The general term “mixed-use” covers an enormously wide variety of development types, from the neighborhood corner store to a thousand-acre master-planned community. However, there are several criteria that all good mixed-use developments meet:• They include a combination of related uses in one place – residential, office, retail, entertainment, civic space, and even government uses.
• They provide a significant proportion of each use within the “mix.”• They provide convenient and safe pedestrian and bicycle connections both within the development and to places outside the development.The essence of mixed-use developments is that it brings people closer to the things that they need on a day-to-day basis. It provides more options for both residents and workers, so that they don’t have to drive to drop off the kids, get a newspaper, buy the day’s groceries, purchase stamps, get a sandwich for lunch, or maybe simply get to work. It allows an area to be useful for a much more significant part of the 24-hour day than single-use developments. Mixed-use developments, if done well, can greatly increase the convenience and enjoyment in people’s day-to-day lives.Additionally, mixed-use developments can also make more efficient use of land and public infrastructure.
The right mix of uses can be extremely efficient in using resources such as roadways, parking, and even water and sewer. That is because different uses are generally active during different times of the day, week — or perhaps even different times of the year!One example is automobile parking. Retail uses need parking during the morning and evening, offices and factories need parking during the daytime, restaurants and entertainment venues need parking in the evening and on the weekend, and residential areas and hotels need parking overnight.
If all of these uses can share the same parking spaces, the total need for parking can be dramatically reduced.