People’s Interaction with Public Art in Public Spaces within New Zealand
Public art is an attractive feature for public spaces worldwide. From fountains to sculptures, public art colours and influences public spaces. It supports interaction, suggesting meanings and symbolism to people. This study looks at six public spaces within New Zealand, two each in Auckland, Christchurch and Dunedin. The aim of this research is to investigate how public spaces influence and promote people’s interaction with public art. To achieve this aim, the research objectives of this study are to understand: 1) How is public art structured and organised within public spaces? 2) What is people’s interaction with public art in public spaces? 3) What is the connection between public art and urban regeneration? 4) What are the public art policies of Auckland, Christchurch and Dunedin? To achieve the research objectives, semi-structured interviews and an observational matrix with video recordings were undertaken in each of the six public spaces. An observational matrix was designed by the author of this thesis. The findings from its application indicated that people are more likely to interact with public art based on factors such as the time of day and the weather. The number of people interacting with the public art in each of the public spaces varied depending on the amenities and facilities that the public spaces offered around the public art. Semi-structured interviews were undertaken which provided valuable information on stakeholders’ perspectives on people’s interaction with public art in New Zealand and how the public space can be made successful to support this interaction. The study found that for public art to be successful, it is important to have an interactive component in the public realm. The effect that public art has on people can be determined by the public or authorities such as artists and council members who initiate the public art. Some interview participants indicated that if people do not have a public space they can enjoy and feel comfortable in, suggesting conviviality, then it is unlikely that members of the public will find the public space interactive. People’s interaction with public art can create contemplation with deeper meanings, a sense of place where they re-visit the public space and contribute to activity around the public art. People’s interaction with public art significantly contributes to building a public realm on a human scale.
Advisor: Freeman, Claire
Degree Name: Master of Planning
Degree Discipline: Geography
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: publicspace; publicart; cityplanning; placemaking; public; spaces; NewZealand; peoplespaces; interactiveart
Research Type: Thesis