Built Sunshade in New Zealand Public Spaces


  • Christina Mackay Victoria University of Wellington


New Zealand has the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. Internationally, the provision and use of shade is considered a key strategy in the prevention of skin cancer, but there has been little research undertaken on how well shade canopies in public spaces provide UVR protection for their users. This research examined six public shade canopies in six different locations in New Zealand which opened in 2014 and 2015. Firstly, the principles of designing for UVR protection are explained. Secondly, based on interviews with local government planners, public health professionals, facility managers, architects and sun‐shade designers, each case study reports on the project initiation process, the project  brief and feedback on the performance of the  shade structure. Using information from site surveys, the UVR protection provided at the centre of each canopy is estimated. Key learning points from each project are identified. The findings present insight into possible initiation processes and designs for future ‘sun‐safe’ public spaces in New Zealand. 


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Author Biography

Christina Mackay, Victoria University of Wellington

Senior Lecturer

School of Architecture