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Design Principles

Mixed Land Use

Viaduct Harbour, Auckland, New Zealand
Viaduct Harbour, Auckland, New Zealand
Source: TPG Town Planning and Urban Design

Mixed land use involves a range of complementary land uses that are located together in a balanced mix, including residential development, shops, employment community and recreation facilities and parks and open space. This makes alternative forms of transport to the car, such as public transport, walking and cycling, more viable.  Mixed land use can enhance the vitality and perceived security of areas by increasing the number of people on the street and in public spaces.  It can also improve the retail and economic development of an area (Smart Growth, no date).

Mixed land use promotes active transport to and between different activities by co-locating destinations.  A range of activities in a development encourages social interaction as people are able to meet and also undertake other activities in the one trip.

There is consistent research evidence that mixed land use (ie. the presence of multiple destinations) is a key factor influencing a neighbourhood’s walkability. 

How to Achieve

  • Provide a range of development types and densities (including residential) that allow for a mix of day and night time activities including safety and surveillance considerations
  • Ensure that surrounding transport networks and adjoining development is integrated with the new development
  • At the more detailed design stage pay attention to lighting, street furniture, signage, footpath treatment and safe road crossings to ensure a safe and convivial space is provided for all users
  • Adequate open space and recreation areas especially for children and their carers
  • Developments located within walking distance of bus or tram stops (400 metres) or train stations (up to 800 metres)
Rule of thumb
A mix of land uses, including residential, and access to the shops and services required for daily living that is well integrated with public transport, designed to maximise surveillance and designed to be safe from traffic will support the use of active forms of transport.


  • Development that is not serviced by or integrated with transport networks or activities required for daily living (supermarket, newsagent)
  • Areas with no public open space or play areas to accommodate the needs of children and carers
  • Not integrating access and movement networks within the design and funding of the mixed land development
  • Single use developments such as regional centres that contain only retail and commercial development

Click here for more detailed information on design and planning for Mixed Land Use.

Download Full Text
Mixed Land Use.pdf


Heart Foundation Food Sensitive Planning and Urban Design

North Sydney Development Control Plan 2002  - Mixed Land Use Design Criteria

Urban Design Compendium - Mixing Uses

Urban Ecology – Walkable Cities 

Your Development – Transit Oriented Development

Related Design Principles
Active Transport





Last updated on 19th April, 2011

Sponsors This project was funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing.