How living in a mixed use precinct can benefit you

How living in a mixed use precinct can benefit you
Rendering of East Brunswick Village, a mixed use development in Melbourne.

Melbournians are not new to urban sprawl and its long lasting effects on the environment and people.
For decades, we have felt the strain of the city’s inexorable growth with an ever-growing population and a lack of readily planned infrastructure to back it.
These issues are quite complex to resolve and there is no one solution to the matter.

With urban planners and architects directing their focus more so on centralised communities, we are seeing a major shift in how we progress with more mixed use developments and 20 minute neighbourhoods emerging within existing Melbourne suburbs.  The consequences of Urban Sprawl go much deeper than just the lengthy commutes and sometimes careless environmental damages but also really affects mental health.
Sprawl is a contributing factor to the feelings of isolation through a lack of community engagement and living far from opportunities, education and hospitality services greatly lowering one’s quality of life.

Mixed use precincts often offer medium to higher density buildings comprising of residential, commercial, public amenities and opportunities. The benefits of a connected community are:

Safety -

When we live in closer proximity to each other and share communal spaces we become more tolerant, patient, respectful and generous people overall.
This closeness creates a sense of pride and encourages community engagement with residents protecting their space and looking out for each other.
The spaces within a mixed use precinct are kept active at ground level and with everything within a 5 minute walking distance and many providing CCTV for laneways and streets.

Walkability - 

5 and 20 minute neighbourhoods can be incredibly walkable with pedestrianised retail streets, laneways, public squares and lush parks motivating locals to engage in healthier and active lifestyles.
With no need for car dependency, the impacts on mental health through interacting with other people and nature are hugely positive. The convenience of being close to transport, work, parks and essential living needs provide a healthy environment for all demographics of people.

Connectivity - 

Mixed use developments thrive in already existing activity centres where local businesses, accessibility to public transport and major avenues provide quick and painless connections to the greater surrounding areas, unite communities and prosper under-utilised space. 

Stronger local economies -

Living close to local business means supporting local business. With a hairdresser across from your doorstep and the delicious coffee shop, bakery and fresh produce stores on your walk to work, residents provide a stronger economy for business owners. Mixed use developments provide countless construction and ongoing jobs and with reduced travel times and on site opportunities, affordable housing and rent remain consistent.


How living in a mixed use precinct can benefit you
Melbourne CBD's expanding skyline. Image by Nicholas Failla.

Mixed use precincts are not only beneficial to the individual, but to the spaces we govern, attributing to the liveliness of an under-utilised and perhaps neglected neighbourhood and connecting business between what once might have been segregated networks and living spaces.



M-City, Clayton

One example is M-City, designed and developed by Schiavello and the Buchan Group in the South-Eastern suburb of Monash takes a vacant block and develops it into a vibrant urban hub providing 17,330sqm of commercial space and 643 apartments accommodating over 3,000 people.

A heavy focus on human interaction through a carefully thoughtful design with a landmark shopping centre anchored by Kmart, Woolworths and a six screen Village Cinemas, a 250 room Mantra Hotel and a substantial amount of green space for residents, workers and visitors encourages people to engage with each other and feel involved in their environment.

How living in a mixed use precinct can benefit you
Rendering of the resident's park and swimming pool. Image by

M-City is a 24 hour lifestyle development with a closeness to major innovative, scientific and knowledge hubs such as Monash University and Clayton Station servicing residents nearby.
With 60 specialty stores beneath the apartment complex, connectivity and walkability are deeply encouraged and give peace of mind to residents who have had a long day at work or university.


EBV, East Brunswick

East Brunswick Village, master planned by Banco Group and designed by JAM Architects, is possibly one of the country’s greatest mixed use developments at the moment with homes across 5-6 level apartment buildings connected by tree-lined laneways filled with public art, local bakeries, pharmacy, wellness centre, yoga studio, bike repair store, cafes and a supermarket.

For residents, over 2500sqm of communal space including a children’s playground, an apiary providing free honey for all, rooftop gardens, a workshop and 960 bicycle spaces to motivate and embrace a non car dependent environment. Residents also have access to a car share facility and electric vehicle charging stations to decrease their carbon footprint.


How living in a mixed use precinct can benefit you
Rendering of the communal rooftop garden.

With easy access to public transport, a 7.5 star NatHERS rating, solar energy, water efficiency techniques and the use of drought tolerant native plant landscape throughout the project, East Brunswick Village increases community engagement, pride and the quality of life for residents and visitors with the sense of belonging to somewhere that is open to change.

“I think of EBV as a microcosm of East Brunswick. It’s exciting, it’s creative, it’s diverse, and East Brunswick is like that too – it’s one of Melbourne’s most inspiring and livable suburbs. It’s got great public transport, great amenities and restaurants. And it’s so close to the city; as a place to live, East Brunswick has become incredibly popular over the past decade. We know people want to live here. With EBV, one of our big aims is to make living in this part of Melbourne achievable for people. Making living as affordable and enjoyable as possible, that’s what it’s all about.” - Mario Lo Giudice, Director at Banco Group.
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Many people fear density and infill, as a spread out suburban lifestyle is pretty much all we are accustomed to, yet we cannot continue to function this way. 
Our need for high quality mixed use commercial and residential precincts and updated rezoning policies will profoundly impact our way of life and progress our city forward into an equal urban future.





Nicholas Failla

Nicholas Failla

Nicholas is a content writer and graphic designer who is passionate about cities, architecture, urban planning and sustainable communities.

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