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Mixed-use in practice: a case study of London’s Landing, Richmond, BC

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The research explores how the concept of mixed-use development works in practice, in relation to its intent as described in the theory on land use planning and sustainability. Specifically, the research intended to gauge whether mixed-use development contributes to the creation of a vibrant, compact, and complete community for those who live in the suburban neighbourhood of London’s Landing in Richmond, British Columbia. Mixed and multiple research methods included: secondary data review and analysis; semi-structured interviews with relevant planning professionals; a survey questionnaire of neighbourhood residents; and direct unobtrusive observation of the neighbourhood. A comparison of the findings from each of the data sources used in this study with the indicators of a vibrant, compact, and complete community, as compiled from the literature reviewed, demonstrates the outcome of the research question along with some unintended discoveries. The research recognizes that the London’s Landing is still evolving and that there are indeed missing pieces, which prevent London’s Landing from being considered a truly vibrant, compact, and complete community. Perhaps the most interesting overall finding is how residents surveyed feel about London’s Landing regardless of whether it meets the theoretical outcomes of mixed-use development theory, e.g. that they love it and overwhelmingly consider it to be an attractive neighbourhood to live in. With this knowledge, the potential exists for the proliferation of attractive mixed-use neighbourhoods that are misleading, lacking in authenticity, and that are in fact environmentally, socially, and economically unsustainable. Additional action and research is needed into certain practical aspects of mixed-use development to fill the gaps that exist in the complete-community theory for the purpose of avoiding the pitfalls identified in this case study of London’s Landing.
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