Tātai Tapātai

2023, URBDES Studio 1

Amanda Bulman.  

Tutors: Dr I-Ting Chuang (Course Coordinator), Lauren White  

Ahuriri (Napier) is perhaps the most climate change vulnerable provincial city in Aotearoa New Zealand. It is low-lying, at risk from sea level rise and storm surge, as well as from the increasing incidence of significant rain events. From earliest occupation this landscape was altered, engineered to allow settlement, and support access to food. Firstly a trench (ahuriri) was dug into the estuary to alleviate silting, then later the island (Scinde Island, now Bluff hill) was grafted to the hills by the draining of swamp land and the re-routing of a river. We have constructed this landscape.

Working with the underlying geology and ecology, to support natural processes, we can find a common ground to occupy based on reciprocity between the natural world and city-building.

If we build the landscape we prevented from forming naturally we would deposit gravel into the littoral zone, and cleave the city from the surrounding silt flats by re-swamping the wetland, allowing the water back in, working with the underlying patterns of this place. Our altered urban form would be dense, a vibrant island-city, a citadel from the assault of climate change.

It would be a city in which land-use was collective, focused on small footprint, dense provision of housing, services, amenity and commerce.