual subjectivities during the women’s life course, which determine their spatial activities and patterns at a given context and time. Maintaining kinship ties is considered an integral part of Indian culture; thus, Indian women migrants often navigate patriarchy and other socio-cultural practices in old and new contexts. Agency is, therefore, an important aspect of understanding how gender is articulated in different places through migration. The findings of this thesis aim to offer new insights into the relationships between migrant women and cities and contribute to the literature on everyday experiences of place-belonging for women of Indian origin. This thesis also proposes a replicable methodology for analysing the everyday life of an individual, particularly to identify spaces of belonging from a gendered perspective.
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    Bending the rules: Socio-spatial possibilities and constraints in financing urban renewable energy transitions
    Hadfield, Paris Alexandra ( 2021)
    This thesis examines the role of finance in sociotechnical systems change towards sustainable modes of production and consumption in cities. With a focus on renewable energy as a substitute for fossil fuels, the thesis draws on geographical critiques of mainstream sustainability transitions theory, which fail to account for the role of place and space in explaining how transitions unfold, and critical geographical studies of finance articulating how contemporary capitalist orthodoxies contribute to uneven urban development. To better explain spatial difference in the diffusion of low-carbon innovations, the thesis documents how finance – comprising actors, institutions, and instruments – provides differentiated opportunities for, and geographical constraints around, renewable energy in cities. The thesis employs a novel conceptual framework outlining orthodox financial conditions across time, scale, and space to qualitatively analyse four urban experiments in procurement, lending, and ownership in Melbourne, Australia, Bristol, UK, and Helsingborg, Sweden. This thesis demonstrates that 1) novel financing mechanisms for renewable energy in cities can maintain, adapt, or reconfigure incumbent, orthodox financial systems. The thesis conceptualises innovation within financial regimes – processes through which incumbent financial systems are maintained or expanded despite their novelty – and innovation of financial regimes – adaptations and radical reconfigurations that extend the parameters and geographies of economic feasibility for more inclusive urban infrastructure outcomes. The temporal boundaries of finance associated with future investment risk and return are fundamental to understanding the institutionalisation of orthodox financial rationalities and the extent to which capitalist orthodoxies are transformed. 2) Experimenting through new financial roles that de-risk private investment, urban actors (re)localise energy governance and pursue non-economic value propositions of care and energy citizenship. In doing so, the cases represent institutional innovations in the business of local government and community organisation. 3) Direct investment in renewable energy developments by local government and community organisations enables localised redistribution of financial benefits and expands the spatial parameters of renewable energy access, guided by social objectives. While participation and distribution are still limited by financial thresholds, seeds of socio-economic transformation are identified in inclusive loan terms and profit distribution through local charitable grants. Altogether, the thesis argues that 4) multiscalar finance capital exchange embeds financial calculations of risk and return into the form and spatiality of renewable energy developments in cities and beyond and thus has a fundamental causal bearing on the geographical unevenness of sustainability transitions. Financial obligations, expectations, and calculative thresholds influence inclusions and exclusions as sustainability transitions unfold. In this context, local government and community organisations can play both niche and regime financial roles in driving increased renewable energy generation and use in the city – working within and in opposition to capitalist orthodoxies. Sustainability practitioners, policymakers, and advocates must attend to the qualities of city climate finance flows as much as their volume to meaningfully engagement with the possibilities for transformative, socially just low-carbon urban futures.