Urban connections: improving user experience in transit oriented development

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Rathod, Dhruti
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Master of Architecture (Professional)
Unitec Institute of Technology
Wagner, Cesar
McConchie, Graeme
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
Newmarket (Auckland, N.Z.)
Remuera Road (Newmarket, Auckland, N.Z.)
Broadway (Newmarket, Auckland, N.Z.)
Queen's Lodge Apartments (Newmarket, Auckland, N.Z.)
New Zealand
pedestrian experience
public spaces
mixed-use development
walkable development
town centres
shopping malls
Auckland (N.Z.)
public transportation nodes
ANZSRC Field of Research Code (2020)
Rathod, D. (2019). Urban connections: improving user experience in transit oriented development. (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Architecture (Professional)).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 https://hdl.handle.net/10652/4803
RESEACH QUESTION: How can mixed-use development and its connections to a series of urban spaces improve user experience at one of Auckland’s major transport nodes? ABSTRACT: Historically, the city of Auckland has been built as a city for cars. Road infrastructure has formed the city significantly. This is contradictory to what city design and urban planning has advocated for over the last half century – a focus on pedestrianism to create lively cities. The priority given to road infrastructure in Auckland does affect the experience of being a pedestrian in a negative way and subsequently it affects the potential for liveliness that is desired at a local and global scale. The built environment (architecture and urban space) and the human psyche are two intrinsically linked phenomena. The constant presence of the built environment is constantly stimulating the biologically embedded sensory systems that humans have. When senses are stimulated by an environment, the brain registers a perception of that environment and stores that perception as a mental image that can be recalled as some type of experience. This ever-present relationship between the built environment and experience therefore needs to be considered to have any chance at building a positive image for a city because where experiences are positive, the chances of places being lively with pedestrians are higher. This project explores this process with the aim of applying it to the design proposal. The experience of being a pedestrian in a car-based city like Auckland can be unpleasant and there are a few elements that contribute to this. Firstly, the higher convenience of car travel means more cars in the city and this presents more safety hazards to pedestrians. Secondly, good quality pedestrian ways are limited because they are simply not a priority. Both of these can act as deterrents for people to walk or use public transport and this does not encourage liveliness in a city. That being said, in recent years, Auckland has realised that cars are not what make cities lively and so there has been a wave of significant pedestrian and public transport infrastructure upgrades to boost the experience and liveliness of the city. This project feeds from the desire to improve experiences for pedestrians in the city and as such identifies a significantly unpleasant pedestrian experience in Auckland and aims to improve it. Newmarket Train Station’s surrounding area is the catalytic site for this project, and it is here where an improved pedestrian experience is proposed.
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