As major recent projects across the region attest, developers are retreating from single-use schemes in favor of high-density, mixed-use developments that encompass living, working, and retail space in single projects.
The benefits of mixed-use are not purely economic. More than allowing developers to diversify assets, they also result in environmental benefits. Dierckxsens points out, “High-density living massively reduces the carbon footprint compared to traditional single-family homes, which can be found all over Europe and America. Combined with an efficient public transport system, they remove the need for private cars as well. Within minutes, one can reach a metro station that is connected with the rest of the city, and daily amenities—restaurants, supermarkets, malls—are all within walkable distance.”
Residents of high-density cities traditionally score a lower per-capita carbon footprint than even rural environments. Successive studies since 2009 by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) reported that the average emissions in New York City— one of the most densely populated areas in the world with roughly 28,000 residents per square kilometer—remain about 30 percent less than the U.S. average.
Mixed-use schemes are also one of the rare places where both developed and developing Asian economies find common ground. In southern China, Macau, and Hong Kong projects like Kowloon’s mi