Waikato Research Centre for Resilient Infrastructure and Sustainable Construction


Members of our research team are actively engaged in, or have contributed to, several externally funded and sponsored flagship research projects and programmes.

Urban Narrative: Co-creation of urban design briefs by citizens from data storytelling

Type: National Science Challenge - Better Homes, Towns and Cities

Funding and dates: $250,000, 2018-2019

Research collaborators: WSP OPUS

Industry and external partners: Christchurch City Council, Napier City Council

Researchers involved: Mark Dyer, Shaoqun Wu, Min-Hsein Weng, Rachel Dyer

Abstract: Urban Narrative works at the interface between public participation and participatory design to support collaboration processes for urban planning and design. It applies computational linguistics to interpret large format public consultation by identifying shared interests and desired qualities for urban infrastructure services and utilities. As a proof of concept, data was used from the Christchurch public engagement initiative called ‘Share an Idea,’ where public thoughts, ideas, and opinions were expressed about the future redevelopment of Christchurch after the 2011 earthquakes. The data set was analysed to identify shared interests and desired connections between institutional, communal, or personal infrastructures with the physical urban infrastructures in terms of buildings, public places, and utilities. The data has been visualised using chord charts from the D3 JavaScript open source library to illustrate the existence of connections between soft and hard urban infrastructures along with individual contributions or stories. Lastly, the analysis was used to create an infographic design brief that compares and contrasts qualitative information from public consultation with quantitative municipal statistical data on well-being.