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Urban Design Compendium

Mixing Uses

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In designing new places, what role is the centre to have when all the potential ‘mixed use elements’ are sucked to the edge?

Successful communities require a mix of commercial, educational, health, spiritual, civic and residential uses. The benefits of mixed developments include:

  • Convenient access to facilities
  • Reduced travel to work congestion
  • Greater opportunity for social interaction
  • Greater feeling of safety
  • Urban vitality and street life
  • Increased viability for small businesses

To deliver successful mixed use centres you should:

  • Build integrated neighbourhoods

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    A more vibrant and sustainable form results from blurring the distinction between uses and designing places that make walking to the local centre, and bus stop or railway station, as convenient and comfortable as possible
  • Enhance/ develop character areas
  • Evaluate compatibility of proposed uses to maximise synergy and minimise conflict
  • Mix housing types and tenures
  • Centres – locate mixed use centres on public transport nodes, include residential units for evening activity and emphasise civic buildings by making them visible
  • Accommodate ‘big boxes’ at the edge of the retail core and improve their design through wrapping the perimeter, using the roof for parking and arranging in a perimeter block structure
  • Promote a dynamic mix of uses within transition zones

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