URBAN DESIGN International

, Volume 24, Issue 4, pp 271–279 | Cite as

Enhancing cultural aspirations in urban design: the gradual transformation by Indigenous innovation

  • Michelle Thompson-FawcettEmail author
  • Alex Kitson
  • Janice Barry
Original Article


In the paper, we address the need to make visible the presence of Indigenous groups in the built environment that has developed on their traditional territories. We examine two recent approaches that have been used in Aotearoa New Zealand to manifest Indigenous histories and values in the city of Ōtautahi|Christchurch. The first involves the Indigenous group acting as urban developer. The second exemplifies Indigenous integration into local urban design decision-making processes. The result of both approaches is a significant urban transformation whereby Indigenous cultural aspirations are given voice in the city.


Indigenous urban design Identity and belonging Inclusive design Design partnership Aotearoa New Zealand 



The authors acknowledge the provision of an Insight Development Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada which enabled this research.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Limited 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michelle Thompson-Fawcett
    • 1
    Email author
  • Alex Kitson
    • 1
  • Janice Barry
    • 2
  1. 1.University of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand
  2. 2.University of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

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