Fast food, slow city: A food and cultural, educational facility in Auckland's CBD
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Citation:Garelja, A. (2021). Fast food, slow city: A food and cultural, educational facility in Auckland’s CBD. (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Architecture (Professional)). Unitec Institute of Technology, New Zealand. https://hdl.handle.net/10652/5534
Permanent link to Research Bank record:https://hdl.handle.net/10652/5534
RESEARCH QUESTION Can architectural satire be used to raise awareness of the causes of obesity and thereby improving healthy eating? ABSTRACT Combating New Zealand’s obesity epedemic by combating obesity through architectural satire. This research and design proposal addresses the problem in New Zealand of the environment and more readily available premade foods and fast food outlets. The hypothesis is that architecture can be used to expose the underlying cultural problems of obesity and thereby change the views of society. With a continually growing fast city and fast paced lives it also brings with it fast food. The problem with ‘fast’ food has little to do with the speed at which it is served but more to do with the nutritional value (or lack of) and addictive nature of the food. This raises the question, “can architectural satire be used to raise awareness of the causes of obesity and thereby improving healthy eating?” In New Zealand, the statistics are clear that by far the largest demographic group affected by obesity are Māori and Pacifica and in particular, low income groups. This research investigates the reasons behind these statistics and identifies that the fast food industry in NZ is predatorial as it targets low income areas and school children. Fast food has high levels of sugar and fats that make it clinically addictive and since the meals are relatively cheap and easily available, they become the predominant diet of those in low income areas. The same problem was identified in Europe in the mid 1980s. The ‘slow food’ movement started in Italy and aimed to retain a traditional cultural diet rather than the ‘American’ diet of fast food. From this movement the ‘slow city’ movement was introduced where legislation was established to restrict fast food sales in urban areas. Both the ‘slow food’ and ‘slow city’ movements have not impacted New Zealand yet. The aim for the design proposal is to create a ‘slow food’ area in the ‘fast city’ of Auckland to reverse our obesity epidemic, slow our environment down and bring culture back to our food and city. The selected site is situated between Commercial bay and the Britomart train station in Auckland CBD. Not only is the site in the heart of the city but has important historical symbolism as the point of arrival where the British arrived to purchase Auckland, the destruction of a loss of a beach once used for launching of boats and the collection of food. The architectural proposal is driven by satire based on the loss of rights. In architecture, satire has been defined as, “raising joy in all who witness it while simultaneously sparking rage at the wider social and economic shortcomings of our built environment”. As our culture has shifted, satire helps remind people of what used to be there before the fast city. The design uses the traditional symbolism of waka sails, whale skeletons, stone terraces, the sea bed and other important cultural symbols as an architectural means of ‘raising joy’. However, these symbols represent the loss of a cultural food tradition by the removal of rights to access them, thereby ‘sparking rage’ My research concludes that based on the removal of rights to traditional food sources by the indigenous population it has resulted in an exploited diet which consists of excessive amounts of ‘fast’ food. It is hoped that my architectural proposal would create an awareness of the injustices that have occurred and encourage the uptake of traditional diets rather than fast food. The “Fast food, slow city” project aims to create a slow community atmosphere in a fast city by making you meander through the site and to stop and appreciate your surroundings. It will create a community heart which will educate people about food and our culture, but most importantly, it is architecture that sticks two fingers up to the fast food industry and to successive governments in New Zealand that have been major investors in this industry.