Pragathi .

Ms Pragathi .

Higher Degree by Research Candidate

PhD Candidate

School of Architecture and Built Environment

Faculty of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences


Pragathi is a PhD Candidate at the School of Architecture and Built Environment,
exploring Urban Bioregionalism in Policy and Practice at the Fringe of Major Metropolitan Cities.

Primary directive of Bioregionalism is the emphasis on recognising the symbiotic relationship between human settlements and their natural surroundings. Bioregionalism encompasses the concept that a region can claim a unique identity not only in its geographical and ecological features but also in the socio-cultural practices of the human habitats within the region. The local community’s cultural and social wealth, living practices and their relationship with their immediate surroundings is considered an important factor that can be uniquely identified in a Bioregion. This local knowledge is neither measurable nor static, but is produced and shared by people engaged with each other in their everyday life practices.

Policies and regulations are a key mechanism of the social contract under which citizens agree to be governed. This research focuses on planning and building regulations; rules that directly impact built form and, indirectly, a much broader spectrum of qualitative phenomena from the perceived cultural order and aesthetic character of rural and urban ‘scapes’, to  qualities of ‘neighbourliness’.

Zoning laws are a type of planning regulation that defines boundaries between different kinds of land use.  Boundaries that define and distinguish between character preservation districts and urban growth focus districts can have particularly profound impact on communities living close to these boundaries in what may be referred to as ‘transition zones’, which may face challenges in maintaining or developing their built environment as per their aspirations as such boundaries affect the visual experience of people passing through and observing from various points of view on either side. Similarly neighbourhood boundaries, street types and proximity of houses from busy streets etc., create different kinds of transition zones and spaces that are negotiated formally and informally by residents and other users. These are potentially significant architectural elements from a socio-cultural perspective, that may also play a significant role, therefore, in defining the formal character of a building and the cultural landscape or streetscape to which it contributes.        

What happens, for instance, when development plans and policies put such elements at risk? What is the impact of urbanization on local architecture, landscape, social values and community life; especially at the metropolitan fringe? What are the community attitudes towards urbanisation? How informed are they and what is their contribution in the democratic process? What are the policies and regulations governing development at the urban fringe and how are they formed? These are some of the questions that guide this research.

This research seeks to address such questions in a discrete case study, conducted at Willunga Basin in South Australia. Willunga Basin is a distinctive agricultural valley located at the southern fringe of greater Adelaide. The region has seemingly resisted urban development throughout the history of European settlement in the region which is also now identified as a ‘local character preservation district’ (introduced in 2011) as a key part of a larger zone incorporating the Willunga Basin, the Mt Lofty Ranges and the Barossa Valley. This region is also currently the focus of a bid to for international recognition with UNESCO as a cultural landscape of World Heritage status. The study analyses the impact of various development plans that have shaped the socio-cultural identities of the local communities.

This study is specifically concerned with community attitudes to the process of urbanisation and the role of community participation in local governance procedures. Aim of this research is to better understand the role of community activism as agents in the planning, management and protection of the cultural landscape in this specific Bioregion with lessons for urbanisation of metropolitan fringes, elsewhere.

2009 - 2011 - Design Studio, Climate Responsive Design, History of Architecture (B.Arch) as Visiting Faculty, School of Architecture, BMSIT, Bangalore, India

2011 - 2013 - Foundation Studies, Vernacular Architecture, Design Projects as Faculty, Srishti School of Design and Technology, Bangalore, India

2014, 2015 - Studio Cultures (M.Arch) School of Architecture and Built Environment, University of Adelaide (Tutor, Guest Lecturer, Marker)

2014, 2015 - Environment III (B.Arch) School of Architecture and Built Environment, University of Adelaide (Tutor, Curator, Marker)

2016 - Planning Theory and Practice (Master of Planning) School of Architecture and Built Environment, University of Adelaide (Auditing)

2018 - Cross Cultural Design in Architecture (Winter Course for students from India) School of Architecture and Built Environment, University of Adelaide (Course Coordinator)

  • Position: PhD Candidate
  • Phone: 83130548
  • Email: pragathi@adelaide.edu.au
  • Fax: 8313 4377
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Horace Lamb, floor 3
  • Room: 3 004
  • Org Unit: School of Architecture & Built Environment

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