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Building design

Mixed Use Development: What are the Benefits?

In this post, we will look deeper into the concept of mixed-use development to help you understand what it is and the associated benefits. 

Camiel Weijenberg
July 13, 2021
Building design

Mixed Use Development: What are the Benefits?

Mixed use developments have now become more common than any other time in the past. This is mainly caused by the people's preferences and city developers have responded by creating unique designs that combine office, residential, and retail units in the same locations. The design makes it simple to use resources more sustainably and offers a neighborhood that people can associate with more. In this post, we will look deeper into the concept of mixed-use development to help you understand what it is and the associated benefits. 

What is Mixed Use Development?

Although there are a number of definitions available for the term “mixed use development,” the most popular is the one from the Municipal Research and Services Center (MRSC) of Washington. In the context of urban planning, MRSC indicates that it is a pedestrian-friendly development that combines several, two or more, commercial, cultural, residential, institutional, and/or industrial uses. It is one of the main principles of Smart Growth strategies that seek to promote community design and development for serving the environment, community, economy, and public health. 

Although the term “mixed use development” has become the buzz phrase among developers, some tend to confuse it. We must indicate that it is not just limited to multi-story buildings that come with commercial units in the lower floors and residential units in upper sections. If a building has a hotel on one end and offices on the other, it would still fall under the category of mixed use development. 

The Main formulas Used for Mixed Use Development

As we have highlighted, mixed-use development combines several uses into one structure of the area. The two most used methods of mixed use development are: 

  • Horizontal Mixed-Use Development: In this formula, single-use buildings are developed in a mixed-use area, which allows for multiple land uses. A small area with parts of its buildings used for offices, hotels, and industrial operations would be a good example of horizontal mixed-use development. 
  • Vertical Mixed-Use Development: This is the opposite of the horizontal mixed use development formula. Instead of the different establishments, such as houses and offices, being allocated entirely in different buildings, they are pooled in the same house. This is the commonest type of mixed development out there. A good example is a house with a hotel on the lower floors and residential units in the upper stories. 

Benefits of Mixed Use Development 

Now that you know what mixed use development is, why would a developer recommend or it? Here are the main benefits that come with using mixed use development: 

  • Local economic improvements: Using mixed-use developments support local enterprises to increase foot traffic. Most people also love the mixed use design because it is pretty convenient to get to work, shop, and live around. 
  • Impressive Social Connectivity: Combining different uses, such as office and residential units, means that people will not need to travel a lot. With parks, plazas, sidewalks, and other facilities, there is greater social connectivity when mixed use development is used.
  • An awesome opportunity for investors to diversity: If you are an investor who always thought of investing in different industries, such as commercial and residential, mixed used development will come in handy. This implies you can attract both residential and commercial clients, making it easy to reduce the risk because no one major tenant can impact the establishment negatively. The income will also be higher. 

With the fast-growing population in urban areas, the need for mixed use development is expected to increase in the coming years. As a building and construction professional, do not hesitate to recommend it for clients who want to optimize returns from their investment. Remember that you will need to use the right building and construction applications, such as SketchUp, GIMP, and Google Earth.

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