Mixed-use planning is a critical element of self-sustained cities. Investing in mixed-use planning contributes to long-term sustainability by ensuring current development gains and safeguarded future generations’ needs as the population is rapidly migrating towards the cities. As, Pakistan is one of the fastest urbanizing nations within South Asia with an average annual growth rate of 2.7% (PBS, 2017; Kotkin and Cox, 2013).
Mixed-use planning is based on the concept of smart development, transit-oriented planning and compact development which may ultimately help us in the development of sustainable cities land use is a systemic property and needs to be examined as an interconnected concept of urban sustainability, however understanding the different principles of urban land use and how they relate to each other in making a complex adaptive systemic configuration is also relevant for urban action and urban planning overall. To become meaningful, mixed-use has to address scale issues appropriately.
Promoting energy-efficient building design and construction is another significant way that mixed land use may aid in the battle against climate change. Mixed-use structures can be the ideal place to incorporate environmentally friendly elements like green roofs, effective lighting systems, and renewable energy sources that have the potential to significantly lower energy consumption and related greenhouse gas emissions. Mixed-use developments can also benefit from shared infrastructure like utility systems and parking garages, which results in further energy and emissions savings. The carbon footprint of buildings, which are one of the main sources of greenhouse gas emissions, can be decreased with the aid of these energy-saving technologies.
Another important way that mixed land use can help in the fight against climate change is by promoting energy-efficient building design and construction. By combining residential and commercial spaces, mixed-use buildings can offer the perfect opportunity to integrate sustainable features like green roofs, efficient lighting systems, and renewable energy sources that have the potential to significantly reduce energy consumption and associated greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, mixed-use developments can take advantage of shared infrastructure such as parking garages and utility systems, resulting in further energy and emissions savings. These energy-saving features can help to reduce the carbon footprint of buildings, which are among the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions. Green roofs, for example, provide insulation and cooling, which can lower indoor temperatures by up to 5°C and reduce the energy needed for air conditioning. Additionally, green spaces can help absorb carbon dioxide emissions, improving air quality and reducing the environmental impact of urbanization.
Moreover, mixed land use can promote passive solar architecture, which can further reduce energy demand and associated emissions. Passive solar architecture uses the sun’s energy to naturally heat buildings during the winter, reducing the need for artificial heating. This approach can also be applied to cooling buildings during the summer, by using shading and natural ventilation to keep indoor temperatures comfortable. This can lead to significant energy savings, as buildings are one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions. By encouraging sustainable urban planning and passive solar architecture, mixed land use can help mitigate the environmental impacts of urbanization and support more sustainable and resilient communities.
To sum up, mixed land use offers a comprehensive and multifaceted method of addressing climate change. Mixed land use can encourage the growth of resilient and sustainable communities by integrating sustainable transportation, energy-efficient building design, and sustainable urban design. This strategy can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, mitigate the impact of the urban heat island, and reduce energy use and related expenses. Additionally, mixed land use is advantageous for reasons other than environmental sustainability since it can promote public health, social fairness, and economic growth. To build more sustainable, livable, and resilient communities, legislators, planners, and developers must incorporate mixed land use methods into their plans and projects.
Planner Mahnoor Arif
PCATP Registered Planner
Bachelors in City and Regional Planning, LWCU
Master in City and Regional Planning, UET