6,373 results for Victoria University of Wellington

  • Cultural Urbanisation: The use of behavioural simulation in the design of indigenous urban settlements

    Ballantyne, Ariana (2017)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    This thesis conducts an investigation into the use of multi-agent systems as a computational design research tool that implements a range of behavioural parameters relating to the design of specific cultural environments for Māori. It aims to offer an alternative methodology to the traditionally ‘top-down’ approach to Māori housing solutions within urban contexts, choosing instead to incorporate parameters that can be specific to a representative agent and their subsequent negotiation and interactions with other agents within a simulated environment. This methodology works under the premise that by piecing together behavioural parameters that are specific to traditional Māori cultural environments, multi-agents can simulate these behaviours with respect to spatial occupation, establishing a system by which to construct the spatial organisation of a community of agents, and subsequently the communities they represent. The use of cultural criteria enables us to contrast the research with standard multi agent simulations that operate on more generic rules of interaction. As a body of research it places an emphasis on the social and the collective identity or cohesion of bodies of single agents within a modern tribal structure as the main organisational vector. It is the hope that this methodology could lend itself to more diverse projects, aiding the design of spatial organisation for other socially orientated communities with needs beyond that of what can be provided by the western ‘top-down’ approach to architecture.

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  • A Study of the Personal Information Management practices of Librarians

    Creegan, Timothy Daniel (2017)

    Scholarly text
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Research Problem: Personal Information Management is an increasingly important subject as more and more of people’s work becomes information-based. Understanding the information management practices of information professionals both as a group and in individual sectors has been the focus of several investigations, but there is limited research focusing on librarians, although they are often the major interface between information professionals and other people. This study aims to discover how librarians practice work-related Personal Information Management and how they adapt to the constant changes in information technology. Methodology: An exploratory qualitative study using data gathered from semi-structured interviews with librarians conducted in their own workspaces similar to those used in several other exploratory PIM studies, and analysed with grounded theory methods. The participants were selected from among librarians working in various branches of Auckland Libraries, who responded to a call for participants sent out in internal mailing lists. Results: The study found that librarians have broad skills in the realm of personal information management, with many techniques found to deal with common problems in PIM such as information fragmentation. However, librarians’ strong personal skills and ability to organise their own information leads to their information regularly being difficult to find for other librarians, as many use their own idiosyncratic structures even within shared systems. Implications: The results suggest that librarians’ ability to share information among themselves within an organisation could be improved by reducing the individual quirks of their organisation systems and increasing standardisation, if they can be convinced to use it.

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  • “It’s a personal thing”: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of law librarians’ evaluation of revalidating in the LIANZA professional registration scheme

    Cook, Ruth Kathryne (2017)

    Scholarly text
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Research problem: This qualitative study explores how law librarians in New Zealand evaluate revalidation in the LIANZA professional registration scheme. The LIANZA scheme has been running since 2007 and previous studies have highlighted areas of difficulty for registrants. This study focuses on the practitioner perspective to explore the factors which registrants consider when evaluating the scheme, and how they assess these factors when making their evaluations. Methodology: This research uses Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Five participants were selected and data was collected using semi-structured interviews. Inductive theorizing from the data was conducted using the methods of IPA, which involve systematic qualitative analysis of individual cases before moving on to an analysis of the whole group. Results: The findings revealed that participants had several factors they accounted for when evaluating the scheme, these included practical, environmental and affective aspects of participation. The key findings were the tension participants experienced around recording the process of participation, and the difficulties they experienced with the reflective writing component of revalidation. Implications: This study highlights the need for training in reflective practice and reflective writing for registrants as well as the need to explore other forms of reflection for assessment purposes. Attempts to simplify the recording process for registrants would also reduce the difficulties they experience. Further research with other groups within the information profession would allow for comparison of the results to determine if these issues are shared.

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  • ‘That doesn’t look like I thought it would’: A study into the effectiveness of picture book cataloguing at the University of Canterbury Library

    Feeney, Rosamund (2017)

    Scholarly text
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Research problem: This study explores the topic of whether or not library catalogues are meeting the needs of different user groups. This is narrowed down to focus on early childhood teaching students at the University of Canterbury and how they select picture books using the University’s library catalogue. In doing so it identifies what metadata this group look for when selecting an item and found that these are not reflected in the current catalogue. Methodology: This took a qualitative approach which combined structured interviews with the verbal protocol analyses method in a three-part approach. Participants were asked a series of questions during the first and second parts, then asked to think out loud as they selecting items during the second stage. Throughout this process no prompts were provided from the researcher in an attempt to capture their natural thoughts. Results and Implications: Data collected showed that early childhood teaching students have specific needs when selecting picture books which impacts the type of metadata they are drawn to. These are a result for the need to find books which entertain and engage young children while aligning with the New Zealand Early Childhood Curriculum. It was found that these needs are not reflected in current picture book records at the University of Canterbury which creates challenges when selecting items. Understanding the behavior of this user group can help to inform cataloguers at the University of Canterbury to create or edit records to improve the selection process. On a wider level, there is the potential to explore this topic in future studies to support libraries in creating systems which reflect the needs of their users.

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  • Making Meaning Together: Heritage site management and new approaches to meaning-making

    Jemmett, Cindy (2017)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    This dissertation looks at how those who manage and interpret heritage sites are incorporating into their practice, new thinking about the way visitors make meaning. Recent research has emphasised visitors' agency, and drawn attention to the cultural and political work of heritage performance. The ways visitors use emotion and imagination has also received greater attention. Rather than heritage value as intrinsic to sites, and best identified by the professional, recent theoretical understandings position visitors as active co-creators of heritage. How these new ideas might be applied in practice, and how organisations could most productively share authority for meaning-making, has not been sufficiently addressed. This research positions itself in that gap, and seeks to contribute to a conversation about how theory translates to practice. The Department of Conservation (DOC) was selected as an information-rich case study. At the time of research, the Department was in its third and final phase of new policy work that places greater emphasis on working in collaboration with others. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with four DOC staff from across a range of roles. A further three interviews were undertaken with DOC partners and a contractor connected with sites discussed by DOC interviewees. The findings show that while heritage managers accept that visitors will make a variety of meanings at a site, they do not currently have a robust understanding of the meanings their visitors are making; of what they think and feel, and what a visit to the site really means to them. Only recently has getting this knowledge really appeared a priority, and organisations are still working out how best to collect this data, and how it could then inform their practice. This lack of understanding has inhibited practitioners' ability to respond to visitors, and to recognise the cultural work they do. When it came to partnerships, organisations were more invested in both understanding and responding to the other party. In some cases, they were willing to add to or modify their own ideas about what the value of the heritage was, or what stories it could be used to tell. A flexible and reflexive practice is advocated, in which organisations are clear about their own goals, recognise and engage with the meanings visitors and partners make, and are open to the possibility of being changed themselves in the process.

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  • Taming the big, beautiful and often unwieldy: Exploring arrangement and description of architectural archives, a case study

    Cox, Sarah Louise (2017)

    Scholarly text
    Victoria University of Wellington

    This project investigates the arrangement and description of architectural archives in order to assist with establishing appropriate processing guidelines for the Architecture Archive, University of Auckland Library. The Alfred P. Morgan architectural drawings and papers serve as a case study to facilitate this investigation. A significant sample of the collection is documented in a hierarchical finding aid, using the archives management system ArchivesSpace. Discussion includes the intellectual and physical arrangement of the collection, the appropriate level and form of description, the descriptive standards selected, key access points, archivist’s influence, signs of custodial intervention, challenges associated with large format materials, and ArchivesSpace functionality. Controlled vocabularies are determined to describe architectural project records, particularly drawings. These include project types, e.g. multiple dwellings, factories, competition entries; the physical description of a drawing, particularly its medium and support, and/ or reproduction technique; and the method of representation depicted in the drawing, e.g. elevations, sections. The project immeasurably improves the access and control of the Morgan collection. It also identifies and establishes evidence based processes and guidelines for the ongoing archival arrangement and description activities of the Architecture Archive. It is acknowledged that these procedures reflect the conditions under which the project was carried out. As such, it is recommended that they should be regularly reviewed and revised in response to changes in technology and circumstances.

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  • ‘Waking the dead’: Preserving obsolete audiovisual formats in New Zealand heritage libraries and archives

    Mills, Amanda (2017)

    Scholarly text
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Physical preservation of obsolete audiovisual (AV) formats is complex. Many aspects must be considered around storage, care, and access of these items before any preservation methods can begin. There has been much written about AV preservation from an international viewpoint, but little looking from a local New Zealand perspective. This study approaches issues surrounding preservation of AV formats from a New Zealand heritage viewpoint, with preservationists from three heritage libraries and archives interviewed to determine issues, processes, and solutions with these formats. A qualitative, case-study methodology using semi-structured interviews was used to frame this research, and compare the different approaches of the three institutions. Five AV preservationists from the three institutions participated in this research, with each participant providing valuable insight into the different processes around AV preservation. Results suggest that institutions are approaching issues about preservation with care, and concern, as many formats are already obsolete, with playback equipment rapidly becoming irreplaceable, or unobtainable. The importance of keeping these formats is a key component of AV preservation too, as without them, information is lost, and may never be recovered. Results impact on libraries and archives with obsolete AV materials by providing advice, or answers about preserving these formats when there are complex issues surrounding them.

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  • Adult graphic novel readers: Their opinions, awareness and usage of public libraries’ graphic novel collections

    Fletcher, Thomas William (2017)

    Scholarly text
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Research Problem: This study examined adult graphic novel readers and their usage, awareness and opinions on public libraries’ graphic novel collections. This study examined the collected data through the theoretical framework of fandom to assess whether fandom influences adults’ opinions and usage of public libraries’ graphic novel collections. Methodology: This study used a mixed methods approach to gathering data where both a qualitative interview and a self-completed questionnaire were used. The sample population of the qualitative interviews were any adult graphic novel readers, regardless of whether they borrowed graphic novels from a public library. The quantitative questionnaire was interested in obtaining data from all graphic novel readers. Results: In total there were 69 responses to the quantitative questionnaires and six face-to face interviews were conducted with adult graphic novel readers. The results obtained indicated that public libraries’ graphic novel collections have a loyal following of users in which adults are the majority users. Overall there was only slight satisfaction towards public libraries’ graphic novel collections with many participants indicating various improvements public libraries could make to customer interaction including. These included an increase in titles and improvements to the layout/organisation of the graphic novel collections. The results indicated that certain traits of fandom were present amongst the participants and this had some effect on their usage of public libraries’ graphic novel collections. However, other characteristics relating to fandom were almost non-existent amongst participants. Implications: This research unearths further information on the New Zealand graphic novel reader demographic. In particular this research examines the role fandom plays for graphic novel readers and how this is linked to graphic novel readers’ use and opinions on public libraries’ graphic novel collections. This research provides public libraries with a list of potential improvements they can make to improve their collections and also provides them with a deeper understanding of their graphic novel reader customers. This research also found similarities and differences from previous literature related to graphic novels and public library use which warrants further investigation.

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  • Beyond the Physical: The Taoka Online Project – A Case Study

    Glasgow, Fiona (2017)

    Scholarly text
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Research problem: The number of digitisation projects undertaken by museums are increasing. Understanding how digitisation projects are understood by the key stakeholders involved is important to the project’s success. Using the Taoka Online Project as a case study this research aims to examine digitisation projects in New Zealand. Methodology: This research uses a qualitative case study approach. Interviews were conducted with representatives from eight stakeholder groups involved in the Taoka Online Project and then analysed using grounded theory. Results: This research found that digitisation is considered very important by those involved in a digitisation project. Accessibility was the main benefit of digitisation, while working with cultural objects was often mentioned as a challenge. Participants believed the Taoka Online Project was progressing well, but that the work involved in a digitisation project was often under-estimated. Implications: Accessibility is considered a very important aspect of a modern museum’s role. Digitisation ensures that the collection can be reached by a wider audience, therefore digitisation helps a museum fulfil a primary function. Working with cultural material, particularly taoka, gives some New Zealand museum professionals a sense of anxiety, meaning familiarising staff with cultural protocols is important so staff feel more comfortable. Though participants believed the Taoka Online Project was progressing well, there was a sense that participants believed the sheer amount of work involved is often under-estimated. Making sure to realistically plan out a digitisation project is key to its success.

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  • Developing Digital Capability: What archivists can learn from the GLAM sector

    Goss, Suzanne Marie (2017)

    Scholarly text
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Background: Although commentators in the archives profession have observed a paradigm shift during past 30 years, there has been very little formal research about how archivists can develop their digital capability to successfully engage with the emerging digital paradigm. Methodology: This qualitative research conducted semi-structured interviews with seven members of the GLAM sector in New Zealand and Australia to identify: the necessary skills for engaging in the digital paradigm; how participants approached the development of their own digital capability; and how their organisations could support this. Results: Archivists need to approach the development of digital capability in relation to their existing knowledge. To support this, professional associations need to understand the needs of members at various levels of capability, and workplaces need to support an environment that actively resources digital capability development. Implications: Archivists and archives organisations could look outside of their profession and sector for examples of how successful digital capability development can be implemented. Further specific research about the implementation of digital maturity frameworks in archives organisations would be a beneficial next step. In addition, a larger quantitative study about the soft skills for digital capability would be useful for archives organisations developing resources for their members.

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  • All in a whorl – A selective annotated bibliography of resources for hand-spindle spinners

    Ayre, Katie Louise (2017)

    Scholarly text
    Victoria University of Wellington

    This annotated bibliography lists resources on hand-spindles and spinning that are largely available through public library services. Hand-spindles have not been the focus of a previous annotated bibliography. The resources contained will be of interest to hand-spindle spinners of any skill level, in addition to casual researchers looking at historical textile-making practices. The 76 annotated resources are in several formats: books, magazine articles, and audio-visual material. The appended keyword index enhances the usability of this bibliography glossary, and the glossary provides explanations for the important terminology.

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  • Pākehā Practice: Music and National Identity in Postcolonial Aotearoa/New Zealand

    Williams-Prince, Liam (2017)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    National discourses specific to Aotearoa/New Zealand — for example, biculturalism, which reimagines Māori-Pākehā relations as a partnership based on the Treaty of Waitangi — help to construct, express, and articulate connections between music and New Zealand identity. Yet unquestioned nationalisms — however benign or ‘official’ they seem — can marginalize some ways of being, knowing, organizing, and music-making, through their capacity to advance and reinforce undisclosed social values and political agendas. In this way, nationalism often disguises the consequences of those values and agendas. This thesis demonstrates how, by unproblematically invoking nationalisms for various purposes, significant New Zealand music-related institutions inadvertently reproduce Eurocentric national identity narratives which overlook the social, cultural, economic and political inequities of Aotearoa/NZ’s postcolonial present. Such narratives normalize conceptions of ‘New Zealand music’ dominated by historic and evolving cultural and economic connections between New Zealand society and the broader postcolonial Anglosphere. Consequently, identifications of ‘New Zealand’ culture and music often reflect dominant Pākehā norms, against which other musical traditions are contrasted. Several prominent ‘national’ institutions involved with music are examined through three cases studies. The first considers how state-supported music policies and agencies construct and legitimize economic, artistic and democratic ideologies as national values, and explores the consequences of a frequent failure to distinguish between a cultural identity, based on dominant Pākehā norms and values, and a culturally plural civic-based national identity. The second case study examines events during and surrounding two major music awards ceremonies, the Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards and the Silver Scroll Awards, showing how these ceremonies construct and reinforce a prestige hierarchy of ‘New Zealand music’ in which Anglo-American popular music styles are privileged over other musical expressions. The consequences for cultural representation in relation to New Zealand identity are considered. The final case study analyses the New Zealand popular music heritage presented at Auckland Museum’s exhibition, Volume: Making Music in Aotearoa. Volume’s displays and stories, contextualized and informed by Auckland Museum and prominent entities in New Zealand’s music industry, are shown to reinforce a dominant New Zealand music ‘Kiwiana’, neglecting divergent cultural perspectives and political positions. The thesis draws on comparative analyses of qualitative interviews conducted by the author, documents and reports, press media and journalism, audiovisual broadcasts and recordings, promotional material and museum visits. These primary materials are contextualized in wider literatures — particularly on nationalism, postcolonialism and music — to provide critical perspectives on historic social, political and cultural issues regarding New Zealand national identity and its relationship to music.

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  • Particle Swarm Optimization and Fuzzy C-means for Domain-independent Noisy Image Segmentation

    Mirghasemi, Saeed (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Image segmentation is considered to be one of the foremost image analysis techniques for high-level real-world applications in computer vision. Its task is to change or simplify the representation of an image in order to make it easier to understand or analyze. Although image segmentation has been studied for many years, evolving technology and transformation of demands make image segmentation a continuing challenge. Noise as a side effect of imaging devices is an inevitable part of images in many computer vision applications. Therefore, an important topic in image segmentation is noisy image segmentation which requires extra effort to deal with image segmentation in the presence of noise. Generally, different strategies are needed for different noisy images with different levels/types of noise. Therefore, many approaches in the literature are domain-dependent and applicable only to specific images. A well-recognized approach in noisy image segmentation uses clustering algorithms, among which Fuzzy C-Means (FCM) is one of the most popular. FCM is unsupervised, efficient, and can deal with uncertainty and complexity of information in an image. Dealing with uncertainties is easier with the fuzzy characteristic of FCM, and complexity of information is being taken care of by utilizing different features in FCM, and also combining FCM with other techniques. Many modifications have been introduced to FCM to deal with noisy image segmentation more effectively. Common approaches include, adding spatial information into the FCM process, addressing the FCM initialization problem, and enhancing features used for segmentation. However, existing FCM-based noisy image segmentation approaches in the literature generally suffer from three drawbacks. First, they are applicable to specific domains and images, and impotent in others. Second, they don’t perform well on severely noisy image segmentation. Third, they are effective on specific type and level of noise, and they don’t explore the effect of noise level variation. Recently, evolutionary computation techniques due to their global search abilities have been used in hybridization with FCM, mostly to address FCM stagnation in local optima. Particle Swarm Optimization (PSO) is particularly of interest because of its lower computational costs, easy implementation, and fast convergence, but its potential in this area has not been fully investigated. This thesis develops new domain-independent PSO-based algorithms for an automatic non-supervised FCM-based segmentation of severely noisy images which are capable of extracting the main coherent/homogeneous regions while preserving details and being robust to noise variation. The key approach taken in the thesis is to explore the use of PSO to manipulate and enhance local spatial and spatial-frequency information. This thesis introduces a new PSO feature enhancement approach in wavelet domain for noisy image segmentation. This approach applies adaptive wavelet shrinkage using evaluation based on FCM clustering performance. The results show great accuracy in the case of severe noise because of the enhanced features. Also, due to adaptivity, no parameter-tuning is required according to the type or volume of noise, and the performance is consistent under noise level variation. This thesis presents a scheme under which a fusion of two different denoising algorithms for more effective segmentation is possible. This fusion retains the advantages of each algorithm while leaving out their drawbacks. The fusion scheme uses the noisy image segmentation system introduced above and anisotropic diffusion, the edge-preserving denoising algorithm. Results show greater accuracy and stability in comparison to the individual algorithms on a variety of noisy images. This thesis introduces another PSO-based edge-preserving adaptive wavelet shrinkage system using wavelet packets, bilateral filtering, and a detail-respecting shrinkage scheme. The analysis of the results provide a comparison between the two feature enhancement systems. The first system uses wavelets and the second uses wavelet packets as a domain to enhance features for an FCM-based noisy image segmentation. Also, the highest segmentation accuracy among all the algorithms introduced in this thesis on some benchmarks belong to this system.

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  • Towards best practice in research data management in the humanities

    Woeber, Catherine Anne (2017)

    Scholarly text
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Research problem: This investigation examined research data management (RDM) in the humanities in UK and Australian institutions to assist academic librarians in New Zealand to develop RDM services that match humanities researchers' needs. The study identified transferable international policies and practices in an under-researched knowledge domain to better support humanities data curation. Methodology: This investigation adopted a domain analytic approach, and selected information-rich policies, data curation profiles, project reports and technical plans from the UK and Australia for a qualitative document analysis and evaluation. The study was conceived as a systematic review of evidence towards best practice. Results: Humanities data or “primary materials” consist mainly of collections of digital images, texts, audio and visual recordings, although non-digital (analogue) data are common, especially in the creative arts. Humanities researchers tend to keep their primary materials on their own digital devices, in cloud storage or in physical folders and avoid using networked systems. They are generally prepared to share their data with a plurality of audiences. Humanities data curation benefits from consideration of copyright and intellectual property, curation for very long-term storage and access in a federated system, and digitisation of selected analogue data. Effective humanities RDM begins upstream in the data lifecycle with targeted training, active partnerships, and liaison on the data management plan (DMP), and requires strategic cooperation between researchers, the library and institutional/data repository, and IT services. Implications: Understanding domain-specific policies and practices in the UK and Australia for curating humanities research data will help New Zealand institutions provide normative and strategic humanities data curation. Further research might include widening the investigation to institutions in the United States and/or Europe, or ascertaining the degree of traction of domain-specific RDM in New Zealand.

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  • A study of the opportunities and challenges of providing non-formal ESOL programmes for adult learners in Auckland Libraries

    Chong, Annie Nyok Moi (2017)

    Scholarly text
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Research Problem: Auckland has become more ethnically diverse in the last two decades. Auckland Libraries with its 55 branches can make a considerable contribution in integrating immigrants into the community by offering adult ESOL programmes. This study investigates the key issues related to providing ESOL adult programmes in Auckland Libraries. Methodology: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with ten library staff members including three managers. A purposeful sampling approach was used with the participants recruited from five community library branches that run adult ESOL programmes. Results: The findings show that participating libraries use the opportunity of providing ESOL programmes to invest on community building. They face many challenges in terms of staffing, funding cut, change in organisation structure and other practical issues. However, they are able to use various strategies to overcome or work around the challenges because of the positive attitudes and passion of the library staff members who run the programmes. However, there are much room for improvement in the area of collaboration and partnership. Implications: Auckland Libraries branches should work together to minimise duplications of effort by sharing ideas, resources and expertise. Library managers should instil the mission of using ESOL programmes to achieve the aim of community building in every library staff and set a healthy work culture in the organisation. In addition, they can look for more training options for their library staff. Future research could look at investigating the attitudes of adult ESOL learners in the community libraries and other library staff in general towards the programmes, and the effect and outcomes of Fit for the Future new service model on the programmes.

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  • Datatecture: Creating a real home for a virtual identity

    Meekings, Scott (2017)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    It is increasingly common to live in continual flux between reality and virtuality – for architecture this means a dwindling focus on the built environment. For the architectural discipline to respond to these rapidly changing user-demands, a proactive relationship with our digital environment is required. It is proposed that a key occupation of the architectural discipline in the near future will be designing architecture that caters to our ‘real-world’ selves but takes advantage of the broad range of data available to us from the digital realm. This thesis proposes that within the big data stored about all those who engage with the digital environment, lies data that can influence and benefit the architectural discipline and allow us to respond convincingly to the increasing focus on digital and virtual engagement. As people increasingly ‘live online’ architects can now derive information about clients not only from meeting them in person but also by scraping data on their digital lives and constructing what is referred to in this thesis as a digital identity. The digital identity can include data about a myriad of architectural influences such as taste, activity and lifestyle. This thesis considers which data may become available over the next decade, how architectural designers can embrace it without specialist data-centric skill-sets and how it may help personalise architecture. A large amount of data is collected on the author from both ‘real-world’ scenarios and ‘virtual’ inhabitation of digital space. This data, along with other public sources of data are explored in terms of architectural potential, culminating in a vision for a new data-based and ultimately more efficient method for personalising and inhabiting architecture.

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  • "Where the Nightmares End and Real-Life Begins": Radical Unreliability in Sydney Bridge Upside Down

    Clayton, Hamish (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    The unreliable narrator is one of the most contested concepts in narrative theory. While critical debates have been heated, they have tended to foreground that the problem of the unreliable narrator is epistemological rather than ontological: it is agreed that narrators can be unreliable in their accounts, but not how the unreliable narrator ought to be defined, nor even how readers can be expected in all certainty to find a narration unreliable. As the wider critical discourse has looked to tighten its collective understanding of what constitutes unreliability and how readers understand and negotiate unreliable narration, previously divided views have begun to be reconciled on the understanding that, rather than deferring to either an implied author or reader, textual signals themselves might be better understood as the most fundamental markers of unreliability. Consequently, taxonomies of unreliable narration based on exacting textual evidence have been developed and are now widely held as indispensable. This thesis argues that while such taxonomies do indeed bring greater interpretive clarity to instances of unreliable narration, they also risk the assumption that with the right critical apparatus in place, even the most challenging unreliable narrators can, in the end, be reliably read. Countering the assumption are rare but telling examples of narrators whose reliability the reader might have reason to suspect, but whose unreliability cannot be reliably or precisely ascertained. With recourse to David Ballantyne’s Sydney Bridge Upside Down, this thesis proposes new terminological distinctions to account for instances of such radical unreliability: namely the ‘unsecured narrator’, whose account is therefore an ‘insecure narration’. Ballantyne’s novel, published in 1968, has not received sustained critical attention to date, though it has been acclaimed by a small number of influential critics and writers in Ballantyne’s native New Zealand. This thesis argues that the novel’s long history of neglect is tied to the complexities of its radically unreliable narration. With social realism the dominant mode in New Zealand literature from the 1930s to the 60s, the obligation of the writer to accurately render—and critique—local conditions with mimetic accuracy was considered paramount. Even those critics to have argued the novel’s importance often maintain, largely or in part, a social realist view of the book’s significance. Doing so, however, fundamentally elides the complexity of the novel’s narrative machinery and to deeply ironic ends: for, this thesis argues, Sydney Bridge Upside Down deploys its insecure narration as a complaint against the limits of social realism practised in New Zealand. Its unsecured narrator, Harry Baird, slyly overhauls realist reference points with overtly Gothic markers and cunning temporal dislocations to thus turn social realism’s desire for social critique back on itself via radical unreliability.

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  • Assessing the Vulnerability and Resilience of the Philippines to Disasters

    Yonson, Rio (2017)

    Doctoral thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Some of the world’s most destructive disasters occurred in the Philippines, and a number of these happened in recent years. In 2011, 2012, and 2013, tropical cyclones Washi, Bopha, and Haiyan, respectively, left a staggering trail of over 8,000 deaths, as well as huge damages to assets and livelihoods. In 2009, tropical cyclones Ketsana and Pharma brought massive riverine floods, with a total damage and loss equivalent to 2.7% of the country’s GDP. This dissertation is an endeavour to measure disaster impacts and welfare risk, and to identify factors affecting vulnerability and resilience in different spatial scales in the Philippines. The first of four chapters is an extensive literature survey on the economic vulnerability and economic resilience to disasters. This serves as a prelude to the succeeding three empirical studies contained in Chapters 3 to 5. Chapter 3 aims to measure tropical cyclone-induced fatalities in the Philippine provinces, and identifies the factors that shape people’s vulnerability. It also quantifies the relative importance of hazard, exposure, and socioeconomic vulnerability in influencing fatalities. Chapter 4 is a household level study that quantitatively establishes the linkages between floods and diseases in the floodplains of a highly-urbanized city in the Philippines (Cagayan de Oro), and provides an estimate on the public finance implications of flood-induced diseases to the Philippine urban areas, and on the additional economic burden on affected households. Chapter 5 measures socioeconomic resilience and welfare risk from riverine flood disasters, and systematically quantifies the effectiveness of a menu of region-specific disaster risk reduction and management measures.

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  • Community resilience and urban core shelter implementation: A Wellington case study

    Titmuss, Ralph Peter (2015)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    As a result of climate change, extreme weather events are becoming more common around the world. Coupled with the ever-present threat of sea level rise that coastal cities face there is a potential for far more severe weather events to occur. This thesis will seek to understand how an existing city can adapt to a more hostile environment, and how in the event of an extreme weather occurrence it maintains its function. There is an urgent need to understand how a city can respond when faced with these situations. Previous extreme weather events, Katrina, the Indian Ocean tsunami, and extreme flooding around the world, highlight the danger of a lack of preparedness and resilience found in most cities. The purpose of this thesis is to understand how the concept of a core shelter, as a way to address the threats of extreme weather events, can be applied to a well-established urban context, Wellington NZ. A core shelter is a structure that in the event of a large-scale disaster, protects its users, and post-disaster still reaches permanent housing standards without being deemed to be a permanent dwelling. It will also look at whether it is possible to create areas in an existing city that can be considered “safe havens” in the event of an extreme natural incident. This thesis outlines the need for these shelters by identifying the potential threats of climate change in a Wellington context, and by understanding the vulnerability of Wellington’s current building stock. It reaches a conclusion that through the implementation of core shelters in Wellington NZ, resilience will be improved, disaster response efforts will be aided, and destruction arising from extreme weather events will be reduced. In addition, it identifies the areas of Wellington that are deemed to be of higher risk in a disaster or extreme weather event, analyses an existing building’s potential to become a community resilience/core shelter, and proposes a custom building that could be built on Leeds St and Ghuznee St.

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  • Living in the 'liveable' city: Housing, Neighbourhood, and Transport Preferences in New Zealand cities

    Holmes, Frederick (2017)

    Masters thesis
    Victoria University of Wellington

    This thesis investigates preferences for housing, neighbourhoods, and transport in Auckland, New Zealand, supplemented by a comparison with similar research in Wellington and Hamilton. The topic is significant for New Zealand as there is an increasingly urban population, and the interconnected areas of urban form and transport can help the country reduce carbon emissions and provide a healthier, more enjoyable lifestyle for its people. The influence of residents’ preferences and their relationship with urban form on achieving compact city development is investigated. Historical and current planning rules and policies provide context for an analysis of how urban planning, preferences, and location and travel choices interact. Auckland’s housing and transport policies show a pattern of path dependency: decisions favouring greenfield development, sprawling low-density suburbs, and car-centred transport have driven subsequent investments and influenced the ease of using alternative transport modes. Such rules have also reduced the availability of housing in accessible, medium- to high-density neighbourhoods and may have contributed to the rising costs of this type of housing. A stated choice survey of 3,285 Auckland households was conducted to investigate the extent to which there is an unmet demand for compact development and alternatives to car travel. Using the survey results, a multinomial latent class model was developed to examine the preferences of households and the trade-offs they may be willing to make when choosing where to live. This type of model allows for identification of preference groups as a means of understanding the heterogeneity of preferences across the population. There was an unmet demand for accessible, medium-density housing, with some households willing to trade off dwelling size and neighbourhood type for higher accessibility or lower prices. The study also found that more people currently drive than would prefer to, with long journey times, safety concerns, unreliable services, and a lack of infrastructure acting as barriers to active and public transport. Households preferring low density are more likely to occupy their preferred dwelling type and be able to use their preferred transport mode. In contrast, those preferring high accessibility or driven by price are more likely to experience a mismatch between their preferred and current dwelling type, and are less likely to be able to use their preferred transport mode.

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