Time has seen an enormous transformation of buildings and other physical structures.

Architecture provides an expression of human civilization at a fixed point in time, which endures as a monument for study by future generations.

Using Auckland as an Example this series will consider both housing density through history and public spaces issues.

Thursday 17 August

Back to the Future: Living at Density in Our Cities

Living-at-Density-in-Our-CitiesCities are relatively recent in a much longer human history, first emerging in the Middle East some 5500 years ago. The emergence of cities is synonymous with urban cultures, and the complexity of human interactions ranging across political system, religions, to everyday trading and exchanges. Throughout history cities by necessity have been dense, and it was only at the end of the 19th century that this changed. This session will explore the city in history, the emergence of urban cultures and how these changed to sprawling low-density suburbs in the 20th century. We will then explore  key issues caused by low density in the 21st century, and why and how there is now a push to build denser cities. Using Auckland as an example, we will consider how denser neighborhoods have replaced quarter acre suburban sections, and what research tells us about this change.

Professor Errol Haarhoff
Bachelor of Architecture (Natal); Master of Science (Urban Design) (Heriot Watt); PhD (in Planning)

Professor of Architecture, School of Architecture and Planning, University of Auckland, who over recent years has been responsible for the Master of Urban Design programme. Teaching specialisations cover Modern Architecture History, Urban Design Theory and Practice, and Design Studios. Research is focussed on urban issues, including an assessment of Pacific Rim cities, urban intensification and housing, designing neighbourhoods that enhance liveability, and the effectiveness of urban design review and guides for improving the quality of the built environment. He currently leads a $2.5m research project that is part of the National Science Challenge: Shaping Places: Future Neighbourhoods, and serves on the Science Challenge Leadership Team. He is Co-Director of the University Urban Research Network promoting cross-disciplinary research on urban issues.

Thursday 24 August

Territorial relationality: Public space issues in the emerging metropolitan centres of Auckland

Fifty years after the publication of Guy Debord’s Society of the Spectacle, the key role of surfaces in constituting alluring spatialities in commercial assemblages has increased from the superficial to the atmospheric, and from the architectural to the hypermediated. This shift has particularly affected urban centres dominated by the new enclosures of integrated consumption that progressively polarise citizens’ associative life: the latest generation of shopping malls. There, the static and two-dimensional material interface of traditional architecture has expanded its domain into dynamic and multimodal entities.

In this session Manfredo will discuss findings of an investigation from a spatial perspective of the latest generation of shopping and entertainment enclaves, to answer the following questions: how do the new hybrid/augmented meta-surfaces of post-consumerist shopping environments effect changes in the of territorialisation in our cities? Is the contemporary augmented spectacle exacerbating the simultaneous de-territorialisation and re-territorialisation of the modern mall?

This session will also reflect on conditions found in post-consumerist environments in Auckland, New Zealand. It analyses the production of new multidimensional spatial patterns, focusing on embodiments in the digital realm. It provides a description of the changing relations between perceived and experienced spaces in emerging forms of territorial appropriation and association. It uses evidence found in the analysis of the mediated public realm, using geo-located data generated by the most popular image-based social media application, Instagram, and the most successful augmented reality gaming application, Pokemon GO.

The discussion concentrates on the effects of de-territorialisation and re-territorialisation found in the new, experientially augmented“spectacular” realms. We interpret de-territorialisation as the agency responsible for fragmentation of proximity-based territorial configurations. Whilst profoundly disturbing socio-spatial relations, this fragmentation increases territorial segmentation, producing new topological geographies of networked meta-surfaces. Conversely, we consider re-territorialization to result from antagonistic forces of territorial recombinations of a topological kind, which cross the boundaries of the disjoined apparatuses and scales (body, precinct, enclosure and city). The concluding notes reaffirms a relationship between the transformations of relational life in our “society of augmented spectacle” and the spatial agency of new enclosures with ambivalent hybrid/augmented meta-surfaces. Empirical evidence regarding the steady reconfiguration and instability of hypermediated socio-spatial chains of associations is used to shed light on the unprecedented scalar shifts in the emerging topological relations that make the mall a prime node of emerging, digitally pervaded, more-than-consumerist post-civil society.

 Dr Manfredo Manfredini
PhD, MSc

Manfredo Manfredini is a director and lecturer at the School of Architecture of the University of Auckland, New Zealand and Honorary Professor of Architecture at the Hunan University, Changsha, China. He studied architecture and urbanism (MSArch and PhD) in Milan and Berlin. He published more than 40 journal and book papers and received prestigious awards, such as the first price at the Biennale di Venezia, Sironi Group. He taught and gave lectures in leading European and Asian universities, such as Milan Technical University, University of Stuttgart, Tsinghua University and Chinese University of Hong Kong.