Renee Davies

Dean of Engineering & Construction and Infrastructure
Engineering Network
Location: Building 001, Room 1025


BSc, Victoria University. BLA (1st class honours), Lincoln University

Professional memberships

Fellow & Registered member of New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects (NZILA)
Member of Garden Design Society of NZ
Member of Ecological Society of NZ
Member of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities


Renée is a registered landscape architect and ecologist with over 13 years of practice experience. She has worked on landscape architecture and design projects ranging from regional planning, open space, park, ecological and community designs to residential gardens. She is a Fellow and Past President of the New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects.

Renée has won awards for her work in the realm of public open space and ecological design. These include public development, protection and community instigated projects throughout Waitakere City while she was parks planning manager there. She has also reviewed landscape architecture projects from throughout the country in her role as a judge for a number of National competitions, including Year of the Built Environment awards, NZILA Pride of Place Awards, Landscaping NZ Awards and the Ellerslie Flower Show. 

In 2009 Renée was appointed as Head of Department of Landscape Architecture at Unitec and is committed to ensuring the Department supports high quality teaching in landscape architecture and design. In addition to her mangement role, she is lecturing on a range of topics including professional practice, Pacific studies, urban ecology and landscape planning and is an associate supervisor for the Masters programme.

View more of Renee's projects -


Research Interests 

Renée has a particular passion for understanding the influence of the regional and local character in the design process and the ability to successfully reflect a melding of local and exotic within New Zealand design to achieve places and spaces which are truly sustainable and which reflect both the historical and contemporary New Zealand situation.

Research interests stemming from this utilise her ecological and design background and look at exploring the concept of new nature' investigating adaptive and hybrid landscapes and design interventions to enhance habitat quality and biodiversity. Investigating the ecological idea of adaptive re-use and its implications and design opportunities for landscape architecture. Linked to site potentials and understanding our place in nature and the landscape. Re-defining the human role in current and future landscapes.

How do we ensure responses to landscape are reflective of the changed environment in which we live and how can we establish an appropriate design philosophy which is adaptive to the dynamism of nature?

A particular area of interest is living roofs and her involvement in the establishment of  New Zealand's first extensive commercial living roof using only native plant species (highlighting the potential of New Zealand plants to be utilised in innovative landscape contexts) has led to ongoing collaborative research on living roofs in New Zealand and in particular their role in biodiversity in urban environments.

Renée is also developing her research interest in cultural heritage landscapes of rural New Zealand in particular the botanical relicts of New Zealand's rural heritage and how they relate to and are a reflection of society. General history of rural/productive landscapes and future design paradigms and lessons for productive landscapes.

The profession of landscape architecture  grapples on a daily basis with concepts of change and dynamism. Exploration of the social, cultural, ecological and economic issues that influence and inform design and how we as a profession embed these understandings within our discipline has seen the emergence of a unique character and sense of place in NZ landscape architecture.

To ensure the creation of innovative and appropriate future landscapes alongside the sustainable management of those which we inherit.

Landscape Architecture is a profession well placed to take on the challenges of current global and local issues and to position ourselves as the most appropriate discipline to explore, influence and guide the shaping of our world.

Long may the exploratory journey continue

We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we startedand know the place for the first time.  TS Elliot

Find out more about Renee on the following weblinks:

Supervised thesis projects

Kettle, Elizabeth Elaine (Betsy) (2014). Daylighting waste : can community-based recycling depots become part of Auckland's everyday life?


Davies, R. B. (2017). 5 Hot Garden Trends for 2017. New Zealand, Fairfax Media (Vol. January 2017 Volume 73 Issue 1).

Davies, R., & Avery, J. (2016). Green Wall Modular System Design, Development and Trial. Auckland, New Zealand, Unitec Institute of Technology.

Davies, RB. (2016). Tasting the Landscape - treats and trends from the gardens of France and Italy. Garden Design Society of New Zealand, Unitec Institute of Technology.

Davies, R. B. (2016). Tool Time Life and Leisure In Your Backyard Special Edition. New Zealand, NZ Lifestyle Group.

Davies, R. B. (2016). Tools of the Trade Life and Leisure In Your Backyard Special Edition. New Zealand, NZ Lifestyle Group.

Davies, R. B. (2016). Make and Bake - Pizza oven DIY guide NZ Life and Leisure In Your Back Yard special edition. New Zealand, Lifestyle Magazine Group.

Davies, R.B. (2015). Voyages of discovery: Immersive learning within indigenous cultural landscapes. IFLA2015 Scientific Committee, Procedings of the 52nd World Congress of the International Federation of Landscape Architects:History of the Future.

Davies, R.B. (2015). Landscapes for life: Building and protecting the indigenous life-force of cities. 52nd World Congress of the International Federation of Landscape Architects:History of the Future, St Petersburg, Russia.

Davies, R.B. (2015). A Culturally Rich Volcanic Archipelago. Landscape Architecture New Zealand, Landscape Architecture New Zealand AGM Publishing (Vol. Summer).

Davies, R. B., & Lambert, R. E. (2015). Under the Mountain - how a volcanic peak has influenced the culture, ecology and landscape history of Taranaki, New Zealand. International Federation of Landscape Architects Asia Pacific Congress, Lombok, Indonesia.

Davies, R. B. (2014). City Parks - China's Urban Back Yards. Landscape Architecture New Zealand, Autumn, 16-19.

Davies, R. B., Butler, R., Ting , F., and Steiner, V. (2014). Revealing the Rainforest - discovering the dynamic interchange between landscape and culture. X-Section Journal (Vol. 4: Exchange).

Davies, R.B. (2014). Shared wisdom in an age of change: The 50th IFLA World Congress, Auckland, New Zealand. April 10-12, 2013. In IFLA, International Federation of Landscape Architects 2010-2014. (pp.128-132), Brussells, Belgium: IFLA.

Davies, R.B. (2014). People of the Rainforest. Landscape Architecture New Zealand, Summer, 14-17.

Davies, R. B. (2014). Landscapes for Life - Building and Protecting the Life Force of Cities. Presented at World Green Infrastructure Congress, Sydney, Australia, 7-11 October.

Davies, R. B. (2014). In the Public Realm. Landscape Architecture New Zealand. Spring.

Davies, R. B. (2014). Wild Spirits. New Zealand Gardener, February, 37-41.

Lawton, C., and Davies, R. (2013). Food Landscapes: A Landscape Model for Intensive Farming, pages 119-127. IFLA50 Shared Wisdom in an Age of Change Proceedings.

Davies, R. B. (2013). Shared Memories. Landscape Architecture New Zealand, ISSN 1176-2329 (Vol. Winter 2013).

Bish, A., Davies, R., and Haines, L. (2013). Revealing the Cryptic. Proceedings of the 50th International Federation of Landscape Architects World Congress (IFLA50), 'Shared Wisdom in an Age of Change' 10-12 April, Auckland, NZ.

Davies, R. B., and Zimmerman, Z. (2012). Living Roofs - blend of beauty and functionality. Organic NZ Magazine.

Davies, R. B. (2012). High Frontiers - the resurgence of living roofs and opportunities for NZ buildings. Earthbuilding magazine, (Vol. Spring 2012).

Davies, R.B. (2012). Elevated Ecosystems - New Zealand Living Roof Urban Biodiversity Conservation. WGRC 2012 September 2012 Tivoli Congress Centre, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Davies, R. B. (2011). Pacific Voyages of Discovery. .

Davies, R.B., and Lunberry, G. (2011). Island Voyages. Landscape Architecture New Zealand, ISSN.

Davies, R.B., De Groot, C., and Boult, M. (2011). Prosthetic Habitats for Lizard Conservation. Caroline Collective Exhibition Gallery, Houston, Texas October 31 - November 28th.

Davies, R.B. (2011). Habitats on High. Landscape Architecture New Zealand, ISSN1176-2329 (Vol. Spring).

Davies, R.B., and Simcock, R. (2011). Elevated Ecosystems - the Potential of Living Roofs as Urban Ecosystems in New Zealand. Green Roofs Australasia Greening Cities Conference, Sydney Australia.

Toft, R., Davies, R.B., and Simcock, R. (2011). Invertebrate Community Development on a NZ Indigenous Living Roof. Ecology in the Heartland, New Zealand Ecological Society Conference, Rotorua, New Zealand.

Davies, R.B. (2011). Living Architecture Book Review. Landscape Architecture New Zealand, ISSN1176-2329 (Vol. Spring).

Davies, R.B, Simcock, R., Ussher, G., Toft, R., De Groot, C., and Boult, M. (2011). Elevated Islands - urban conservation potential on living roofs. International Congress on Conservation Biology, Auckland, New Zealand.

Davies, R., Simcock, R., and Hancock, D. (2011). Waitakere Central Civic Centre Case Study. G. Hopkins and C. Goodwin (Eds), Living Architecture Green Roofs and Walls.

Davies, R.B., Ranum, B., and Haldane-Willis, J. (2011). Niue - Background research and design strategy for a new museium and cultural centre. ISBN 9781471016707.

Davies, R.B. (2010). How Can Landscape Architecture and Art Contribute to Placemaking? Tron Placemaking Seminar Series. Tron Placemaking Seminar Series, Waikato Museum, Hamilton.

Davies, R. B. (2010). Asylum 2010, Unitec Architecture and Landscape Architecture yearbook. Asylum, ISSN: 1177-5572 (Vol. First edition).

Davies, R.B., Simcock, R., Ussher, G., and Boult, M. (2010). Elevated enclaves - living roof biodiversity enhancement through prosthetic habitats. Proceedings of Cities Alive: 8th Annual Green Roof and Wall Conference, Vancouver, Canada. 30 November - 3 December. Available at (Vol. Online).

Davies, R.B., and Simcock, R. (2010). Islands in the Sky - Opportunities for urban biodiversity enhancement in New Zealand using indigenous living roof landscapes. Proceedings of the annual conference of ANZAScA, Australian and New Zealand Architectural Science Association, ISBN 978-0-473-18000-3.

Davies, R.B. (2009). Plant Heritage New Zealand Book Review. Landscape Architecture New Zealand, ISSN1176-2329 (Vol. April/May 2009).

Davies, R.B. (2009). Get Wet. Landscape Architecture New Zealand, ISSN1176-2329 (Vol. Feb/March 2009).

Davies, R.B. (2009). Landscapes of Delight - Creating Poetic Moments in the Garden. Designing the Liveable Landscape - NZ Landscape and Garden Design Conference, Auckland.

Davies, R.B. (2009). Exploration. Asylum, ISSN 1177-5572 (Vol. 2009 issue).

Davies, R.B. (2007). Beyond Gentys Green - Issues and Techniques for Sustainable Planting. Naturally Native Plant Seminar.

Lambert, R.B. (2006). Restoring the Threads - Waitakere City Council's Green Network Programme. IFLA Eastern Region Conference, Sydney, Australia, 27-28 May.

Lambert, R.B. (2006). Navigating the Crossroads. ISOLA Conference Proceedings.

Davies, R.B. (2006). Enhancing Public Open Space Through Community Empowerment, Design and Placemaking September 4th-5th. Green Pavlova Recreation Association Conference.