Affected by covid-19: Investigating how to improve the resilience of existing parks

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Zhang, Wenwan
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Master of Landscape Architecture
Unitec Institute of Technology
Wang, Xinxin
Bradbury, Matthew
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
Grey Lynn (Auckland, N.Z.)
Auckland (N.Z.)
New Zealand
public parks
architecture for pandemics
COVID-19 Pandemic, 2020-
public health
disaster refuge and relief parks
ANZSRC Field of Research Code (2020)
Zhang, W. (2022). Affected by covid-19: Investigating how to improve the resilience of existing parks. (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Landscape Architecture). Unitec Institute of Technology, New Zealand.
RESEARCH QUESTION How can public parks be more resilient to epidemic crises through their design? ABSTRACT Due to the COVID-19 outbreak in 2019, for the whole world, life has changed. This disease is currently spread by mucus or body fluid, making it hazardous for people to stay in poorly ventilated places and gather together in high numbers. However, pandemics are not new. Before COVID-19, the world suffered from infectious diseases many times in history, and each pandemic had a significant effect on human lives and the living environment. Because parks play an essential role in people's daily lives, the design of public parks needs improvement to adapt to the pandemic. As one of the critical elements in the urban environment, public parks provide multiple benefits in different aspects. In particular, the open-air atmosphere can reduce the risk of exposure to the infectious virus and help reduce stress for humans. Developing public spaces that have a positive impact on human life and increase resilience to epidemiological crises is necessary. However, many existing parks can not accommodate the safe social distancing and spatial needs required by COVID-19 prevention measures. This research aims to develop a set of design strategies for public parks, to respond to the challenge of an epidemiological crisis. The research employs research by design (RbD) as the methodology. RbD consists of three phases: pre-design, the design stages, and post-design. From the literature review, I summarise the existing theories and case studies relevant to the topic and develop the design concept as an outcome of studying and improving previous work. Grey Lynn Park was chosen as the site to present the final design, while the final idea and concept can also be used as a design toolkit for different types and scales of public parks worldwide. The research outcomes include a design toolkit and strategies to safeguard people's activity in public parks during or after the pandemic by improving public space's practicality and safety through proper design and planning. In a medical sense, design can also become a factor that promotes better control of the virus. While the design was conducted in Grey Lynn Park, the proposed design toolkit and strategies can be applied to other parks in Auckland and other cities. The further implementation also needs to consider different site environments, regions, and policies, among other factors.
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