|Since the economic crisis of 2007 in the Netherlands, a new found interest in the economic vitality of cities
manifested. According to several studies, cities act like engines within the national economy. Therefore public
policy is focused on the conditions that stimulate or frustrate the economic vitality of urban neighborhoods. in
respect to economic vitality, inner-city livability problems are major issues to deal with. The vitality of cities
heavily depends on the livability in their neighborhoods.
Multifunctional land-use is one of the instruments that are put forward as the cure to several livability issues
that are in the way of the vitality of neighborhoods. There are promising results from studies that researched
the correlation between multifunctional land-use and the livability of neighborhoods. Even policy-makers generally
embrace the idea of diversity. How come, that even today the focus on the majority of the development
sites is still monofunctional? Which factors determines the variation in multifunctional and monofunctional
This study tries to find an explanation to this question by giving an insight in the coinciding location characteristics
of multifunctional land-use. By focusing on the differences in location characteristics and surroundings of
multifunctional and monofunctional sites, this study tries to find under which conditions multifunctional landuse
will thrive or perish. The demarcation of this research is bound by the municipality of Amsterdam. Several
districts, which correspond to the daily living environment of its inhabitants, will be investigated on its characteristics
and coincide with multifunctional land-use.
In the Netherlands, multifunctional land-use is often seen as a component in urban intensification policy. This
policy includes combining different functional purposes on many different levels and scales. Horizontal mixture
within the scale of an area or building, above or beneath each other, even mixture within time is mentioned.
Also, intensification as such is an objective to be achieved within this policy. Therefore it is easy to link multifunctional
land-use solely to intensification goals.
The groundwork of multifunctional land-use however, dates from 1962 and is bundled in the study “Death and
Life in Great American Cities” by Jane Jacobs, and has been written in a different perspective. Jacobs criticize
the post-war urban planningmethod of her time, which is strongly influenced by ideas of Le Corbuser and the
CIAM-conference (Congrès Internationaux d’Architecture Moderne). This resulted in lifeless monofunctional
neighborhoods with low economic vitality. Jacobs stresses the importance of (architectural) diversity in the
characteristics of neighborhoods as a necessity for urban vitality. Jane Jacobs’ work will therefore be the starting
point of this study.
By consulting existing literature (among which the study by Jacobs) several location characteristics emerge,
which theoretically are coinciding with multifunctional land-use. Multifunctional land-use tends to occur in a
high density urban environment with a relatively high land value due to its centrality and accessibility caused by
their proximity to public transport hubs and highway exits. Hence, these locations have a high visitors potential.
Surprisingly, mixed-use locations can also be found near urban parks and recreational water areas.
In succession to these theoretical findings, the study contents an empirical research to these coinciding characteristics.
Using a multiple regression analysis some remarkable findings emerge. Out of the theoretical coinciding
characteristics, only the variables of land value and density remain significant. The excluded variables are
not at all significantly correlating with multifunctional land-use (proximity to parks, public transportation hubs
and highway exits), or their correlations are not valid due to multicollinearity (visitors potential). The remaining
model explains 38 per cent of the variation in multifunctional land-use (p < 0,01). This is a substantial amount.
This study proves that location characteristics are indeed partial responsible for the variation in multifunctional
land-use. The influence from parameters as land value and density is significant which subscribes the assumption
that multifunctional land-use is merely an urban phenomenon. Due to the complexity and high costs of
multifunctional land-use (in oppose to monofunctional development), there might be a need for intensive landuse
to compensate the costs. These locations are generally complex by nature and need custom solutions. This
way, developers cannot profit on these locations from the low-cost-advantages of monofunctional land-use.
In addition to this conclusion, several remarkable findings emerge. First, parks seem to be not as important as
the literature did presume. This conclusion might relate to the high densities used on multifunctional locations.
This implicates that public space on these locations is an expensive purpose of use, and therefore will be reduced
to a minimum. In that respect, parks demand a lot of space. For this reason it is more likely planners
would choose to invest in instruments like architecture to upgrade public space.
Second, it is remarkable that visitors potential does not significantly correlate with multifunctional land-use.
This could be the consequence of the selected travel time of 15 minutes, which resulted in a less refined model
that could not accurately detect differences on the scale of the used districts. When using a shorter travelling
time, it is plausible the results would have been different.
A third remarkable finding is the non-correlation between variables as public transport hubs and highway exits
with multifunctional land-use. This is remarkable because there was a lot of literature pointing in this direction.
The non-correlation could be the consequence of a too confined measuring of a hub and highway exit. After all,
a broad area around these locations profit from the spillovers.
This study underlines the importance of location factors as land value and density, when looking at multifunctional
land-use. Succeeding research should determine if multifunctional land-use is indeed therefore merely
applicable in highly urban areas. A final marginal comment in this study is however needed. Jacobs and several
other authors implicate that social problems can be cured solely by physical interventions. Multifunctional
land-use had indeed in some cases a positive effect on the livability of neighborhoods, however complementing
social, cultural and economic actions are still required to achieve a vital neighborhood and a vital city.
|Multifunctioneel ruimtegebruik, multifunctionaliteit, meervoudig ruimtegebruik, Jane Jacobs, intensivering, stedelijkheid, vitaliteit, leefbaarheid.