Varieties of Us: a case study in boundary and landscape in Aotearoa/New Zealand

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Woodruffe, Paul
Henderson, Ian
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Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
cadastral boundaries
territorial claims
Everyday Collective Laboratory
ANZSRC Field of Research Code (2020)
Woodruffe, P, & Henderson, I. (2011). Varieties of us: A case study in boundary and landscape in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Design Ecologies, 1(1), 135-152. doi: 10.1386/des.1.1.135_7
On Auckland‟s North Shore a narrow strip of cliff-top land overlooking the Hauraki Gulf includes a memorial park, historic WW2 defensive artefacts, Maori fortifications and a section of the New Zealand Walkway, and is edged by both historic public housing and private residences, with a diversity of boundary conditions and internal landscape treatments. Cadastral boundaries, the markers of surveyed legal ownership of land, are often understood as the determining elements of landscape conditions and treatments, whether intentionally designed or not. These particular edges limit the perception, attribution and design of the continuity of the landscape, and also of other possible boundaries or determinants of difference. This paper explores the signs, symbols and cues of territorial claim, ownership, occupancy, access, use and edge condition, to reveal a richness of landscape beyond the limitations of the duality of public/private based on cadastral lines or of the third space of in-between-ness, often seen as one of difference. Traditional indigenous Maori land occupation and guardianship may add a potential reinterpretation to this diversity, challenging these cadastral demarcations. The methodology “the everyday collective laboratory”, a graphic story telling of the landscape, is used to explore and illuminate the complex issues of territorial claim and boundary treatment discovered at the site. This is done by using a combination of mapping, fine art methodology, normative landscape architectural site analysis and graphic design to produce a document that is both analysis, and an informing of design potential through “representing the site as fields of relations rather than as arrangements of objects.” (Marot, 2003, p2. ). This methodology also enables memory to become a material and a dimension for landscape architecture within the suburban condition through its ability to draw out narrative.
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