Unitec Arboretum

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Cliffin, Penny
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Conference Contribution - Paper in Published Proceedings
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
urban forests
greening of cities
urban Trees
online plant databases
ANZSRC Field of Research Code (2020)
Cliffin, P.F. (2012). Unitec Arboretum. CITYPLANTastic, 8th International Conference, World in Denmark, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen. 27-29 June.
Greening of cities has become a significant motivation for landscape architects, urban designers, and architects, as well as a growing public expectation. While there is need for the development of new technologies to accomplish some of this greening, a reappraisal of traditional New Zealand parks (19th century), often modelled on the English Landscape parks of earlier centuries, such as found at the Unitec campus, may also offer innovative contributions to the understanding of green networks (or urban forest) in the city, through their plant selection, management, promotion and evolution. Unitec Institute of Technology, in Auckland, New Zealand, is well known locally for its park like grounds. Unitec’s campus and tree collection can also be understood in its wider urban vegetation context, and has potential to be developed into a more widely recognised and utilised arboretum resource. The tree collection has been documented by the institute, assisted by research from botanist Mike Wilcox (1996) and senior lecturer Penny Cliffin (2001). This paper will illustrate the project progress to date, and reflect on the impact of these developments in relation to urban vegetation values, such as biodiversity, green infrastructure and watershed management, public recreation, amenity and education. Students are currently developing concepts for the arboretum including improved path networks, connections to the wider community via pedestrian and cycleways, and planting proposals for enhancing Arboretum themes such as bird habitat and fruiting trees as well as experiential aspects of spatial design. Along with this design exercise, students are undertaking campus tree research and documentation, by updating and enhancing the campus database, including the addition of photographs and Geotagging. Online and direct mapping and visitor interpretation such as a brief history of the campus and tree labels, is also being developed to promote the arboretum as a resource for staff, students and the public, in order to better understand urban vegetation values and provide student with experience for their future practice.
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