Mix to the Max or Max to the Mix?

Research by design into how spatial qualities and characteristics shape the future of mixed-use business parks in the Province of South-Holland

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The Province of South-Holland is one of the fastest-growing regions of the Netherlands. The metropolitan provides employment opportunities, has an (inter) national mobility network, and houses densely urbanised landscapes. Because of these benefits, the population keeps increasing. This reflects the need for an addition of 200.000 dwellings in the Province of South-Holland.
On the other hand, population growth also influences the economy. The urban qualities create a wished business climate, which is attractive to companies to settle. Currently, the province has some strong economic sectors. However, the economy should shift towards a more circular economy by 2050 which asks space for industry to develop and retain disruptive businesses nearby living environments. This research specifies business ecosystems with a focus on construction materials.

This socio-economic structure results in scarcity of land where the spatial pressure is high. The result is a tension between space for working and living. Innovative approaches to how to use space in a multifunctional way could shape the future of these companies. An underexposed opportunity to realise this multifunctionality is mixed-use strategies at business parks.
However, when creating these environments, liveability needs to be ensured. Nowadays, business parks are inaccessible for pedestrians, have a nuisance due to externalities of the industry, forbid buildings within the zones designated by environmental regulations, and do not provide a wide range of public spaces to meet each other. That is why mixed-use is not yet assigned as a possibility in these transition zones between disruptive businesses and living environments.

Therefore, this report research which spatial qualities and characteristics shape future possibilities for mixed-use strategies in business ecosystems that focus on construction materials. By developing scenarios, the balance between providing a liveable environment and facilitating the circular economy in the Province of South-Holland by 2050 can be investigated.

Through interviews, literature, observations at specific locations, examples of projects, and research by design these future scenarios will come about.

The aim is to realise a strategic framework with guidelines that describes the different compositions of mixed-use possibilities and the role of the business parks in the circular economy on the regional scale. This divides the business ecosystem into places that can be mixed with dwellings and business parks that should remain for the circular economy.
In addition, this report uses example projects to indicate how this can be shaped. The focus lies in explaining how the business ecosystems of construction materials work in the province and at these specific locations. In addition, it creates insight into how to emphasise the urban qualities surrounding the business parks while suggesting site-specific opportunities for a balanced mixed-use area. These conclusions reflect on several scales so that the mixed-use not only affects the neighbourhood but also contributes to the city and even regional scale. The main takeaway message can be found in the infrastructure. By separating different forms of transportation spaces comes available that can be used to transform into another function.
This design is then translated towards a policy recommendation as well, which can be implemented by the Province of South-Holland. These policies are focused on regulating infrastructure, densification and spaces for industries while stimulating knowledge exchange and education.