The new urban catchment : cleaning up Cox’s Creek

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Zhang, Meng
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Master of Landscape Architecture
Unitec Institute of Technology
Bradbury, Matthew
Wang, Xinxin
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
Cox's Creek (Auckland, N.Z.)
Auckland (N.Z.)
Grey Lynn (Auckland, N.Z.)
water quality
harbour water pollution
water sensitive design (WSD)
urban catchment contamination
stormwater management
urban ecology
New Zealand
Zhang, M. (2019). The new urban catchment  : cleaning up Cox’s Creek. (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Landscape Architecture). Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand. Retrieved from
RESEARCH QUESTIONS Main question: How can a decentralised design system protect harbour pollution by considering the urban catchment? Sub question: How to solve Cox’s Bay harbour contamination by evolving WSD strategies? ABSTRACT: Clean water is essential for lives, not only in terms of human beings’ survival but also for growing foods, keeping a healthy natural system and maintaining biodiversity. However, due to the pressure of urbanisation and population growth, an impending water crisis has been recognised as one of the most severe challenges to human society in the 21st century. In New Zealand, there is an increasing number of harbours that have already been identified as contaminated. Promoting water quality is virtual that integrated urban design is raised to manage the water system effectively. Through drawing an urban design, this project will explore how Water Sensitive Design (WSD) can be applied to real-life projects to mitigate or even address catchment water contamination. The Cox’s Bay catchment is chosen as a test site to reflect the function and impacts of WSD strategies in promoting water quality. The project adopts the framework of Research by Design through qualitative research methods. The proposed design employs a range of the techniques including tree pits, plant boxes, permeable pavements, rain gardens, vegetated swales, and above-detention pond (wet pond and constructed wetland). Meanwhile, four classified land zone types are used for the test: commercial area, community streets, natural small-sized reserve and multi-function park. The aims of this study are not only to deal with Cox’s Bay catchment water quality issues but also contribute to future stormwater management to achieve the goal of controlling pollution. The further expectation of this project is to inspire other scholars to further explore WSD in tackling similar stormwater problems.
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