Before the mainstream use of cars in many big industrial cities and even in Yerevan life was conducted mostly on foot, in local neighborhoods underpinned by the primacy of human interaction, and consumption of local produce. This is what we call “integrated living”.
The cities with zoning became a part of urban planning. Inside the cities with each of life’s activities – living, shopping, working – in a separate part of town. This brought reduced social interactions, loneliness, and pollution because of frequent car use. This is how we don’t want our communities to be.
Integrated living in The Distrikt
The key feature of The Distrikt urban planning is integrated living with mixed-use streets. This means there are not zones for each activity, for people in different professions, ages, or social status. But rather the life is inclusive and there is a networking and social interaction in each corner. We want to create a place where residential, recreational, commercial places are accessible within walking or biking distance. Unlike dead zones and highways that result in exclusion and in inequalities, integrated urban planning leads to sustainable local development. Here are the factors for that.
Clean air and healthy lifestyle
Sprawling cities are energy and resource-intensive and each additional trip that could be done by foot or bike results in extra pollution. In an urban environment without green infrastructure and the use of old cars, this is a huge source of air pollution.
This is why The Distrikt will be designed with pedestrianized streets and cycling lines for walking and bicycle use. This will result in keeping the environment clean and promoting a healthy lifestyle
The trees all around will make walking pleasant even in summer. While biking routes will be connected to other parts of Gyumri with an effort to reduce car use all around the city.
Social networks and reduced inequalities
There is a relation between social interactions and physical proximity. People have more interactions when they have a shared place. Public spaces in the cities and physical proximity result in the development of social networks, interactions, social integration, and reduced inequalities between different social groups. The Distrikt aims to become this platform of networking where people live side by side with a high level of interaction and social networking. This not only creates living places, but social interaction is leading to collaborations and innovations.
Local production and consumption
Yet another component of the integrated living is the local produce consumption. This leads to the creation of local jobs and local development, as well as reduces the ecological and social impact of buying imported products coming from long distances.
The local shops will offer local food and light manufacturing items right from The Distrikt, as well as made by the neighboring communities. One of such products – fish and vegetables, will come from the aquaponics plant, a flagship product of The Distrikt.
Locally designed and produced light manufacturing items will replace imported products shifting the economy from importer to local producer. Common spaces as Idea Shop equipped with innovative technologies with shared access will facilitate the co-creation, grassroots initiatives, and local scale innovation.
The circular economy is the focus of debate surrounding sustainable construction. When applied on a local level across a city or region, its various concepts are grouped under the umbrella term of urban metabolism. →
From highways carved through thriving ‘ghettoes’ to walls segregating black and white areas, US city development has a long and divisive history. →