The use of mixed-use buildings has been popular over the generations, but over the past century there has been an approach in Western civilisation mainly, to look at a different type of build in most developments. This focus is more on individuality and buildings that are used for a single purpose. There are many benefits however, to mixed-use buildings, and when we are living in times where there is overcrowding in cities and space is limited, it makes sense for urban architects and designers to look back to mixed-use buildings as the way forward wherever possible.
What constitutes a mixed-use building? Any property that is used for three or more things. For example, a mixed-use building could be one that has residential use, commercial tenants, as well as civil service occupiers, all in one building. Is it worth going back to this mode of thinking for the majority of new developments in busy urban environments?
Not only does a mixed-use building make sense in terms of the options for design and architecture, as well as providing greater housing options and long-term overcrowding solutions, there are also many other benefits to the wider community and the towns, cities, and regions in which these mixed-use buildings are built.
The first area to consider is the positive impact that mixed-use buildings have on sustainable planning in urban environments. A city or region where there is a prominence of mixed-use buildings will make a big change in the way that we tackle the reduction of emissions. Think about it, if you have to commute far every single day, that is use of your car twice a day just to get to work and back. Mixed-use buildings provide more space for office and retail (and other types of working environments), reducing the need for private transport.
In modern city landscapes many people dream about the home that has a contemporary design, and is close to local transport links, good food and drink amenities, cultural sites of interest, maybe a gym on-site etc. With mixed-use buildings in vogue, this could mean a reduction in living prices for this dream urban lifestyle that many people desire. This style of living and the impact of having so many different types of building use in one location helps to build up social environments, forge new communities that are often lost in modern urban environments, and help to engage with the population over a sustained period of time.
Once there is a greater understanding of the benefits of mixed-use buildings, it becomes more obvious why they could be of great benefit to city centre and other urban areas where there is limited space available for new developments, and where there is a pressing need to maximise the efficiency of any redevelopment projects that aim to transform parts of an urban area, or twist the narrative and breathe new life into an area that has allowed to drift into staleness and poor use by locals, planners, and local government.