Backyard death in Auckland

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Moore, Cameron
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Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
Auckland (N.Z.)
housing in Auckland
housing density
Auckland Unitary Plan
side yards
private open spaces
New Zealand
ANZSRC Field of Research Code (2020)
Moore, C. S. (2017). Backyard Death in Auckland. X-Section, 7, pp.71-77.
This paper is an extension of Griffith University urban form professor Tony Hall’s work on private open space. In his book The Life and Death of the Australian Backyard 1 ; and the journal entries Where have all the Gardens Gone? 2 and Goodbye to the Backyard? – The Minimisation of Private Open Space in the Australian Outer-Suburban Estate 3 , Hall conducts visual spatial analyses of older and newer Australian suburbs to quantify the anecdotal evidence that the backyard spaces are getting smaller and, in some cases, disappearing altogether. A comparable analysis confirming that the same trend is apparent in Auckland was conducted in this study. Most of the New Zealand literature in this area is concerned with the houses themselves. Of note are Guy Marriage’s papers “Minimum vs Maximum: size and the New Zealand Home”4 and “Pavalova Paradise and the Curse of the Side Yard.” 5 Articles from media outlets including The Spinoff6 , The New Zealand Herald7 , The Sunday Star Times 8 , and Newshub tend to only follow the narrative that larger houses on smaller sections are ‘pushing up house prices.’ A design solution to the systematic shrinking of private external domestic space presented by Newshub included adding in features like “climbing walls and sandpits that can be converted into little pop-up tables and chairs.” 9 These solutions promote efficiency on a micro level. The disappearance of the traditional backyard can be understood as a result of a system of development that promotes an inefficient use of available private land on a macro level.
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