TEDxTutukākā - Tapuwae: Footprints in Our Sand

Tutukaka iMG.PNG

Zoë Avery and Renée Davies were two inspiring speakers chosen to share their “great idea” to 100 delegates at the first TEDxTutukākā event held on 7 April.  The theme of the of the event was Tapuwae - Footprints in Our Sand.  Zoë and Renée spoke about designing living roofs to maximise benefits for the built environment, people and nature. Explaining a local example, Hundertwasser Art Centre and Wairau Maori Art Gallery, where they have had the privilege of working alongside a large and dedicated group of people to champion a living roof project in Whangarei.

TEDxTutukākā later posted on their Facebook page "My favourite bit was when...."  for the 2018 event, where a delegate Kirsty responded "For me, it was when Renee & Zoë put up their beautiful slide showing what Whangarei CBD COULD look like - with a green and vibrant heart - and there was a collective quiet 'Ooooo' from the audience and someone close to me said 'That's what we need'" and another delegate responding “Same Kirsty. What a beautiful vision these 2 have”.

The Hundertwasser project is a fantastic example of how a building and it’s living roof, designed in consideration of living urbanism, can add to the vibrancy and well-being of a local community.  Living Urbanism is a set of design principles that reflect the sensory connection between humans, the built environment and nature. Design outcomes aim is to make environments more permeable for people and wildlife.

TEDxTutukākā was a huge success, the kaupapa was followed through in every aspect, creating an amazing sense of community, driving to be zero-waste and accessible to the hearing impaired. The locally handmade, plastic-free, re-useable, goodie bags just reinforced the messages around living the values discussed during the day.

To find out more you can get in touch with Zoë Avery and Renée Davies

Living Roof Urbanism


Our Senior Planning, Urban and Landscape Design Consultant Zoë Avery recently presented her research into how we can better integrate living roofs as urbanistic systems into our cities in light of urban population growth.  

The term ‘Living Roof Urbanism’ is a concept developed to assist living roof design that results in maximised benefits. Living roofs, when designed in a holistic manner can produce multi-functional benefits that significantly improve our urban environment. Living roof design currently does not successfully maximise these potential benefits, nor are they acknowledged widely.  Regularly, living roofs are designed for one benefit, for example stormwater attenuation or aesthetics. The resulting effect is a reduction in the perceived benefits and subsequently lower global uptake. 

Zoë explained her research to date of looking into a set of guidelines to achieve holistic living roof development enabling maximum benefits.  The current toolkits, models, policy incentives and case studies compartmentalise the benefits rather than considering living roofs as part of the landscape and another surface that can enhance our environment achieving a multitude of benefits. 

Following on from this 4sight has been working alongside Renee Davies, Dean of Unitec, to develop the Living Roof Guide for Whangarei – being the first living roof guide in New Zealand.

This guide will be launched in a few weeks and aims to showcase the multi-functional benefits and design considerations of these systems.  Living Roof benefits include stormwater attenuation, increased biodiversity, the ability to create more public spaces providing greater connection with nature, extending the roof life, increased marketability and profitability of the buildings to name a few.

We will share the Living Roof Guide in the coming weeks, however for more information on our Urban and Landscape Design service, view our latest projects.