A design approach to determine the locations in combination with amenities for neighbourhood hubs, based on user profiles

Qualitatively researching the users, amenities, and locations for neighbourhood hubs

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Cities and regions are dealing with increasing levels of urbanization, which demands for more urban densification through urban developments. At the same time, liveability, sustainability, health, and social equity are becoming increasingly important. This demands for mobility solutions to use urban space more efficiently, while maintaining and improving accessibility. A grid of neighbourhood hubs could contribute to a better use of space, which requires users to actually adopt the amenities offered at these hubs. However, in practice and science it is unknown how the locations and amenities of hubs could be aligned with the needs of users. Therefore, this thesis gathers knowledge about locations, amenities, and users of neighbourhood hubs, and translates this knowledge into the Neighbourhood Hub Design Approach. Users are classified into user profiles, and researched by using a literature review and focus groups with Dutch and foreign hub experts. From the results it can be learned that any user profile can be incentivized to use neighbourhood hubs, if they have the right motivations. Still, from an adoption perspective it is most preferrable to develop neighbourhood hubs in areas with a high share of the Young & Hopeful and Average Joes & Janes user profiles. Besides, the presence of user profiles influences which amenities should be offered at each neighbourhood hub. By using this knowledge, the Neighbourhood Hub Design Approach is assessed in a case study for the Municipality of Almere. It can be concluded that the Neighbourhood Hub Design Approach is a suitable tool to determine the most preferred locations in combination with amenities for neighbourhood hubs, based on users. Future research could build on this thesis by empirically researching the needs of user profiles. Moreover, it is recommendable that policymakers engage residents as much as possible when developing hubs in their cities.