The University of Auckland organized a series of events on World Habitat Day this year and during the week that followed World Habitat Day. Activities included;
“A Home for all Cultures” collaborative art project, 29 Sep
This art project aimed to raise awareness of the University’s global connections and its role of providing a distinctive international education environment, as well as to showcase and celebrate the ethnic diversity in Auckland and at the University. It was a collaborative painting session with artistic contributions from ELAM School of Fine Arts’ students, the Maori and Pacific communities, international students from the University’s overseas partner institutions and academic staff. Participants painted on a 3 metre high by 11 metre long Pacific style Tapa cloth to represent their homeland in the form of symbols and colours. This is to be on permanent display at The University of Auckland in future. The key person for this event was Kathleen Kramlinger from the International Office, The University of Auckland. A local company, Resene, sponsored the event with biodegradable paints. The event which took place in a high-traffic area in the Atrium of the Main Student Quad, City Campus was overall a big success in terms of the participation and diversity of participants. Kathleen succeeded by encouraging students and staff from many different ethnic communities to paint. The end result was a beautiful collage of symbols, colours and proud cultural expression amongst the participants.
Photography Competition and Exhibition, 29 September and 6 October
This event intended to showcase creativity in the interpretation of challenges to urban sustainability. In line the World Habitat Day theme, participants were presented with this question: “What does Better City, Better Life mean to you?” 42 entries were received from 20 participants, with themes varying from social to environmental issues. The entries were displayed in a physical exhibition in the NICAI Student Centre and also uploaded on the Facebook event page for online viewing and voting. A new award category was created this year – People’s Choice Award – obtained from the number of votes (‘like’) on Facebook before a specific date. The prizes were presented by Ms Linda Tyler, director of CNZARD at an award ceremony on 6 October in the NICAI Student Centre.
Urban Survivor interactive installation, 4 October
This event aimed to showcase an urban sprawl simulation through time with the use of recyclable materials such as cardboard, polystyrene boxes and twine. It was helmed by a group of Architecture students. Participants were invited to install a piece of cardboard/polystyrene ‘wall’ to create an urban pavilion demonstrating the growth of slums and highlighting issues of urban densification. The project was constructed and displayed in the Atrium, Main Student Quad, UoA City Campus where there was high traffic of students at all times.
Workshops on Composting and Gardening, 4 October
Workshop 1: “Create your own Eden” – Learn about Bokashi, worm and traditional composting methods – led by Ms Glenda Andrew-Neal from “Create your own Eden”
Workshop 2: “Keeping your garden healthy” - Learn about the University’s approaches to a sustainable garden and the role bees play in keeping it healthy. Workshop led by Mr Guy Warman and Mr James Cheeseman of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences and by Mr Stanley Jones, Grounds and Precincts Manager.
These workshops were organised with the help of Dr Lesley Stone – the University Environmental Officer.
Panel discussion on “The future of Auckland’s public transport”, 4 Oct, 6.15-7.30PM
“The future of public transport in Auckland: How can we redesign Auckland’s transport to best meet the challenges of the future?
For over a century cars have influenced almost every facet of the urban landscape, from the ever expanding reaches of the suburban sprawl to the social cohesion of neighbourhoods. As the threats of climate change become ever more pressing, visionaries in cities around the world are increasingly turning to alternative transportation systems, both new and traditional, to provide sustainable solutions.
A panel from the University and the community, including an engineer, architect, lawyer and an Auckland City Councillor discussed the issues facing Auckland’s transport - both now and in the future - with a focus on potential solutions. Topics of discussion included cycling, pedestrian access, public transport and Auckland’s rail network, as well as the role of public transport in sustainable and equitable urban development.”
Reflections on World Urban Forum 5 – Multidisciplinary approaches to sustainable urbanisation, 5 October
Seminar on Urbanisation and Health, 7 Oct, 5:30-6:30 PM
“Cities are now the dominant human habitat, provoking a grand challenge for our genes, the environment, and for society. But what is the point of cities? What do they offer for health, wellbeing, happiness or environmental sustainability? What can we learn from the history of cities and public health to set us on a path to sustainable urban wellbeing as we usher in the new Auckland Council?”
Panel discussion on “Shanghai World Expo 2010 – Better City, Better Life?”, 13 Oct, 12-1PM
“For over a century, world fairs have given visitors a taste of the future and the progress of human societies. The Expo 2010, Shanghai, follows this historic legacy by being inarguably the most expensive Expo in the history of World fairs with an estimated 70-80 million visitors during its run. With a makeover of $45 billion USD - more than what was spent on the Beijing Olympics- its theme ‘Better City – Better Life’ aims to cement Shanghai’s emergence as the ‘next Great World City’ and offers a glimpse of a greener future. With the United Nations praising Shanghai’s efforts towards organizing an environmentally-friendly event, one could wonder about the sustainability issues involved with its extravagant creation and operational scale, and the impact it would have on the city’s 20 million residents and beyond here in Auckland.
A panel was put together to discuss a range of sustainable-focused topics, from a detailed take from Shanghai’s eco-friendly strategies, to Expo’s influential nature in Auckland and possible effects it has had on the planning of the Rugby World Cup in 2011.
Seminar on Urban Development Challenges, 14 Oct, 9-11AM
“Imagining Development: Urban Challenges to Development”
This lecture was part of the course on Global Politics of Development, a fixed module at the Faculty of Arts.
It is a good idea to incorporate existing lectures dealing with issues of human settlements and sustainability. Firstly it was easier to organise as the details (time, date, venue) were already set. Secondly, expanding an existing lecture into a public seminar can help create awareness of the University’s efforts to highlight urbanisation and related issues, in academia or otherwise.