Kirabati Travelling Studio

Subject ABPL90317 (2011)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2011.

Credit Points: 25
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2011.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 100 hours
Total Time Commitment: 240 hours
Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements: For the purposes of considering requests for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry. The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Environments and Design Student Centre
Ground Floor, Baldwin Spencer (building 113)

Phone: 13 MELB (13 6352)

Subject Overview: The subject will draw directly on the expertise of planning and architecture students, and would benefit from students throughout the MSD with environmental and economic backgrounds. Students from the University of Auckland have been invited to join the studio. As part of the subject during the semester break students will travel to Kiribati.

Kiribati is a small, poorly resourced and environmentally vulnerable Pacific Island country that is faced with enormous environmental, social and public health challenges as a result of rapid and unmanaged urban growth.

The Government of Kiribati is currently implementing a medium term “Sustainable Towns Program” with support from the Government of New Zealand, the Pacific Region Infrastructure Facility and the Cities Alliance. The Program has a multi-pronged approach, namely implementing phased slum upgrading in existing urban villages, construction of climate-proofed serviced subdivisions to pre-empt the emergence of new slums and catalyse a land and housing market, and developing the capabilities of local responsible agencies for key urban management functions. The studio will explore the linkages between various approaches to urban management in order to break the multi-causal cycle of deterioration characteristic of rapidly growing cities around the world. In particular, it will seek to understand the underlying drivers of urbanization and contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Towns Programme’s goal of creating dynamic, liveable and sustainable towns that make a positive contribution to the Kiribati national economy and the social, economic and environmental well-being of their inhabitants.

Working in close collaboration with the Government of Kiribati’s Urban Management Unit, technical staff of the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Agricultural Development and the Teinainano Urban Council and Betio Town Council and their respective Citizens’ Taskforces, students will be required to prepare discreet contributions to the South Tarawa General Land Use (Structure) Plan. A sub-set of students may be tasked with a)finalising to detailed design stage (drawings, lists of materials, etc) concept plans that have been developed for a ‘model’ house for a new low income homeowner on a serviced Greenfield plot or b) prepare concept plans for home improvements for up to three existing houses in the slums of Tarawa; The General Plan and household level housing investigations will in turn be used by i-Kiribati agencies not only to guide future built development and infrastructural investments within South Tarawa but also will form the basis of a proposed future city-wide slum upgrading initiative.

The Kiribati travelling studio will provide students with an opportunity to hone their professional skills in a new cultural environment while confronting urban issues that will challenge any preconceptions the students take with them. Students will be afforded the opportunity of participating in an integrated and holistic approach to urban development that builds on successful international lessons learned in addressing slum upgrading.
Specific students benefits include:

  • Exposure to new learning environments
  • Increased capacity to understand and navigate other cultures
  • Exposure to other cultures as a means of stimulating creativity and critical thinking
  • Introduction to international practice
Assessment: • Studio participation – 20% prior to and during the field trip.
• Presentation to client at conclusion of field trip – 30%, 6 July.
• Final report, possibly including design proposals and plans, in all equivalent to at least 7000 words – 50%, 27th July.
Prescribed Texts: None
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Links to further information:

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