mixed use

Every city, village or place becomes more fun when you mix functions. After 9am, a residential area is often deserted, while an office park is abandoned and unsafe in the evenings and at weekends. Mixed areas are more lively, saving space and mobility. And facilities can be better shared.

About 100 years ago, the separation of living and working was introduced in response to the pathogenic, polluted, industrial city. But what was then a logical solution to the societal challenge of that moment is not necessarily suited to contemporary issues. Much (but not all) work has become smaller, quieter and less dangerous, making a mix of living and working more attractive again. There are also technical or structural measures that can be taken to reduce noise, odours and danger. This means that mixing functions is back on the (construction) agenda.

But mixing is not easy. It does not always work out as well as expected. On the Wilhelminapier in Rotterdam, residents complain about the noisy, noxious cruise ships in front of their doors. Understandably, a baker on the Binckhorst is afraid of the building plans around his industrial bakery. Yet the development of mixed-use areas also offers many advantages. It reduces mobility, makes it possible to share facilities and investments, is future-proof, socially safer and also popular.

Strangely enough, we can learn from the zoning of the functional city in residential areas, business and industrial estates. By not simply mixing everything with everything, but carefully making different zones, each with a balanced mix. A mix appears to work better if the functions have something to offer each other. We distinguish at least three zones: a Buzz Zone, a Hush Zone and a Fizz Zone. The zones come together in a global framework plan for a larger area.

Buzz Zone
In the Buzz Zone there is room for high-density facilities with long opening hours that ensure dynamism and social safety. Housing concepts for 'never-at-home' residents, who rely heavily on urban and collective facilities, are a good fit. The Buzz Zone forms the backbone of an area and is preferably as close as possible to a public transport hub or city centre.

Hush Zone
The Hush Zone offers space for living, greenery and office work. All forms of living and light work fit here. This zone is also very suitable for climate adaptation in the form of parks and recreational connections to the outdoors.

Fizz Zone
The Fizz Zone offers plenty of space on the raw side of the city, in the form of experimentation, activity, logistics, traffic and messiness. It is a zone with a greater degree of tolerance. Here, space can also be offered for special forms of housing, although this is not strictly necessary. Such a sub-area can also consist of a mix of non-residential functions, such as, for example, a pop venue with printing works and offices.

>> see also High density