Making our cities sustainable through pedestrian-friendly design

Join students from Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington’s School of Architecture for an exhibit focusing on making our cities pedestrian-friendly and sustainable.

Embroidered map with architectural drawings of streets and houses added to it

The work by Wellington School of Architecture students was recently exhibited at the Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism (SBAU). They were one of only 80 groups from around the world invited to exhibit their work in Seoul to over 400,000 visitors.

Their work looked at possible ways of making the Wellington suburb of Hataitai pedestrian-friendly.

“Hataitai is only a few kilometres from the city centre, yet 36 percent of commuters travel by car,” says Dr Sam Kebbell, senior lecturer at Wellington School of Architecture, who supervised the student work. “This research has shown how a small network of existing pedestrian pathways could be expanded to make a pedestrian-friendly environment, which would in turn help address the problem of unsustainable low-density, car-oriented cities.”

The exhibit will show different concepts for a pedestrian-friendly Hataitai created by the students.

The exhibit will also showcase work from a collaboration with students and graduates of artist Dr Peter Adsett, who teaches at The Learning Connexion in Taita. This collaboration explored how visual art and architecture can both inform urban design.

“Visual art and architecture intersect in so many ways, but too often we see visual art as something to clip onto a building. We’re encouraging students to consider ways that visual art can inform how buildings are conceived, not just how they’re inhabited,” says Dr Kebbell.

“We’re interested in how visual artists respond to architectural materials and processes from drawing right through to construction. That includes all the techniques and ideas about structure, decoration, surface, materials, framing, ornament, and so on,” Dr Adsett says.

The research reflects the multi-disciplinary nature of urban design, which involves public health, architecture, the visual arts, and more, Dr Kebbell says.

“City-making is nothing short of making the world we live in, and it involves everybody. As the awareness of environmental crises gains momentum, we must remember that the environment does not stop at the city limits. Our built environment should be as rich, diverse, and nourishing as our best natural environments.”

This exhibition is hosted in conjunction with Humbugaa, an online gallery that fosters dialogue between artists and architects.

What: ‘To be continued …’: An exhibit of work from Wellington School of Architecture and the Learning Connexion.

When: 9—15 March 2020

Where: Thistle Hall, 293 Cuba Street, Te Aro, Wellington 6011