Mixed-use development, in the form of local facilities, has been promoted by the UK government
in new housing developments as an urban form which provides opportunities for people to
interact which in turn is seen as a prerequisite for ‘building new communities’. There is a lack of
empirical evidence testing the claimed relationship between the provision of local facilities, their
use and social interaction levels at them. Therefore, the aim of this research is to determine
whether these claimed relationships exist and to what extent local facilities are used as service
providers and to what extent they constitute places of frequent social interaction. In order to
investigate the different factors affecting local facility use and social interaction at those facilities,
the factors were grouped into those relating to the facilities themselves (including micro-scale,
urban design features), the area the facilities are located in and the profile of the users.
The methodology adopted in this research is primarily quantitative, using a survey questionnaire
and structured observations to collect the data and the nature and extent of relationships were
investigated through statistical analysis and behaviour mapping techniques. The findings show
that a number of factors positively influence frequent use and frequent social interaction at local
facilities. With regard to the role of local facilities as service providers, the findings highlight the
importance of providing adequate and accessible local facilities for different groups of residents,
but also highlight that perceived homogeneity and social ties between residents in the wider area
influence whether local facilities are used. The findings also support the assertions that local
facilities can make a contribution towards the building of communities through constituting
places of frequent social interaction. However, this only extends to certain facility types and
certain residents, questioning the government’s implied assertion that communities can be built
as long as any mix of facilities is supplied in any type of neighbourhood. Furthermore, perceived
homogeneity in the area the users lived in was found to influence the frequency of social
interaction at local facilities. This has wider policy implications regarding the role local facilities
can play in reducing social segregation.
School of the Built EnvironmentFaculty of Technology, Design and Environment
Published by Oxford Brookes UniversityAll rights reserved.
Copyright © and Moral Rights for this thesis are retained by the author and/or other copyright owners.
A copy can be downloaded for personal non-commercial research or study, without prior permission or charge.
This thesis cannot be reproduced or quoted extensively from without first obtaining permission in writing from the copyright holder(s).
The content must not be changed in any way or sold commercially in any format or medium without the formal permission of the copyright holders.
RADAR: Research Archive and Digital Asset RepositoryAbout RADAR