Given the importance of delivering the change the city so desperately needs, we must help people to feel comfortable with contributing to the discussion. We need to encourage people to be mindful of their own behaviours, and the behaviours of others, so that we can all have honest, open and meaningful conversations about what that change might mean.
Eastern Viaduct as an Urban Lab
The Eastern Viaduct Urban Lab has introduced free bi-weekly yoga and mindfulness classes for anyone who wants to join in. We recognise that practising mindfulness gives us the ability to understand change and to understand our own behaviours. A series of studies in the journal Psychological Science found that mindfulness helped counteract deep-rooted tendencies and leads to better decision-making. Researchers have found that a brief period of mindfulness allows people to make more rational decisions by considering the information available in the present moment, which led to more positive outcomes in the future.
The Urban Lab also aims to demonstrate the behaviours we are encouraging in the city. We hold bicycle meetups with a bike mechanic, to encourage people to consider an alternative mode of transport. We’ve added diversity to the food offering in the Viaduct by assembling a group of local start-up food businesses, who are providing affordable, fresh and healthy food. We’re recognising Auckland’s many nationalities through language week activations, with Samoan and Cook Island languages featuring recently.
If you visited the Urban Lab on World Environment Day or World Ocean Day, you would have experienced our Environment Hub, a series of installations and activations that promoted awareness of the behavioural changes we all need to make, to ensure that the environment we pass to future generations is cleaner than it is now.
Change for the future
Achieving Auckland’s vision of an efficient and effective transport network, more houses, cleaner water and a healthier environment, needs everyone to understand what that change means for them. The Urban Lab is about demonstrating what that change looks like, giving people the tools to change, and helping people to understand their behaviours while experiencing change.
About the Author - Cameron Perkins
As Principal Landscape Architect – Public Realm at Panuku and a self-confessed “status quo challenger and change advocate”, Cam is the perfect person to lead the programme of change in Eastern Viaduct. Cam has previously worked with the Queensland University of Technology and Place Design Group on various projects in Australia, the Middle East, Pacific and China.