liquid urbanism

I completed my PhD thesis Liquid Urbanism – the 21st Century City as a Living Waterscape in the School of Architecture and Planning, at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, at the end of 2012.

Here is the abstract. Double click to read.

On the 18th March 2014 my thesis was nominated for the Vice Chancellors Prize for Best Doctoral Thesis 2013 out of a pool of 321 awarded doctoral degrees. I am very honoured and humbled to have represented not only my department the School of Architecture and Planning, but my Faculty NICAI the National Institute of Creative Arts and Industries, especially because I observe an incredible environment of creativity and innovation and research excellence both in my department and across the entire faculty. My heartfelt thanks to everyone who helped me on this journey especially my supervisors Associate Professor Sarah Treadwell and Dr Michael Linzey. Congratulations to the five winners of the prize and all of the nominees.

Here is the full acknowledgements page republished here from my thesis…


I would like to first of all offer my sincere heartfelt thanks to my primary supervisor Associate Professor Sarah Treadwell for her many qualities as an academic adviser including her discernment, astute intelligence, humor, unfailing encouragement, inspired leadership and friendship without which this thesis would not have materialised effectively.

My warm gratitude also goes to Dr Michael Linzey for his clarity and robust dialogue, humor, his close reading of my writing, and for his practical wisdom and insight. He helped bring a structural cohesion to an extremely complex fluid idea.

I would like to thank Professor Brian McGrath of Parsons New School of Design, New York for carving out a difficult, yet inspired, rich academic body of material that provides the impetus on which I have built this body of work. I hope McGrath finds this thesis a worthy footnote to his work. I would also like to thank Professor Graham David Shane of Cooper Union College and City College, New York City for his enthusiastic and encouraging input during an email exchange related to this thesis. Thanks also to Preechaya Sittipunt and Danai Thaitakoo of Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok for hosting me during my stay there. A big thank you to Betsy Damon from Keepers of the Waters for her inspiring life work, and all the great folk at the Chengdu Urban Rivers Association
who are working so hard to address water pollution in China.

I would like to thank and acknowledge colleagues and friends especially Alexandra Jayeun Lee, Judy Cockeram, Tim Adams, Kathy Waghorn and all the students and staff in the School of Architecture and Planning whose professionalism and friendship has made this journey so wonderful. I would especially like to acknowledge Tristan Mason and the Helpdesk Team at NICAI for unfailing support, humor, and technical cunning. I would also like to extend my warm appreciation to Wendy Garvey and the team of librarians in the Architecture Library at the University of Auckland for their dedication and great service.

I would like to thank those who have assisted me in publishing related material during the course of my thesis including editors Shonagh Lindsay and Michael Barrett of Landscape Architecture New Zealand, Janine Randerson through RETHINK:Information at Copenhagen Summit, the editors of Performance Research Issue 15.1 Fieldworks Heike Roms and Mike Pearson, my photographic collaborator Andrei Jewell of The Holiwater Project, and editors Sue Ballard and Stella Brennan of the Digital Arts in Aotearoa anthology published by Cloud Publishing. Thank you also to Raewyn Turner for supplying the ink illustration that has been used to illustrate this thesis.

My biggest appreciation goes to my personal friend and co-parent Brian Harris who has given me unwavering support during this thesis. He has read parts of the thesis in progress and witnessed this journey from its tentative beginnings to the final product. Without Brian’s love and support this thesis would not have been possible and I am forever grateful. I also would like to acknowledge and thank Ali Pálffy who accompanied me during a research trip to Europe and read early material. A big thank-you to the following friends who have been there in various ways throughout this journey including Loula George, Agnes Niehorster, Desmond Burdon and Pauline McCoy, Rachael Feather, Beth Butler, Tiffany de Castro and Daniel Blanshard, Esther Leigh and Christopher Braddock, Caroline Robinson and Russel Walder, Anneliese and Johan van Westen, Wilhemina Monroe, Karma Russell, Tanya Meek and Caroline Jackson. Thanks also to Melanie Tuscia for her gracious support with InDesign. A special thanks to Isabella Wan my Chinese interpreter.

My heartfelt thanks goes to my parents Mercia and Ian Clarke who gave me a beautiful rambling Wellington garden to grow up in, and in which my curiosity about nature was ignited, alongside a love of education and knowledge. I’d also like to acknowledge and thank my aunt Judith Palmer who has encouraged me as a writer since the very first beginnings, has celebrated minor triumphs on the way, and who was the first person in my family to read this thesis in its semi-finished form, and whose fine proofreading was the best kind of support in the final leg. My greatest thanks and appreciation goes to my sister Virginia for her continual love and support of which I am truly blessed to have received. Most of all my deepest thanks goes to my son Adrian for enduring this long arduous, serpentine journey with me, and for even being occasionally interested.


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