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A New Model of Hybrid Building as a Catalyst for the Redevelopment of Urban Industrial Districts

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In many cities, urban industrial districts are under real estate pressure because of development speculation in adjacent areas. Mixed-use industrial zoning is one approach for preserving these districts in North American cities with a growing shortage of industrial and 'back-of-house' real estate. The paper discusses the specific urban design and architectural issues raised by a mixed-use industrial building prototype. Building codes and conventional real estate metrics shape the individual components of this development model. At the district scale, the two-sidedness of the building prototype requires a hierarchy of streets that allow for easy truck access while simultaneously providing appropriately-located 'Main Streets' for pedestrian, bicycle, and transit access. Design thinking is required to combine these elements into a synthesized building and site planning strategy. Though the design of industrial districts has historically been driven by the pragmatics of economics and engineering, designers and architects need to take more of a leadership role. As macroeconomics shift away from manufacturing in developed economies, these districts will need to act more consciously as good neighbours. The saving grace of urban industrial districts will be their ability to be nimble, blending with contextual urban fabric and complementing and integrating with adjoining uses in an increasingly post-Euclidean world.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2017

More about this publication?
  • Built Environment is published quarterly in March, June, September and December. With an emphasis on crossing disciplinary boundaries and providing global perspective, each issue focuses on a single subject of contemporary interest to practitioners, academics and students working in a wide range of disciplines. Issues are guest-edited by established international experts who not only commission contributions, but also oversee the peer-reviewing process in collaboration with the Editors.

    Subject areas include: architecture; conservation; economic development; environmental planning; health; housing; regeneration; social issues; spatial planning; sustainability; urban design; and transport. All issues include reviews of recent publications.

    The journal is abstracted in Geo Abstracts, Sage Urban Studies Abstracts, and Journal of Planning Literature, and is indexed in the Avery Index to Architectural Publications.

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