My name is Lily. I am a multi-discipline student of my environment. I live in urban New Zealand.
I have officially studied civil engineering, covering a broad range of topics from transport to environmental engineering, and worked briefly in infrastructure and transport which drew me to the ideas of public transport, land use planning and urban design.
I have also studied art, object and surface design, in what currently exists as a graduate diploma of design in textiles. This led me to self directed study of surface design in urban spaces.
People often ask me about my ‘great leap’ from one study to the other but I have always moved between the two (I favoured both science and art at school – with complicated timetables!). I see my studies as spiralling steps towards a speciality that may not exist yet. I have a fascination for my immediate environment, and how we interact with it. Art and science are various ‘input’ and ‘output’ of the same system. I love ideas that make knowledge more holistic. You could say cross-discipline study is in my genes, my mother taught maths and art.
I spent four years helping to promote walking friendly environments with Living Streets Aotearoa, a small but vital organisation with a strong voice on urban design issues, as they relate to people on foot (i.e. most of us at least some of the time). Walking, combined with public transport and cycling are often overlooked as transport choices yet transport choice is still one of the best ways to build a resilient, vibrant, modern city. I personally find walking makes my life richer in many ways. A walk outside is an essential mode of being in the world.
In 2010 I completed a paper in Theory and History of Urban Design, and I have been researching public art and transport corridors from an urban design perspective, for my Masters degree at the University of Auckland in 2011-12.
My definition of creative engagement with public space gains depth with each of these learning experiences: The built environment is both the residue of human systems (Alexander) and an expression our vision of how the world should be, though myriad intentions and actions. Public art is a more detailed and deliberate form of communication in ‘the commons’, about the things and ideas we share. Urban travel is an everyday reality, a possessive act, a personal journey and a social issue. Urban design as a communicator of place, a sense of belonging and the associated responsibility to place, brings these forms of engagement together.
(Last update May 2012)