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Nikolay Popov

School of Architecture
Location: Building 048, Room 2011



Nikolay is a landscape architect with over 16 years of practice in Bulgaria and New Zealand. His work experience varies from residential and small commercial landscape architectural design to large scale planning projects including: Aotea Square Redevelopment, Flat Bush Master Plan, Garden of New Zealand Pavilion for World Expo in Shanghai, China 2010, and Petrouniversity Campus, Hanoi, Vietnam.

Nikolay permanently joined Unitec’s Department of Landscape Architecture in 2008. He is teaching a range of topics across the landscape programmes, including CAD and Documentation (DLD), 3rd year Studio and Landscape Ecology (BLA), principle supervisor (MLA). Nikolay also teaches GIS short courses and is a GIS Coordinator for Unitec.


Nikolay’s research focuses on generative landscape architecture and explores ways of understanding spatial and temporal patterns as self-organising morphologies. This provides a promising paradigm for exploring spatial organizations as the emergent outcome of dynamic relations between multiple singularities bounded together by various feedback loops. Self-organising spatial morphologies can be defined as a part of a process, usually a simple one, and modelled employing generative algorithms.

This approach opens exciting possibilities in landscape architecture - the challenge of a new naturalness of the artificial event as a mirror of Nature. It opens the way for discovery of novel fields of human creativity, indissoluble synthesis between art and science that would be unthinkable without computer tools.

Generative Landscape architecture is the idea expressed as genetic code or construction of artificial complex dynamic systems able to generate endless possibilities.
Every generative project is a concept-software that constructs infinite variety of unique events and possible expressions of the generative idea. Thus generative landscape architecture becomes an amazing and endless expansion of human creativity. Computers are simply the tools for its storage in memory and execution.

Graduate supervision of completed theses/dissertations

Masters theses or dissertations

Masters theses or dissertations supervised by Nikolay Popov as Principal Supervisor

Faizan, Javed (2021). Nature's prescription : making room for green spaces in highly dense cities to combat urban stress (Master of Landscape Architecture)
Khalkhali, Zahra Baradaran (2019). Applying a life cycle approach in designing flexible housing (Master of Architecture (Professional))
Zhang, Jie (2018). The bioregional park : commemorating the visit of Captain Cook (Master of Landscape Architecture)
Li, Muyao (2018). How can landscape strategy make the unavailable coastal areas that are influenced by motorways more accessible? (Master of Landscape Architecture)
Luo, Qianlin (2016). Living along the coast : building green defences to mitigate the negative effects of coastal erosion in Auckland (Master of Landscape Architecture)
Kangatharan, Shanmugam (2016). Creating an effective public transport network while also developing attractive coastal communities via designing new water-borne transport nodes in Auckland (Master of Landscape Architecture)
Chen, Shoujun (2016). AGRIHOOD : a new peri-urban agriculture system for Auckland : towards a sustainable farming centered residential development (Master of Landscape Architecture)
Gao, Yan (2015). Volcanic urbanism : an investigation into the role of public open spaces as disaster relief areas in order to make a city more resilient. (Master of Landscape Architecture)

Masters theses or dissertations supervised by Nikolay Popov as Associate Supervisor

Jahanbani, Raheleh (2020). Safer cycling networks in Auckland (Master of Landscape Architecture)
Davis, Andrea (2018). A commemorative landscape in the Christchurch Residential Red Zone (Master of Landscape Architecture)
McPherson, Peter (2014). Surface reality: geometry, craft and shape of the invisible world (Master of Architecture (Project))


Roggema, R., & Popov, N. (2017). Chapter 16 Swarm Planning-Developing a Tool for Innovative Resilience Planning. Yan, W.&Galloway, W. Cham, Switzerland.

Roggema, R., & Popov, N. (2015). Swarm Planning: Development of Generative Spatial Planning Tool for Resilient Cities. B. Martens, G. Wurzer, T. Grasl, W. E. Lorenz, R. Schaffranek, Proceedings of eCAADe 2015, Towards Smarter Cities - Applied, eCAADe 33 (Vol. 1).

Shoujun, C., & Popov, N. (2015). A New Peri-Urban Agricultural System for Auckland. X-Section Journal (Vol. 5).

Gao, Y., & Popov, N. (2015). Auckland Volcanic Field Build Resilient Framework on Public Open Space. X-Section Journal (Vol. peer review online).

Dove , K., and Popov, N. (2013). Parametric Models of Coastal Settlements' Growth. In R. Davies and D. Menzies (Eds.) Proceedings of the 50th International Federation of Landscape Architects World Congress, 'Shared Wisdom in an Age of Change', Auckland, New Zealand.

Wurzer , G., Popov, N., and Lorenz, W. (2012). Meetig Simulation Needs of Early-Stage Design Through Agent-Based Simulaion. Digital Physicality - Proceedings of the 30th International Conference on Education and research in Computer Aided Architectural Design in Europe, Prague, Czech Republic, September 12-14, 2012, (Vol. 1).

Popov, N. (2011). Generative subdivision morphogenesis with Cellular Automata and Agent Based Modelling. Respecting fragile places: proceedings of the 29th Conference on Education on Computer Aided Architectural Design in Europe, Ljubljana, Slovenia, eCAADe and UNI Ljubljana Faculty of Architecture.

Popov, N. (2010). Generative urban design with Cellular Automata and Agent Based Modelling. Murphy, C., Wake, S.J., Turner, D., McConchie, G., and Rhodes, D. (Eds.) . Proceedings of the 44th Annual Conference of ANZAScA. On the edge: Cross-disciploinary and intra-disciplinary connections in architectural science (Vol. CD Rom).

Egginton, Z., Popov, N., and Orams, B. (2010). Digitising the complex form. Murphy, C., Wake, S.J., Turner, D., McConchie, G., and Rhodes, D. (Eds.), Proceedings of the 44th Annual Conference of ANZAScA. On the edge: Cross-disciplinary.

Popov, N. (2010). Exploring Architectural Possibilities with Flocking Algorithms. Soddu, C. (Ed.), Proceedings of the GA2010 - 13th Generative Art International Conference.

Popov, N. (2009). Utilising agent-based models for simulating landscape dynamics. Fennessy, L., Kerr, R., Melles, G., Thong, C., and Wright, E. Cumulus 38s Conference on Hemispheric Shifts across Learning, Teaching and Research978-1-921426-52-0.

Bogunovich, D., Popov, N., Williamson, P., and Egginton, Z. (2009). The Eco-Design Showcase. Queens Wharf Competition Entry.

Popov, N. N. (2008). Open Systems Design In Landscape Architecture. In R. Barnett (Ed.), Proceedings of the 2008 NZILA SHIFT Conference (Vol. CD-ROM).

Margetts, J., Barnett, R., and Popov, N. (2007). Landscape systems modelling: A disturbance ecology approach. Sheffield, J., and Fielden, K. Proceedings of the 13th Annual Australia and New Zealand Systems (ANZSYS) Conference, 'Systematic development: Local solutions in a global environment'13th ANZSYS Conference (Vol. CD Rom).

Popov, N. N. (2007). How can Netlogo be used in the landscape architectural design process? Unpublished thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the degree of Master of Landscape Architecture, Unitec New Zealand, New Zealand.