Mixed-used urban areas are popular spots to live and work as they are busy all day and night, offer many cultural activities, and provide a high standard of living. Various studies show that the presence of commercial zones is highly important for the life in a city. Groceries, restaurants, handicraft stores, retail, services and business in general make a significant contribution to the attraction of urban spaces, leading to occasional and unplanned interactions between humans. But since larger profits can be made with residential apartments, the rental costs for commercial spaces increased more and more - and now cannot be afforded anymore by small stores. The consequences are loads of commercial real estate vacancies, followed by an unhealthy transformation to a residential-only area, which often leads to a decline of the area due to the lack of human interaction.
In this project, an exploration of four hotspots in the city of Zurich has been done in order to evaluate ground floor usage diversity. The usage of the ground floor in those areas was mapped and categorized. Discussions and meetings with local players (e.g. neighbourhood committee) have led to the consens that especially small handcraft businesses are disappearing due to a number of factors in those areas which is perceived as a negative change by the population. A raster that maps location and functionality was developed as a result of this work that supports the understanding of the diversity of usages in the planning process and the corresponding functions that certain uses enable.