Mixed- Use Developments

Mixed-use developments are one of the most popular forms of adding higher density to urban areas and as population pressures continue, the design and planning of mixed-use developments will remain important development opportunities. Here are some of the key aspects and trends helping to make these developments more appealing, they are aspects that we also see in many local projects.

Much More Than a Marketing Tag

Mixed-use developments are much more than a clever copy line used to market developments. Good projects have a very positive impact on our cities and across particular neighbourhoods because they blend a range of services and facilities like homes, jobs, commerce, entertainment, retail and transport. As populations age some projects also now include healthcare and housing for the elderly which all helps to create a sense of community.

Wickside London

Wickside London is a new mixed-use development covering a 2.88 ha site, the brownfield site aims to regenerate an unloved area in Hackney Wick. This proposal reopens a disused canal while retaining the heritage buildings that bring character to the area. Hackney Wick is renowned as a hub for creative communities and the new development will include studio spaces, galleries, start-up spaces, a foundry, shops, restaurants and a craft brewery alongside a diverse mix of housing types. By retaining much of the area’s current built form it’s been possible to retain the original charm and heritage aspects of the site making it appealing to all end-users.

The Approach

The design ethic for Wickside was not to develop a single homogeneous style which, is so often criticised, rather the aim was to become an integral part of the city, taking inspiration found in many existing parts of the neighbourhood. The design aspiration for Wickside is an interesting one, that does not create a single ‘place’ but more a series of places with varied moods and character. The result contrasts size and appearance that can be experienced in an authentic way that reflects how urban areas grow organically over many decades.


Sustainability is also an important key to any form of modern urban development and for individual projects and buyers are increasingly sensitive to this issue. When looking at mixed-use projects many of the aspects from Wickside are notable. Firstly, residents and workers will not have to get into cars to move around they can walk to help create a much more enjoyable place.  There’s also a lot of green space across the project with parks, green buildings (like Sydney’s Central Park) and many rooftop gardens, another popular trend across many local Australian mixed-use projects.

US Census

Australia has a strong legacy of population census and the ABS is a world-leader in its field. In the USA every 10-years, in a policy mandated by the Constitution, the US Census Bureau conducts a population survey. The census looks at 11 million units, some big and some small. Results from this census include some interesting facts around population diversity across the USA, here’s just a very small example. About 56.2 million acres are reserved for Native American tribes. Large number of migrants have impacted several states including the movement of, large numbers of Mexicans into South Texas and Cubans into Florida. Los Angeles has become a thriving example of a multicultural city with Koreatown, Little Tokyo and Chinatown. While, NYC has more than one million people of Asian heritage, that’s one in every eight of the population.