Mixed Use Development: A Good Thing!
Mixed-use development is characterized as pedestrian friendly developments that combine residential, commercial, and institutional purposes. Mixed-use development can take the form of a single integrated building or entire neighborhoods. The term is typically used specifically to refer to a mixed-use real estate development, which includes a series of buildings, welcoming private developers and government agencies to work side-by-side.
To understand the unique characteristics of this type of development, it needs to be compared to traditional constructions. Typically, settlements have developed in a mixed-use pattern – but after the advent of industrialization and its long-term effects, coupled with the invention of major structures like skyscrapers, real estate developments have been separated for manufacturing, residential, or commercial use – rarely combined. Coupled with governmental zoning laws, mixed-use development has just seen a resurgence in residential interests. Now, mixed-use developments have once again become desirable as the benefits are being spotlighted.
Vertical and Horizontal Mixed Use Development
Mixed use zoning laws allow for horizontal and vertical combinations of land within a neighborhood or district. It represents a mixture of commercial, industrial, and residential features that mesh together to create environments where residents can live, work, and play in close proximity.
With vertical mixed-use development, buildings are divided into designated areas. It provides for more public use on the lower floors, accessible to a shopping area or outdoor space. The upper floors, on the other hand, may be used for private purposes such as hotels, office space rentals, or corporate events.
A horizontal mixed-use development typically is designed with single-use buildings within mixed-use zoning, which allows for a range of services and facilities for businessmen and residents alike. Due to their variety, horizontal mixed-use development tends to have facilities that complement and integrate into each other.
Regardless if it is a vertical or horizontal design, there is value placed in walkable areas and access to parks and greenways. This creates a symbiotic relationship, where the commercialization of a city does not overtake or take away from a neighborhood’s character and charm. That sense of community is supported and backed by local businesses that intertwine with the local community.
Benefits of Mixed Use Developments
Mixed-use developments have a much higher housing variety and efficient density. There is a mix of affordable and life-cycle housing like senior facilities – all on the same block or building. There’s a reduced distance between your home, retail space, and job.
Residents may also enjoy easy access to greenways, parks, and restaurants. No longer do you need to travel to another part of town to experience cultural cuisine. Instead, there is a variety of choices right within your own district. This also lessens land use and provides more compact development.
What’s more important is that there is a sense of community. Commercialization does not encroach on residence, and residents have the amenities that they need right around the corner. Facilities, shopping centers, your job, friends, and family are all relatively close in a mixed-use development type area. This harmonious relationship has been utilized before – but it has recently been noted as a sustainable form of real estate development.