Memory in soil : the preservation and revitalisation of a Chinese market garden

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Pearn, Celine
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Master of Architecture (Professional)
Unitec Institute of Technology
Melchiors, Lucia
Irving, Daniel
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
Māngere East (Auckland, N.Z.)
Auckland (N.Z.)
Earlsworth Road (Māngere East, Auckland, N.Z.)
New Zealand
Chinese market gardens
market gardens
community gardens
urban farming education centres
memory in architecture
Pearn, C. (2019). Memory in soil : the preservation and revitalisation of a Chinese market garden. (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Architecture (Professional)). Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand. Retrieved from
RESEARCH QUESTION: How can the preservation of a Chinese market garden revitalise and reconnect the community with the land of Māngere? Urban expansion in New Zealand is continually obliterating historical and cultural significance embedded within our fertile landscapes. The once ubiquitous inner-city Chinese market gardens is one the biggest victims, due to the loss of this land to housing developments and consequently the forfeiture of the elite soils, elite soils that was at one time producing seventy-five percent of the country’s produce. Consequentially, this has destroyed any remains of the rich heritage and culture that once had the ability to help grow, engage, and sustain many city neighbourhoods. The purpose of this project to help preserve Chinese market gardens by illustrating the importance of them as a culturally significant representation of local and natural food cultivation. The project is based in what was historically New Zealand’s largest district of Chinese market gardeners who dominated the Māngere landscape from the mid-nineteenth century. Its purpose is to use this historic connection and culture to reconnect the local community with its land. The reconnection is achieved through an exploration of urban farming and the development of interrelated programs that collectively have influenced architectural design. As a result, this architecture not only supports activities of engagement but the sustainability and growth of the local area by continuing to feed, provide, and teach the community as the market gardens had afforded Mangere for many previous years. A living legacy.
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