Industry or Housing: Clash or Match?

A qualitative study into residents' experience of living close to industry and how this affects their perception of nuisance and satisfaction.

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Due to both geographical and functional separation of port and city, urban planning of port cities has become a rather slow, costly and sometimes conflictual process. To work towards a more collaborative way of planning and to enhance the competitive edge of port cities, mixed-use developments that include both city -and industrial orientated functions could be an outcome.
A comprehensive literature study into the mixed-use concept reveals, besides a positive view, also a more critical view on mixed-use ideas. While mixing uses knows many benefits, in realized mixed-use developments higher goals, as sustainability, synergy and diversity are not always reached and residential satisfaction appears to be rather low. Furthermore, the combination of industry and housing is typically avoided and when attempted, this mix usually
doesn’t last long. It appears residential nuisance plays a pivotal role in this. Consequently, it is argued that when developing mixed-use areas, the potential incompatibilities between different uses should be acknowledged and
residential nuisance should be managed. By coining the terms actual and perceived nuisance, a distinction is made between the objective level of nuisance, exposed to the receiver, and the subjective level of nuisance, as perceived by the receiver. Commonly used measures in urban planning are focused on mitigating the observation of nuisance (actual nuisance). However, theory suggests that also the annoyance levels attached to these observations may not be overlooked (perceived nuisance) and that the relation between actual and perceived nuisance might not be as straight-forward as it seems. In this study a deeper understanding of how residents perceive nuisance caused by industry is gained with help of a practical case: Hoek van Holland. This is a Dutch village located close to industry and part of the port city Rotterdam. Two focus groups with residents of Hoek van Holland are conducted and an urban planner who is involved with developments in the village is interviewed. The findings show that perceived nuisance is a very interrelated concept. It is influenced in several ways and depends on more than actual nuisance alone. It is theorized residential
satisfaction has a mediating effect on feelings of annoyance and, therefore, urban planners should not underestimate the value of residential satisfaction for the (long-term) success of a mixed-use developments.