Mixed Uses

A well-connected environment consists of shared, multi-functional spaces which have convenient and integrated routes for pedestrians, cyclists, cars and public transport – and which are therefore more able to support a range of viable travel options.

Mixing uses can create a diversity of activity within streets and contribute to the vitality and sustainability of towns and neighbourhoods by providing employment, leisure and cultural opportunities (as well as services) to the local area.

The more mixed the land use, the more reasons there are to visit a space, increasing footfall and the sense of safety. Consideration should also be given to uses that promote activity across multiple time zones whilst remaining sympathetic to the locality. Large, single-purpose land uses can lengthen journeys which may make walking less practical; they also do not sustain a mix of activity and users across the day. This could serve to make such areas less desirable places to access, particularly via active travel, which has implications for the effective linking of places by these routes. Places with mixed land uses may help to minimise the number and length of trips, creating a positive sustainability impact even if active travel modes are not used to reach the destination.

For example, it can be beneficial to co-locate sport and leisure facilities with other community facilities – including retail establishments, schools, health facilities, community workspaces and/or shared amenities such as delivery pick-up facilities. Co-locating such facilities within a central development hub or nodal points greatly increases the convenience of participating in physical activity, increasing the likelihood of people using active travel as well as offering a range of health and social benefits. Where practicable, multiple sports and recreation facilities should be co-located. This allows people to choose from a range of activities in one location and promotes the efficient shared management of facilities improving the long-term viability of facilities.

The principle of co-locating community facilities applies to both major and smaller scale developments; in the latter case, a new community building can be designed to incorporate multiple uses.

There is a presumption in favour of developments that contain a mix of uses within building and street blocks where:

  • the development is located either close to existing services and facilities; or
  • the development is located on a public transport corridor.

Page updated: 28/11/2021

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