Coastal city; Coastal parks
The coast is one of New Zealand's most diverse and exciting landscapes. Here, where sea meets land, a wide range of characters and habitats are created by the interaction between the two. Changes in season or weather bring about a more dramatic reaction in the coast than almost any other landscape. This narrow strip surrounding our island abode has traditionally been an integral part of most New Zealand lifestyles. Unfortunately it seems to be an area that landscape architects tend to overlook in their fascination with the character of inland areas. This dissertation investigates the ways in which parks represent the individual character of coastline and how the public perceive these places. A 100km radius from downtown Auckland was chosen as the study area for a number of reasons. It is the most heavily populated region in the country; there is a diverse range of coastal types in the area, from sheltered to very exposed; many cultural groups are represented in the population; and much of the shore has retained public access as coastal parks. The Introduction to this study establishes the importance of the coast. An account of early Maori and European involvement in Auckland's coastline illustrates that an interest in the shore is longstanding. Settlement patterns in the region are described as a background to the way that coastal subdivision has influenced the character of seaside parks. A brief description of recent trends in coastal development emphasises that the coast is a finite resource being placed under increasing pressure around Auckland. Demand for leisure facilities is increasing as New Zealand follows overseas trends towards shorter working hours and increasing disposable incomes. Three broad types of coastal parks are proposed and described in Chapter Two. Typical features and characters of each of the types are outlined. A representative example of each type was as the location for a user survey. These parks are described in more depth to give the reader a deeper feeling for distinguishing characteristics, and to serve as an introduction to the following chapter. Chapter three presents the findings of a coastal park user survey. This survey was conducted to discover the qualities and character people found in different coastal parks. The results suggest that the public do perceive and use various coastal parks differently, their responses generally support the division of types proposed in Chapter Two. Peripheral to the objectives of the survey were a number of interesting discoveries. I found that park users became less helpful in answering the survey, and less capable of articulating their perceptions of character, as one moved closer to the city. Parent's mention of childplay as a park activity related only to parks providing formal playgrounds. This suggested that parents overlooked the opportunities to entertain their children in the natural playground of the coast. Underuse of coastal parks by Maori is highlighted as a problem, and some possible reasons are postulated. All three issues are seen as worthy topics for future investigation. The conclusions of this study find that the coastal recreation resource of the Auckland region needs to be managed as a continuum, reflecting the range of characters and uses of the coast. A more comprehensive perception and use survey is suggested as a valuable resource for management strategies. Recent legislation and administrative reforms are recognised as providing an excellent opportunity to for a more coordinated approach to the management of the region's coastal resources.... [Show full abstract]
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