Mixed use of city centers

Ensuring quality of life and sustainable European cities 

Switzerland, Lausanne, city market by hdes.copeland, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic License  by  hdes.copeland 

Lab Manager: Nils Scheffler

Mixed urban areas offer a variety of different functions and corresponding land uses, giving the opportunity to their citizens and users to live, work, trade and socialise within a relative short distance. Such areas are a model of the sustainable European city; they ensure short-distances, are walking and cycling friendly, providing a good quality of life to their citizens and users.

Economic interests as for example from the property and capital market to generate increasing revenues, but also social policies which concentrates social housing in one area, increase the risk of becoming mono-structured urban areas, which do not offer the same quality to its citizens and users as mixed used areas do.

To maintain or recover mixed used urban areas the different and also conflicting demands placed on such areas for example by residents, visitors, local and global businesses, are to be balanced against each other while the area has to ‘learn’ to address the challenges it is confronted with. Part of the solution lies in the public administration’s and its partners’ ability to make choices that consider the different demands and to have ‘check and balances’ which hamper that the ‘winner takes it all’. But how can cities do this? Our lab will focus on this issue focusing at following key questions:

  • Which functions may include “our mixed city centre”?
  • Which requirement do the individual functions and land uses have on the area?
  • Which are (possible) conflicts and synergies between the functions and land uses?
  • How do I define the “right” mix – with all the different stakeholders?
  • How do I deal with conflicts by users / involved stakeholders?