University of Otago Master of Planning

Theses and Research Projects


  • Tim Anderson: Planning Considerations for Private Boarding Houses: a case study approach in Auckland and Dunedin, New Zealand
  • James Cummins: Vulnerability to Sea-Level Rise and Protection Assessment of Low Lying Coastal Roads 
  • Kathleen Haylock: Local Food Networks and Policy Implementation in Christchurch and Dunedin: a comparative case study
  • Kirstyn Lindsay: Managing Jurisdictional Overlap for Closed Coastal Landfills: an evaluation of cross-jurisdictional planning practice within New Zealand
  • Adam McCutcheon: Arts and Crafts Architecture: local visionaries and modern interpretations
  • Ashley Reid: Māori Cultural Landscapes in Otago: Acknowledgement, Recognition and Preservation
  • Levi Rona: E kore e mimiti te puna, ka koropupū: an investigation into Māori participation in freshwater management in Taranaki
  • Ranui Ryan: Teenage Mothers and Storytelling in Planning Practice
  • Shenan Stanton: Kuleana for ahupua'a - engaging with Hawaiian traditional knowledge in adaptation planning for coastal degradation as a result of climate change
  • Sarah Tapp: Gigatown Dunedin: opportunities of community engagement in planning



  • Ethan Archer: Improving shared spaces with a place-making approach: lessons from Adelaide
  • Anette Becher: Cumulative Effects and New Zealand's Resource Management Act: an institutional analysis
  • Alice Burnett: Counter-urbanisation and the Rural Idyll
  • Dwayne Daly: Planning for Underwater Anthropogenic Noise in New Zealand's Coastal Marine Area
  • William Harrington: Irrigation for the sake of irrigation: Exploring the relationship between neoliberalism, irrigation projects and resource management planning in New Zealand
  • Gemma Kean: Maximising the potential of existing urban infrastructure: can infrastructure reuse provide successful public spaces?
  • Alejandra Parra Muñoz: Community planning in North East Valley
  • Bridget Spence: Planning for Public Transport in a City Rebuilding: the case of Christchurch, New Zealand
  • Erin Stagg: Tackling Freshwater Decision Making Through a Catchment Wide Collaborative Approach: an evaluation of the Manuherikia Catchment decision making process
  • Martin Swaffield: Places of Transit: an exploration of bus stop design and how to make them an attractive urban place
  • Joe Whitworth: The Role of Planning in Contemporary Urban India: consequences and lessons from the Hyderabad Metropolitan Rail: Telangana, India



  • Kathryn Barrett: Māori participation in Resource Management
  • Thijs Blokker: Wildflower harvesting on the Agulhas Plain, South Africa: challenges in a fragmented industry
  • Thomas Faherty: Planning for active transport: overcoming challenges to active transport in the modern urban environment - a case study of Auckland City
  • Katrina Gray: Are outdoor spaces important? An investigation into the provisions of outdoor space for medium density housing developments
  • Constance Hutchinson: What makes a good city? a participatory approach with pre-schoolers towards urban planning
  • Anthony Leung: The impacts of minimum parking requirements on land use efficiency and the viability of alternative parking policies in Auckland
  • Sophie Lord: Location, Location, Location: analysis of the current regulatory framework for filming activities in New Zealand
  • Tom McKnight: Planning for intensive dairying in the Mackenzie Basin
  • William Parr: Investigating the role of temporary land uses in the Christchurch earthquake recovery
  • Ihakara Puketapu-Dentice: Ngā Tapuwae o ngā Mātua Tūpuna The Footprints of our Ancestors: The role of indigenous culture in promoting development and design in the urban environment - insights from Vancouver and Waiwhetū
  • Laura Tinker: Managed Retreat from Coastal Erosion: the movement of people and their coastlines
  • Kathryn Wasley: Pre-disaster recovery planning: lessons from Japan



  • Kate Biddlecombe: Planning for Older Adults: experiences in physical activity
  • Lisa Burton: An Evaluation of the Importance of New Water Quality Policies in New Zealand
  • Stephen Denis: Evaluation and Crime Prevention: an investigation of evaluation and monitoring of crime prevention though environmental design initiatives in New Zealand
  • Aaron Edwards: Surf Break Co-management: options for the protection and enhancement of surf breaks in New Zealand
  • Helaina Farthing: Growing Smarter: the barriers faced in the implementation of urban intensification in Tauranga
  • Bridget Ford: The Success of Environmental Sustainable Design in Hobsonville Point
  • Joanna Gilroy: Planning for Growth and Decline in Small Southland Towns: the experience of Riverton, Tuatapere and Winton
  • Tina Gudsell: Brownfield and Greenfield Land in Dunedin: from inner city industry to life on the plain
  • Aaron Hakkaart: Clean Green New Zealand? transit-oriented development as an urban development strategy in Aotearoa
  • Jaydine Keenan: Freedom Camping Management: a case study of the Otago and Southland regions of New Zealand
  • Emily Leslie: Making a Living in Vanuatu: livelihoods and development in peri-urban Port Vila
  • Kerry Mattingly: Housing and Transport Expenditure: socio-spatial indicators of affordability in Auckland
  • Hauauru Rae: Kia Tahuri I te Riu, Kia Tika: Indigenous Participation in Earthquake Recovery Planning: insights from Taiwan and Canterbury
  • Angus Robertson: A Case Study of Wine Tourism in Central Otago and the Implications of it's Development
  • Alcinda Trawen: Community Participation Limitations in Tourism Planning in Papua New Guinea
  • Emerson Yeoman: Tenure Review and mulit-functionality in the South Island High Country
  • Carolyn Yang: Renewable Energy: the clean solution for Australia's future-wind energy in Victoria



  • Brigitte Allen: Improving the Integration of Urban Freight Activity in Transportation and Land-use Planning
  • Matthew  Curren: Effective Participation for Children and Young People in Council Decision Making
  • Stephen Dennis: Evaluation and Monitoring of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design Projects in New Zealand
  • Loek Driesen: The Future of Sustainable Waste Management in the Cook Islands
  • Elodie Letendre:  Planning for the Effective Reuse of Materials in the New Zealand Building Industry
  • Marina Heteraka: Natural Hazard Planning – The Contribution of Cook Island Māori  to Traditional Knowledge in the Cook Islands
  • Shaun Hamilton: Community Based Groundwater Management in Andhra Pradesh, India
  • Toby Mandeno: Urban Tourism – A Driver for Public Transport Investment?
  • Catriona McNaughton: Tourism as a Driver for Local Economic Development in Lawrence, New Zealand
  • Stephanie O’Dea: Retaining the Character of Bach Communities – Planning Options
  • Central Otago
    Central Otago - retaining the character of bach communities
  • Sabrina Quarantine: Landscape Conservation Planning for the North Island Brown Kiwi
  • Chris Ross: Local Authority Disability Strategies – Do they Work?
  • Jonothan Ryan: Medium Density Housing and Outdoor Space Use
  • James McKibbin: Uplifting Small Towns in Post-apartheid South Africa
  • Jaimee Semmens: Planning for New Zealand Towns: The Value of Cittaslow in Achieving Sustainable Development
  • Rosanne Simes: Decision Making for Development in Flood-prone Areas
  • Nathan Stocker: Relationship Dynamics within New Zealand Territorial Authorities



  • Barton Acres: Opportunities for Food Systems Planning in New Zealand
  • Sonya Baird: Managing Local Economic Development
  • Brendon Harper: Governance for Urban Growth Management
  • Stephanie Kane: Strategic Planning for Airport
  • Sam Le Heron: Cycling Towards Eurpoe – Opportunities for Assisting Cycling in Dunedin
  • Sarah Picard: Cultural Values of Landscapes
  • Christopher Rendall: Are We Learning from Past Practice – The Potential for Follow-up as an Environmental Management Tool in New Zealand
  • Alexandra Scouller: The Challenges of Coastal Setbacks in New Zealand
  • Jan Stielike: New Aims and Approaches for Regional Policies – A Case Study of the European Union and Germany
  • Andrew Williams: The Experiences of the Recognised Seasonal employer Scheme and Ni-Vanuatu Temporary Workers

Recent PLAN 435-535 Field Trips

Each year, all students enrolled for the MPlan degree go on a one-week field school as part of PLAN 435-535. They work in small groups to complete a project designed by a local authority. In this respect, they work as a 'planning consultant' and gain practical experience in undertaking and carrying out a planning project.

"Amazing field trips where you get to explore destinations you've never been to." Kirsty Morris, student

Some recent trips for the Planning Case Study are outlined below.


Central Otago
Central Otago - looking at hydro dams

Central Otago 2012

Central Otago is located in the South Island of New Zealand. Its’ stunning scenery, climate and lifestyle make it a popular region with residents and visitors. The region has experienced economic and demographic growth   in the past ten years resulting in pressures on the settlements within the region.  Planning issues within the region were investigated by the MPlan students focusing on Alexandra, Cromwell, Tarras, Roxburgh and Pisa Moorings. The projects were based on briefs provided by the Central Otago District Council. Their projects were:

  • Reverse Sensitivity Issues
  • Residential Development
  • Spatial Planning in Alexandra
  • Availability of Industrial and Commercial Land in Cromwell
  • Tourism Servicing in Roxburgh


Brisbane 2011

Brisbane is the state capital of Queensland, Australia. It has a population of  over one million people and is one of the fastest growing urban areas in Australia demographically and economically.  This growth has resulted in many planning opportunities and issues for the city. Research was carried out throughout the city based on briefs proposed by the Otago Regional Council and the Dunedin City Council. These were:

Brisbane Field Trip
Discussions in Brisbane

  • Urban Design and Public Space
  • Residential Character Areas
  • Sustainable Transport
  • Protection and Reuse of Heritage Buildings
  • Management of Urban Water Quality and stormwater Management


Banks Peninsula 2010

In 2010 the MPlan class travelled to Canterbury to undertake research on Banks Peninsula. There are a number of smaller settlements within the Banks Peninsula Region as well as rural areas.  Managing the interactions between the two environments led to planning related issues. The research briefs were developed by Environment Canterbury and focused on rural based planning issues. The projects examined:

  • Valued Rural Economies and Lifestyles
  • Valuing the Banks Peninsula Coastal Environment
  • Adapting to Climate Change and Possible Sea Level Rise
  • Impacts of Vehicles on the Pegasus Bay Coast

Rotorua 2009

Rotorua field trip
Students sightseeing in Rotorua

The study area for 2009 was Rotorua. Located in the Central North Island the city is a popular tourist destination due to its strong cultural heritage and iconic landscape.  Furthermore, the town is home to an increasingly multicultural population. The focus was on urban orientated planning issues with the briefs being provided by the Rotorua District Council.  Topics included:

  • Proactive Management of Archaeological Resources
  • Zoning for Tourism in Rotorua
  • Transport Demand Management Implementation in Rotorua
  • Special Character Areas
  • High Density Living

West Coast 2008

The West Coast of New Zealand is an area which is associated with outstanding natural beauty. However, it is also an area which has experienced periods of growth and decline. Due to economic and demographic growth associated with dairy farming, mining and tourism the region has experienced many planning related issues. Rural planning issues were the focus of this field trip with MPlan students undertaking research on the West Coast based on briefs developed by the Grey  District and the  Council West Coast Regional Council. The projects examined:

  • Greymouth-Mawheranui – Coastal Pathway Proposal
  • Impacts of Large Company Decisions on Small Communities
  • Rural Planning in the Grey District
  • Transport Planning on the West Coast
  • Managing the Effects of Subdivision and Other Development at Lake Brunner


Melbourne 2007

MPlan students on a guided tour of the Melbourne City Council office, a six-star green building

Melbourne is the state capital of Victoria, Australia. Home to around 3.4 million inhabitants, it is an incredibly diverse city, with a population that speaks at least 116 different languages. With a rapid growth rate, a dense inner city and a huge sprawling suburban region, it faces many planning challenges.

For their 2007 field trip, thirty planning students spent a week in Melbourne (with 3 lecturers) staying at St Kilda and carrying out research throughout the city. The groups worked on five topics which had been proposed by the Dunedin City Council. These were:

  • Stadium Development - what were the planning processes involved with stadium developments in Melbourne, and what might be best planning practice for Dunedin?
  • Campus planning - what are the successful elements of integrated city and campus planning, based on innovative examples from Melbourne?
  • Public Art - what factors make for the successful implementation of a public art programme?
  • Waterfront Development - how can planning help deliver good waterfront developments?
  • Pedestrianisation - what lessons can be learnt for Dunedin from an examination of pedestrian places in Melbourne?