What is a Mixed-Use Community

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Neighborhood designs that were prevalent in the development of municipalities in the 1960s and 1970s are being used as prototypes for today’s mixed-use developments. Mixed-use developments are extremely diverse, ranging broadly in composition, scope, and residential distribution. Homes tend to be organized in neighborhoods focused on a school, park or recreation center. Several neighborhoods form a village that includes ancillary elements such as retail outlets, civic buildings and churches. The types of housing developed greatly affect the spirit of the community and a variety of types and prices serves to solidify the diversity that is an inherent condition of the mixed-use environment.

The composition of these communities is largely influenced by market conditions and local demand. The larger mixed-use developments are often described as “new towns” as they have the potential to achieve a balance between jobs and housing. The coordination of housing with employment and community services and activities tends to have a meaningful impact on the amount of time spent and miles traveled by residents and employees, theoretically diminishing the environmental impact of development. Rural developments of this type can accommodate not only the needs of the new community’s residents, but those of the existing local community, as well.