Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (Honours)


School of Earth & Environmental Science


Chris Gibson


This thesis asks whether the rural residential estate is a human settlement space in which society can live ‘better’ with nature. Answering this question hinges on the identification of zones of friction and zones of traction (Head et al, in prep.) in the rural residential estate – ruptures and resiliences created by this unique experiment in urban design, and expressed through the everyday rhythms of residents. The thesis evaluates the rural residential estate using the study site of Nangarin Vineyard Estate, located near Picton, NSW. The materiality of this setting incorporates residential landuse and remnant bushland, facilitating an enmeshing of humans and non-humans in space. The study is conceptually framed around non-representational theory, a relational ontology used to re-frame the complexity of interactions between human and non-human actors. Reflecting this, semi-structured walking interviews were conducted with Nangarin residents to both enrol the non-human in research design, and to explore how residents have constructed their use the estate. This method was combined with frequent self-tours of the estate, to elicit place-based engagement for the researcher. Results presented over four chapters explore the complexity of interactions that take place between humans and nature in Nangarin estate. The first contextualises the urban design and regulatory framework of the rural residential estate, and how this material framework shapes the potential for its use. The second and third chapters explore the interactions expressed between humans and nature with respect to mobility and how they dwell – how the rural residential estate informs their everyday rhythms, and subsequent construction of their home space. This thesis concludes that despite the material shell created by the rural residential estate, there is still a fixity expressed by humans towards how they enrol the non-human. This involved the creation of borders and territories that serve to exclude the non-human. The final chapter brings the threads of the thesis together, exploring zones of friction and zones of traction in the rural residential estate. Such frictions and tractions present opportunities and threats for pursuing future developments of this nature.

FoR codes (2008)




Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.