Architecture, Building and Planning - Theses
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Governance and planning for cultural diversity on the local scale in Victoria, Australia
The unprecedented volume of international migration in recent decades driven by globalisation has made planning for cultural diversity a reality and a practically necessary task for cities. Policy approaches to cultural diversity remain contested as Australia aspires to proceed to a ‘post-multicultural’ era, where cultural diversity is celebrated while social inclusivity and sense of belonging is promoted. This study focuses on how cultural diversity has been interpreted and addressed on the local scale against this backdrop to close the research gap on planning and governance for cultural diversity in local practices. Two local councils (the City of Melbourne and the City of Ballarat) along with their latest planning strategies addressing cultural diversity (the Melbourne for All People Plan 2014-2017 and the Ballarat Intercultural Strategy 2018-2021) are selected for a comparative case study between the inner and regional city in Victoria. A systematic analysis is conducted to identify the key factors shaping local plan making for cultural diversity by employing the 3Is framework, followed by a plan quality evaluation expanded on Fincher (2010)’s framework examining the ability of the local plans to comprehensively address cultural diversity issues. Empirical results highlight that cities are to establish authentic and aligned understanding of cultural diversity and to build local knowledge and tool to comprehensively respond to cultural diversity through meaningful encounters with stakeholders and community members to fulfil the institutional and attitudinal expectations towards the post-multicultural Australian society.
Evaluating cultural learning in virtual environments
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.
Informal Music Events, a Subculture’s Claim to the City
This thesis explores the role of informal music events, as a subcultural practice, in Melbourne, focusing on their potential to be recognised as an exercising of the right to the city through the theoretical lenses of place and social capital. This area of study was chosen in an attempt to shed light on potential inequalities within the production space of Melbourne. Qualitative semi-structured interviews were used to gauge the presence of place processes and social capital within informal music events and understand the experience of these events from the point of view of the event organisers. The six place processes were found to be present along with two social capital typologies, indicating that there is place-based social value to this subculture that would make it valuable for mediation with planners and policy makers. Informal music events were found to be an alternative to the competitive formal live music venues, but also served as a key creative starting point that allowed organisers to access these formal venues later. This competitive creative environment was perceived to be related to policy such as the late-night freeze and the urban redevelopment of Melbourne’s inner municipalities. If planners are to foster creative subcultures that create social value within the city, then there needs to be a mediation of claims to the city to ensure that less economically viable subcultures may access formal spaces to prevent urban conflicts around land usage.
Melbourne flats: Marne Street, South Yarra: a micro case study
In early 2021, I undertook research on the architect, Edwin J Ruck. During that research, I found an old photograph which indicated who had design the “Mayfair” in Marne street South Yarra. The beautiful old photo attracted me, and I want to see the real building. I went to Marne Street, but, I didn’t find “Mayfair”. Late on, I found that the building had been demolished. However, I found Marne Street to be a very special street for Melbourne’s interwar flats. I decided to do more research, using this street as case study microcosm the history of Melbourne’s flats.
A path for the conservation of the Old City of Tripoli
The Old City of Tripoli faces a significant noticeable deterioration and possibly a highly problematic future for its heritage. This thesis aims at highlighting this problem while suggesting solutions to clarify the site's heritage prospects. Those solutions result from a thorough investigation on local and international levels, searching for models that could explain how the Old City of Tripoli can be successfully conserved. The research methodology includes two experimental studies. The first provides a critical assessment of the current conservation works done by a local organisation called OTCAB while exploring the dynamics of change and authenticity. The second study is more of a futuristic reflection on potential UNESCO inscription as well as building up scenarios based on comparative analysis of different global old cities. This thesis shows that the Old City of Tripoli's is constrained by circumstances that inevitably affected the priorities of its conservation which requires us to explore ways of expanding our notions of heritage beyond materiality. Providing opportunities to refine the OTCAB to be considered as a successful local model is a way of achieving proper conservation to the site. Moreover, a living heritage approach demonstrated in successful international case studies like Hoi An is another prospect worthy of consideration. However, the way forward for a bright future for the Old City of Tripoli will depend on a serious governmental heritage vision that contributes to the solvation of the faced problems as well as negotiating options that help the implementation of the recommended solutions.
The influence of urban policy on green infrastructure development in the city of Moreland
Green infrastructure (GI) as an adaptation action can mitigate the negative impacts of rapid urbanisation and climate change on cities. Although GI is an urban governance technology that can provide multiple ecosystem services, the development of GI is influenced by a number of factors. Numerous studies have demonstrated that there appears to be a link between urban policy and the implementation of GI guidelines. The City of Moreland has developed many greening strategies since 2017 and has seen a significant increase in the number of GI projects in its city in recent years. Therefore, this paper explores the potential relationship between GI development and urban policy using the city of Moreland as a case study and a policy analysis research approach. The findings suggest that the level of priority given to GI in urban planning policy and the completeness of the relevant plans in terms of content may have an impact on the development of GI.
Navigating planning networks: identifying the decision-making network behind 20-minute neighbourhoods
While there are many plans that set expectations and objectives for the development of Melbourne, the city is ultimately changed by people and the networks in which they are embedded. At times, these networks of public and private actors that influence the project agenda may not follow the plans set in front of them or they may frame those plans in a way that aligns with their own interests and priorities. This is when urban regimes can begin to emerge, cementing path dependency in development. The effect of these urban regimes can have a significant impact on the urban outcomes of strategies. In the example of Plan Melbourne 2017-2050’s 20-minute neighbourhood, a goal that prioritises equity and accessibility may fail to address those principles depending on who the decision-makers are behind the implementation of that strategy. In order to challenge the governance of urban regimes, the planner has a unique positioning within the network of decision-makers to build advocacy coalitions and identify opportunities in which they can actively influence the transformation of a project agenda. By identifying the wider decision-making network for 20-minute neighbourhood planning, and the similarities between its attributes and characteristics of urban regimes, the planner can play a critical role in upholding the principles behind the 20-minute neighbourhood. This research looks at the Sunshine West 20-minute neighbourhood pilot program in order to add visibility to the network that shapes the 20-minute neighbourhood and its characteristics that help or hinder the implementation of the principles behind that vision.
A spatiotemporal analysis of private garden area in North-East Melbourne: 2010-2021
Urban densification and expansion are occurring simultaneously in Melbourne, Australia; manifesting in a loss of nature outside and within the urban environment. However, Australian cities are biodiverse hotspots due to the interconnection of vulnerable native species and variation of habitat sizes, with 40.7% of urban vegetation cover in private residential land. The absence of urban planning regulations on garden retention and practices of urban densification in Melbourne have degraded the ecological networks and risk the social ‘extinction of everyday nature experience’ as greater dwelling density decreases both public and private spaces, and once land has been built upon it has lost its potential for conservation. Despite the importance of private spaces for ecological sustainability in Melbourne, there has been no attempt to spatially analyse the changes of private garden area in relation to densification over the past decade. The research objective is to spatially analyse the changes in area of private gardens in sixteen Statistical Areas Level 1 (SA1) sites, over two time scales 2010 and 2021 in the North East Melbourne municipal councils of Banyule and Darebin. The analysis was conducted to address the following research questions: 1) what is the spatiotemporal change of private gardens and public green space in the North East of Melbourne?; and 2) to what extent are land-use planning mechanisms and spatial dependencies effecting changes in private garden size? The results showed that a potential total loss of private gardens equivalent to 229.79 ha, which is equal size to Albert Park and Lake in Melbourne, has occurred in Banyule and Darebin between 2010 and 2021 while public green space quantity and size has not increased. Meanwhile, loss of private garden has occurred independent from spatial effects such as proximity to public green space and major transportation routes. Similarly, although land-use planning regulations have disproportionately affected the scale of private garden loss, they are not a dependent variable as loss has occurred extensively across zones and overlays.
Are there more diversity and noise in public opinions expressed on open discussion platforms？ A case study of the new protected bike lane project in Melbourne
This study systematically compares government-led digital platforms and online news portals regarding e-participation. Although both digital platforms have been shown to have distinct pros and cons, scholars tend to discuss them separately rather than treating them as references for each other, creating a gap in the academic field. Some scholars have observed that the informality possessed by citizen-led discussion portals can compensate for the homogeneity of voices on government-driven platforms. Nevertheless, its inclusiveness can cause distortions in the dialogue process - content that is not part of the established subject matter naturally appears, thus causing noise of opinion. This thesis chooses the new protected bike lane project as a case study to contrast government-operated and open discussion platforms in terms of diversity and noise of opinion. This research collected secondary data generated from Participate Melbourne and online news comment sections of the Age and the Herald Sun. It used the NVivo package to conduct a qualitative content analysis. Firstly, this study has identified that open discussion platforms produce more diverse voices in word clusters, thematic concerns and opinions than Participate Melbourne. The second significant finding was that both news platforms generated approximately 20% to 40% noise of opinion. The insights gained from this study contribute empirical evidence to understanding the opportunities and limitations of open discussion portals in e-participation and promoting a deep digital democracy. Its methods and findings should help establish a thematic framework to measure digital participation and lay the groundwork for future research.
Urban planning for honeybees: The gap between science and policy
Honeybees are important to our cities because they provide essential ecosystem services and contribute significantly to our food production systems. Unfortunately, recent studies have shown that they are in decline, particularly within urban settings, and that they can differ on a subspecies level in their resilience to urbanisation. The ability to successfully plan for the conservation of urban honeybees depends on urban policy and strategies that meaningfully engage with the science. However, literature demonstrates that some urban planning policies and strategies tend to fail to consider the best science. Accordingly, the aim of this thesis is to determine if the City of Melbourne’s (CoM) current policies and strategies for urban bee conservation consider the differences between honeybee subspecies in their resilience to urbanisation. Documents relevant to the CoM’s urban bee conservation planning were examined using a list of guiding questions and a coding system influenced by similar studies. It was found that not only do the CoM’s current policies and strategies for urban bee conservation fail to consider the discrepancies between honeybee subspecies in their resilience to urbanisation, they also fail to engage with the science on a meaningful or specific level. This is an important finding as it suggests that Melbourne is not effectively planning for the conservation of honeybees and is exposed to the adverse environmental, social and economic impacts of a declining urban honeybee population.
The Livable Housing Design Guidelines: a future for adaptable housing in Victoria?
Inclusive housing design such as adaptable housing enables the needs of all body types and abilities to be considered and has the capacity to meet emerging housing needs associated with the transitions of different life stages and events. However, despite the socio-economic benefits of adaptable housing, the plethora of definitions and reliance on neoliberalist housing markets has negatively impacted the actual delivery of adaptable housing in Victoria. Furthermore, uncertainties regarding the regulation of adaptable housing policies persists in Victoria’s building and planning sectors. This thesis examines the strategic implications of the Livable Housing Design Guidelines, as an upcoming adaptable housing design standard to be regulated Australia wide. A Victorian case study serves to analyse the implementation of the Livable Housing Design Guidelines in achieving housing adaptability. Adaptable housing policy and floor plan analysis highlight the strengths and weaknesses of applying the Guidelines in comparison to other adaptable housing design standards. Semi-structured interviews with building and planning industry actors provide in-depth perspectives of the Guidelines in the context of Victoria’s built environment policy systems. This thesis finds that the Livable Housing Design Guidelines provides clearer and more holistic design standards to achieve housing adaptability in comparison to other adaptable housing design standards. Yet, the overarching policy tensions between Victoria’s building and planning sector was found problematic to enhance the capacity of the Guidelines in supporting built industry actors to align with local level adaptable housing strategies. It concludes that stronger policy configuration between building and planning policies, as well as¬¬¬ greater consideration of the complementary relationship between formal and informal adaptable housing design policies at the individual and organisational level is needed to maximise the full potential of the Guidelines and further uptake of adaptable housing within Victoria.
Cycling towards rain: overcoming wet weather-related cycling barriers in Melbourne, Australia
As cycling emerges as an increasingly popular mode of transport in urban contexts, concerns for the effects of weather (particularly rain) on cyclability has been raised for deeper consideration. Through existing literature, it is determined that rain impacts cycling activity, and can compromise safety. Yet, the intersection between rain and safety is under explored in cycling literature and planning practice. Recognising the importance of bicycle usage in climate change mitigation (sustainable transport transitions) and adaptation (upholding cycling behaviour in increasingly precarious weather), this research aims to explore how wet weather-related safety is examined in cycling policies and bicycle planning in the city of Melbourne, Australia. Through a policy analysis of existing cycling documents, the research identifies a lack of wet weather considerations in current cycling policies and bicycle planning. To further this investigation, the research engages with public sector planners and employs an analytical framework to explore the role of their ideas, interests and institutions in affecting policy (change) – to understand how, or to what extent, wet weather-related safety is or can be included in cycling polices. The research results show a range of promising opportunities for wet weather (with respect to cycling safety) to be incorporated into future cycling policies and planning considerations. The research also reveals several inherent challenges such as managing transport tension and encouraging cycling uptake that require further research and policy attention.