Filling the blanks : a suburban opportunity for wellbeing
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Citation:West, A. (2016). Filling the blanks : a suburban opportunity for wellbeing. Master thesis explanatory document. An unpublished research project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Architecture Professional, Unitec Institute of Technology, New Zealand.
Permanent link to Research Bank record:http://hdl.handle.net/10652/3634
‘Wellbeing’ is not the easiest subject to discuss. It is difficult to quantify, and even more difficult to offer a precise definition. We currently function in a society where our needs are justified and driven by financial motive. Anything outside of what the market tells us we need, or what is economically advantageous, is difficult to comprehend and even harder to fight for. It is engrained in our culture to measure success financially, and to support those working towards it. This focus on wealth stems from the belief that everything that we need or want can be bought – that ‘wellbeing’ is something that will either arrive naturally or by improving financial circumstances. I started this thesis with the belief that no one intends to live an unfulfilled life. We each strive towards success in the hope of reaching happiness and achieving ‘wellbeing’, yet we have failed to see the entirety of the repercussions of our actions. My research project will look critically at wellbeing, how we define it, how it is really achieved, and its relationship to architecture and planning. Even measured by conventional methodologies, wellbeing levels in New Zealand are low across all areas, regardless of housing typology, income, age or race. My design intervention will therefore be a proposal for a typical suburban neighbourhood in Auckland, where increasing densities are inevitably remoulding the quarter acre dream. This project will explore numerous constraints surrounding diverse existing building typologies, patterns of home ownership, the suburban mind-set and financial barriers, all of which are factors contributing toward the initial proposition: that standards of wellbeing in the present New Zealand context are poor for many, and that these standards are affected by our housing environments in the broadest sense. Site: Miro Street, Koromiko Street, Rimu Street, New Lynn, Auckland between Kelston Girls College and Lynn Mall.